Aluminium Cored Foundation
Aluminium Comb
Grid reinforced Foundation
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Non Beeswax Foundation and Comb for Honey Bees

Various non standard methods have been employed in the manufacture of foundation or artificial honeycomb.

In some of these, lower cost was the objective. In others the objective was greater physical strength and rigidity for high speed extracting.

Another possible reason is the ability of plastic materials to withstand or discourage attack by wax moths.

The methods fall into several categories:-


In 1857, the very first attempts at foundation were based on cloth or paper sheets impregnated with beeswax and passed through embossing rollers. This has been taken further with plastic and aluminium core sheets with adhering wax layers, again passed through conventional rollers.

Alternative Material

Various waxes and alloys of wax have been used to make foundation, and versions that were a sandwich of different waxes have been used to make a '3 ply' embossed foundation. Resins and plastics have also been used, but these materials require to be moulded rather that embossed.

Artificial Comb

Complete or partial depth combs have been made from plastic and also from aluminium. This has been taken to the extreme of moulding a complete comb including the frame so that no assembly is even required. There is also the ANP comb which has two moulded halves that fit together with a central Bakelite midrib sheet to form a complete frame and comb unit (I believe these only exist in German National 'DIN' standard size).

Grid reinforced foundation is an alternative to wiring foundation or wiring the frames.

Dave Cushman.

Page created 22/03/2022

Over the years, I have seen many products sold in an attempt to replace foundation. These have mainly been made from plastic. I have only used a few of them myself, but I have seen many used elsewhere. The complaints always seem to be the same or similar. It is difficult to cut out queen cells, the bees can't chew holes in combs as they can in beeswax foundation, you can't burn old comb, etc. I have seen plastic foundation used in the US and Canada, often being a moulding to include the frame, some manufacturers making drone a different colour from worker. For some reason, the bees often seem to remove the comb after building it, or don't draw it out properly in the first place. R. P.

Page updated 30/11/2022

 Written... 22 March 2002, Updated... 02, 13 April 2002, Upgraded... 25 August 2006,
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