The frames are what is used for bees to build comb, it is a human contraption to allow us to remove the bees brood, pollen and honey comb without destroying the hive. Bees naturally build their comb in neat rows and frames are merely a container for this comb.
Assembling varies from country to country, region to region. This guide is merely one simple method you can use to put frames together. Frames are generally wired to add strength to this support however this is not a necessary component and has been left out of this guide.
Frames can be purchased in several different sizes to suit the many different size hive boxes.
If you are planning to wire your frames, be sure to order the frame side bars pre-drilled as this will save a lot of time effort with minimal cost difference. Buy the best quality frame timber you can get your hands on without knots, splits or bends. The timber should be soft enough to hammer a nail through without splitting, the top bar could be carrying up to 2.5kg of honey and will occasionally be bumped on the ground or shaken to remove the bees.
What do you need:
• Good quality glue
• A small hammer
• Nails 30mm x1.6mm or Staples 14mm long
The best type of glue used differs depending on the beekeeper you talk to, I have found epoxy to be ideal although it can be pricey, it offers great strength and is resilient to moisture unlike PVA. Liquid nails is also widely used and cost effective.
Start by placing the top bar on a flat workbench or surface upturned so the wax foundation groove is facing upwards, then take two side bars and place a dab of glue into the cut out of the widest end and push each side bar onto the upturned top bar.
Whilst upturned put another dab of glue on the end of the side bars then push the bottom bar into the side bar cut outs. Check for squareness.
The next step is to carefully hammer nails or staples to provide greater support to the frame. Start by hammering a single nail through the top side bar of the frame, if a 30mm nail is used it should pass though one side bar lug, the top bar and into the side bar lug on the other side ensuring that the top bar is secured in place. Do this for both ends of the frame but only a single nail per end.
Drive a nail directly through the bottom bar so that it locks the bottom and side bars in place. A staple could also be used here as this part of the frame is not considered to be load bearing.
Staples can be used in place of nails or as additional support to using nails. Bear in mind that just using staples to attach the top bar may be insufficient and at some point the top bar may come away from the frame whilst being levered by the beekeeper.