Going foundationless: How to get the bees to clean the frames?

Dear lovely people,

Transitioning to natural cell size foundationless frames, I have about a dozen plastic foundation frames with drawn comb, pollen, and nectar. I know the girls work so hard to make bee bread, and I’d hate for any of it to be wasted!

Is there any way to get them to clean the frames out? I’ve tried:

  • putting a frame or two in an empty super above the inner cover of the hive

  • hanging frames out in the open in the middle of the bee yard (no, it didn’t set off robbing… For some reason my (local) bees just don’t seem interested in each other’s hive :wink: )

In either case, I see a few bees on the frames, but by and large they seem to remain full. Any suggestions?

If all else fails, I’ll give them to a local beekeeper who uses foundation - shouldn’t be too hard to find :slight_smile:

All ideas welcome!

How old are they, and how were they stored? If they haven’t been frozen, I would just render them for wax. If the honey isn’t capped, it may have fermented and bees won’t want it. If the bee bread hasn’t been frozen, it is probably full of pollen mites, and the bees won’t want it either. Just my 2 cents’ worth - render it. :wink:


That would explain it! The frames have just been sitting around.

How do you render the wax from the plastic flow hive frames?

You will get a minuscule amount of wax come out as you extract the honey and as the bees work on the cells after extraction they will drop the old cappings to the bottom of the hive. A flow hive doesn’t produce enough wax to waste your time on it. Lucky to gather a few grams.
If you want a hive producing wax as well as honey you need a Langstroth hive, for example.

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usually we don’t try to harvest garbage cappings that fall to bottom of any hive.

The only wax to harvest would be on frames in lower brood box or if operating double deeps below your Flow-super. Normally there is only clean up scraps I toss in a can or container to melt down later. Your not normally harvesting much bees wax for 3 to 5 season unless something really goes wrong with colony.

Enjoy :wink:,


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I don’t. I leave it on. But you can render wax from traditional plastic foundation. :wink:

@Peter48, isnt a Flow hive is a langstroth hive where only the super frames are different?
I get wax from my hybrid supers traditional frames.


That is true of course that it is just a different super between a Langstroth and a Flow Hive but the question is —

and I take the question as applying to the plastic super frames, I really doubt there would be a teaspoon of wax from filtering the honey and scraping the old capping from the bottom board, it isn’t worth the effort as I said.

There ain’t much wax to be gained from the flow super.
You might get some sometimes from honey frames you need to take out of the Broodbox in spring, but there’s an opportunity on a flow to put additional supers on top of your flow super.
There’s a lot of honey comb and wax to be gained from supers above the flow super.
All my flow hives have extra supers on in spring.
Start off with an ideal size box. It’s worth it.

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Or you could add an ideal below the flow super.

That is right, any depth of box using Langstroth Frames will produce wax, not just the ideal size but the wax recovered from an ideal will be less than a full depth frame.