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Frames, foundation and embedding help

Hey. Cadet beekeeper here. I want to buy some pure wax foundation in Perth Australia and want to make sure it is chemical free. I found some online saying it is made from paraffin wax which I definitely do not want. I do not know how to tell good foundation from bad, so your advice on this and from where best to get it is appreciated.

That was question 1. This is Q2. Is it ok to make up some frames with foundation now so I’ll find them ready come spring? If I store them in a cupboard will they keep? Is wax moth a problem?

And this is Q.3. I made up some wooden frames and they look fine. When I put them in my jig to wire them I realised they are not perfectly square. I do not know whether it was sloppy assembly, or poor quality. I suspect the former. Is this an issue? Do people here normally wire frames up?

Q.4 Embedding foundation. Is it necessary? I rather not buy a car battery charger to embed if I can avoid it. Can I just put some wax in the groove and ‘glue’ the foundation sheet there? Maybe a couple of melted wax spots on the wires to keep it in place? I have an unused 12V garden lighting transformer, will this do the embedding without tripping the RCD and burn the town down?

I have a Q5 but will leave that for another day.

Thanks.

Hi Beethovan, it’s best to buy foundation from a reputable supplier, one that doesn’t import wax from China. You’ll need to joint a beekeeping club and ask where folks there get their foundation from. I’m pretty sure that Guilfoyl’s would be reputable, however expensive.

Foundation needs to be fitted properly, otherwise you finish up with a mess, leading to more drone comb & less worker comb.

I made this video to show the mess bees make when foundation isn’t embedded into the wire properly.


cheers
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Oh wow. Thank you squire, did you make that video for me? That was very informative mate.

I just came from John Guilfoyle, a pack of 10 sheets foundation set me back 27 quid. Not cheap.

What about tools to embed the wax? I’m small fry with two hives the most. I’m also frugal and don’t like buying things for just one occasional task. Since I do not have a car charger, are those spur wheel thingys any good to embed foundation?

Regard any foundation on Ebay as suspect, if it seems like it might be made in China then give it a miss. Some in Australia are selling foundation in Australia from China and they are experts at making foundation with a blend of bees wax and paraffin wax which is much cheaper for them to buy. They don’t care if it isn’t bee friendly.
Q2 I make up frames, wire them and fit foundation, put them into a hive box and put it into a large garbage bag that is tied till it is needed, I’ve not had an issue of insect attack doing it that way.
Q3 I check and eliminate any twisting or out of square before melting the wax onto the wires, if it looks square then accept it as square, the bees will too.
Q4 You can get away with no foundation, so no, it is not necessary. But if you see the benefits in using foundation then fit it properly by buying an old battery at a car wreckers and a cheap battery charger or a solar battery charger. Anywhere on the foundation that there is bare wire then the queen won’t lay in those cells. I’ve seen too many frames where the wire wasn’t embedded in the wax and four dead straight rows of empty cells. I make the frames up and embed the foundation into the wires, no wonky comb, less drone comb and hassle free. At about 8 minutes from go to finished to make up a frame, wire and fit foundation it is 8 minutes well spent.
Cheers

Cheers mate for that. Yeah, I’ve already tried the foundation-less way as spruiked by flow but ended up with a bit of mess, so I’m determined to use foundation now. My question was whether the embedding was necessary, and from Jeff’s video above, it obviously is.

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It certainly is a disaster to have the bees make their own comb. Jeff is no goose when it comes to bee keeping, we don’t see eye to eye on everything in bee keeping but we both see the benefit of using foundation and fitting it properly. I bought a 10 battery from a car wrecker, a car solar battery charger from Repco and a few of wire. An embedding board is just a piece of Masonite, the embedding jig is available on EBay. That is all the essentials you will need. A framing jig is nice and quick to use but not needed unless your making frames constantly.
Cheers

Flow Hive have changed their tune somewhat over time as regards foundation, you be the judge on if it is right for you and your bee keeping. I made my mind up many years ago about using foundation or not before Flow hive was even thought of. For me using foundation is a complete win - win for me. Jeff is only 18 k’s away, a great guy, full of sound advice and he wouldn’t fit a frame in a hive without foundation.
Cheers

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27 quid? A quid used to = $2.
If 10 sheets cost $27, that’s about right.

