Wax foundation — is a thin (about 1 millimeter) sheets of beeswax with pressed hexagons for rapid honeycomb constructions. This sheet is fixed on the frame, which is inserted into the hive. Such adaptations allow to load a bee family and prevent swarming.
Beekeepers use wax foundation to prevent delay in development of the bee colony in spring and early summer before the start of the main (general) honey crop, and also for the natural expansion of the nest. Having prepared foundation in advance, bees spend less effort and resources on making honeycombs from the "zero", thus the beekeeper does not distract the bees from their main occupation - collecting nectar.
Wax foundation can be of two types:
- Natural – made from wax.
- Artificial – made of chemical wax-like substances such as paraffin (or with its use - semi-artificial) and made of plastic (polypropylene, etc.).
Natural wax foundation is produced from wax by the two most common ways:
- Manual or automatic rollers are used, having a relief of cells through which heated wax is scrolled.
- A press (electric or simple) is used, consisting of two plates with a relief of hexagonal cells. The productivity of the press is quite low compared to the first method, so it is used mainly in small and medium-sized apiaries
Wax foundation is inserted into frame with the help of build-up on a wire or without a wire.
Buildup is performed immediately before placing the frames in the hive, because the wax is very sensitive to temperature and is deformed under the pressure of its own weight.