Beeswax foundation (updated 10-16-2011)

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by bamabww, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    When I do my next inspection, I'll need to pull the frames with honey out and replace them with new foundation. I ordered a 5 pound box of 100% beeswax foundation to replace the plastic foundation with and it arrived this morning.

    The only frames i have are the grooved type. The sales catalog recommends using a wedge type frame for the beeswax foundation. I have inserted a couple of pieces of the beeswax foundation into two empty frames and it fits well enough, although much looser than the plastic foundation does. Should I wedge a small piece of wood or something into the grooves to help hold the beeswax foundation in the frames before placing them in the hive?
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    Is this beeswax foundation wired, that is, are there vertical wires running top to bottom in it? If so you will have to cross wire the frame and then embed that cross wire into the foundation to give it stability. Check out youtube for a video on how to wire a frame (I'll see if I can find one).
    You can also buy support pins that fit through the holes in the end bars that will help somewhat.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xljKaH7R2-Q


    One thing I noted that wasn't shown on the video is the installatioon of little brass grommets in those holes on the end bars before the wire is fed through.
    You also have the option of using a spur embedder rather than using heat to melt the wire into the wax foundation.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    If it isn't the vertical wired foundation, you should still cross wire and embed it. You can also melt wax and pour into the top groove. Most suppliers sell a waxing tube.
     
  4. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    The thing that is most important to remember. You are want to keep the wax foundation straight in the frame. You dont want it to warp or sag once placed in the hive.
     
  5. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    Bummer! Thanks for the advice and video. I should have asked here before ordering. I called Dadent and told them I was using plastic foundation in grooved frames and wanted to change over to 100% beeswax foundation. I asked what do I need to make the beeswax work in my frames?

    They told me I'd have to disassemble my frames as the beeswax foundation would be so stiff I couldn't bend it in the groove the way plastic would. I said, no problem and she said all I'd need was the beeswax foundation. I didn't question whether I would need wire or wired foundation etc because I really didn't know. I should have but it just didn't cross my feeble mind at the right time. And I trusted Dadent to know what to recommend. Live and learn.

    Now I've got to reorder more supplies but someone else will get my business this time. Thanks again for you help.
     
  6. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    Your foundation is still usable get you a wax tube, grommets, and wire. That should get you ready to go. Not sure what they was talking about the wax not being flexable enough to bend without breaking. I would think this time of year as warm as it is. It would be very flexable unless your address is in the arctic. Remember a lot of the dadant people are salesman not beekeepers. Another option would be cut the foundation into starter strips. Hold them in place with melted wax along the top groove. This would be a lot cheaper than sending thing back and forth to dadant. And will get you up and running quicker
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    Even if I were using starter strips, I would still wire the frames first. It's no fun dropping a frame of brood, honey, and bees on your foot when you tilt the frame a bit to one side. They will build down over the wires just fine.
     
  8. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    I put some of the wired wax foundation into assembled grooved frames and had some of the vertical wires pop off from the amount of curving you have to put into the panel to shorten enough to ease into the groove. That is on the 9" deep frames.
     
  9. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    If you are handy (and can solder) it is very easy to make a wax tube fastener.

    A six inch piece of 3/4" copper tube and short piece of dowel rod (or if you are red neck enough a stick will work).

    Cut one end of the copper tube off on a 45* angle and carefully tap it closed, enough to solder it together. leave a small hole 3/32" to 1/8" on the long end of the miter. Fit the dowel rod (or stick) snuggly into the other end of the tube (it is important that it fits tight) it needs to go inside of it about 3/4". Using a center punch stake the tubing onto the dowel rod to hold it on, two or three will work. Drill a small hole in the side of the tube at the end of the dowel rod. Now you have a wax tube.

