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Author Topic: Not enough comb=No Brood. Solution? But does plastic foundation offgass in hive?  (Read 595 times)

Offline FloridaGardener

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I'm foundation-less and getting Swarm-iness.  I'm putting the swarm cells & frame of honey in "princess box" nucs.  But the flow is close - there's hardly any fly time.  I think we're honey-bound. 

I could never put used commercial wax frames in there...too much residual junk. I think I may need to buy some small cell plastic foundation so they can draw egg laying-space faster.  But...

I worry about plastic in a 93 degree environment due to leaching, offgassing, and dioxin breakdown.  Sure, we use BPA free plastics for cold food storage, but how safe, really, is plastic in a 93 degree hive with thousands of micro proboscis chewing at it?

https://www.blastic.eu/knowledge-bank/impacts/toxicity-plastics/


Offline iddee

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""I could never put used commercial wax frames in there...too much residual junk.""

Like what? All pesticides will have passed their useful life by many months. Any junk found in it is harmless. I will not use plastic, but will use processed wax every day.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*

Offline sawdstmakr

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FG,
Using foundation does not help the bees build comb faster. Small cell foundation would be an big improvement over standard foundation for mite control. Due you have a waxed wood strip in the top of your frames. That helps to get them to build it straight.
Jim Altmiller

Offline FloridaGardener

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Jim,

They build straight comb.  It's beautiful.  And they're constantly festooning new frames.  As I can see it, it takes the house bees more time to build comb than it takes the foragers to fill it. 

So that leaves no room for the Q to lay eggs.

Offline FloridaGardener

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If I want no more swarm cells forming because the Q has no room to lay...

Then, should I pull out half the 20 frames of uncapped nectar and drain them of nectar...?

Seems like house bees haven't had time to fan & cap... and the pantry is full!


 

Offline sawdstmakr

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FG,
When bees have no room to put the honey, they keep it in their honey stomach. When this happens, the bees start producing large amounts of wax. If there is plenty of room for them to build in n, I would leave them alone. If there were no room left, then you would add a super.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Acebird

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I came late to this but I agree with Jim.  Bees don't run out of comb they run out of space or the resources to make wax or bees.  There is no solution for a dearth yet a dearth will drain the honey supplies and provide more space.  But again if there are no resources they can't build comb or raise brood.  They don't usually swarm in a dearth.  One thing to keep in mind is that the bees determine what the "space" is in a hive not the beekeeper.  The beekeeper must assure that the bees have accepted the space he or she gives the bees before they make a decision to start swarm prep.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Offline Michael Bush

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All plastic off gasses.  Plastic foundation is supposed to be food grade, which should off gas less.  Using foundation will not incite them to draw comb faster.  The fastest is foundationless.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin

Offline FloridaGardener

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Ok.  They have space. 

They have heavy flow close by:  Japanese Privet for a few weeks more, Palmetto is next, then Swamp Bay (Persea palustris), Sabal Palm, and Chinese Tallow (Popcorn) Tree.

I must simply be patient and they'll build what they need.

                   .  .  .

To stop the nonstop swarm cells (because I have 5 "princess nucs" with swarm cells already!) I put the original Q, w/capped brood and lotsa of bees in a 10-frame med to make a simulated swarm. Must have got some foragers for her, because there's slow traffic at the entrance.  The old Q didn't have any room to lay anyway, so now she'll get fresh comb to keep busy. 

I may've seen a virgin Q running around in the big hive. She didn't escape a Q clip, but looked small.  Time will tell if they make another cell, or wait for her to mate.

                    .   .   .

Re: Plastic, a topic debated as passionately as vegetarianism

This is a summary of many controlled studies. Note pages 9 and 10 on dioxins (the breakdown of plastics) -
https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/pages/e66156a9-a7ac-4bc9-b256-5cf41daaaed1/files/report-12.pdf

...hence the concern.  I don't want queen bees with endocrine disruption or hormonal imbalance.   

I'm glad I can rely on foundationless to build as quickly as the plastic, and many thanks for your expertise.

 

Offline Acebird

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If they have swarm cells it is too late.  They shut the queen down and take off.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Offline FloridaGardener

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Hmm. The Q is marked, and her red-pink paint is half-worn off as usual...she's definitely the same Q.  I must've gone in just in time to re-hive her. 

The pebbled, capped swarm cups are on showing up on edge (swarm) not face (supercedure) so I don't think it's because that Q failing somehow.   In 3 days I'll check the big hive again.

Thanks again for all your input.

Offline Michael Bush

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> I don't want queen bees with endocrine disruption or hormonal imbalance.   

Even queens only live three or four years.  Most effects of plastic are a bigger issue for humans who live a lot longer...  But if you have concerns, don't use plastic.  Plastic is certainly not necessary.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin