Beekeeping / Why Aren’t The Bees Building Comb / Plastic Foundation Issues

Beekeeping / Why Aren’t The Bees Building Comb / Plastic Foundation Issues


Hello folks Jason Chrisman here of JC’s bees. Today, I want to discuss something that you’ve probably ran into as a beekeeper if you’ve used plastic foundation at all in any of your frames You probably came across a few frames that the bees just wouldn’t touch or if they did touch they drew some strange-looking come on The frame and it didn’t even fill out the frame the reason for this is Plastic foundation works great if it’s coated very well with Beeswax but what happens is there’s a lot of beekeepers buy these in bulk and then they store them and then over the years the wax coating when it kind of Just goes to nothing it kind of wears off falls off. Whatever it may be either way. It doesn’t have much of a wax coating some plastic foundation that you buy I sold nukes this year and I had a guy bring me some frames with plastic foundations that had no coating on them at all I Probably should told him those frames won’t work for frame exchange but I went ahead and took them because they are frames and I have wax so It’s easier for me to just to go ahead and code them then they go ahead and order frames or go pick them up So I took them But either way when you get these plastic foundation If they do not have a sufficient coating of wax on it. You’re going to want to code them again there’s actually a supplier called Acorn that double coats their plastic foundation and a lot of people swear by their brand of foundation I’ve never tried it, but I see a lot of people raving about it. Maybe next year. I’ll experiment with a corn But right now what I’m going to do is I want to show you a few different ways That you can recoat these plastic foundations and make it so that the bees will draw them out fully And they will work right for you I’ve got two brushes. I’ve got a foam brush which I find a lot of people try to use to paint Wax It does work, but the more you use it the more the foam starts to tear apart and break down In the other hand I have an acrylic paint brush Being a Kerlick the wax is not absorbed Sure once the wax cools. It does clot up and and turn fairly stiff But I’ve found that once I stick it back in the hot wax the wax melts And it does a much better job than the foam brush and holds up a lot longer And I’m going to demonstrate now with the acrylic brush By giving it in my wax Now we’ll get some places. That’s thicker than others So I’m not going to be concerned with those spots the bees can move this wax around the way they want it my main concern is to make it so they accept this foundation and actually use it versus ignoring it I Like to get a little bit on the wood all the way around to on the frame and that helps the bees Feel in the foundation a little bit you Okay, so what I’ve got here is a wax print this Crayon can make it very easy to recoat plastic frames in the field or Say you pull one right out of a beehive and you’d like to recode it and stick it right back in something like this is very handy and To make one of these you take a total paper roll And you fill it full of wax once the wax cures dries You cut so much of the paper tubing back therefore giving you crann like piece of Wax I Want to demonstrate real quick how easy it is to put wax on with this wax Kranj Have you tried using the foam brush to paint wax so part on you? Did this it’s been my experience Dry the acrylic paint brush. I think you’ll have a lot better luck with that particular brush One of the reasons I’m coating all this Foundation and getting all these frames ready is I’ve got all these nooks Here in my mating yards that I need to get ready for a double nuke for winter It’s my experience that for a nuke to overwinter here in Ohio. It needs to be – nique high or a double nuke So for that reason I’ve run around this week and coded a whole bunch of plastic foundation out of the second box – a bunch of nukes and I’ve also supplied them with some one-to-one sugar syrup that will encourage them to get busy drawing these frames out and Maybe we’ll get a little bit of goldenrod slow if they can hurry up and get them drawn out I would love to see them take some goldenrod honey in the winter and Come out and spring as happy BB’s so I hope you liked the video and if you do you’ll give me a thumbs up that will help boost this video in the YouTube search Rank, and if you have any questions at all folks Please leave them down below and I’ll do my best to answer them if you have yet to subscribe to my channel Please take time to do that down below the video So thanks again folks, and we’ll see you next you you

74 thoughts on “Beekeeping / Why Aren’t The Bees Building Comb / Plastic Foundation Issues”

  1. Great video. I'm having this exact problem. But as a new beek I have no access to wax. Is there a good source to buy some online? Thanks!

  2. IMHO, hard foam rollers are the best way to apply wax, especially to a lot of frames at once. I can knock out both sides in about 15-20 seconds.

  3. As always thanks for the tips . I like the wax crayon ! I just started to pull a little honey to give the queen room to lay in , also a little checker bordering . My swarms that I cought this spring have FILLED 2 deeps / 8 frame boxes in each of 5 hives . Awesome year so far !!!

