Healthy Foundation, Healthy Bees, Making Organic Wax Foundation for Beekeepers

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2008: $13,999.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Richard Spiegel
Volcano Island Honey Co.


  • Animals: bees


  • Animal Production: general animal production
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
  • Pest Management: biological control, biorational pesticides

    Proposal summary:

    Currently, no organic wax foundation is produced in the United States, presenting a struggle for the organic sector of the multi-million dollar bee industry in Hawaii to find acceptable foundation for bees to build honeycombs on. The organic standards allow producers to use a plastic foundation coated in wax, but beekeepers are convinced that this should not be used. Soon, the organic regulations will require organic foundation, which will leave Hawaii beekeepers in a predicament.

    This Farmer/Rancher Grant will allow the lost skill of foundation making from beeswax to be taught to these farmers. This will build healthy, stronger beehives, free from toxic chemicals in the foundation, while also increasing the self-reliance and vitality of the community. The local production of wax foundation will also put to good use the excess beeswax from organic production that is not used in candle making.

    Educational information gained from this research will be posted on the Internet and a foundation-making workshop will be held for beekeepers to learn this valuable skill.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.