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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few of my frames from last year were drawn out in a way I had never seen. Instead of drawing out in a top to bottom, left to right even amount process, it was a bit high and low. One end of the foundation was drawn all the way out but in other spots on the same side the comb was only drawn out a tiny bit. What made it more strange was that there was honey already stored in the low areas. In some instances, the frame next to it had the comb drawn way out as if the bees were compensating for the low amount on the facing frame. If I place the frames with uneven comb back into a hive this year, what might the result be? Should I cut down the higher spots to allow room for the comb of other frames? Will the bees add to the low comb areas or is that how it will stay? Thanks, juzzer
 

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You will have to trim the comb down on the adjacent frame or they will not draw out the low comb due to lack of bee space. They most likely drew the excess comb on the adjacent frame first, leaving no bee space so they could only draw that frame part way. then they put what they could in it.
 

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The tighter the combs are together the less up and down it is up until you get to natural brood comb spacing of 1 1/4". So always have them tight together in the center and if you are willing to do the work, you can shave them down to 1 1/4". When I get some like that, I often shake all the bees off of the comb and cut the protruding comb off with a bread knife and then put it back in the hive next to some nice flat brood comb. The bees will quickly clean things up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Trimming it down to the 1 1/4" sounds good. As for the low comb (1/8"-1/4"), will bees continue to draw that out to the consistent depth?
Brooks, my experience with wax foundation was either it rippled as they tried to draw it out or they would end up with larges holes in it, so I stuck with my plasticell. Thanks, all, juzzer
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Darn, but thanks for the info. I should have done more research last year. Maybe I'll give it a whirl again this year. If it is wired, how do you get cut comb?

What are your thoughts for using wax foundation??? Cut comb, better drawing, more natural??? Thanks, juzzer
 

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Throw plastic foundation in the fire, replace with wax foundation, problem solved.:lpf:
Actually this problem has nothing to do with plastic foundation. If you start with a box of all new foundation and leave it alone they usually draw it out even no matter what kind of foundation. If you put foundation next to comb they often mess it up somewhat.

With plastic foundation if it gets fouled up in just about any way you can scrape it off and they can redo it. What happens to wax in those cases?
 

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David,If a flow is on they will draw any kind of foundation or frames without foundation, also if you put a frame of foundation between two drawn frames they will draw that frame straight from top to bottom.I have had bees mess up plastic foundation with a flow on (what i call snakes (drawn strips of comb on the face of plastic foundation) i've not had that with wax foundation.Put 5 frames of each (5 Plastic and 5 frames of wax) in with a swarm or package of bees and see which gets drawn out first.
Jazzer,I do cut comb honey in shallow supers mostly and some in med. supers, i buy the thin foundation without wires for comb honey, i cut strips about 1 in. wide from the foundation ( i can get 3 to 4 strips from one sheet of foundation) wedge it in the frame and melt cappings to spoon melted wax on each side of the i in. strip of foundation in the frame to keep it from falling out or ripple. Yes you can scrape old wax off plastic foundation and reuse it and they will draw it back out, but what if it habors a disease from say a dead out and you start a new hive with it? Some beekeepers have good luck with plastic and it works better for those that don't have the time to wire frames, but i'm retired and from the old school and tried plastic foundation, even added more wax to it and still had problems with it. I've never seen plastic foundation in a feral hive.:D
 

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Yes you can scrape old wax off plastic foundation and reuse it and they will draw it back out, but what if it habors a disease from say a dead out and you start a new hive with it?
OK, I agree with most of what you say - yes the bees probably prefer wax to plastic. Until it is drawn out, and then they don't care.

But I do not agree with the quote I cited. Of course you shouldn't reuse frames which contain virulent disease organisms - the kind of foundation is not the issue, the disease is. Do you automatically burn all of the comb from every dead out? If not, then what are you even trying to say? If you do, then you are the lone ranger I think.

Did you ever see wax foundation in a feral hive?

In your own words "Throw plastic foundation in the fire, replace with wax foundation, problem solved." One Problem solved, but then again in your own words "Wax foundation needs to be cross wired to keep it from rippling,bees will eat holes in it if nothing is coming in (in a dearth)" So you just swap one set of problems for another.

Seriously, I don't care what kind of foundation anyone uses - I've given all three good solid trials with at least a hundred frames, and they all work, they all have their advantages and disadvantages. Everyone just has to decide which of those factors is most important to them. I guarantee you that once I decided I prefer plastic I didn't throw my stock of wax foundation and foundationless frames "in the fire." All still perfectly good - and in use.

Whatever you decide is right for you does not automatically make the alternatives inferior just because YOUR decision is made.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So what, in my situation would be best to place next to the frames of comb that have areas of low(1/8") drawn comb? (a nice and even drawn frame, a "cut back" frame of drawn, bare plasticell?
My concern is that whatever is placed facing the low drawn frames will be drawn out further and the bees not draw the low frame first. I know that bees don't do what is always wanted by the keeper, but what direction would you go? Thanks, juzzer
 

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Something that is as much as a match as possible. Also if you space out your honey frames to use 9 in a 10 frame box they are likely to draw it out enough that it will kind of equal out.
 

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Like i said i'm from the old beekeeping school and prefer beeswax foundation over plastic, and yes i have found beeswax foundation in feral hives but have never seen plastic in one. I do reuse frames from dead outs that i know what they died from, like starvation, froze,queenless, ect. and when it gets so black i can't see light through it i replace it with new fresh foundation or let them draw there own comb in frames from a starter strip of beeswax.In a dearth they will eat holes in it, but use it someplace else in the hive, something they can't do with plastic. I have never had beeswax drawn where it dwindled down to a one eight high comb like i did with plastic. Like you said if plastic or beeswax works for you then use it, but i like to give them what they make and use (beeswax). Trying to make bees like plastic is like someone trying to make me like Caster oil.:lpf:
 
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