Monday, June 17, 2013

Building Foundationless Beehive Frames

As a beekeeper, one wants to let the bees work according to nature to bring about the best traits. One way is to let the bees draw their own comb instead of providing foundation. This allows the bees to chose the cell size they want, which also helps keep the hive healthy. It also avoids foundation that may contain pesticides from the commercial hives.

From our observations they drew quite a bit of drone comb at first and filled the hive with drones. Then they used all that drone comb for storing nectar which will become honey once it dries out a bit.

IMG_0372Making a foundationless frame is very easy, first you put together your frame as you normally would including breaking off the tack strip. Clean off the splinters and make sure that the strip will easily fit into the grove and if not shave off a little bit more wood. Once it fits place some glue into the top grove and place the strip so it is vertical giving the bees a guide to build from.

Once the strip is glued in you are done, though if you want to give the bees a little more incentive to build off the guide you can get some bees wax warmed in the oven at 180-190°F and paint it onto the guide strip. IMG_0366The bees will chew the excess was and start building beautiful white comb from the guide. Remember that it is very important that you bee box is level from side to side because the bees will build straight down like a plumb bob and if it isn’t level the bees will start on the guide and end up on the adjacent frame.

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