A couple weeks back I installed a Pierco plastic frames in my hives, because I ordered them by accident (instead of the usual wax based frames). I was worried at the time that they wouldn’t take, because the instructions seemed to indicate I had to do some special gymnastics to ensure the bees would move in and draw comb on them.
After that post, one reader dropped off this comment:
This is interesting, because I just received 20 white medium Pierco frames for my honey supers and the Betterbee website says that the frames are ready to use. It does mention that the frames can be dipped in sugar syrup to improve acceptance. Also, I did not get any instructions with mine. Mine are beeswax coated, so I am not too worried about the bees drawing them out. In fact, I am thinking about getting a frame or two of the green Pierco frames with drone foundation for mite prevention.
That was reassuring, but I still wanted to see for myself. So, aided by my faithful assistants Brady and Peter (“unlucky fools who happened to have come over for a BBQ right when I was planning on checking the hives” is probably a bit more accurate than faithful assistants, but let’s not split hairs), I opened the hives up a few days back to take a look.
The results were mixed. On a few of the frames, they had definitely started to build up comb, but on at least one frame, they seemed to be pointedly avoiding building up on the plastic itself, preferring to build away from it. Take a look:
Notice how they’ve started to build the comb perpendicular to the frame? Very strange.
I tried spraying the frames with some sugar water as instructed to see if that helps. I also swapped the frames around a bit with some wax ones, in the hopes that they’d just ease on over into the plastic.