How to Use Foundation Starter Strips and Checkerboarding Your Frames
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How to Use Foundation Starter Strips and Checkerboarding Your Frames

October 25, 2019


Hello, this is Rob Gillam with Weller Bee Supply. We talked earlier about different
types of foundation, whether it was wax or whether you’re using Rite-Cell. One of the alternatives to using full sheets
of foundation is what they call starter strips. Now what I have here today, these
are starter strips that have been made from the wire-reinforced foundation.
Which is kind of hard to cut with the wire in them, but you can use it, but I recommend,
if you want to try the starter strips get you a couple sheets of the non-wired or just plain.
The thing nice about using starter strips, if you like comb honey you’re allowing the bees to make their own wax which is natural as you’re going to get. So what I do is, I’ll take, we’ve already got our frames assembled, same way I’m going to take and I’m going to remove my wedge. We want to remove the wedge from the top bar, we’ll take and ~ we’ll take our starter strip and the starter strips are only about three-quarters of an inch wide but I can take the starter strip and I can lay it in that notch. I take my wedge, same way if I’ve left that little piece of wood on there I can put that right against my foundation But I want to pinch it in there I want to pinch my wedge as I’m stapling it to hold the foundation in place. So I’m pinching my wedge, putting a staple in or you can use nails, get you some nails started in your wedge. Now you’ve put just a small piece of foundation in your frame in which the bees can build from. Now there’s different things you can do here also, you can put fishing line in your holes, to give it a little bit more support as the bees drawdown, but if you’re doing this on honey supers, in your medium or shallow frames there’s really no need to. If you’re making your comb honey you don’t want fishing line in it, So you know, allow the bees just to make their wax and it’ll be fine. The only thing is, as a beekeeper one of the biggest expenses you’ll have, after you’ve bought all your equipment and your bees is foundation. So for me if I’m extracting, or you know, however I’m removing my honey I want to protect my comb. My comb is my most expensive and it’s the most time consuming for the bees to draw out. So once you’ve done that, you want to treat your comb with extra care because you can use it over and over and it just saves the bees time, saves you cost. So by using the starter strip it allows the bees to make their own comb, it’s all-natural. The only thing that I ask that you do, or that you should do is you don’t want to put a whole super on full of these. You can, but there’s a real good chance that the bees when they’re drawing the comb they’ll be going down the frame just like they ought to and then they’ll jump over to another frame. So you got to kind of keep an eye on them. But, by checker-boarding, what they call checker-boarding you take your starter strip, you’ll put it in the hive and you’ll take another sheet of foundation, full foundation it can be plastic or wax it doesn’t matter, but put it right in alongside of your starter strip. That helps keep the bees in line. So I’m going to put in a full sheet, starter strip, and I’m gonna just alternate them across the hive. That way it kind of keeps them in order.
So that’s one way. Now the other way, if you don’t want to make starter strips, and I’ve used this also and it works well. I’m going to take another frame, we’re going to remove the wedge. This one here I got a little bit more wood I’d like have so I’ll trim that off, there, I have trimmed off the wedge. Now I’m going to use popsicle sticks, you can get these just about anywhere, any of your hobby stores, they’re just regular popsicle sticks. Then I’m going to lay my popsicle sticks on edge,
~ right in the frame. I’m going to take my wedge, same way as I did with the wax starter strip. I’m gonna place that in there and I’m going to push it against my popsicle sticks to hold them in place. Okay, now that I’ve got my wedge in, I’ve got my little popsicle sticks on edge. I’m going to take beeswax, just regular beeswax and I’m gonna rub that on the edge of my popsicle stick that’s sticking up there, and what this does is it kind of attracts the bee to follow that, and they’re more apt to follow it. I keep just a light coating of beeswax right on that edge of the popsicle stick and I’m going to do these the same way that I do my other starter strips. I’m going to use this along with a full sheet of foundation. I’m going to put in a full sheet of foundation, whether it be Rite-Cell or wax I’m gonna place this right in alongside of it, and every other one, I will do, what they call checker-boarding, where I put solid, starter strip, solid, starter strip and so forth. So that’s just one way to save yourself some money on foundation. It also gives you pure beeswax, It’s simple, the bees don’t mind. and you will actually find that they’ll make their own comb quicker than what they will use the foundation. They like being able to make their own. We thank you for watching, if you like our videos, click the like button, subscribe. Follow us on Facebook. We thank you for watching, best of beekeeping to you. Have a nice day [Music]

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  1. this was good u do a good job teaching about bees and bee keeping do u do this with brood boxes and honey suppers as well. I am getting my honey suppers ready now and I am checker boarding as well with 1 drawn comb and 1 wire foundation new , some comb foundation as well. thanks for this video thank u and have a wonderful day

  2. This season I let my bees draw there own foundation/ wax combs from strips and they done good with it. I also checker boarded. They where drawing a deep in about 2 to 3 days in the spring, but it slowed down in the summer and eventually stopped.
    I used some old drawn frames and I cut the old wax out of the frames , but I left about 1/2 to 3/4 inch of the old wax combs as a starter strip on top portion of the frame and here again the bees where drawing those before they would touch anything else.
    It takes my bees forever to draw out the bought full wax foundation sheets, Seems like they don't like them and it looks like that they are trying to clean them forever before they start building on them.

    Thank you for the quality video and the information it carries.

  3. Nice video. What do you think about melting bee wax and “ painting “ the starter strips to the frame using a clean brush?

  4. I've noticed that on natural drawn comb that bees give themselves holes and bottom openings to travel through the frames.

    Was wondering if we should be drilling access holes in the plastic foundation?

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