Jim Webb wrote:My Dad told me that bees eat honey to produce wax from the gland mentioned above and that it takes 7 lb of honey to make 1 lb of wax. That is why beekeepers give the bees frames already set up with foundation wax, which they can then draw out to make the comb and they won't have to eat all that honey. I've never checked that but he knew a lot about bees.
Michael Cox wrote:The biggest issue I have found is that the bees need perfect conditions to make wax, and once those have passed wax building totally stops. They need lots of bees the right age (12 days to about 16 days), heat and plentiful forage available. The demographics of the colony quickly passes through the period where there are lots of bees the right age. Here in the UK I expect wax drawing to have essentially stopped by now (late summer).
Michael Cox wrote:Foundationless beekeeping is a thing - I do it myself. You save the cost of the foundation, but it requires more active management of the combs through the year and it is less likely you will be able to reuse the combs from year to year.
With foundation the bees are guaranteed to make parallel combs. Without foundation they can draw out their com into weird and wonderful shapes.
Tony Hillel wrote:
Michael Cox, in the summer, even during drought or dearth, you can get your bees to draw out comb by feeding them THIN sugar syrup, no thicker than 1:1, but better yet 1.3 parts water to 1 part sugar.
Michael Cox wrote:As I said, you need a flow, bees of the right ages, and heat. You are describing an artificial flow, so without feeding those bees would be very slow to draw comb.
There are lots of ways to manipulate bees to do things that they would otherwise not.