Wiring Frames for Honeybee Hives

Posted in Bee Tools, Neat Idea on March 11th, 2011


Last year when I was extracting honey, I found the extractor would bend the wax in some frames. I could very gently press them back into place, but I wanted to avoid this problem. So I am adding wire to my frames. Basically, instead of using pins to hold the wax in place, wire is stretched across frames and pressed or melted into the wax foundation.

Working with a friend and copying commercial designs, I built a platform to assist in holding the frames for wiring. On the left, there is a commercial wire holder with a piece of spring steel holding the wire. The wire is fed to the right, where the raised wood block holds the frame. The wooden block is at the center of the frame.  I used scrap wood which is why it is stenciled. Containers for nails and grommets are kept at the top. The embedding tool is also shown at the top of the photo.

The first step is to press brass grommets into the frame edge. A hand tool and hammer is used for this. You can see a grommet in the first photo. The frame is then placed on the wooden board.

Two nails are nailed 1/2 way into the frame left near the two grommet holes. Wire is then fed around the frame to point 1. It enters the frame at point 4 then around from 3 to 2 then 1.  The wire is wrapped around the nail at point 1. The nail is then pounded in and the extra wire is clipped off. The wire should be pulled tight. The easiest way to do this is to pull it tight at point 2, then at point 4. The wire makes a nice twang sound when plucked it if is tight enough. The wire is then wrapped around the nail at point 4.  The nail is pounded in and the wire trimmed.

The wax is then inserted into the frame as normal. I like to use the wedge top frames but this is all about personal preference. The wire is pressed into the wax with the embedder tool. I have seen gadgets which heat the wire and melt it into the wax. This seems to be a neat idea but I don’t see it as necessary.

A completed frame, showing the two extra wires running across the frame. It is recommend that frames which will be put into an extractor be wired. It was also suggested to me, wiring helps prevent problems when hives are transported.


Making Wax Bars

Posted in Bee Tools, Neat Idea on February 17th, 2011

I have always liked the beeswax bars but the ones for sale always lacked a little personalization.

After searching around, I found making a silicon mold would be the easiest way to do this. First I would have to make a master. I searched around for a couple different ways to do this. I settled on a service called Ponoko. This is a service which lets you upload a computer file, which is then cut out of plastic on their laser cutter.

After a week or two it arrived.

There is paper on the back which holds it together.

One of the bars were designed using the Maine State Beekeepers Association logo. Sadly some of the finer details were a little too thin for the laser cutter. The original idea was to have the wings be removed but I ended up leaving them in.

I dry fitted the pieces together to ensure everything fit.

I used superglue to form the box.

Here I have a bar for “Blue Line Apiary” ready to go.

Here is the bar in a container waiting for silicone to be poured. See my other post for more details. Silicone mold making for Candles

Here is the completed bar. The small hole under the bee is an air bubble and not part of the mold.

Intresting Honey Bee Videos

Posted in Bee Tools, Things to do in Winter on January 19th, 2011

Two promo of videos dealing with the loss of honey bees.

The first is for Vanishing Bees

The second is for a upcoming Australian move Honeybee Blues. It includes some amazing footage of flying honey bees.