Which frames

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Drone Bee
Aug 25, 2009
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Oswestry, Shropshire, UK
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Number of Hives
I cannot decide which frames to use for a national super,
ie, manley or hoffman?

i have heard that the manley frames get stuck together too much with propolis, but are they not easier to to uncap because of thier straight sides?

What are the pro's and con's here ?

Thanks for your views/advice :cheers2:
It depends how you uncap your honey!!

If you use an uncapping fork or a heat gun, then it doesn't matter whether you have straight sides or not.

I don't think there is anything to choose personally.
ok, thanks
i would be uncapping with a knife so thought it might be easier with the straight sides of the manley
But check Manleys will fit in your extractor. They don't in some radials as the ring which supports the side bars at the bottom, particularly the inner ring, may have slots in it which are too narrow. But it may be possible to modify the extractor so all is not lost.

If using a tangential extractor the comb may not be supported along its length as the side bars will hold it off the screen. This will lead to breakages if you are not careful.

Notwithstanding the above I found Manleys good, they are easy to uncap but the bees will stick them together very well and I've broken lugs trying to remove frames in a hurry. I'm changing over to all plastic frames next year and they only come as Hoffman so it will be farewell to the Manleys. The Hoffman will also need a bit more manageament than Manleys as they will need to be spaced out a bit after the bees have initially drawn the comb.
Many thanks RoofTops,
I dont have an extractor yet but i shall bear those points in mind!
can i ask you reason for changing to plastic?
Saves all the faff of foundation, wiring, nails etc., plus unbreakable in the extractor. I'm talking of all plastic frames with plastic foundation which are not available for National. You can cut down plastic foundation and install it in wooden frames but that is not very economical.

There is a growing interest in these frames in some parts of the world - I met an Aussie who was most enthusiastic about them at Apimondia but you would have to convert to Langstroth to take advantage of them - the frames that is, not the Aussies. You can see some inthe image below - they are the black frames either side of the extractor cage, below the wooden frame. There are also blue, black and yellow ones towards the rear of the extractor. They make beekeeping so much more colourful.

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re. plastic frames - do the bees draw out the comb as readily ? pros/cons ?

The conventional view is they need a strong flow and for most of us in the UK that is readily provided for by Oil Seed Rape. However, I had a report from a beekeeper in August who had fitted a super of plastic frames to a swarm which had outgrown its original space and they "were drawing them like good 'uns" from the off without any encouragement.

The trick is the frames need to be waxed first and to use plenty of wax - about 20g per super frame. So they do need a bit of work but with a roller and very hot wax it is quite quick to do. You can also use a sponge brush. Put the wax in a small stainless steel dog bowl in a pan of gently simmering water to get it to the correct temperature for the waxing. If using a roller the hot wax can make frames make alarming creaking and cracking sounds, but all be well.

The other advantages of these frames are if the bees mess up the comb you can just rub it back with the hive tool and let them start again. Also, in the brood chamber they can't chew away the foundation in the corners and hide queen cells so they should be easier to find - I'll tell you next year.
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my twopenneth is that plastic is anathema to the honey bee and should (IMHO) be to anyone interested in keeping bees. even using those sheets of sarter comb seems a bit odd to me.

isn't it about keeping in touch with nature rather than human 'technology'

might be out of order saying this so apologies.


Just picked up on this thread. I am sure someone posted that they had good extraction success and post extraction comb condition was improved using a hot air gun to de-cap, rather than the trad knife approach?
from a bee farmer who was selling them.

It needs a VERY good flow to get them drawn.

Im also a newbie and considering plastic foundation.

They seem like a great idea.

plastic foundations or complete plastic frames are avalible but they are very hard to get started but after that they seem to last well, my i suggest to anyone thinking about them please get a couple of years under your belt using plain wood and wax first this will allow time for you and your bees to get to know each other, why start to add to an allready large pile of problems with adding this one aswell, start small get comfortable and then start to play with new ideas
Thanks, i think you are right, a season or 2 with wood first i think!
Wasent actualy thinking of going plastic but i was undecided which wooden frames to go for. THink i have decided now though. :cheers2:

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