The In the first article in the series, Beehive Components Part I: Building a Hive from the Ground Up, we covered the basic parts of a hive and how they all fit together. In Part II, we’ll take a closer look at the interior parts of a hive: The frames and foundation.
From laying eggs and raising young to storing pollen and honey, frames and foundation are where honeybees perform most of the life-sustaining functions that keep the colony going. Essential pieces of equipment for successful beekeeping, it’s crucial to make sure you have the right frames and foundation, in the right size and quantity, for your beehive.
Dadant Frames: Proudly Made in the U.S.A.
Our hive box components and Dadant frames are constructed of 100% Ponderosa Pine sourced from the Northwestern US and milled at our woodenware plant in Montana.
A frame holds the beeswax comb, or foundation, and provides strength and stability. Standard hive bodies and supers are built to accommodate ten frames and are available in different sizes to fit the depth of the hive body or super:
- 9 1/8” Frame size for 9 5/8” Hive Body or Deep Super
- 6 ¼” Frame size for 6 5/8” Medium Super
- 5 3/8” Frame size for 5 11/16” Shallow Super
Four parts comprise a typical beehive frame: a top bar, bottom bar, and two end bars. Dadant frames feature a ½” thick bottom bar and a full ¾” thick top bar along with strong end bars comprised of 18% more wood than others on the market.
Dadant ships frames with grooved bottom bars, unless otherwise specified when ordering. However, there are two styles available for the top bar: wedge or grooved.
Wedge Top Bar
Frames with a wedge top bar include a wooden wedge that can be removed with a utility knife. Set your chosen foundation in place and nail or staple the wedge back in place to “wedge” the foundation against the wooden frame, securing it in position.
Grooved Top Bar
The groove on a grooved top bar allows the foundation to be snapped into the preassembled wooden frame. This type of frame works best with more rigid types of foundation.
Dadant Assembled Frames & Foundation
Dadant offers assembled grooved top bar frames with Plasticell foundations installed before they are shipped. Plasticell is a beeswax-coated, food-grade plastic.
Dadant Pro Tip: Looking for an even easier option? EZ Frames are an all-in-one frame/foundation combination made of food-grade plastic coated in beeswax. This long-lasting option requires no assembly or wiring and holds up to a variety of weather conditions. A version with uncoated frames is also available in the Dadant online store.
Dadant Beeswax Foundation
At Dadant & Sons, we have manufactured reliable beeswax foundation since 1878. We make our high-quality foundations with 100% pure beeswax purchased them exclusively from hardworking American beekeepers and manufacture them at our Corporate Office in Hamilton, IL. Today, we offer four types of 100% wax foundation: Medium Brood, Wired, Thin Surplus, and Cut Comb.
Medium Brood Foundation
Dadant Medium Brood Foundation is the industry’s original, 100% pure beeswax foundation. Additionally, we create these perfectly milled, deep walled, worker-sized cells with far more definition than other products on the market. Dadant’s superior Medium Brood Foundation best suit wedge style top bar frames in all super or hive body sizes.
Dadant Pro Tip: We recommend cross-wiring frames with medium brood foundation for a stable and secure unit.
Wired (Crimp Wire) Foundation
Though many copycat products exist on the market, Crimp Wire foundation was originally developed by Dadant and remains unrivaled to this day. Nine vertical crimped steel wires provide strength while perfectly milled cells and deep exact walls provide a solid foundation. You can use a wired foundation in wedge or grooved top bar style frames in all super or hive body sizes.
Dadant Pro Tip: For Deep Frames (9 1/8”), we recommend adding cross wires for stability. Wire foundation without hooks is also available for use with wedge or grooved top bar style frames.
Thin Surplus Foundation
Dadant Thin Surplus Foundation is our thinnest beeswax sheet. Beekeepers use our Thin Surplus Foundation to produce square or round section cut comb honey or chunk honey. Thin Surplus Foundation from Dadant and Sons is only available for use in wedge top bar frame styles used in shallow supers.
Dadant Pro Tip: Foundation will freeze and crumble if shipped at temperatures below 38 degrees F. Therefore, Dadant and Sons will hold orders until the temperature at our distribution center is above 38 degrees F unless instructed otherwise.
Cut Comb Foundation
Dadant Cut Comb Foundation is slightly heavier than thin surplus and is easier to handle. We make these 100% beeswax frames specifically for Cut Comb or Chunk Honey cut directly from the frame. Cut Comb is for wedge top bar frame in medium and shallow supers.
Foundation for Varroa Mite Control
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques that use beeswax foundation are very challenging and should only attempted by or under the guidance of an experienced beekeeper.
The first technique uses a Small Cell foundation, which results in a smaller honeybee due to the smaller size of the cells. This gives the mite less room to reproduce, resulting in fewer mites in the hive.
The second technique uses a Drone Cell foundation to trap the varroa mites. The beekeeper caps the cells and places them in a freezer to kill the mites. After a prescribed period of time, they scratch the cells open and place the frame back into the hive where the colony quickly cleans out the cells.
Read the first article in this series, Beehive Components Part I: Building a Hive from the Ground Up
For beekeeping equipment and educational materials, visit our online store.