Plastic vs. Wax foundation? Here you can find, everything you need to know about it.
A good foundation to begin your beekeeping journey is very important. This foundation is to kickstart the bees to build their own honeycomb, providing the exact size for the bees to make. Beekeepers can control the size as they require increased productivity. Foundations are also important to help new colonies adapt to a new beehive.
There are two types of foundation commonly used in beekeeping which are plastic and wax foundations. Plastic foundations are popular for beekeepers who have a larger scale operation such as a honey or beeswax business.
Here we will look at the pros and cons of both using Plastic and Wax foundations for your beehive.
· Stronger than wax foundations and do not melt in warm temperatures or break easily during honey extraction. The foundation is rigid and maintains its shape for a long time which guide bees to build cells of your preferred size.
· Plastic foundations are resistant to pests and parasites that try to burrow through combs. If one side is attacked, the other side can still be protected.
· With plastic, it is easier to manage a cross comb.
· Colored plastic foundations are favoured by some beekeepers as the color contrast makes eggs and larvae of honeybees easily seen. Stored honey can also be easily identified and harvested.
· Plastic foundation is newly bought which ensures that they have not been contaminated.
· Cold weather will cause the plastic to be brittle, which means they require a coat of protective wax. However, the newly built comb can fall off plastic easily and crush honeycombs or bees underneath.
· Plastic residues might enter honey and wax which makes them unsafe for consumption.
· Plastic is foreign to bees and they need to be tricked into building a hive.
· Harvesting wax from plastic foundations need extra care not to damage the plastic.
· Plastic foundations are heavy.
· Wax is all natural and beekeepers do not have to worry about contaminating the beehive with foreign products.
· Yield of wax is very high with wax foundations and you can harvest them easily by melting the entire comb and reuse them after.
· Uncapped and unextracted honey in the comb can be harvested only from wax foundations. These types of combs usually sell for slightly more than just the honey itself.
· Wax foundation helps you connect better with your colonies as it gives you more experience at traditional and natural beekeeping.
· To add strength to wax foundations, additional wiring of frames and embedding wires into the foundation is needed.
· You have to purchase wax foundations from other beekeepers.
· Wax foundations are easily penetrable by pests and parasites.
Although plastic foundations are strong and durable, wax foundations will always be naturally attractive to bees. Wax foundations are also easier to use with excellent wax yields. Using the correct foundation can affect the time it takes to yield some products. Therefore, you will need to make a guided and informed decision in order to be successful in starting a colony.