Thursday, 3 September 2015


Some of my honey frames start out with purchased wax foundation. But since it isn't always on hand, I've been experimenting with foundationless frames. I figure that if the bees go to the trouble of drawing out the majority of their own comb, they will think they've invested just too much work in the hive to swarm off. Also, I'm only a hobby beekeeper and not concerned with maximum honey production.

This year I've used tongue depressors as starter strips. Here is the design using seven sticks. They seem to like this arrangement best, so I'll be using it from now on.

The design using seven tongue depressor sticks seems to work best.

Here is the six-stick method. They liked it but not as much as the seven-stick frames. Also, I think seven sticks will hold the comb better when full of honey and undergoing a spin in the extractor basket.

The design using six tongue depressors seems to work okay.

My two-stick method was a bit of a failure. I had overlooked the fact that bees make a droopy chain to form comb in space and the "V" design seems to get in their way.

The two stick design. The verdict on it's success is still out.

Goldenrod flowers are now in abundance and are a big attraction for the honey bees. It produces my favourite honey -- sort of a caramel flavour.

A young worker honey bee harvesting goldenrod blooms.

I no longer buy salad dressing but make my own using honey. As well as a delicious salad topping, it is wonderful drizzled on cooked potato wedges or over roast chicken. Here is the recipe:

     Honey Dressing

     3/4 cup olive oil
     1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
     1 heaping tablespoon honey
     dash pepper

     (optional teaspoon dijon mustard)

Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and then transfer it to an empty olive oil bottle. For a day or two it will need to be shaken before use but then the honey will emulsify the mixture and little or no shaking will be needed. I hope you give this a try.

My sister gave me this cute gum drop confection. She knows me so well!


  1. I do like the recipe, copied for future use, and close up of golden flowers with one bee busy, delightful.

  2. Didn't know you were using foundationless frames...have you had any trouble spinning the honey? I just crush and strain...then use the wax for beeswax burns clearner than parafin.
    Some using foundationless put wire across the middle to give the wax more stability...havn't tried that yet.

  3. This is so interesting! I never thought about how they started. What a great post!

  4. Carol ...

    Foundationless frames coming apart in the extractor process has not really been a problem for me. I use a two-frame, hand crank extractor and only spin gently because even wired commercial comb will blow out at too high a speed. Any honey left behind in the comb will soon be cleaned up by the bees when I place the wet frames back in their respective hives.

    I'm also a fan of beeswax candles, Carol. They are the absolute top of the line in candles! Candle making is one of my 'winter vacation' hobbies!


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