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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, that was the attention getter. I'm talking about Pierco, Duraguilt, etc. Permacomb is different.

First, in north Texas we have about a 2 month flow (your mileage may vary). Only 2 or 3 weeks has any real strength. I have several hives side by side. They all started the spring in similar condition (2 mediums) except for one exceptional hive. They had progressed to 3 mediums by April. I put two boxes of empty frames, interspersed with drawn frames, on 3 different hives, 2 weeks ago. I added one box of plastic to a fourth hive. We are just finishing the main flow here. I had to go back and add more frames to the 3 hives today. They had drawn and filled the empty frames. The plastic still has barely been touched. If you mix plastic with drawn comb or empty frames, you get nice fat wax on the empties and very little on the plastic.

My bees will draw empty frames at a 5 to 1 rate (probably more) over plastic. So, if you want to start a hive here, don't use plastic. You can have several boxes of drawn wax before your new hive ever gets the first box of plastic drawn.

Start the flames, I'm ready
 

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My experience has been excellent with Pierco. I hived 5 packages on it on April 3. They have 10 deep frames drawn out and are starting on the next deep above also Pierco. I feed 1:1 sugar and have SBB and top vents. Must be the location?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I can certainly believe that a long sustained flow will get plastic drawn. I have done it myself. But, if I can get 4-5 times as much wax without it, why bother. I want to thank Michael for turning me on to foundationless frames. They are quicker to build, quicker to draw, and cheaper.
 

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What we learn from this is don't mix plastic with wax foundation. Just go all plastic or all wax in a hive. I have hundreds of deeps with Pierco frames, and believe me, the bees will draw out all the wax they need.

But the real issue for me is cost. A Pierco frame is a little more pricey up front, but over time will more than make up for it. It also allows me to scrape and drain the honey, which I prefer over an extractor, so I can do a little at a time.

The flames been lit!
 

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I too have been frustrated at the bees lack of interest in my plastic foundation even after spraying it with 1:1 syrup, etc. Now I'm ready to experiment with foundationless frames to compare with what I've already seen. I know this has been discussed before but please give specifics about exactly what a foundationless frame should look like and how to introduce it so that maximum success is acheived.
Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
And if you can scape and drain, you can crush and drain foundationless frames, and get them redrawn sooner. And you don't have to buy the Pierco.

I hope everyone knows this is a good natured challenge to conventional wisdom in attempt to get people to think about what they do and why.
 

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I think that plastic foundation is as much of
a modern advantage for beekeepers as cellphones
and GPS units.

> My bees will draw empty frames at a 5 to 1 rate
> (probably more) over plastic.

Which specific sort of plastic are you speaking
of here? There's plain, wax-coated, and various
brands within each type. Some people have no
luck with some specific brands, but find other
brands more to their liking.

Also, were the frames of plastic foundation
also inserted between fully-drawn frames as
your empty frames were? I don't need to point
out the obvious advantage to interspersing
drawn combs between frames to be drawn, do I?

Another thing - what was the stacking order
of the supers? It should be obvious that the
bees will tend to work on the frames adjacent
to parts of the hive "currently in use" first,
leaving topmost supers unused and untouched
(unless they get into "chimney mode" where they
work up the center, and never touch the outer
frames of any of the supers).

Another problem may be the strength of your
hives. Strong hives will drawn comb on
any "foundation" you care to toss in, from
paper to sheet metal. (Yes, I've tried both)

I loved plastic from the beginning. I still do.
Of course, 5 years ago, I was the only beekeeper
using a Palm Pilot to take notes meetings, and
wearing a cellphone. Now, most attendees run
outside to make phone calls on their cellphones
during breaks, which makes me wonder why there
was never a line at the pay phones during breaks
in the prior years.


Not to worry, wax foundation will be around for
a long time. It may go the way of basswood
section comb honey at some point, but I doubt
if that will bee soon. Old habits die hard
among beekeepers, and new technologies take
time to be adopted by all segments of agriculture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have tried putting the plastic under drawn and working supers. The bees pass through it to get to the wax. I have interspersed drawn frames. The drawn frames get fatter. The plastic will eventually get drawn, but it takes forever.

Meanwhile, in a new hive, the queen needs a place to lay and the bees need stores. I just haven't seen the advantage of having the plastic drawn vs having frames of wax. Given that the empty frames get drawn faster than plastic, even a frame damaged by worms or mice can be redrawn before a plastic one that is scraped down.

I started with wax coated Pierco. I still use what I originally bought, but I now believe that empty frames with a beveled top bar will be my choice from now on. I already know what the bee's choice is
 

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Pierco, any plastic partially drawn is ok... I believe duragilt is garbage. Still use some while in the process of converting. If there isn't a strong honey flow the bees will take the wax and screw you over. Same with wax moths.
 

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I'm with kenpkr on this one,WHAT WHEN, HOW,I put wax foundation in for 6 hr's today,
If you don't put wax in the brood frames should you put an "X" wire in the frame,to help hold it?
 

