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Author Topic: First Experiences with HSC small cell comb  (Read 914 times)

Offline Joseph Clemens

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First Experiences with HSC small cell comb
« on: April 02, 2007, 03:25:57 AM »
I have heard that it is helpful if you trap the queen until she uses it. Following is my experience when I failed to trap the queen in the hive. I guess I won't use this technique, again.

A few weeks ago I received my first batch of HSC (small cell plastic comb). I trimmed some down to 6-5/8" box size (with a band saw) and forced the field force and their queen into a 6-5/8" deep, 5 frame nuc. The fit was tight, there were many bees. They have been crowded in there for 4 days, until yesterday when they decided to go elsewhere. They had started to use the plastic HSC comb for pollen and some nectar, they had even used some wax to smooth out slight imperfections in some of the molded comb, but the queen seems to have refused to use it. Now they are gone; I miss them, they were very productive and well-mannered bees, my next try I will definitely use excluders.

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Joseph Clemens
Beekeeping since 1964
10+ years in Tucson, Arizona
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No chemicals -- no treatments of any kind, EVER.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: First Experiences with HSC small cell comb
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2007, 07:43:03 AM »
I've heard similar stories about plastic foundation and plastic hives since they first came out.  Sometimes the bees don't like the smell of the plastic.  Some use Honey Bee Healthy syrup on the combs to cover the smell.
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Offline lively Bee's

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Re: First Experiences with HSC small cell comb
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2007, 01:13:17 PM »
I ordered 20 case's and I have found if you unbox it and let it lay around for a few days the plastic smell is not as bad then I mix up sugar water / honey / lemon grass oil I spray both sides of the frames with the mix.  It still takes them a week or longer to start to use it.  Then they will fill it with honey pollen wax etc then they will start to lay brood in it.  I have a box on hsc frames that I waxed by melting wax and useing a rag rubbed wax all over the frames.   

It takes time but they will use it.

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: First Experiences with HSC small cell comb
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2007, 02:01:50 AM »
Personally, I have never had much faith in plastic based foundation or comb.  Bees, being fickle, will often abscond rather than work it and the solutions to attempt to get the bees to work it are time consuming and somewhat repeticious.  I gave up on it a long time ago.  Now I use wood frames with starter strips and experience very little in the way of problems.  The bees actually seem to like it better.  The other thing I have noticed with bees is that if they come from a hive that had plastic frames they are more apt to accept it, the problem is getting them to accept it in the first place. 
I have a 5 frame deep nuc with plastic frames laying around for several years that I might try to catch a swarm in. 
If I do, I will do the following.  1) It's already good and aired out. 2) Spray it liberally with sugar syrup.
3) Add a little vanilla to the mix to cover any possible odor of plastic. 4) Use a queen excluder on the bottom of the box in order to keep the queen from absconding.
But personally I'm not too hopeful.
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