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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've heard rumors from others that their Russians have had a hard time going after plastic foundation. Can anyone confirm this? I have Carni-Russian hybrids and man it's hard getting them to go after my plastic foundations. One nuc I hived a couple months ago has worked maybe two frames (plus the 5 frames it came in) and the other nuc has done much better and has worked out maybe 7 frames (plus the 5 frames it came in). The nectar and pollen is everywhere so that's not an issue.

I ordered 20 frames with wax foundation and when it arrived today they didn't arrive in very good condition so I'm wondering if it's really going to help at all to go to the trouble to swap out my plastic frames (at least in the unproductive hive) with the wax frames or if I should just give them more time. But seriously, it's been about 3 weeks since I added that upper deep and they've built comb everywhere BUT on the plastic foundation.

ALSO, I think that the "spray your plastic foundation with sugar water to get them to take to it" is total B.S. After seeing little to no action on frames that I sprayed with sugar water, I marked 8 frames with a pencil that I sprayed sugar water on when I added the upper deep, and marked the other 2 "no sugar water" for 2 frames that I didn't spray sugar water on. Well the bees completely drew out the 2 non sugar water frames well before they even touched the other sugar water frames. Maybe it's geography or race or something else, but I will never spray anything with sugar water again.
 

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Paint them if you are going to use them(beeswax and or coat them again). As far as foundation is concerned, they will repair it, cut holes in it and do what they want with it. One of my russina hives has completely taken the wax away from the wires in one frame. Its kinda funny. They must have used it elswhere or for something else. They didn't like it. I stopped using plasticell as they still havent drawn it completely.
 

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In my experience, sometimes bees don't like plastic foundation. Doesn't seem to matter the kind of bees. But when they need space, they'll use it without a problem. When I used plastic, I used to coat with beeswax and it seemed to help. It was just a lot of work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all of your replies! It sounds like Russians will kind of do whatever they want! I kind of respect them for that... but it makes them a pain sometimes haha.

Well, maybe wax foundation isn't the answer... I'll probably try and add a few to one hive and see how they like it though. I hope they don't just eat it and rearrange it haha.

I'm torn between trying to be as nit-picky as I can be about how they build out their hives, and on the other hand I'm tempted to just let them do whatever they want with the 2 hive bodies and worry more about the honey supers I add later on.

hmm...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Maybe I'll get really ambitious today and cut off their odd comb, melt it down and paint it on the frames they aren't drawing on.
 

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Thanks for all of your replies! It sounds like Russians will kind of do whatever they want! ...
That can be said for Carnolians, Italians, ... Remember, they are indepent contractors and you have no control on their actions, but you can try things to entice them. I have Russians that take to Pierco well and others will almost refuse to work them. Painting with wax sure does help success with plastic foundation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I still wonder if it happens slightly more with Russians.

I would also have to say that wax coating probably helps far better than spraying with sugar water.
 

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I have two hives of Russians. One filled a 10 frame medium super of pierco frames, drew it out and filled it with honey and capped it. Fast. Straight from the box the frames were shipped in. They passed up a frame in the deep that was wood frame with regular wax foundation, didnt touch it. The other hive is working on it, but they seem to be focused on the frames of wax foundation rather than the pierco frames. They are drawing it out, but not like the other hive did. Same types of frames, different hives. Go figure. I kinda put a mix of wood frames with wax foundation, and pierco frames. Just to kinda see what they would do. It doesnt seem that the prefer one over the other though....

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I went out and replaced a couple frames with plastic foundation with frames with wax foundation... I'll see what happens.

Also, I took a level out and perfectly leveled the hive. It wasn't too far off but a few quarters under the left hand side helped make it near-perfect I believe.

The other hive (same Russian-Carny hybrids), is just drawing away on the plastic frames... all but 2 and a half of the frames are drawn out.

It's amazing how 2 hives that should be identical are so different.
 

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Ha Ha, Speaking of vodka, maybe they will ferment us up a few frames of vodka.....there are some potatoes near by....

just trying to bee funny!

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update: I replaced all of my empty plastic frames in my hive that seems to hate plastic frames with wax frames and within a week about all of the wax frames were drawn out.

I can say that beyond a shadow of a doubt, at least THAT particular hive of Russians HATES plastic frames but LOVES wax frames. About 2 months of drawing wax on everything but the plastic frames, but the moment wax frames were introduced, they were drawing out wax like seasoned pros.
 

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Your experience mirrors mine. I just don't use plastic anymore. I always did feel it was kind of a foreign substance in my hives anyway. But a friend of mine swears by them and has good success so to each their own. Glad things are working out for you now!
 
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