Cleaning and Reusing Plasticell Frames

When I got into beekeeping I started by using Dadant's Plasticell frames.

One advantage of Plasticell frames is that they are a plastic core and have a permanent raised cell pattern. This allows the beekeeper to simply scrape the frames clean, apply a new layer of melted wax and throw them back into the hive for the bees to build new wax onto.

Today I took a few frames that needed to be scraped clean and created a short tutorial video of the process.

Now that the frames are scraped clean, I can throw them back into the hive and get more use out of them.

You may wonder, "Does this actually work?".

I've scrapped several frames last year and placed them back into the hive, and the bees finished removing scraps of wax I couldn't get and then rebuilt beautiful wax on the frames.

Comments For This Post: (7) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Scott says...
Date:   April 30, 2013, 7:26 am

I really don't want to be that cheap, you can buy new ones for very little money. Also your bee's will be out gathering honey instead of cleaning the remaining crap off from an old frame....

J Snow says...
Date:   July 15, 2013, 8:09 pm

I think its a great way to do it, especially for families that every dollar counts!

SMyhre says...
Date:   September 14, 2013, 10:33 am

My question is, why scrape them? They will reuse them just the way they are. If you set them out 100 feet from the hive after extracting, the bees will clean out the cells and they are ready to go again. The older they get the better they are for extracting because the cells become harder. Just thought I'd let you know.

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   January 30, 2014, 12:54 pm

I'll use a frame for several years before cleaning it and starting over. Brood frames that have been in use longer turn dark black, filled with dirt and sometimes collected chemicals/pesticides. It's been documented that over time the old cells grow smaller as the cell walls become thicker with dirt, etc.

I hate to make the bees rebuild frames when they could be using energy to collect nectar, so I generally only switch out frames when necessary.

Clayton says...
Date:   March 22, 2015, 10:59 am

is it necessary to rewax the plasticell? I'm a new keeper and have some old boxes I bought from a guy. They are in good shape but very dirty and havent been used in a while.

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   March 22, 2015, 7:49 pm



It's not required to re-wax them, but most beekeepers will agree that bees avoid plastic frames/foundation in favor of pure wax.


By adding a layer of wax onto the plastic foundation, you're encouraging the bees to begin working with the wax you provided, instead of starting from scratch on plastic they don't like.


They will draw wax on plastic, if they don't have any other choice, and if there is enough of a honey flow going.

Martin honey says...
Date:   April 10, 2016, 9:29 pm

I found this method very tedious, the scraping of old comb damaged my foundation. After 300 frames or so. My thoughts of how to do this faster, more completely keep rolling around I my head. I have in the past tried a torch I have used the sun to heat one side the the other only to get the was all over the place .
The it hit me, so for the Last batch I tried a new method. It  removes 95 percent of the wax, old moldy, moth eaten comb. No waiting for the sun, no more getting g wax coated burnt figures. Just clean like new plastic foundation
       I would say with in the summer I will have production bench top model for review. Check back at
 Michael Martin 

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