Intro: Applying Beeswax to Plastic Beehive Foundations
Earlier I posted an Instructable on how to clean up plastic foundations for beehives. In order to attract the bees to begin to build comb on these foundations, I apply a layer of beeswax. This simple instructable will guide you through the process of applying a layer of beeswax.
Step 1: Materials Needed
I recommend doing this outside. Wax is extremely flammable.
A heat source. I have an old propane burner I had set up as a campfire stove.
I use a large pan (One I purchased at a garage sale. Not my wife's good cookware!)
A small metal can about 3 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep.
a 1 1/2"wide foam brush.
Some plain plastic foundation or plastic frames.
Step 2: Melt the Wax
I put about one inch of water in my large pan. Then I put in the tin can with a chunk of wax in it. I allow the boiling water to heat the can which the wax melts in. By using this method, the wax does not get too hot and burn and it is in the deep pan away from the flame. Like I said earlier, wax is very flammable and we do not want to have any accidents.
Step 3: Apply the Wax
Once the wax is melted, dip the foam brush into the wax. Use very quick strokes with minimum pressure to brush the wax on the foundation. It usually takes four or 5 layers of wax until I am satisfied with how they look. I typically brush a few layers the length of the frames and a couple layers top to bottom. It is crucial to move the brush quickly. If you stop at one spot you tend to get a glob of wax deposited. I have also found as the wax cools on the brush, you can apply a little more pressure and get a nice layer to deposit. It takes a little patience and practice.
Step 4: Final Product
Once you are set up, it only takes a few minutes to wax the frames. I personally have had very good luck using the Plastic Foundation after applying a layer of wax. The bees seem to take to it and draw comb as well as the wooden frames with wax foundation. I have a mix of both in my hives. I had a couple of plastic frames without any wax on them and the bees were very slow to use them. The plastic frames that are frames seem to make a huge difference.
I am new to the world of beekeeping. As of now, I do not have a preference of wood over plastic frames. The plastic frames I am using I got for free, so we will see how they work out in the long run.