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Author Topic: Wooden or Plastic frames?  (Read 6113 times)
homer
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« on: June 22, 2008, 10:47:54 PM »

I only have one beehive and I'm new to it this year.  I bought the solid plastic frames w/foundation from Mann Lake.  They seem so much better than the wooden ones, but everyone that I see around here uses the wooden ones.   Even all the pics on here that I've seen use wooden frames.

Anyway, could someone give me some pros and cons to these two options?

THanks
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2008, 11:20:32 PM »

I only have one beehive and I'm new to it this year.  I bought the solid plastic frames w/foundation from Mann Lake.  They seem so much better than the wooden ones, but everyone that I see around here uses the wooden ones.   Even all the pics on here that I've seen use wooden frames.

Anyway, could someone give me some pros and cons to these two options?

THanks

If you plan on using plastic frames you need to do several things: 1. air them out thoroughly, 2. Paint another coat of wax on them with a foam rubber brush, 3. Spray syrup on them when you put them in the hive, and 4. Sharpen you hive tool, you'll be cutting out a lot of bridge and burr comb.
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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2008, 08:02:00 AM »

If you use the search function of the forum, you will find many opinions on this issue.   I personally dislike the solid plastic because my frame gripper doesn't hold them well and I find them too flimsy when full of brood and/or honey.  Drop a few full of bees and you'll understand. Wooden frames are much sturdier and easier to handle.
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Tucker1
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2008, 02:40:51 PM »

Homer:  One of my friends purchased a hive with the plastic frames. The frames were included in a purchase of a Styrofoam hive. He has had problems with lots of burr comb bridging between the frames.  This resulted in his having problems extracting frames from the brood box. The bridging burr comb went from the tops of the frames to the bottoms, which required him to remove several frames at the same time. (A bit tricky.) He will be trying the corrective action proposed by Brian, when he next inspects his hive.

Regards,
Tucker1
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contactme_11
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2008, 12:34:33 AM »

I only have one beehive and I'm new to it this year.  I bought the solid plastic frames w/foundation from Mann Lake.  They seem so much better than the wooden ones, but everyone that I see around here uses the wooden ones.   Even all the pics on here that I've seen use wooden frames.

Anyway, could someone give me some pros and cons to these two options?

THanks

I've found that the bees will build out better on the wax coated wooden frames. They just seem to like them more.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2008, 08:31:38 PM »

Some plastic the bees really don't like.  I've had decent luck with the Mann Lake PF 120s (mediums) and PF 100s (Deeps).  They are kind of flimsy but they are also cheap and well accepted and the cell size I want.  On the other hand I've had plastic that the bees just would not draw for anything.  Most people who don't like plastic have had that experience and decided never to use it again.  Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2008, 09:55:54 PM »

 I started with the Dadant EZ frames, sort of what youre talking about, I think. I have five hives with it inside now.It works good for me, but one(ok, a few) words of advice...be sure you mash them all together tightly when putting them in your boxes(deeps). If you dont you will have burr comb, bridge comb, and comb that isnt even attached to the foundation but just hanging down from the edge of the frame like wild natural comb does..I didnt know better at first, but I got those 9 frame spacers and used them in my first deeps.Dont use the spacers in your brood boxes or you'll have the same problem as I did.
 Ok, I know what you mean about everybody else using wood frames...I use them too now, and i plan on staying with them...They are very cheap, sometimes as cheap as 25cents a piece! For me,Making the wood frames and using foundation(I use plastic foundation) was at first intimidating to me, but after I made my first frame and saw how easy it was, I wont go back to EZ frames now. I still like them ok but i wont go back to them. They cost too much!

your friend,
john
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TwT
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2008, 11:10:52 AM »

  Most people who don't like plastic have had that experience and decided never to use it again.  Smiley


that describes me, I used it before and my bee's drew it out ok but the same hive would have drawn out 2 deeps of wood and wax foundation in the time they drew out 8 frames of plastic, it has its good points but I am a wood and wax person all the way. Duragilt in my opinion is the worst of the plastic foundation of all, my bee's just don't seem to draw it out on average for me, maybe 50% will be drawn out correctly.
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gottabee
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2008, 07:33:48 PM »

I was considering giving those plastic frames a try. I have had good luck with plastic foundation. The all plastic frames cost only a few cents more than the unassembled wood frames with plastic foundation. The advice here is very helpful and I will not waste my time and money. A flimsy frame and too much brace comb is enough to change my mind. 
TWT made an excellent point about bees drawing out the plastic wrongly. I have experienced that too. For me probably one frame in 20 has to be reworked. I do like the plastic foundation with wooden frames.
Thanks all.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2008, 08:51:41 PM »

