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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Lexington, SC
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    Default Need some bee knowledge!

    I've asked on a couple of these forums if I should keep old wax that was left on the frames of a hive that was given to me. I have been asked if it has "drawn" comb on it. I have no clue what that means... The frames seem to have wax all the way across it in the shapes of little hexagons. Is this what "drawn" means? And is this considered comb also or just wax or foundation? I am very new. Don't even have bees yet so any advice would be so helpful. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    6,587

    Default Re: Need some bee knowledge!

    If the hexagons are very shallow (perhaps 1/16") and on a wax sheet, then you are looking at foundation. If the the hexagons are approximately 1/2" to 5/8" deep, then you have drawn comb.



    This is drawn comb. Note you can see to the bottom of some of the empty cells. The image is part of the Beesource Glossary, found here:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...eping-Glossary
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    710

    Default Re: Need some bee knowledge!

    foundation is a flat sheet of wax that' embossed with the hexagon shapes. This sits across the middle of the plane of the frame so the bees "draw" those into little hexagonal shaped cylinders out to the edge of the frame. If you have what you'd call "honey comb" vs just a flat sheet of wax with pressed shapes on it, then that is said to be drawn or drawn out.

    I know what you're going through, wait until people start saying "box", "body", and "super", all the exact same object with only a different name depending on how you're using it that day.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Lexington, SC
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    28

    Default Re: Need some bee knowledge!

    Thank you so much!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    438

    Default Re: Need some bee knowledge!

    Quote Originally Posted by dmengdahl View Post
    I've asked on a couple of these forums if I should keep old wax that was left on the frames of a hive that was given to me. I have been asked if it has "drawn" comb on it. I have no clue what that means... The frames seem to have wax all the way across it in the shapes of little hexagons. Is this what "drawn" means? And is this considered comb also or just wax or foundation? I am very new. Don't even have bees yet so any advice would be so helpful. Thanks!

    Would highly recommend not reusing the frames with old wax on them. A lot of diseases can lay dormant in the wax and you could inadvertently infect your new hive with contaminated comb. Best bet is to clean all the wax out, sanitize the frames, and let the bees start over. Once you get your bees and get a hive going they'll crank out some new wax in no time. Learn on!
    We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we can now do anything with nothing

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    943

    Default Re: Need some bee knowledge!

    Basically foundation has never been used by bees. It doesn't even look used. It lasts practically forever. I am currently using a box of foundation that I bought 7 years ago. Comb, on the other hand, has been used by the bees and does look it. The walls of the individual cells are higher, ie "drawn out" and there may be tracking across it so that it looks a bit soiled.

    I wouldn't hesitate to use old foundation but I'd think long and hard about used comb if I didn't know where it has been or how it's been used--as in what treatments may have been used on it. The residue from treatments does stay in the wax.

    HTH

    Rusty

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
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    4,411

    Default Re: Need some bee knowledge!

    Actually, most (all) foundation was used wax that was cleaned and pressed into sheets. It likely still has residue of whatever chemicals commercial beekeepers are using at the time. That's why I don't use it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Lexington, SC
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    28

    Default Re: Need some bee knowledge!

    okay....so I feel completely lost now. I have been watching you tube videos and I am so confused. Is the wax the actual honeycomb? Do I need foundation? I have a virgin top bar beehive. I am currently attempting to catch my own swarm. I have another hive that I was given. It has a waxy comb looking thing all the way across all the frames. Is this comb or just wax? They are hexagon shaped. Some are nice and clean and others are brown and sort of moldy looking. Should I clean all of this off for the fear of passing anything onto my potentially caught swarm? Or do they need this? Please help!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
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    943

    Default Re: Need some bee knowledge!

    I don't have a top bar hive of my own, but I have never heard of installing foundation in one. So it sounds like you have used comb in there. So if I doubted the quality of the wax I had, I'd remove it and start with new starter strips. I'd be basing my decision on the idea that bees in top bar hives typically build all of their own comb--isn't that part of their appeal after all?

    Now, with a Langstroth hive, unless I knew where the comb came from and what treatments and diseases it might have been exposed to, I would start over with all new foundation --or-- with starter strips so the bees could build what they want.

    Better to err on the side of caution.

    JMO


    Rusty

    edited to add that foundation is the wax sheet stuff you buy from companies like Dadant and Mann Lake and Kelley. Comb is the wax stuff the bees build themselves. Bees are perfectly capable of building all their own comb (whether or not they have foundation to start their building on) and no matter which kind of hive you put them in.
    Last edited by Rusty Hills Farm; 04-17-2013 at 08:14 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Need some bee knowledge!

    Foundation and honey comb is bees wax. Foundation is made by melting bees wax, making a sheet out of it, then embossing the design on it. Bees draw it out to make what is typically referred to as comb or drawn comb. Bees can draw comb w/o foundation though which is the basis of a top bar hive. The top bars have a little strip or guide, where the bees start drawing comb from. The bees will 'festoon', basically hold onto eachother to form a solid lattice of bees which then start making the comb. Foundation basically takes the place of bees having to festoon, they basically crawl on it w/o having to form a solid lattice of bees and with the embossing just add to the cell walls making them longer. That's a simple explanation I suppose.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    1,014

    Default Re: Need some bee knowledge!

    dmengdahl - welcome to the world of bees. You may want to read a good beginning book such as Howland Blackiston's Beekeeping for Dummies or Roger Morse's book The New Complete Guide to Beekeeping. There are many excellent beginning books, but these are two good bootstrap books. Good luck!

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