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Plastic frames

Posted by Brent central Iowa (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 22, 05 at 10:43

I'm a new member and a bee keeping hobbiest w/ about 3 yrs experience. Last year, I purchased some new supers and plastic frames from Mann Lake. I believe these are made in China and coated with wax (perhaps my bees don't like chinese wax?), but the bees seem to absolutely hate them. I tried mixing them between my drawn comb wood frames, but they typically over-drew the comb in the wood frames (stretching into the space of the new frames) and made very shallow comb on the plastic frames if they did anything with them at all. Many frames had the wax coating actually removed.

Either I'm doing something wrong or these frames don't work. I am contemplating recoating these frames with wax from my hives (HOW?) or pitching them and buying new. Can someone help me out with this?

FWIW, I'm in central Iowa and using Buckfast bees which have been very good to me in the past.

Thanks,
Brent


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Plastic frames

This is inevitably one of those questions where you ask five different beekeepers and you'll get six different answers. Some will attest to loving plastic frames (and/or foundation) and others will come down squarely on the side of detesting them! (I'm inclined toward the latter, myself).

I would say that experience is the best teacher in this matter but the problem with that, is it takes so many years of "trying" before you learn the lesson. By the time you've learned, you've spent lots of money and perhaps your youth.


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RE: Plastic frames

I have plastic too and the bees did fine......but you should give them ether all plastic
or all wood.

I packaged this spring 2 hives in plain plastic pierco foundation [deep] and the Queen laid at the first day of installment.
When honey suppers went on [no more feeding] one hive filled 2 suppers, the other 1 1/2.

Bees always like wood and wax best but if they have nothing else but plastic it works too. It helps to spray the waxed foundation with sugar water first.
Hopefully you have better luck in the future.

Konrad


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RE: Plastic frames

I have had lots of problems with my plastic frames lately, too. I had an established hive with plastic frames in the hive body. When I supered them last summer, it was with plastic frames. They actually swarmed rather than drawing out the plastic frames. Luckily, they didn't go far and I caught my own swarm.


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RE: Plastic frames

Huge problems with plastic frames, yet some of us have had some better luck, in at least some hives.

My experience is that you must always feed when you put on undrawn frames, especially plastic.

Second, I believe beeswax foundation is of better quality than the stuff sprayed on these plastic frames.

Finally, not all brands are the same. I had good luck with pierco frames and pierco foundation in wood frames.


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RE: Plastic frames

This is pierco plastic and the bees did great.
Konrad

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RE: Plastic frames

That's a beautiful frame of honey! Judging by no propolis stains on the frame, I take it, that was a brand new frame. It'll be interesting to see how it holds up and what it looks like after two or three seasons of use.

I do have one little observation I'll comment on - with respect to your bee suite. Specifically the helmet (hat).
Not that you'll ever have problems with them up where you're located but I learned a valuable lesson with a similar hat/veil combination: AHBs will get through the vents in that helmet! (they only had to prove it to me once)


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RE: Plastic frames

I also noticed that if you mix wooden and plastic frames you'll have problems.
I tried intermixing. Box of plastic on top of box of wood. Bees do like wooden frames best. Had swarms too, they look at plastic as 'no space left'. Feeding to draw out comb works well.
However I am buying all plastic fro now on. So much less hassle and the bees deal just fine.
Pierco gives out a info sheet with frames, ask where you buy them and it wil answer many questions.


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RE: Plastic frames

Not that you'll ever have problems with them up where you're located but I learned a valuable lesson with a similar hat/veil combination: AHBs will get through the vents in that helmet! (they only had to prove it to me once)

Being new to beekeeping, I don"t know some of the abbreviations. Can you tell me what AHBs are? Thanks, Paul.


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RE: Plastic frames

EHB = European Honeybee
AHB = Africanized Honeybee aka, Killer bees; A. mellifera scutellata (or more correctly, their decendants)

Next birthday, ask for a year's subscription to Bee Culture or American Bee Journal.


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