Foundation Frustration

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by crackerbee, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    Earlier this year before I got my first bees I built mt first hive and then ordered frames for it.I researched what type to go with somewhat,and decided to go with the solid plastic frames.I liked the part about not ever having to deal with wiring in wax foundation,so I ordered 10 deep and 10 med. for the hive I built.I built my next 2 hives at the bee workshop I've been attending since Jan. of this year,and the frames we bought there were the ones that use the snap in Pierco foundation.The first bees I bought from a local guy and came with standard crimp wire wax foundation,the bees were slow in drawing out on the solid plastic frames.The next 2 hives I got the bees from ABK(Americasbeekeeper)at U.S.F. Botanical Gardens where the workshop is located.These were 4 frame splits with queens and the frames were the snap in Pierco foundation type that ABK uses at the Gardens.When hives got about 3/4 drawn out I put on an excluder along with med. supers.Most of the super frames have been barely touched(one hive is doing better tan the others,but not much).All my hives now have a mix of both solid plastic and snap in Pierco foundation,and I've read where this could possibly be the root of my problem

    So far the bees have been very reluctant to draw come on both the Pierco foundation and the solid plastic frames,despite my efforts to encourage the to do so.I've tried spraying them with syrup and feeding them with 2:1 syrup(that the bees slurp up very quickly),those frames that were sprayed have not been touched,and still have the syrup crystaliized on them.,I also tried reversing the brood super,putting it on top(hope I didn't shoot myself in the foot doing so),but with little change.

    I'm thinking of switching to regular wax foundation,but not sure if it's too late in the season to do so,or if would even help.I'm not really happy about having to go through the additional expense,but I"m at a loss of how to correct the problem.

    I welcome all advice of what to do about this,and if it's possible to correct the problem without having to buy all new frames and go with wax foundation
     
  2. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    From my reading on the forum, you shouldn't use an excluder with un-drawn foundation. Try putting a frame or 2 with drawn comb above the excluder-if you are determined to use an excluder. Some folks don't-some do.
     

  3. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    I have 1 hive hive that I've used no excluder on it,and it's having the same problem.
     
  4. Murrell

    Murrell New Member

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    For what it's worth;;
    I use all solid plastic, mediums [ 6oo ] Mann-Lake 120 plastic frames, only exceptions are wooden frames, with plastic foundations that I get from bought nucs, these I try to get rid of as soon as possible.

    I found if you coat the plastic with a very lite coat of extra wax when new it does help a lot. I use a 4 in. foam roller and do a quick swipe down each side, takes about 10-15 sec, to do both sides.

    I agree, pull the darn excluder, and put a couple of worked frames with bees up there.

    I think they ought to make you sign a statement that you have at least 2-3 years experience before they could sell you a excluder. :ranting:

    Good luck, they will make it.

    Ok, I'll go to the back of the bus and be quiet !


    Murrell
     
  5. rast

    rast New Member

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    It's difficult to get bees to draw comb this time of year and gets more difficult as we get farther from the summer solstice. If there is a flow going on, they still will. Swarms excluded. I do think they are more reluctant to use plastic unless you trick them like Murrell. You can try feeding them with no interruption and you may get some comb drawn if they deem they need more. They can also backfill the brood nest instead.
     
  6. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Nectar flow will pick up in a few weeks. It is quite normal not to draw comb or bring in nectar this time of year. We have every kind of foundation except Duragilt at USF. Bees do prefer natural beeswax. That is why foundationless and beeswax foundation are accepted quicker. Once they start working plastic it does not matter.
     
  7. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    I think I'll try Murrell's idea of coating some extra solid frames I have with wax,I have enough wax on hand to do that,then pull some of the frames that haven't been worked at all,and replace them with the wax coated ones.Then wait like Gary(ABK) says for the next flow(I'm assuming that's Saw Palmetto)to start in a few weeks,and see if that makes any difference.

    I thought that after 3 to 4 months(length of time since starting the hives)that I should have more comb drawn by now,but I know I got started a little late in the season(I think near the end of the main Spring flow here in Fla.) this year,maybe that has a little to do with it.

    Also should I spray the frames that I've applied the additional wax to with syrup as well,and also maybe give them pollen patties?

    Thanks all for the helpful advice :mrgreen:
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    crackerbee writes:
    I think I'll try Murrell's idea of coating some extra solid frames

    tecumseh:
    I am pretty much an old school wood frame and hand wired foundation kind of beekeeper but this year I decided to give the plastic foundation a shot. Murrell is quite correct that giving the stuff an extra coat (he actually instructed me on how he had accomplished this task) did make a lot of difference. feeding to stimulate wax drawing generally requires an almost constant addition of feed.
     
  9. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Like tec said. If nothing is coming in they won't
    draw comb., and like iddee said, never put foundation only above an excluder.I have also found that if you mix foundation like wired wax and plastic in the same box, they won't touch the plastic,so if using plastic foundstion put only plastic in the box. Jack
     
  10. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    Jack,
    I sure hope when you say "if you mix foundation like wired wax and plastic in the same box" you mean just the honey super and not the whole hive,because if you do I've got a mess I'll may never be able to fix,most of the brood boxes(even the ones that have a mix of of different types of foundation) are pretty well drawn,except for one,and it's 3/4 drawn.The reason I have this is I bought all the plastic frames first then when I got the splits they came with other various frames.