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I've had the same experience with plastic vs. wax vs. empty. I liked plastic, but the bees obviously didn't finish whole frames nearly as fast. Scrubbed down with wax, sprayed with syrup and hbh. It was a strong enough reaction that I am surprised anyone who has tried it would question this. They clearly don't finish it as fast-- though they seem to always have what they need done when they need it.

Maybe bees draw less quickly on foundation because the solid sheets already provide some of the functions they need as far as air movement, clustering, communication, and so forth. Plastic maybe slower still because it is about 1/4 of the way to done to start with, so they can get away with a just-in-time management style.

Functionally, I think being able to get at the bottom of the advancing comb may help speed things along in the empty frame situation.

Bottom line, while I think it is definitley true (in my short experience) that empty frames get finished first, I don't know that this actually equates to some advantage for the hive. That would seem to be assuming too much.
 

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To reword the statemant that Mr. Fischer correctly stated; the "foundation" type is irrelevent.
What is necissary to draw comb?
1) A Quantity of young workers within an ideal age.
2) Massive carbohydrate supply.
Both conditions will exsist if you slam the syrup to the bees constantly and consistantly at this time of the year until the frames are drawn.
I understand that it takes 8 lbs of syrup for the juvinile bees to secrete 1 lb of wax.
With that said, here is my opinion on the subject:
The event of plastic foundation entering the market has rendered wax foundation obsolete.
One fact stands head and shoulders above most of the others; If you don't like the way the comb looks, scrape it off with your hive tool and make them get it right.
Are you managing your bees, or are they managing you?
Once again, we have placed our order for 400 boxes and 4000 wooden frames to assemble in the fall.
All wooden frames with plastic foundation.
I expect that they will draw it all out perfectly as in all previous years.
The only remaining task is for the beekeeper, (me) to manage the outfit corectly to achieve the goal.
:cool:
 

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No one has ever mentioned the heat dissapation potentials of a sheet of plastic in the middle of a winter cluster. There may bea difference in survival rates with wax vs plastic. The bees choose wax and wood and so do I. The **** world is half plastic! I don't want any of it near my bees. I'm sick of looking at the remaing half drawn plastic frames I'm phasing out. Besides, this is a hobby for most of us. Part of the mastery is to do as much of it as you can , yourself. You and your family should be sitting around assembling stuff. By candlelight. Harumph!

Dickm
 

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dickm, Tom Seeley spoke on 'Plastic frames and foundation: good for the beekeeper, but good for the bees?' at the Southern Adirondack Beekeeper's Association seminar in March. His focus was on possible effects of the plastic substrate affecting sound vibrations. There does appear to be a difference between plastic and wax foundation according to his remarks as plastic raises the impedance and he gave out a bunch of numbers. However, he did conclude they were fully suitable for waggle dance communication. Interesting talk.

On a slightly different note--those */?+_()^# separations or non-attachements from the frame's sides and bottoms of comb drawn on wax foundation, Seeley said, enhance bee dance vibrations. Apparently the bees know more about what they are doing than their beekeepers.

I agree with you, I personally like the wax.
 

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>Are you managing your bees, or are they managing you?

I learned a long time ago I can't make the bees do anything. In the end they will do what they want. It pays to figure out what the bees want and help them.

>The event of plastic foundation entering the market has rendered wax foundation obsolete.

I've never had anything against the plastic. In fact, I rather like it. But the local bee supplier here is trying to sell off all of his plastic and has no intentions of stocking it anymore. Too many complaints from too many beekeepers who can't get to bees to accept it.

I wouldn't count on wax foundation disappearing anytime in this century.
 

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> those */?+_()^# separations or non-attachements
> from the frame's sides and bottoms of comb drawn
> on wax foundation, Seeley said, enhance bee dance
> vibrations.

Yep, here's a very good outline of the facts.

http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/reprint/199/12/2585.pdf

Funny story - Clarence Collison, who does the
quizzes in Bee Culture, and writes most of the
questions for the EAS Master Beekeeper exams,
was at HAS 2004, and played his "what do you know"
quiz game with slides to a group of beekeepers.
He showed a slide of a typical "chewed edges"
frame, and asked the group to explain it. Long
pause, dead silence, so I offered the "improved
resonance" explanation.

Clarence laughed, so the entire group laughed too.
I sent Clarence the paper, as he had never even
heard of it, let alone read it.

In physics, people who laugh at others tend to
get knocked to the ground and pummeled, but this
was mere entomology, so I let Clarence leave
unscathed.
 

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Hmmm. I have a new hive that a friend helped me to get started. It has been in my yard about ten days now. I am now concerned after reading this thread about plastic foundation. I bought pierco foundation so that I could add a second hive body and a medium super as my frames are drawn out. It makes me wonder if I should not use the pierco and order something else before I add the second hive body. Am I overreacting to this thread? Thanks!!
 

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I was with an Old Old at least 200 years old bee Keeper.... and He is cheaper then he is old. He uses wood strips for foundation in his frames just so the bee can get a start. He also uses plastic foundation cut in small strips like the wood and glued to the top of the frames.... he gets about four frames from one plastic foundation
It works good for him
 
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