Monday, May 26, 2008

Upgrades and Experiments

Below is a 5 frame deep body complete with a screen bottom. The 5 frames going into the NUC will be part of a personal experiment. Sometimes I think I should learn basic beekeeping before I try experimenting……………. But today will not be the day.

The experiment:
I want to see what the bees will do with a plastic frame that technically is foundationless.
My personal opinion of Plastic frames is mixed. It has pros like giving a head start to newly introduced packages. They don’t warp or expand with humidity. They are one solid molded piece of plastic which means is not going to easily break apart or come unnail. Unlike wood it doesn’t absorb bee’s wax which I think makes it easier to pull out from a hive. On the other hand, the beauty of natural comb is just unmatchable by any comb build on a plastic foundation frame. Plastic frames make it easier for invaders (like small hive beetles) to cohabit with in the hive. Basically when there are only enough bees to protect a few frames, intruders will make themselves at home sometimes on an adjacent frame away from the cluster. Basically out of sight out of mind for the bees.
Five hollowed out plastic frames with enough foundation left to act as starter strips. The side and center strips I left behind to keep the integrity of the frame. With out it I believe the frame (sides and bottom) will droop out of shape. Last, the new modified bottom of the TBH. This is the inspection drawer that slides in and out. It used to be solid, but after the inspection window was fogging up, I figured it was time for a screen bottom to help with ventilation.

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