Langstroth Pierco Full Depth Plastic Frame
A one piece Full Depth Langstroth frame which is virtually unbreakable in the extractor. Made from food grade plastic they are probably unique in that they are proof to 100C and can therefore be steam cleaned.
They come unwaxed and require to be given a good coating of wax using a 4" roller with a fleece type roller fitted. The wax needs to be very hot 85 - 90C before it is applied to ensure a good coverage. The face of the frame will buckle as it expands with the heat but it will return to normal shape as it cools. We recommend either hanging the frames to cool in an empty hive body or balance them upside down on their top bars on a smooth surface. Keeping the frame vertical while it cools will help ensure it returns to the correct shape. Work quickly. If the frame is twisted after it is cool, which can happen just occasionally, place it on a flat surface and warm it with an electric paint stripper, paying particular attention to the outside of the frame. By warming the frame all over it will return to the correct shape when it cools. The twisting can occur when the hot wax causes the foundation to expand while the outide of the frame, the parts which wold be made of wood in a conventional frame, remains cool.
To melt the wax simply place sheets of foundation in a small bowl (your local pet shop is a good source of small stainless steel bowls) and stand it in a pan of gently simmering water. To heat the water a small electric single hob is ideal - just Google "single table top hob" for suppliers and prices.
The trick to getting the bees to accept plastic frames and foundation is not to give them a choice. Do not mix conventional wooden frames with plastic frames in the same super. In use, the great advantage of these frames, apart from the very flat comb the bees produce is if they build any unwanted comb, such as drone comb or queen cups you can just rub the wax back down to the foundation and let the bees try again. The same also applies to comb clogged with pollen or where the honey has crystallized.
Frames can be cleaned by scraping off all the comb with a hive tool and then a high pressure cold water washer can be used to clean out the remains of stores, pupa and pollen from the bottom of the cells. Cold water will not remove the wax but it will remove all the other debris. The frames can then be returned to the bees who will start again to draw out the wax. If the frames are required to be cleaned of wax, steam or very hot water will do the job.
After introducing plastic frames to a colony they should be checked every week until the wax is largely drawn out. Most if not all the frames will be drawn out correctly but on the odd frame the bees might, for example, try to build a section at right angles to the frame. If this is discovered just cut it off with the hive tool. There is no need to recoat the frame, the bees will then draw it out correctly.
We also provide a Langstroth Peirce medium plastic frame.