Once you’ve built your frames it’s time to install foundation. We recommend saving installation until just before you need the frames, to keep down the risk of bees, or any other pest moving in during the colder months. The process for installing foundation will vary, depending on the type used. Spiral Horn Apiary uses what is called wired wax foundation.

At the beginning of the installation process, frames should be ready, with eyelets in the side bars and wire running in four strands horizontally across the frame, secured by a nail at one end (see video – Bee Frame Wiring). Each frame contains a cutaway piece running along one side of the top bar of each frame. Remove this with gentle pressure from a pocket knife along the seam.

We build all of our frames at Spiral Horn Apiary at one time, leaving the wedge bars in tact at the time of constructions.  We do this so the little wedge bars are not lost or damaged.  If you would like to see how we build and wire frames, visit our complete instructional video portfolio.

Next, pick up your sheet of wax foundation and place it in the frame, with the hooked wires settling into the space created by the piece you’ve just removed. Make sure the wax hangs straight, or the bees will draw excess comb on the frame.

Turn the frame (with the wax still in its place) upside down with the hooks facing you, and replace the cut out piece over the hooked wires, pushing the piece up against the wax so that it fits snugly against the inside of the frame. Secure the piece back into the frame with four staples (we use a staple gun powered by a compressor) evenly spaced.

The last step for installing foundation involves a jig that can be found. Place the frame into the jig, with the horizontal wires facing up, and press the arm onto the first wire. Tap the switch at the top of the arm once, quickly, and wait as the wire sinks into the melted wax, which then hardens back around the wire. Rock the arm back and forth once or twice to dislodge it without breaking the wax around the wire.

Do the same with each of the remaining three wires, and place in a protected place for storage. Congratulations on installing foundation successfully!