    You will also need a small pan to make a double boiler out of and I liked to use a couple of soup cans for the wax pots. Set up the double boiler with two or three soup cans inside of it filled with bees wax. When the bees wax melts put your tube in one of the cans, let the tube heat up a little also, the wax will fill the tube to the level in the soup can. You should already have you wax foundation in the frame and ready (a foundation device works great for this). Put you finger over the hole in the side of the tube, pull the tube out of the wax, holding the tube above the soup can remove your finger to see how the wax will run out of the small hole in the bottom of the tube. Now you are ready to wax in some foundation. Let the tube fill up, finger over the hole, pull out of the soup can, aim bottom hole at the junction of the foundation and the frame, remove your finger and as the wax runs out of the tube move it along the joint until you are at the other end of the frame, put your finger back over the hole and place tube back in the soup can for the next frame.

    If the wax is too cool it will not stick to wooden frame or melt into the foundation.
    If the wax is too hot it will melt a hole in your foundation.
    You will have to play with the temp to get it just right.

    http://kelleybees.com/CMS/CMSPage.aspx? ... 52|Product

    http://kelleybees.com/CMS/CMSPage.aspx? ... oductGroup
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    :goodpost:
     
  11. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    Here's what I'm going to try after reading your advice and suggestions and talking with a local beekeeper. This will at least get me going until I can do better. Not shown is the groove in the top frame has a nail wedged in to hold the foundation into the top groove.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    necessity is the mother of invention. :thumbsup:
     
  13. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    that will work, just be extra careful when you tilt those frames on their sides, sometimes the comb will break out of the frames.
     
  14. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    Not exactly those support pins I mentioned, but hey, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Well done! :thumbsup: :mrgreen:
     
  15. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    Hey bamabww, what are you planning to do with the old plastic foundation?
     
  16. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    Once I see if the above idea works and the bees start drawing comb, I'm going to spray the plastic foundation with sugar water and place one or two frames back into the honey supper with the beeswax. If I can get them to draw comb on the plastic, I have lots of spares available.
     
  17. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    I'm confused, you're going to switch from plastic to wax so that you can switch back to plastic?

    Why not just spray with syrup now, and feed the bees some 1-to-1 to get them to draw it out now?
     
  18. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    You think you're confused... The guy I bought the original hive from had already bought a lot of plastic foundation so I have at least 2 dozen extra. So if I can get the bees to draw comb on the beeswax, which everyone locally says will not be a problem, I hope to be able to re-install the plastic foundation over time and with the sugar water coaxing, get them to accept the plastic foundation.

    All 20 frames in my honey supers on this hive have (had) plastic foundation. They have been in my honey supers since April on this active hive and the bees haven't touched 5 of the frames in both supers. I replaced those untouched frames (all with plastic foundation) with the beeswax foundation in hope of getting the bees to use all of the foundation in each super.

    As to why I didn't spray the plastic foundation I already had before ordering the beeswax, I thought I try something everyone locally told me would work to get the most honey production ASAP before experimenting with sugar water sprayed on plastic foundation. No one locally has ever done that and everyone locally, except the guy I bought the hive from, uses beeswax foundation for the honey supers. I didn't think of spraying the plastic foundation until I read it on a thread on here somewhere. I don't know if it will work for me.

    This explanation is probably even more confusing.
     
  19. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    I am not certain of your season particular????

    pulling foundation generally gets done only during a finite period of time. if not placed on the hive at the appropriate time you are unlikely to get foundation pulled. feeding after this seasonal time slot can get foundation pulled but you need to feed and feed and feed some more. adding a bit of beewax to plastic foundation usually aids in getting it pulled... but once again after the fact will get you almost no results.
     
  20. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Re: Beeswax foundation

    Let me guess, they are all on one side of the super (i.e. left or rigtht side)? I have noticed that my bees draw frames from right to left on hives that face in one direction, and left to right on the hives that face the opposite direction. If they have more supers on top, they'll draw the outside frames on their favored side before drawing the frames on the opposite side in the lower supers. I have a mix of plastic and wax in my honey supers (wax because I have some customers that want cut comb honey, but I'd be much happier with all plastic)... and they treat the wax frames the same way. They'll draw those frames eventually, but it takes running out of room in the others before they'll do that, or what you can do is just turn the box around so that the drawn frames are on thier unfavored side and the undrawn frames are on their favored side. Then they'll draw out those undrawn frames pretty quickly.