Foundationless Frames – How to use them

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Foundationless Frames

Foundation Less Frame in Hive

We get a lot of questions about Foundationless Frames and do we use them?

Well the answer is “yes” and “no”, for a few years we have been using foundation-less frames in our honey supers, all of ours are 3/4 sized. We find these are lighter to carry in the hot New Zealand summer.

We still use full wax foundation in the brood boxes, which are all full sized in our apiaries.

Crazy Comb

We found that we were getting too much crazy comb, when we used foundationless frames in the brood boxes. We heard a trick the other day, that if you put a foundationless frame between two frames already built out. The bees won’t make crazy comb, so we have been trying that this season.

More Crazy Comb

Last season most of our hives came from swarms, so we didn’t have enough built out frames to try this. But these colonies are going into their seconds season now, so they have been busy building lots of foundation. Perhaps we may even get some honey this season…hint…hint girls. Not that our bees read our blog, every since I took away their laptop :).

How do we setup our foundationless frames?

Drawing Pin

We still wire the frames as per normal, but only use a strip of foundation in the slot in top bar of the frame. We also run some melted wax down the join to help the strip stay in place.

This saves on our beekeeping supply bills, as we get three frames out of a full sized sheet of wax. It also reduces the amount of possible contaminates introduced into the hive from commercial bees wax.

Bead of wax of Edge on foundationless frames

Further Reading

Check out Rusty’s article form the Honey Bee Suite blog on Converting Langstroth frames to foundationless frames.

Have your ever tried foundationless frames?, Please comment below…

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About Gary Fawcett

Gary enjoys designing new kiwimana products which we sell through our on-line shop. He is passionate about saving the Bees and encouraging urban beekeeping. Gary loves to write about issues that affect the Bees and our environment. He is also into tramping/walking in the beautiful New Zealand bush.

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2 Responses to Foundationless Frames – How to use them

  1. Tyson says:

    I do use foundationless, although I have had some crossed comb which may or may not be a result of using that technique. I’m going to start “checkerboarding”- alternating storage comb in the supers with fully drawn comb and empty foundationless frames. Serves the same as foundation, without the foundation.

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