    Like the thread heading says "Foundation Frustration"
     
  11. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    If the foundation is already drawn they will work it,but i have never got them to draw plastic foundation if there is wax foundation mixed in the brood box or the super. I bought some plastic foundation from Mann Lake this summer and rolled more wax on it like Murrell said,but our main flow is over and i haven't used it yet.We are in a drought and the pastures and crops are drying up,but nothing like tec has in his area. Jack
     
  12. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    It doesn't sound like I have much choice other than replacing all plastic o just throwing in the towel and saying the heck with all of it,and I'm just a dimes drop away from the latter.If I I have to replace all my plastic frames for ones that the bee will like is gonna break the bank for sure,besides being a total waste of money.It's bad enough just keeping up with having to feed all the time since I've had them.

    I just wanted bees to help pollinate my garden,and from what I've spent so far I could have good to the farmers market for my veggies for the next 5 to 7 years,and without all the hassle,expense,and frustration that comes with keeping bees. :dash1: :dash1: :frustrated: :dash1: :frustrated:
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    hassle maybe. expensive always. frustrating you need not go there.

    if you coat the plastic foundation with a good coat of wax (not the thin film provided by the supplier) I cannot see here that the bees deal with this any differently than your standard wood frame, foundation and wire. the difference really is in the quantity of wax provided.... otherwise you are depending on the bees to first produce the wax prior to drawing the frame. feeding then in some regular fashion to keep the hive growing (and drawing more wax) then become item number two on the agenda.

    I really don't think you need toss the plastic stuff. although on second thought just bundle up all you have and send it to me.
     
  14. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Crackerbee, beekeeping is a hobby that can become an expensive challenge. I started beekeeping in the mid sixties and things were alot different then with alot less frustration.If you lost your hive no big deal, the woods was full of them, not so anymore. We now have many more things out to kill our bees and if you lose them it's a $80.00 and up loss. You are in a learning process that will make you a better beekeeper in years ahead (the school of hard knocks) like tec. said,frustration lets not go there :roll: I love to watch nature at work and don't like to think a bug can out smart me,but so far they at times have done a good job :lol: i'm still learning and so far i've made them dunb bugs make me alot of honey over the years. :mrgreen: Jack
     
  15. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    Thanks Tec and Jack for the words of encouragement,sorry if I was being negative but I have really tried my best(best of what little knowledge I have :lol: )to entice the bees to draw out,and I guess them sticking their tongues out at me every time I open up the hives finally got me down.Also being a businessman most of my life,I'm prone to go by the phrase"NEVER THROW GOOD MONEY ON BAD MONEY",meaning I have a real aversion to being faced with daunting and expensive task of replacing all the plastic frames just to satisfy a bunch of picky bees.

    I never imagined how tough it is to learn the this craft,and it's been one of the most difficult thing I've ever tried to learn.
    My main concern with all this is the bees not having any storage space to put up stores in to make it through the winter,and having to continue to feed them until next Spring.

    I"m going to try coating the frames with wax as suggested and see what happens.However I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them if that fails as well.

    And Jack you really nailed it saying "don't like to think a bug can out smart me".

    Thanks again guys for trying to help me solve my problem.
     
  16. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Cracker, I think you are missing one point.
    Once they are drawn out, you can mix them any way you want. You just need them to be a full box of the same thing when being drawn out.

    Beekeeping with less than a hundred hives is a hobby. Hobbies are costly. At least you will eventually get some of the cost back. "honey". It's not like spending 50 to 100 a day knocking a little ball around, then going home with nothing to show for it.
     
  17. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I think as an endeavor in agriculture bee keeping is a fairly inexpensive enterprise. most of the cost are upfront so it can 'appear' to be expensive but this quite clearly is a failure to distinguish fixed from variable cost.

    to my way of thinking the largest cost associated with bee keeping is the learning curve and I think this is the problem that is creating some frustration for Crackerbee??? after a while you will determine some bee keeping way that works for you and this cost will fall away.

    you are gettin' there Crackerbee... it does take a bit of time.
     
  18. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Cracker--don't crack :(
    If I can add another word of encouragement---Beekeeping as a hobby puts you in the center of nature. Enjoy it for the exercise it gives you and the challenges it always presents. It'll keep you physically fit and mentally alert (and they say that beekeepers, thanks to the stings they get, rarely suffer from arthritis). :thumbsup:
    As to winter stores--I wonder how much you really need in central Florida. Check with some local beekeepers as to how much they recommend. You certainly shouldn't need the quantities they write about for northern hives. If your area has winter flowers and isn't too cold to allow for winter foraging, you could save a lot of money by not over-feeding.
     
  19. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    Iddee I really do understand the point you're making,but the whole problem in a nutshell is I can't seem to get to that point of the bees drawing out comb,therefore preventing me from moving to the next step of being able to mix them anyway I want or any other thing for that matter until they do,that's the root of my problem.
     
  20. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    They will draw it as they need it. If there is food coming in, they will fill all available cells, then draw more. If they have enough cells to store what is coming in, they don't draw excess.