Foundation Cell Size and Cell Counts, Why it Matters

Most beekeepers use plastic or 100% wax foundation in the frames to give support comb and to encourage bees to build their comb straight. However, bees can build their comb perfectly fine without foundation (click here to read more), but possibly to the disapproval of their beekeeper. 

In our own hives, we use foundationless frames as well as our black plastic foundation. All of our plastic foundation is coated with twice as much beeswax as standard plastic foundation, and our cell sizes are smaller than most other sheets of foundation on the market. 

Our foundation has more cells per sheet than the standard sheet of plastic foundation or 100% wax foundation. There is a debate on whether smaller cells can help reduce the amount of varroa mites, but it cannot be debated that a frame with more cells allows queens to lay more eggs in a smaller areas. This is one of the main reasons we like foundation with smaller cell sizes. Our foundation is not as small as the "small cell", 4.9mm foundation and not as large as the commonly found oversized 5.4mm foundation. 

We compared the size of many of the commonly found foundation available, adding more as we find more. 

Foxhound Bee Company Foundation from Acorn

Medium, black, plastic foundation with heavy wax - 2,282 cells per side

Deep, black, plastic foundation with heavy wax  - 3,586 cells per side

Approximate cell size: 5.2mm

 


 

Mann Lake Rite Cell Foundation

Medium, yellow, plastic, rite-cell plastic foundation - 2,133 cells per side

Deep, yellow, plastic, rite-cell foundation - 3,397 cells per side

Approximate cell size: 5.4mm

As we are able to get our hands on more brands and varieties, we will add them here. 

Happy Beekeeping