Purpose of a Hive Frame
A hive frame provides strength and stability as well as a place for honey bees to store honeycomb that bees use to store eggs and food. To create honeycomb, bees draw out the starter foundation with beeswax in a six sided cell format, which they can use for food and egg storage.
Frames are usually placed in the hive body or honey super. 10-frame hive bodies are built to accommodate 10 frames, while 8-frame hives hold up to eight frames. The size of your frames depends on the size of the foundation, body and super. Frames can also be left in the beehive for several years before they need to be replaced, as well as cross wired for additional strength.
Hive Frame Sizing Options
Beekeepers have traditionally used wooden frames in their hives. In the past few years, beeswax-coated plasticell and other plastic frames have become more popular.
Your choice of wood or plastic frames depends on your own personal preference, and some beekeepers use both. The main difference between the two options is that wax foundations cannot be used with plastic frames.
Deep foundations and supers (9 5/8") support 9 1/8” frames.
Medium foundations (5 5/8") and supers (6 5/8") hold 6 1/4" frames.
Shallow foundations (4 3/4") and supers (5 11/16”) accommodate 5 3/8" frames.
Types of Hive Frames
Dadant offers wedge top bar grooved bottom ba unassembled for shallow frames.
Dadant offers multiple medium frames, including select wooden frames with grooved top and bottom bars, commercial wooden frames, and commercial frames with coated plasticell.
Dadant offers a diverse selection of deep frames, such as select wooden frames with grooved top and bottom bars, commercial wooden frames with grooved top bar and wedged bottom bar, and commercial frames with coated plasticell.
Wedge top bar frames have a removable wedge that makes it easier to insert the foundation. Once foundation is in place, the wedge is put back and nailed or stapled. Wedge top bar is recommended for a wax foundation. Plasticell will also fit.
Grooved top bar frames don't move and work best with a rigid foundation, such as Plasticell.