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Honeycomb to eat...foundationless or beeswax foundation?


#1

So, I’m looking at putting a half depth super on my hive later this season to get honeycomb :smiley: Has anyone done this? The reason I’m asking is because I’m not sure if I would be better off only putting a starter strip to help get the bees to build (hopefully) vertical comb or if I’m better off putting a full wax foundation in the frame.

To put it another way, if I want to eat the honeycomb should I avoid a beeswax foundation altogether or it makes no difference when it comes to eating it?


#2

Snowflake !

I’m just getting back into beekeeping after a bountiful bunch of years away. Been years since I actually did honey in honeycomb (about 55 yrs) but we never had an issue of using wax foundations. I’d say that’s more of a personal thing … Not a health issue.

Gerald


#3

Thanks. Can you remember your preference? I’m inclined to think a foundation might result in too much wax but on the flipside it might be easier to handle.


#4

As in just about everything in beekeeping, there are several schools of thought on this! :smile: The counsel of perfection is not to use foundation at all. However, I like to use foundation to encourage the bees to build straight comb, and to continue the comb right out to the edge of the frame - less waste if you are cutting square sections. If you choose to do this, be sure to use special “thin” foundation. Normal foundation is too thick, and has the wrong kind of “mouth feel” for purists. In fact, comb specialists like Rusty Burlew can tell the difference right away. She has a nice little article about it here:

In summary, either use no foundation, or special thin foundation. If you can’t get thin, consider putting a 1-1.5cm starter strip of foundation across the top of the frame. Obviously the one type of foundation that you really don’t want to use is wired foundation! :blush:


#5

For comb honey I use mediums without foundation and some popsicle sticks or half width paint stirrer as a directional clue for the bees.


#6

Dawn, that’s a good one ! Wired n sweet ! Guessing way back when … We just used what we could get thru the Sears Catoluge ! We had both wired n none but no thin stuff n never thot of starter strips … Wow ! How things have changed. Great advise my friend. Love reading what you POST ! Have a great weekend.

I was out in the beeyard earlier. I was checking the quilts after five days of wet cool weather. They are still nice n dry !

I was adding winter bee cakes too. Still need to add a foam piece on top so the freezing came really migrate n help cause condensation.

. . Here’s a couple pix’s of the day adding the winter cakes. These are not pollen patties either.

Cheers !
Gerald


#7

Hi Alan, I got my bees to make comb honey in half depth frames & wax starter strips worked out fine. Once they are full, you could harvest every second frame & put the empty frames back in the gaps without any starter strips. The leftover wax on the frames is sufficient to get them started again. It’s a great way to get your bees to produce comb honey.


#8

What are the cakes made of @Gerald_Nickel ?


#9

John … I was told soy n honey n some sugar. No pollens … Not a clue the proportions. My supplier but the in boxes of 40 cakes/patties each. They are really sticky !