  4. I like that crayon idea. Could you do a video on how to make it? Does the tp roll hold the wax in when you pour it? Thanks for the great tip.

  5. Another good vid, thanks Jason!
    I've tried both brushes, the foam brushes and the rollers and I prefer the acrylic brushes as well. Discovering that one can re-coat the frames and get the bees to take to them made a huge difference for me this year. I still see an occasional reject but no more than I've seen with regular wax foundation. Sometimes bees just want to flip you the bird, lol.

    If you catch a hive drawing weird comb frames, get it sorted out as quick as possible because it's a huge freaking mess and it can easily depress a colony's ability to build production numbers the way they need to. Fixing it can be a huge pain in the ass, especially when they have squirrely cross comb and have it full of brood already. Jason, do you have a method worked out to fix this sort of a problem???? I have some like that this year that I never sorted out and they lagged behind badly all season. I assume it makes the queens job much harder and inefficient. I think I should try adding a top brood chamber until the queen gets in there and then cut her off from the bottom with an excluder until the brood hatches and then remove the bad frames and cross comb plastic frames. This is what happened before I learned to re-coat the plastic frames.

  6. I always scrape off any wonky comb that they start building on plastic frames.  I've found once they get it going its bee fine but if they start wonky comb they will keep going with it.  I'm switching over to either using wax foundation or a wax starter strip.

  7. I have some of the acorn foundation that is supposed to be heavy coated. Honestly i don't see that big of difference between it and the rite cell. But i could of gotten taken to the cleaners , when i ordered the acorn foundation it was on back order. They said they could double coat the regular and send that. So i said as long as it is equal to the heavy coat that would be fine. Did i get what is supposed to be heavy coat? I can not say for sure. Kind of like the mass produced queens that are sold online. I've had virgin queens hatch out that were bigger that what they claim are mated.

  8. Save your cappings and burr comb. Melt it then paint it on the plastic nice and thick and they'll pull it right out. (in season) Run 40 hives and have had no issues with using rite-cell or the Dadant version. When you extract you can spin it hard and no blowouts. Am an old-school keep. Was skeptical about the plastic foundations but after years of using it I'm sold on it. All my hives have plastic foundations. Still use thin surplus to get some cut comb but other than that it's all plastic. Lasts long time.

  9. I use a 4" paint edging roller. It fits into my pans easily and one dip does one side of a frame. Good videos. Thanks for making them.

  10. Iv'e switched to exclusively using Acorn frames this year after seeing a friend of mine commercial keeper with 800 hives do it. I've had very good luck with them as well .FYI Brushy Mountain is a supplier of Acorn frames, it doesn't say that on their site but their plastic frames are Acorn.

  11. Wow I'm such a newbee…I bought someone getting out of bees hives. They had ALL plastic foundation. The bees totally ignored the frames. I pull the plastic out and used empty frames they drew there out the frames. I threw away all them frames and all it needed was a new coating 😌

  12. Do you mean two nuc boxes high or two nuc box colonies stacked on each other with a divider. I just installed a package of bees today and gave them some drawn out comb with some honey stores. I hope there is enough time for them to build up for the winter. I do have a couple of nuc boxes I can stack on top of each other.

  13. That's good stuff Jason. Been going to try the plastic foundation but was unsure about waxing them.thanks

  14. Not me, I heard the rumours. I've got a plastic hive body with wooden frames set up. It's working out quite well.

  15. rite cell is now offered with extra wax. when adding extra wax myself, I take a deep pot and fill it to about 10 inches of melted  wax. dip in one side of the foundation, let it cool for a second and dip the other side. very fast this method.

  16. Thanks for that information I figured that's what it was with some of mine after I researched.
    Now how would I go about replacing those I've got 8 frame medium boxes and just one of the boxes is like that I live in Virginia Beach thanks

  17. I have always had good luck with Mann Lake rite cell plastic foundation. I have yet to have them draw any wonky comb or refuse to use it.

  18. You should check out Australian Honeybee here on YouTube to see how they apply the wax coating to their plastic foundation.

  19. Hi Jason, Please share your source for the beautiful NUC behind you in this video. Really enjoy and have learned a lot from your videos. TY

  20. I need to do this but am new to beekeeping this year and have no idea how much beeswax is needed to add additional wax to a thin factory coating of wax on medium frame plastic foundations. Either a per frame or per per 10 frame estimate of weight of wax required to add additional wax would be helpful. I see beeswax is often sold by 1 lb. blocks and I need an estimate of how much I may need to purchase for my medium honey supers in particular. Further I have only a small amount of burr comb I could melt down.