I'll 2nd the MannLake PF120's.  My bees are pulling them out fine.  I bought black first, but did not know about SHB which are hard to see.  Now I'm going to all mediums and bought white.  SHB are easy to find and CRUSH!  I put the plastic between two wooden frames from a cutout and they draw it fine.  Maybe the burr comb is due to the frames not being lined up north to south???   My other hive is lined up east to west and they made burr comb on the plastic, but they make burr every where else too.  I'll move them N_S and see what happens.
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Jim 134
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2008, 09:34:51 PM »

 I am a wood and wax parson all the time.



         BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2008, 11:29:44 AM »

Wood and wax all the way.....I have never used plastic but there is something unnatural about it to me.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2008, 12:59:55 PM »

I use and like both.  As mentioned they all have their good and bad points.  You will need to decide what is best for you.

Plastic is admittedly a bit harder to use.  You only want to put on plastic foundation during a flow, and there is some extra work you may want to do before using it.  But it will last forever.  Unless you break it...

Solid Plastic combs
Pros: Cheaper, more reusable, can't be destroyed by moths
Cons: Bees draw it slower, bees sometime comb it all up because of beespace violations, there are spots for SHB to hide.

Wood frames:
Pros: bees like better and will accept it better
Cons: wax moths can chew it, the top and bottom bars will sometime come apart, leaving you with a big chunk of brood that you've got to somehow stuff back into the hives.

You can make your own wooden frames, and I have a lot of homemade ones, you can get plastic frames/foundation for as cheap as $1.50/each or less (Mann lake has/had discount mediums from $1/each).  Considering what it takes to make frames, that is a bargain, considering it is frame and foundation.
Rick
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mlewis48
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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2008, 11:16:39 AM »

 I am a wood and wax person. I have tried everything to get them to draw out the Pierco frames that came with the kits that I got when I got my new hives. I used wax coatings and did all that I could do to get them to draw them out and they would not use them. I won't waste the money on them again!
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Cindi
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« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2008, 10:25:48 AM »

Solid Plastic combs
Pros: Cheaper, more reusable, can't be destroyed by moths
Cons:  there are spots for SHB to hide.
Rick

I do not like plastic frames, I have many.  Yes, just like there is places for the small hive beetle to hide, there is an awful lot of places for earwigs to hide too.   We have a horrible earwig issue here.  I am not impressed with the cavities along the sides of the frames with the plastic.  Solid wooden frames is the only way to go.  I am slowly getting rid of my plastic frames, but that is gonna take years.....I mostly have wooden frames.  Beautiful, most wonderful day, Cindi
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« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2008, 10:38:43 AM »

Oh Cindi, I do know about the earwigs, they are everywhere it is dark & damp!  Sometimes if I feel mean I breathe into the inner cover & get the girls riled up..then toss one in... evil  I don't think they hurt the bees any but may harm the woodenware?  J
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woodchopper
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« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2008, 09:21:00 PM »

Wood and wax all the way.
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winenutguy
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« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2008, 01:09:00 AM »

More help for a newbee on a related subject please.  Are wooden frames tough to put together?  I'm the first to admit to being "carpentry challenged".  Any advice?  I'm going to go foundation-less but I'm still going to need to put about of 100 of these things together this winter.  Any tips would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks to all!  Winenutguy.
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Ken
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« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2008, 04:46:39 AM »

Frame and box assy,sorry they did not upload in order!
http://s93.photobucket.com/albums/l65/kwrabbit/Beekeeping/Box%20and%20frame%20assy/
I always glue the joints,not dry assemble as shown.Nailing is okay for the first time but a brad nailer might be on my Christmas wish list .It makes the job a whole lot more fun!! Wink
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Cindi
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« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2008, 10:23:52 AM »

Ken, I hope that you get your brad nailer for that gift!!!  My Husband loves that thing, I hate that thing.  I hate it because it has to be hooked up to a compressor and that HURTS my ears.  I cannot even stand to be within 5 feet of him when he is nailing, seriously....I think the compression of the air or something causes pain.  I have to use a hammer.  I now have a sore shoulder because I was hammering so much in the chickenyard.  Sorry, off topic...I have to post a picture of something that I built, hee, hee.

I love the wooden frames, I do not like the plastic.  Something about wood, seriously, wood is so like "natural", plastic is crap.  Have the most wonderful and beautiful day, Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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