Before I could get the bees, I needed to wire some frames to accept the wild comb. After a bit of research I realised that there are almost as many ways to wire a frame as there are beekeepers! So this is my way, based on how I was shown by Frederic a local French beekeeper, but I’m sure it will evolve every time I have to do it.
This is my frame wiring kit: Empty frames, tacks, tack hammer, pliers, cutters, stainless steel frame wire, crimpers and a board.
First up I place the two tacks that will be used to secure the wire. These are just off the line of the pre-drilled holes – these frames are wired side to side not up and down – in order to not weaken the structure. The tacks are put in enough to just poke through the other side but still leave enough protruding to wrap the wire around
I then pass the wire through side to side starting by the tack nearest to the top of the frame and finishing by the tack at the bottom of the frame.
I then wind the end of the wire a few times round the bottom tack to secure it. Working back towards the top of the frame I hand tighten each length of wire, securing it in place by folding it down the side of the frame with my thumb. When I get to the top of the frame, I at first tried tightening the wire a bit more using the pliers but quickly decided that it didn’t make enough difference to warrant fiddling around with the pliers. So I just pull the wire hand tight and wind it a few times round the tack to secure it before cutting the wire from the reel.
The tacks are then driven home to secure the wire and the ends of the wire trimmed so that they don’t interfere with the edges of the hive and don’t rip your gloves. I then trim most of the excess off the end of the tacks so they don’t poke too far into where the foundation and comb will be.
While the wire is now reasonably tight, it’s not tight enough to keep the foundation rigid. This final tightening is achieved using a crimper.
I run the crimper over each strand until each is no longer loose but not so tight that it is in danger of breaking or warping the frame.
The frame is then ready to take the wild comb or to mount a sheet of foundation.
I did prepare quite a few frames of foundation as well but completely forgot to take any photographs so that will have to wait for another day.