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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, hope there are some folks here who may have an answer for me.
I run wooden frames with wax-coated plastic foundation. I have a bunch of frames with drawn comb full of pollen from last years dead-outs. Some of it has gone moldy on the surface and I was thinking of trying to either lift the top layer off with an uncapping fork or maybe just scraping the whole works off.
Has anybody had any experience with cleaning plastic frames or foundation? I would think that by scraping off the comb you would fill in the recess' of the foundation cell?
Is there someway to melt the existing comb residue off the foundation and then simply recoat it with a roller? Dipping in hot water, or would that warp the plastic foundation?
 

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When I did the first frame, I did the "scrape the comb off to squash the honey out" method. I used a spatula and scraped everything off the frame (plastic frame/foundation). Back in the hive, they just thought it was another frame that needed comb built on it. I didn't do anything special to the frame, although there was a little honey left on it.
 

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perry;
"Is there someway to melt the existing comb residue off the foundation and then simply recoat it with a roller"

solar wax melter, but flip and turn to the other side, or perry is your cold frame big enough to put the frame in? recoating, melt the beeswax in a small paint tray, or flat container, use one of those small throwaway paint rollers, works really well to recoat.
 

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My carreer is in the injection molding industry. The lowest cost "food-grade" plastics that can be easily injection molded are Polypropylene, Polyethylene, ABS or ridgid PVC. All of which have a heat-softening point (where they loose strength) well above that of beeswax.

My impression was that Rite-Cell plastic foundations at least are most likely made of PVC or possibly ABS. It's been a while since I last saw one though. All of mine are buried in drawn wax, brood and/or honey.

Heck, they might even be marked. Perhaps there is a recycling code on them (can't say I ever looked)?

I would think a bit of clean wax floating on hot water held at 150-160F, or just above the melting point of beeswax would be an extremely easy way to recoat these (just like a float decal process).

You may want to try a small corner first though to be sure they are dimensionally stable at this temperature though.
 

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If I may;
I use mostly all plastic frames, 600 mediums ( Mann Lake 120 )

I like them but a cautionary note, they do not like sun/heat !
Becarefull of using solar, you will end up with twisted frames, and they won't straighten out !

The first year I had them,, I just laid some frames on on a wood pile to let the bees clean up, the next morning I had pretzel frames.

I just use a 3 in. Scrapper and scrape old wax off the the frame, spray with BT let dry, hanging vertically in their box, then put back on hive, the bees start rebuilding.

Perhaps others have used heat with success, but I sure haven't .

Murrell
 

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I could see some types of polyethylene pretzeling in the heat. I didn't think of that...

What brand of foundations are you looking to recoat with wax?
 

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Personally I would do what Murell sugested. If you prefer recoating with your wax, clean them with power washer.
That would be the fastest way, and no sun/heat damage.
 

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When I did the first frame, I did the "scrape the comb off to squash the honey out" method. I used a spatula and scraped everything off the frame (plastic frame/foundation). Back in the hive, they just thought it was another frame that needed comb built on it. I didn't do anything special to the frame, although there was a little honey left on it.
Exactly what I have done and they have no problem cleaning and rebuilding on it.
 

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Another tool

There is a tool that UK beekeepers use that may be of use to Perry. It is usually used for removing granulated honey (and comb) from a frame. You get yourself an old strong tablespoon saw off the end third of the bowl.

I have a couple of these. With the frame flat, you hold the spoon vertical and scrape it across the area of comb you wish to remove. I find it best to start at the edge of a patch and work round the edges getting towards the centre. We use mainly wax foundation so you have to be careful to leave the mid-rib and not poke holes in it. The resultant frame can be dipped in water to dissolve/wet any residual honey and then given back to the bees.

With plastic foundation there would be less risk of making holes in the mid-rib. I hope this idea may be of use.

Weird, aren't we ? .:roll:
 

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When you say "pretzel frames" what do you mean?
If I may;
I use mostly all plastic frames, 600 mediums ( Mann Lake 120 )

I like them but a cautionary note, they do not like sun/heat !
Becarefull of using solar, you will end up with twisted frames, and they won't straighten out !

The first year I had them,, I just laid some frames on on a wood pile to let the bees clean up, the next morning I had pretzel frames.

I just use a 3 in. Scrapper and scrape old wax off the the frame, spray with BT let dry, hanging vertically in their box, then put back on hive, the bees start rebuilding.

Perhaps others have used heat with success, but I sure haven't .

Murrell
 

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Perry,
Not an expert here but have had experience with the mold on the pollen that you speak of.
I noticed there aren't any replies to your basic question, so I'll offer my 2 cents for free, today only.
I have frames from last season also full of pollen. I simply washed the frames, plastic and wooden, and placed in the freezer for a day or two.
Considering the ceanliness of the bees, I opted to put the frames into the boxes as is and let them clean things up.
Upon inspections later, I noted no issues, as in mold spreading or dead bees etc. In fact they adapted to the frames as if nothing were amiss.

Hope this helps you decide to take the easy road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
"for free, today only" :lol: :rolling: :rotfl:

I thank you for the advice! :thumbsup:

Who said "for free the sun shines"? I guess they were wrong today. :mrgreen:
 

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perry,
to melrose's post...we all were busy being engineers of how to scrape the pollen off but neglected to answer the other part of your question. to be honest, i have had moldy frames of pollen from the previous season. sometimes i scrape the top surface off (with a hive tool)and sometimes i don't. sometimes i have scraped a section right down to the foundation, but i just send the frame right back to the hive. the girls get busy and clean it up and out. bits will be found on the bottom board and the girls send it out the front door.

there is no need for you to scrape the whole works off and power wash or pretzel twist your frames.....:lol: your girls will clean those up for you more efficiently than you can:grin:
 
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