Plastic foundation vs. Wax foundation?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Gator_56, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. Gator_56

    Gator_56 New Member

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    Ok so I started my first hive back May 1st of this year. I had a slight problem with some SHB that set hive back a little. They seemed to over that pretty well and when they filled out 7 of the 10 in the first super I added the next super. I used wax foundation frames in the bottom supper and when I added the second super I used plastic foundation frames. 3 weeks later they had not touched the plastic frames, so I took two honey frames the bottom super and switched them with two empty plastics. Now it is the second week of August and they still haven't touched the plastic frames in the bottom or the top supers.

    Should I trade all of the plastics out for wax? or is there a trick to getting started on plastics?
     
  2. CharlieB

    CharlieB New Member

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    In my experience it's tough to get them to draw out plastic without a good flow going on. I've seen some hives that would rather swarm than draw out plastic and then others draw it out just fine. It's always good to move up several frames from bottom to top to bait them up. You also may want to try to spray a mist of sugar syrup on them.
     

  3. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Charlie says.... it's tough to get them to draw out plastic without a good flow going on.


    Charlie is very right. It's very tough to get combs built on plastic foundation. But if you do get them to build it, the combs are great---strong and long-lasting. I don't think this time of year is when you'll get them built without a very major effort. Save them for next spring and put the plastic foundation in strong hives, closely packed together when the nectar is flowing. If you give them the chance to build between the frames (by leaving to much space between the frames), they'll do it, using the plastic only as a support for the free hanging combs inbetween.
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Major flow and misting with syrup if reluctant. :thumbsup:
    I can't remember if it was Efmesch or Tecumseh who said they figured you could get bees to draw out a piece of cardboard during a flow. That is something I think I may give a try when conditions allow for a little experimentation. :wink:
     
  5. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    You could pour chocolate over oysters on the half shell and i still wouldn't try it, that's the same feeling my bees have for plastic foundation.:lol: Only on a strong flow have i ever had (a few frames) fully drawn out. I have read that plastic foundation stays colder in the winter than wax,and the only good things i've seen about plastic foundation, is it's easy and quicker to install than wax, and the wax moths can't distroy it. Don't think i dislike plastic, because it does make good milk jugs,soda pop, and water bottles, i just don't want it in my hives and neither do my bees.:roll: Jack
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    C'mon Jack, we'll swing you over to the dark (plastic) side eventually. :lol:
     
  7. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    My schedule and a shb/waxmoth cleanup got me on the dark side. Given not much choice, bees would draw out cardboard. I buy Dadant wax-coated plastic, add no extra wax, and they have drawn beautiful comb all summer. And my nucs didn't arrive until the flow was slowing down. I do feed a quart of feed once a week.
     
  8. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    I just added another 7 frames of wax-rite plastic foundation to 1 of my hives a week ago and went back in to add the last 3 and they have pulled 4 of the frames and started filling with nectar in that week, I dont seem to have any trouble at all having them use the plastic, its all I use now.
     
  9. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    I'm glad my bees aren't reading this thread. I use Rite-Cell plastic foundation from Mann Lake, and haven't had any problem at all. The bees draw it out just fine. This is one of those things where you'll find many different opinions. Some folks will not use plastic at all, and others, like me who swear by it.
     
  10. Gator_56

    Gator_56 New Member

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    I can't seem to get them to use plastic for anything. I think I am going to put wax frames on for now and try the plastic again next spring.

    Hey zookeep, you are in Florida, do winter with one or two deeps?
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I'm with Jack. There's NO plastic in my hives.
     
  12. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    Hey zookeep, you are in Florida, do winter with one or two deeps?

    Winter? whats that? Im trying to get all my hives to 2 nine inch brood boxes anything above that is mine:]
     
  13. Gator_56

    Gator_56 New Member

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    lol. I have heard some say they leave 1 nine inch deep and some say 2. I am several hours north of you so I may better go with 2 as well.
     
  14. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Here in August, my thoughts are that maintaining two 70+ lb deeps for the winter is so much better than dealing with Florida's fire ants, humidity, poisonous snakes/reptiles, bugs and cockroaches. Come December, when it's 25-30 below and there's 3 feet of snow on the ground, I may possibly be persuaded to believe that 2 nine inch deeps in Florida is a GREAT way to go.
     
  15. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Plastic foundation would probanly work better in Florida and some southern states where something is in bloom for the bees to work on year round. When the flow is over here in SW. Mo. we have to feed heavy to get them to draw wax. (even on wax foundation) Jack
     
  16. crazy8days

    crazy8days New Member

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    Even though this is my first year. I use Perico foundation. My bees are drawing it quite nicely. BUT! I might try wax next year to see if the draw it quicker. I did hear from a man at the State Fair that with was he found that if the bees draw out one side and not the other it will bow the foundation and then you have issues.
     
  17. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    I read a blog earlier tonight where a keep brushed melted beeswax on the plastic foundations with a foam brush with much success. I use beeswax wired foundation myself. Seems to me if a keep is going to go through the trouble of doing that, wax foundation should be used in the first place. However, it may be an option for you so your current stock of plastic frames are not wasted.
     
  18. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Neither of those points is a minor consideration. I would add, that they don't suffer from "blowouts" during extraction--a very big point in their favor.
     
  19. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I've tried rolling beeswax on the plastic foundation and can get them to draw out maybe 2 or 3 full frames and the rest 3/4 or 1/2 of a frame (to me thats a mess). I'm from the old school, i like to set in my shop next to the wood stove in the winter and put the frames together, wiire them and put beeswax in them. The smell of the wood and wax in my shop is almost as good as the smell of Spring.Can't say that about plastic.:roll: Jack
     
  20. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Jack,

    You old school guys have time to sit down next to the wood stove. I get home, light the wood stove, cook dinner, hit the computer, take a bath once the house is warm, and fall in bed. Get up in the morning and hit the ground running. So plasticell works for me.

    Gypsi