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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Centerview, MO, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Do "foundation rods" work? How?

    Trying to decide how to set up our operation. It looks like we'll have to go with wax foundation because
    • we want small cell (We've already ordered the 4.9 bees)
    • we don't want to use plastic frames
    • we're too chicken to start off foundationless

    We saw these foundation rods advertised at Mann Lake and wondered if they would be a reasonable alternative to wiring? It's not clear to me how they work; are they like the support pins only longer? Are the support pins enough to hold the foundation in? Someone told me they just use bobby pins; has anyone else had success with that?
    Thanks in advance - any input would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,567

    Default Re: Do "foundation rods" work? How?

    They run across the frame the the bees build comb around them. They work just like wire, except they take up space and cost a huge amount more. I don't see any reason they wouldn't work just fine, but for the hassle and cost, wire is just as good.

    I've been wiring frames over the winter, got a bunch done now -- thee deeps, six mediums, and six shallows. Cost me about $12 so far.

    The pins do nothing to keep the foundation in place, it softens when warm and bends away from them. Wire works much better if you put it on both sides of the foundation, especially on crinped wire foundation which always curves.

    Peter

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Centerview, MO, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Do "foundation rods" work? How?

    Thanks, Peter
    That's what I need - experienced, practical advice. Can you recommend a good source for clear instruction on how to wire those frames? I don't really understand how that's done, but it sounds complicated when I read about embedding the wire into the wax with an electrical charge.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,567

    Default Re: Do "foundation rods" work? How?

    It's not that hard, and you don't need to use electricity to heat the wires for less than hundreds of frames.

    Here's what I do: Put the brass inserts into the holes in the end bars. Not absolutely necessary, but the wire can slice right through the end bars if you don't.

    Drive a small nail into the end bar on the side below wide part (so it's not where the end bars touch in the hive) and another next to the bottom hole. Leave the head sticking up for now.

    Thread the wire through the holes, starting at the top of the frame an going side to side to give you two or four wires across the frame. Use a pair of needle-nosed pliers to wrap the wire around the bottom nail and drive the nail home. Pull the other end of the wire as tight as you can with the pliers and wrap it around the other nail, drive the nail home, and clip the wire off. You can use the spool to pull it tight or get (or make) one of the little dispenser things. That wire wants to unspool and make a big tangle, the dispenser is nice, but you can't use the spool to pull it tight, you have to cut it and pull with the pliers.

    Once you get the wire nailed, you can tighten it if it's too slack by grabbing and twisting it with the pliers or by using a crimping tool. Either way, you want it tight enough to "twang".

    Put the foundation in the frame and nail the wedge if you use that style frame. I alternate sides with the wires, but you can put them on one side if you wish. If you use crimped wire foundation, you need to have at least some of the cross wires on the side toward the way it bends.

    I embed the wire into the wax with an embedding tool. It is a star shaped roller with about a dozen points on it that force the wire into the wax. You will need something behind the wax to support it. I use a bit of scrap that fits inside the end bars, but you can buy a fixture for very little cost that works well, too.

    Other than the wire coiling up into a tangle, this is easier to do than to describe. I can wire a shallow or medium in less time than it takes to type this up. A deep takes a bit longer.

    Wiring the foundation in is a great thing -- it stays flat, so the comb will be not only flatter, but the center won't be offset, it won't sag, it won't bend (crimped wire for the foundation comes on spools, and always bows when the wax gets warm -- the only way to keep it flat is to crosswire). Best of all, the comb won't fracture and fall out of the frame nearly as easy.

    It is important to get the wire into the wax though -- if it stands free of the foundation, sometimes the bees won't build comb over it, leaving a trough through the comb.

    Peter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Centerview, MO, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Do "foundation rods" work? How?

    Peter, thanks for your help. We will give that a shot. "Honey, we need to add a star roller thingy to the shopping list!"

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