In beekeeping, there are two types of foundation: wax foundation and plastic foundation. The foundation of beehive frames is used to push the bees to begin creating honeycomb. It tells them exactly how many cells to make. Beekeepers can manage the size of bees produced in order to maximize the honeybee colony’s productivity. Both plastic and wax foundation for wooden frames are available in the shape of sheets that beekeepers insert into the frames. Regardless of the size of your foundation cells, bees will still create drone comb as needed. So, plastic vs. wax foundation: Which should you use?
What is Flow Frame?
Flow beehives that use flow frames also contain observation windows, which reduces the number of times the hive must be opened for inspection.
Flow frames are beehive frames made of plastic that do not require a foundation. They allow you to harvest honey without disturbing the beehive’s frames. The frames are made with a specific technology that allows them to split down the middle. Honey is subsequently expelled from the frame and collected outside the beehive.
About wax foundation
Wax is an excellent material to keep in a beehive. It aids bees in regulating beehive temperatures. Wax does not heat up or cool down rapidly. It tends to stay in an ideal temperature range for bees. Beekeepers in colder climates should have more wax in their beehives, not fewer.
Wax foundation is an organic approach for bees to begin drawing comb on frames. It works well with wooden frames. It does not work well with plastic frames, which some beekeepers use in their hives. With wired frames, wax base works best. This is due to the fact that the foundation and the comb drawn over it may sag in hot temperatures. A wired frame keeps wax better and can be used multiple times over the course of many seasons.
The benefits of wax foundation
- The yield of wax with a wax basis is extremely high. You can melt down the entire comb and only use what you need to make the next batch of foundation.
- Beehive frames may also be boiled for cleansing, disinfection, and cleaning thanks to the wax foundation.
- In beekeeping, wax is the natural way to go. It eliminates the possibility of contaminating your honey and other beehive products.
- Wax foundation allows you to gain practical experience in beekeeping. It allows you to communicate more effectively with your honeybee colonies.
Drawbacks of wax foundation
- Wax foundation necessitates the wiring of the frames and the embedding of wire in the foundation. Unexperienced beekeepers have a difficult time connecting their frames. Others find the activity to be time-consuming and tedious.
- This wax from sources other than your apiary may have unfavorable impurities. It may injure your bees and cause you to lose money as a result of dangerous beehive goods.
- Pests and parasites that burrow through wax can readily pass through wax foundation. In a beehive, the larvae of wax moths and hive beetles are the primary culprits of this destructive behavior.
About plastic foundation
Most manufacturers use polypropylene to make plastic foundation. It’s a different kind of foundation than typical wax foundation. Each brand has a preferred foundation color. Plastic foundation is also available in a variety of cell sizes. Make sure to purchase the plastic base in the color and cell size of your choice.
The foundation component of plastic frames is frequently manufactured from a single plastic sheet. They provide a more stable and continuous platform for bees to draw comb on frames. Plastic, on the other hand, irritates honeybees. Wax is applied on plastic base used in beekeeping. The wax coats the plastic and provides a foundation for bees to draw comb on. The wax used to cover the plastic basis must be genuine beeswax. It aids honeybee uptake of plastic foundations.
The benefits of plastic foundation
- Pests and parasites that dig through the comb, such as hive beetles, are easily handled with plastic foundation.
- Plastic foundation outperforms wax foundation. It does not sag in hot weather or readily break during honey harvest.
- It is easier to manage cross comb when using plastic foundation than on wax foundation.
- Plastic foundation sheets purchased from various sources are often brand new. This ensures that pollutants from other beehives do not enter your apiary.
- Plastic foundation sheet manufacturers have made the foundation sheets accessible in a variety of colors. Beekeepers prefer white and black.
Drawbacks of plastic foundation
- Plastic foundation requires coating with wax.
- Plastic residues may penetrate honey and wax. As a result, they are unfit for human eating.
- The wax used to cover plastic foundation comes from unknown sources. It may contain pollutants and chemical residues that are not food-safe.
How do the two compare?
Plastic foundation outperforms wax foundation in terms of strength and longevity, while wax foundation outperforms it in terms of bee acceptability, ease of usage, and great wax yields. The most serious dangers with plastic foundation are bees rejecting it and its weight. When harvesting wax from beehive frames with wax foundation on wooden frames, the worst that can happen is foundation loss.
Wax moth and hive beetle larvae cannot pass through plastic foundation. A beehive infestation is readily contained to one side of the frame. However, an infestation of these bee pests will not begin or be limited to one side of a single frame in the beehive. The plastic foundation will only hinder their progress through the hive by a modest amount. Larvae crawl across plastic-coated frames and through the entire beehive. Infestations must be detected by beekeepers before they take hold in the beehive. Early detection and control of honeybee pests, parasites, and diseases is the only way to avoid the massive losses they generate.
When it comes to earnings, a plastic base is preferable. It has a higher likelihood of reusing frames than wax foundation. If you can avoid warping and clean frames without destroying the base, you will be able to keep it for many years. If you utilize plastic foundation in your beehives, you should also use plastic frames. Those that are molded with their basis are more durable than hardwood frames with plastic foundations.