Beeswax foundation is a sheet of beeswax with a pattern of honey comb cells embossed on it. These sheets sometimes have wires running through them to give them extra strength. They are used in frame-hive beekeeping. Each new frame placed in the bee hive will be made up with a sheet of foundation and this gives the bees a base from which to start building, as they begin to draw out the full comb.
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The foundation produced in temperate climates is for temperate bees. Temperate Apis mellifera are about 10% large than tropical Apis mellifera. Consequently the foundation and foundation presses that are available are all geared for the worker size of the temperate bee. If these large foundation sizes are used for tropical bees they will build a good deal of drone brood in the larger cells and use a great deal of energy breaking down the wax to rebuild the comb into the correct sizes. Beeswax foundation can be purchased from beekeeping suppliers or can be made by beekeepers themselves.
Feeding is necessary if there is not enough forage available for the bees. Many beekeepers in cold climates feed their bees when there are periods of bad weather or as bees begin to build up after the winter. Feeding bees is expensive and if there is adequate forage, it is not necessary. However, if feeding is ever undertaken it should always be done from within the hive to prevent uncontrollable robbing and damage being done to other colonies in the area. Robbing bees will target smaller weaker colonies and take all their honey stores so poor feeding practise has the potential to cause chaos among the bees as well as giving the opportunity to spread disease around.
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