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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think most agree that an extra layer of wax on plastic foundation will encourage comb drawing. Trying plastic mediums for the first time in a honey super, so I gave them an extra coat of wax. That got me to thinking. I wonder if spraying the frames with sugar water would also encourage them to draw and store nectar in them. Anyone ever try this? Downsides? Thanks, J
 

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I don't think sugar water would be effective - it would dry too fast, for one thing. You won't get much super-comb drawing until they need space on a strong flow. And certainly not this early when temps are too chilly.

And unlike brood combs when you're starting a colony out, you don't want to feed them syrup to prompt drawing - that will only contaminate your honey. Be patient, have the supers ready to slap on the instant they need the space. I find undersupering (a new, undrawn one below drawn-being-worked-nearly-full one) works very well. I can undersuper with an undrawn 10-frame deep box and get it 80% drawn and filled in 10-14 days on the locust and/or basswood flow in mid-late June. I also apply a generous coating of wax, just a week or so before I think the box will be needed. I find extra-waxing isn't as enticing if applied too far in advance, for some reason I can't figure out.

Good luck!

Nancy
 

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I have never applied additional wax to plastic foundation in order to encourage a quicker draw out of comb. I have no reason to doubt that application of additional wax does help, but I have always wondered if there have been bonafide studies of this. Can anyone cite any type of study or research that bears this out?
 

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I think there's a few issues here. First, bees frequently resist pulling wax on plastic. Adding a layer or more of beeswax seems to help them accept it better. When I used plastic I often had colonies with mixed wood/wax and plastic and the wax foundation always got drawn first. If they REALLY, REALLY need the space they'll just use whatever they have as it seems the urgency to create cells overrides their choosing preferred foundation.

That said, I often see posts here about spraying wax covered, plastic frames with syrup to "help" the bees create comb. I personally don't think that helps. I think it might fool the beekeeper into thinking that the bees are suddenly more accepting of plastic but I think what's going on is that the bees are interested in the syrup....not the plastic.

Finally, the post title is "Enticing Bees To Draw Comb And Store Nectar In Super". Bees will draw comb when they perceive a need for space. If they don't have space overhead, they obviously won't be drawing comb in a super. If you put a box of frames up to, especially with an excluder" the rule still applies. No need for space means they won't draw comb. If they're packing in nectar elsewhere in the colony INSTEAD of in the super, try putting a frame of brood up top above the excluder. That gets the bees working through the excluder and they when the brood is finished you can swap the frame out with a "clean" one or just leave it if you don't mind brood comb being re-used as honey comb. Once the bees get used to the super AND they have a need for space, they'll pull wax and fill it up and you'll be all set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Huh, I have missed the posts about this. I guess I didn't have an original idea after all. And to clarify, I was thinking about lightly spraying and allowing it to dry to just give the foundation some scent of sugar.
I have heard the trick about moving some brood frames up, but I no longer use any mediums for brood. I suppose that is one good reason for having one medium brood box instead of all deeps. J
 

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Another thing to consider is just putting the super on without the qe. Once they start drawing it out, you can put the excluder back on, hopefully before the queen figures out there are empty cells upstairs and lays them up. In this scenario, you can move a deep frame of brood comb into the medium and let it hang down to pull the bees up

I have mentioned this in other posts, but I am using Acorn 22G heavy wax plastic foundation in my supers and the bees are drawing it out beautifully. Another beek I know is using the Pierco heavy wax plastic.foundation and his frames are also being drawn out perfectly. The rite cell that I added wax to have been hit and miss with a lot of fin comb or none at all. May be due to my wax application technique of using a paint brush to apply the wax.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Jw, may give that a try when I add the super. I don't know what brand the foundation is. Nancy will know as it's from Betterbee. I have tried a paint brush, foam brush and a foam roller for applying the wax and have come to the conclusion that I can get more wax on just the rim of the cells with a cold block of wax. J
 

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When drawing foundation of any kind, I find it helpful to move a frame of brood above the queen excluder. The bees need to fix their brood nest and in the process start drawing the surrounding foundation. Putting two supers on allows insertion of the frame of wet brood. For those with old slow eyes like mine, shake the bees off before moving up to prevent moving the queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ahhh, add 2 mediums, bring a deep brood frame up. Why don't I think of simple solutions? Thanks Vance. J
 

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There is no quicker way to get comb drawn out in supers than to put your queen in the supers with an excluder just below for a couple weeks. After there is lots of comb and brood move your queen back down into the brood boxes, let the brood develop in the supers and then the brood cells will be used for honey.
I know, I know, I came by this knowledge honestly by inadvertently having a queen in the supers when I put al excluder in place, There was nothing but foundation in those supers that were drawn out in a week. Hey, half of discoveries are found accidentally, right?
Right?
:D
 

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Ahhh, add 2 mediums, bring a deep brood frame up. Why don't I think of simple solutions? Thanks Vance. J
You can also drop your medium foundation frame into the center of the deep brood nest. Within a day or 2, they'll draw it and the queen will lay in it. After about a week, you should have open larvae. Scrape the drone comb off the bottom and place it in the center of your super.
 

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Grins, I did some similar last year too. Figured out when I started seeing eggs and larvae in the honey super. This year I am trying to avoid getting cocoons in the honey frames so that I can store them without worrying about wax moths.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A medium in the deep box be the way for me to go. It might also act as opening the broodnest and slow down swarming. Thanks BD
 

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I find extra-waxing isn't as enticing if applied too far in advance, for some reason I can't figure out.

Good luck!

Nancy[/QUOTE]

I noticed that too and also wondered why. My gut tells me it just doesn't smell the same as a fresh coating of wax but I have no idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Nancy. As long as we are on the subject, are you supposed to snap off the corners where they are perforated when installing plastic foundation in wood frames? I didn't, but wonder why it is designed that way. A pathway like they sometimes make in my wax foundation? J
 

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Yes, I've tried it. I sprayed five frames and interleaved them with five un-sprayed frames. It made no difference. Granted, that was one experiment on one hive, but it was enough to convince me that there wasn't an advantage to it. Extra wax coating works pretty good.
 
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