As a beekeeper, you may have heard of plastic foundation, which is an alternative to traditional beeswax foundation. Plastic foundation is easier to install and maintain, and it’s more durable than beeswax. However, getting bees to draw out plastic foundation can be a challenge. In this article, we will discuss how to get bees to draw out plastic foundation successfully.
Choose the Right Plastic Foundation
The first step to getting bees to draw out plastic foundation is to choose the right type of foundation. There are two main types of plastic foundation: black and white. Black plastic foundation is more popular because it mimics the natural color of beeswax, but it can also absorb heat and become brittle over time. White plastic foundation is more reflective and doesn’t absorb heat, but it can be more challenging to see the honeycomb pattern.
When choosing plastic foundation, consider the climate in your area and the preference of your bees. If you live in a hot climate, white plastic foundation might be a better option. On the other hand, if your bees prefer darker colors, black plastic foundation might be the way to go. Additionally, make sure the plastic foundation is food-grade and free of harmful chemicals.
Another factor to consider is cell size. The standard cell size for beeswax foundation is 5.4 mm, but plastic foundation can come in different sizes, including 4.9 mm and 5.1 mm. Make sure to choose the correct cell size for your bees to ensure they draw out the honeycomb correctly.
Prepare the Hive
The next step to getting bees to draw out plastic foundation is to prepare the hive. Bees need a clean and organized space to build their honeycomb, so make sure the hive is free of debris and excess propolis. Additionally, ensure that the frames are spaced correctly to provide enough room for the bees to work.
Before adding the plastic foundation, coat it with beeswax or a wax substitute. This will make the foundation more appealing to the bees and help them start building honeycomb faster. You can use a paint roller or a sprayer to apply the wax coating evenly.
When installing the plastic foundation, make sure it’s level and secured in the frame. You can use wire or fishing line to hold the foundation in place. Once the foundation is installed, add the frames to the hive and wait for the bees to start drawing out the honeycomb.
Getting bees to draw out plastic foundation can be a challenge, but with the right preparation and foundation, it’s possible. Choosing the right type of plastic foundation and preparing the hive correctly are crucial to the success of this process. In the next sections, we will discuss additional tips and tricks to help you get bees to draw out plastic foundation successfully. Stay tuned to BeeKeepinglove.com for more informative articles about beekeeping.
Add a Honeycomb Stimulant
If your bees are still hesitant to draw out the plastic foundation, you can try adding a honeycomb stimulant. Honeycomb stimulants mimic the scent of nectar and encourage bees to start building honeycomb. You can add a few drops of honeycomb stimulant to the plastic foundation or spray it around the hive entrance to attract bees.
One popular honeycomb stimulant is lemongrass essential oil. Lemongrass oil mimics the pheromones that bees use to mark their territory and can entice bees to start building honeycomb. Other honeycomb stimulants include spearmint oil and anise oil.
Monitor the Hive
Once you’ve installed the plastic foundation and added a honeycomb stimulant, it’s essential to monitor the hive regularly. Check for signs of honeycomb building and ensure that the bees are drawing out the foundation correctly. If you notice any issues, such as crooked honeycomb or a lack of building activity, you may need to adjust the foundation or hive conditions.
It’s also crucial to monitor the health of the hive and the bees. Ensure that the bees have enough food and water and check for signs of disease or pests. A healthy hive is more likely to build honeycomb successfully.
In conclusion, getting bees to draw out plastic foundation requires patience and preparation. By choosing the right type of foundation, preparing the hive correctly, adding a honeycomb stimulant, and monitoring the hive regularly, you can successfully get bees to draw out plastic foundation. Remember to stay attentive to the hive’s needs and seek out additional resources if necessary. BeeKeepinglove.com is always here to provide helpful tips and tricks for beekeeping success.
Monitor the Hive
Once the bees start drawing out the honeycomb, it’s essential to monitor the hive regularly. Check for signs of disease or pests, and make sure the bees have enough food and water. Additionally, inspect the honeycomb regularly to ensure it’s being built correctly and that there are no issues with the plastic foundation.
If you notice any problems, address them immediately to prevent any damage to the hive or the bees. Keep in mind that bees can be sensitive to changes in the hive, so make any adjustments gradually and with care.
Additional Tips and Tricks
Here are some additional tips and tricks to help you get bees to draw out plastic foundation successfully:
- Use a queen excluder to prevent the queen from laying eggs in the honeycomb before the bees have a chance to build it out.
- Provide a nectar flow to encourage the bees to start building honeycomb.
- Use a starter strip of beeswax or a small piece of beeswax foundation to help the bees start building the honeycomb in the right direction.
- Add a few drops of lemongrass oil to the plastic foundation to make it more attractive to the bees.
- Consider using a plastic foundation with a textured surface to make it easier for the bees to build honeycomb.
By following these tips and tricks, you can increase your chances of success when using plastic foundation in your beehive.
Getting bees to draw out plastic foundation can be a challenge, but with the right preparation, foundation, and monitoring, it’s possible. By choosing the right type of plastic foundation, preparing the hive correctly, and following additional tips and tricks, you can encourage your bees to start building honeycomb on plastic foundation. Remember to monitor the hive regularly and address any issues promptly to ensure the health and well-being of your bees. For more informative articles about beekeeping, visit BeeKeepinglove.com.