Forget about an embedding wheel. I made my own electric embedding tool, however I don’t think they cost much to buy. You don’t need a battery charger, just a car battery will do.

You need to join a bee club & find a mentor/buddy. Our local bee club allows members to do their frames there. Alternatively you might be able to find someone who will do it for you for a small fee, or let you use their gear.

cheers

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I tried that garden lighting transformer I had, to embed the wax. Doesn’t work. I think it cuts off when shorted. Can I use my car battery, whilst in the car? Will it blow a fuse?

So $2.70 a sheet is about right? I saw that embedding tool Jeff on the video, they sell them for 70 bucks or so at Guilfoyle. I’ll make one myself, can’t be that hard? Joining a beeclub to share equipment is not a bad idea, but not too practical for me unfortunately. I have to do things just when I have the time at this stage of my life.

Thanks again for your excellent help guys.

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I can’t really say if using a car battery whilst it’s still in the car wont blow a fuse. I use an old battery charger that doesn’t come with a circuit breaker & it works just fine. You never know you might pick one up at a garage sale or something like Gumtree.

cheers

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It depends on the make and model of your car, making a direct short using the battery terminals won’t blow a fuse but if the car has a computer you would have to isolate the battery from the car. These days even jump starting a car can set you back a few thousand dollars with a blown computer. I have a junk yard battery so it needs recharging after use to embed the foundation, it is a dead short so it does discharge a battery.
The embedding tool your talking about, that is the timber one with four copper prongs, that is the one to go for. It only takes a second or two of current from a battery and light pressure. Takes a few tries to get it right but by far the best way to do the job.
Cheers

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Thanks Jeff. Well, I disconnected the battery to be safe and used a pair of jump leads. Worked ok, but I really need to make one of those embedding tools like yours.

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Yeah Pete, I didn’t risk blowing up the car. Well, tried on my wife’s car anyway, just in case…

I embedded my first sheet of foundation, but the wire didn’t melt the wax the whole length. That wooden embedding tool, never appreciated how useful they are. I’ll make one for sure. Looks like some copper pipe crimped at one end, and a spring switch, easy to make. I’ve already made a wiring jig last weekend out of scrap.

The beekeeping gig sure keeps you busy. There’s always something to do.

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Mate, The one Jeff shows in his video is home made and for the small cost it is a valuable piece of kit. If you have some basic tools it would be a very doable afternoon project. I bought mine on EBay, no better than Jeff made and I’ve made hundreds of frames with it.
I never have the time to spare to get bored, there is always something to do.
Cheers

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I found one of these for 10 bucks, any one knows whether it is good to use to embed foundation please?

It seems to be an old school car battery charger.

https://clampline.com.au/product/read/projecta-battery-charger-manual-12v-4a-2700ma/6057/

@JeffH’s embedder puts mine in shame, but it works :crazy_face:

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$10, how could you go wrong? If it doesn’t have a safety switch, it’ll be fine on it’s own. All you have to do is heat the wire up so it melts into the wax.

cheers

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At only 2700 milli amps it might well over load using it directly onto the frame wire and it won’t have a replaceable fuse built into the circuitry…
What I would advise, as previously, is to by a 12V battery from a car wrecker yard and use the charger to charge the battery, Make up a couple of wires from the battery to do the embedding. For $10 you have nothing to loose.
Cheers

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Hi Pete. 2700 miliamps is 2.7 amps. Mine is 2.5 amps & it works alright.

cheers

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Thanks @ABB and @Peter48. My query regarding using 12V lead acid batteries is since I will only be using them once a year to wax my frames, will they perish if not used? Of course I do not mind charging them before use. I don’t have any other use for them.

My car battery is looking like the best option, disconnecting it before use.

Hey @ABB, are you using 24V there?