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My used foundations were full of old combs. I removed the combs and the wires that were strung in the verticle. What do I do now to get my frames ready? I have read my bee book and searched the internet for information and looked at on line catolog pictures. I am coufused as what to do next.

Martin
 

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So you're starting with used, old equipment?
IMHO that's probably not the best way for a new beekeeper to start off. It can be done, of course (it's how I first started), but I think new woodenware is easier - especially for a brand new beekeeper.
Next step is to scrap and clean the frames as good as possible - a hot lye bath works good here but is much trouble (and you have to be VERY careful since you're dealing with hot lye). Other than that: scrap, scrap and scrap some more until the frames AND the grooves are completely cleaned out. Then install your new wax foundation. Probably wouldn't hurt to quickly torch the inside of your brood boxes with a hand held propane torch - just to help kill any possible foul brood spores or other undesirable things (fungus, bacteria, viruses, etc.). Then you should be ready to go.
 

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>My used foundations were full of old combs.

I assume you mean your used FRAMES were full of old combs.

>I removed the combs and the wires that were strung in the verticle. What do I do now to get my frames ready?

Personally I'd put strips of 4.9mm foundation cut to about 3/4" wide. If there is a cleat then nail them on with that. If there isn't then wax them into the groove.

>I have read my bee book and searched the internet for information and looked at on line catolog pictures. I am coufused as what to do next.

Most people will put foundation of some sort in instead of the starter strips. You have lot's of choices. Unwired wax. Wax with wire already in it. Duracomb/Duragilt which is wax with a smooth plastic core. Various brands of plastic foundation.

The unwired wax will sag if you put it in and the bees don't draw it right away but as long as you don't put it in the frames until you give it to the bees and you don't give it to the bees until they are ready to draw it, you can get by without wire. Otherwise you'll need to wire it.

The wired wax is what you took out already. It has verticle wires and you just nail it in with the cleat on the top bar. Bees work the wax with a bit more enthusiasm than plastic.

Duracomb/Duragilt get worked about the same as wax except if they ever strip the wax off the plastic they won't every rebuild it. I've used a lot of it and like it.

Plastic sheets of all kinds, pretty much just pop into the grooves, but if you have a cleat already nailed on you may have to remove it and nail it back on to hold the foundation. They are durable. The wax moths won't eat up the plastic base of it, although they will eat the combs off of the sides, they don't do as much damage with plastic. They hold up to extraction better. The bees don't work them with as much enthusiasm, but they will work it if you put it in when they are of a mind to draw comb.

The next issue is what are you using it for and what cell size do you want.

If you want to use an excluder (and I usually don't) then drone comb makes great foundation for extracting. It extracts very easily because the cells are bigger. (6.6mm cells)

If you want comb honey and you're not doing small cell I'd buy the 7/11 from Walter T. Kelly and skip the excluder. The queen doesn't seem to like to lay in it because the size is too big for a worker and too small for a drone. (5.8mm cells)

If you want brood comb or extracting comb in an unlimited brood nest with no excluder then you have to decide on "standard" (artificially enlarged) cells or "small" (natural sized) cells. The concept of small cell is that the Varroa mites can't reproduce as well and the bees are generally healthier. Small cell only comes in wax and plastic with no wiring done. Small cell is 4.9mm cells and "standard" brood foundation is between 5.4mm and 5.5mm.

The last comb my small cell bees build on their own (blank unembossed starter strips) was 4.7mm.
 
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