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Being a new beek I was thinking about how I would harvest honey if all goes well. I will not purchase an extractor any time soon, so would having a plastic foundationon the super frames be a good option. As i see it one would scrape the frame on to some type of filtering media and let gravity do the work. After all the frames are scraped how should the frames be prepped to use again?
 

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Re: super frame fondation?

just stick them back on the hive, the bees will clean them up and draw new comb
 

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Re: super frame fondation?

yes it can be as simple as that, but there could be a few more variables such as a continuing nectar flow. If you end up pulling and scraping at the end of the season going into fall or winter without a flow they will not draw it back out at that point you may be better off storing for the winter. If you end up doing a few at a time over the summer and early fall just put them back on and the bees will take care if it. Good luck in the end its all trial and error, you will have fun.
 

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Re: super frame fondation?

just like peacekeeperapiaries said, if you scrape and return during a honeyflow they will quickly rebuild comb, but if the honeyflow is over that won't usually happen until the next honeyflow. Though there are many more variables that can influence this process, it usually is just that simple.
 

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Considering borrowing an extractor. Sometimes clubs have an extractor for members to use. Or make friends with a nearby beek who will loan you one. I usually borrow from a local beekeeping supplier: they have an extractor they loan to their regular customers.

Another option is to forget the plastic foundation and do crush & strain. Yes, it's more comb for the bees to draw out, but the truth is, "gravity" doesn't extract honey very well.
 

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yes look in to borrowing an extractor or find a fellow beek that will extract your honey. I extract fellow beeks for just letting me keep the cappings. The reason you want to have the extration vs what I think your talking about, is scraping all the drawn comb off and then having them redraw it? Is that what your idea is? if so some things to think about it takes around 10 lbs of honey to produce one pound of beeswax. thats a lot of work your bees have to do at the end of the honey flow. Just food for thought. and plastic foundation works just fine.
 

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The bees will not rebuild on plain plastic once the impressed wax is scraped off (Rite Cell I believe). They will rebuild usually on plastic where the plastic is embossed instead of just the wax (Pierco).

You could also use wax or foundationless. You just cut out the comb leaving a 1/4" or so of wax attached at the top. The bees will build it right back out.
 

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if so some things to think about it takes around 10 lbs of honey to produce one pound of beeswax.
Where does this information come from? I read it on the forum here and there, but is it a proven fact and is it documented somewhere? Or is it just someone's conjecture that keeps getting circulated around cause it sounds good? Seems to me that would be pretty hard to prove, since honey and wax are completely different things. I'm curious about where this info came from.
 

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Maybe this will answer that question for you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeswax
Anyone can write info on Wikipedia. The statement about 10lb honey is needed to produce 1 lb beeswax as stated there too (again with no explanation) lists as its reference this page:
http://www.alfafarmers.org/commodities/bee_honey.phtml
an Alabama farmers organization which simply makes the same statement again on their page with no explanation and no reference to where/how this conclusion was arrived at. People keep making the statement and passing it around, but where exactly did this 'fact' come from? I can't figure out what kind of study would come to such a conclusion. It seems to me like just one of those popular lore things that sounds impressive and gets repeated so often that eventually everyone accepts it as fact. But I might well be wrong.
So who exactly figured out that it takes 10 lbs of honey to make 1 lb of wax, anyway?? Where's the study or the research that produced this 'fact' and how did they figure this out? :scratch:
 

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Even if it was true, it wouldn't matter all that much. How much wax is on a frame anyway? A couple ounces?

One of the local apiculture profs actually commented on the 10:1 factoid during a lecture at our bee club. It's been around since the 1800s w/ no references, studies, or data to support it. Its one of the oldest of old wives tales in beekeeping.
 

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>Where does this information come from? I read it on the forum here and there, but is it a proven fact and is it documented somewhere?

Basically it is just made up and repeated over and over until it is accepted as fact. :)

Richard Taylor on the expense of making wax:

"The opinion of experts once was that the production of beeswax in a colony required great quantities of nectar which, since it was turned into wax, would never be turned into honey. Until quite recently it was thought that bees could store seven pounds of honey for every pound of beeswax that they needed to manufacture for the construction of their combs--a figure which seems never to have been given any scientific basis, and which is in any case quite certainly wrong. The widespread view that if the combs were used over and over, through the use of the honey extractor, then the bees would be saved the trouble of building them and could convert the nectar thus saved into honey, was only minimally correct. A strong colony of bees will make almost as much comb honey as extracted honey on a strong honey flow. The advantage of the extractor, in increasing harvests, is that honey stored from minor flows, or gathered by the bees over many weeks of the summer, can easily be extracted, but comb honey cannot be easily produced under those conditions."

The only study I know of on the subject is this:
From Beeswax Production, Harvesting, Processing and Products, Coggshall and Morse pg 35

"Their degree of efficiency in wax production, that is how many pounds of honey or sugar syrup are required to produce one pound of wax, is not clear. It is difficult to demonstrate this experimentally because so many variables exist. The experiment most frequently cited is that by Whitcomb (1946). He fed four colonies a thin, dark, strong honey that he called unmarketable. The only fault that might be found with the test was that the bees had free flight, which was probably necessary so they could void fecal matter; it was stated that no honey flow was in progress. The production of a pound of beeswax required a mean of 8.4 pounds of honey (range 6.66 to 8.80). Whitcomb found a tendency for wax production to become more efficient as time progressed. This also emphasizes that a project intended to determine the ratio of sugar to wax, or one designed to produce wax from a cheap source of sugar, requires time for wax glands to develop and perhaps for bees to fall into the routine of both wax secretion and comb production."

The problem with most of the estimates on what it takes to make a pound of wax is they don't take into account how much honey that pound of wax will support

From Beeswax Production, Harvesting, Processing and Products, Coggshall and Morse pg 41

"A pound (0.4536 kg.) of beeswax, when made into comb, will hold 22 pounds (10 kg.) of honey. In an unsupported comb the stress on the topmost cells is the greatest; a comb one foot (30 cm.) deep supports 1320 times its own weight in honey."

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesharvest.htm#expenseofwax
 

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Thanks.

So then:

A stitch in time saves nine.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Six of one is worth half a dozen of the other.
It takes 10 lbs of honey to make 1 lb of wax.

:D
 
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A stitch in time saves nine.
:D
I would have to say a stitch in time really saves nothing, but it does take a certain amount of honey to produce one pound of beeswax. I would have to guess that it has to may variables for an exact calculation to be conducted, that is probably why there is no firm study or research fact sheet.. But I would guess it is probably close in some respect. As I think it might be an educated guess from the years of experience with hive observations.
I also think it is great that to bring such a subject to question.
 

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The bees will not rebuild on plain plastic once the impressed wax is scraped off (Rite Cell I believe). They will rebuild usually on plastic where the plastic is embossed instead of just the wax (Pierco).

You could also use wax or foundationless. You just cut out the comb leaving a 1/4" or so of wax attached at the top. The bees will build it right back out.
Rite Cell is a Mann Lake product very similar to Pierco. It is the hard plastic molded with the hexagonal imprint on it.

I think you are describing "Duragilt" which is a thin, plain plastic sheet with a layer of embossed wax that bears the hexagonal design. If it gets cold, the wax flakes off. If there's a dearth, the bees will eat the wax off the Duragilt and move it where needed.

And ou're right, once the bare plastic is present, the bees don't build back on it.
 
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