  21. Personally I don't use foundation at all but I think a better approach if you want to use plastic foundation is to melt wax on top of water and then dip the plastic foundation through the layer of wax into the water and pull it back out and you will have a nice even coating on the plastic.

  22. I've been reading (and watching) as much as I can, trying to prepare myself for getting some bees this coming spring. When it comes to frames and comb is where I seem to have the most confusion and discrepancy so I just have to ask what seems like it should be a very simple process… For hobby purposes, are plastic cell foundations used more for brood, and wax/wire on honey supers? I ask because right when I think I am supposed to extract honey from a (super) comb and SAVE that comb for next year, someone tells me to cut out the entire comb and have them draw a new one.

    Great channel, great videos and a thumbs up to each new one I watch!

  23. Great video. Do I need to cross wire my frames if I am using the same black plastic foundations you show in your video? Thanks!

  24. Thank you very much. I was just putting pieces of wax on the foundation hoping they would take but i love the acrylic brush idea. Ill try it!

  25. Hey Jason, check out this video and tell me what you think of the technique. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuKM24t3r6M&t=20s I used this method with a turkey frying pot (It's tall enough to dip in and shake off), five gallons of water, and about four pounds of wax floating on top. It worked out really well for me. gives a very even coat of wax at a thickness the bees seem to like.

  26. Jason, I love what you do, thanks for the many years of great videos. I included a link to this video in one of my own, I hope that is okay. Keep up the good work.

  27. love you taking up something most company's or developers don't mention with the plastic foundations "that they need to be coated with wax"
    i come across this while searching for 3d printed foundations and they mentioned that they did print them in plastic!
    hopefully with a non toxic pla, pet or pv plastic instead of ABS
    in theory you can use a lower temperature and a Pellet Extruder then you could 3d print in bees wax!

  28. The truth is bees don't like plastic and will not draw it unless there is a good nectar flow and preferably before the summer solstice.

  29. I used unwaxed foundation, waxed plastic foundation, and waxed foundation. If the hive isn't strong and there isn't a strong flow this will happen. I've had colonies do this to wax foundation. It's more a nuisance than anything else.

  30. I use Acorn frames and haven't had much of an issue at all. The only thing I don't like are the little channels in the sides that give perfect little hiding spots for SHB down here in Florida.

  31. I switched to the acorn so I can see eggs and larva easier. I randomly leave equipment in the sun. Acorn is clearly coated with more wax

  32. As of Feb 6 2019 You can get the Acorn sheets that are wax coated for a pack of 10 at $20.27 and you don't need to do what you just did. Your "other brand" has the problems of fake wax or no wax. Bee's do like plastic you see how they build on it between the frames and not so much with wood. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZCA3VC

  33. Im new to bee keeping..had a question about the plastic inserts for the frames. I had a thought about cutting the plastic foundation about an inch wide and hang it from the top bar. It would give the bees something to start off of but allow the bees to build their own comb….any thoughts on this idea

  34. Love your videos man , I do the same thing for my operation and we need lots of these done. A paint roller with a hot plate and a metal paint pan works super easy for us. Give it try and keep up the vids man 🤙

  35. maybe I missed it in the video but do I just buy a pound of beeswax from my supplier…melt it down and paint it on? do I use yellow or white wax?

  36. Awesome video. I’m a newbee and my bees started drawing comb out and on one foundation it’s sporadic. Hope I can remedy this before they mess all the frames up.

  37. We used a beeswax candle that didn’t turn out to rub beeswax on some of our plastic foundations.

  38. I loved the wax crayon! How clever! I’ve heard it said that brood frame should be replaced every couple of years. If the plastic brood frames don’t have decease, how do you take off the old brood wax? How do you prepare used frames in order to coat them with wax? Thanks again! Wow, the crayon … sometimes the easiest solutions are the best!

  39. Kamon Reynolds, Tennessee, uses a small foam roller. Seems to work great. I bought a few to try myself one day. A great topic of conversation 🍻🍻

  40. how early ahead of the season should you prepare your frames? i will be starting my first hive this spring and have the plastic foundations. have a package of bees arriving in april…when should i wax the foundations? is there a good time or does it not matter?

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