Monday, January 17, 2011

Foundationless Frames, A Simpler Approach

If you have seen one of my earlier YouTube videos about foundationless frames, you will note the amount of time, potential mess with hot wax, and overall pain it is versus a sheet of foundation.  But being a disciple of Michael Bush and his affinity for natural cell size in the brood chamber, I am loath to give up so quickly.

So when faced with an installation that included five hives of two deep supers each, I began brainstorming other ways to promote natural comb without pulling an all-nighter prepping 100 frames.  Note that I am using Mann Lake grooved top and bottom frames.

1)  I cut one-inch strips of "thin surplus" wax foundation lengthwise.  I then cut two-inch strips of crimped wire foundation top to bottom.

2)  I lay the thin surplus foundation in the groove of the top bar.  Perpendicular to that goes the strip of crimped wire foundation, in the middle of the length.
3)  I push a popsicle stick in the grove in the area the two sheets of wax overlap.  The friction of the stick in the space makes this insertion tight.

That's it.  The tight fit of the three materials together and their respective stickiness hold all the pieces together in the grooves.  The horizontal wax strip provides a starting point for comb production (there are some who argue that one does not need this) and the vertical strip provides a guide for the bees to help keep their comb straight.

Will it work?  Stay tuned!!


  1. I'm husband cuts strips on his table saw and I glue them in. Anxious to see how yours work.

    Your 2 deep supers...will they both be brood chambers?

  2. Yes, both deeps are brood chambers. I have just begun installing these foundationless frames in the hives. My others (see DC Honeybees TV on YouTube) are working like a charm.