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Wooden Sections

Traditional method of section production

Wooden sections are the traditional way of producing comb honey for sale. They are basically a long piece of thin wood with three 90° grooves machined across them, but only part way through. There is a comb machined into each end, so that when the section is folded it clips together as a box. There is a groove for foundation to slide in.

These sections are usually packed into a section rack with section dividers in between to prevent the bees building wild comb. They are placed on the colony in the same way as a normal super.

When full and fully capped, the sections are removed from the colony, have propolis and wax removed, then placed in a carton for sale.

There are different designs of section, but the principle of all of them is the same. The wood used is lime (Tilia spp) that is known as basswood in the U.S.A. The grain is long and fine so the sections don't break when they are bent. If the wood is moistened around the area of fold it reduces the chance of fracture.

There is an art in producing good wooden sections every year, as they are probably the most difficult way of producing honey. There are still some beekeepers who specialise in them. Because they are difficult, they have largely been replaced by cut comb honey. Most commercial beekeepers avoid sections because of the uncertainty of producing them, the few I know who do tend to prefer either plastic alternatives or round sections.

A method the old beekeepers used to get good sections was to hive a prime swarm on a super of honey with a rack of sections above.

Roger Patterson.

Page created 03/01/2015

Page updated 05/09/2022