Natural Comb is the architecture of the bees, the exact foundation, drawn out comb and cell sizes that the bees design and prefer for the best of the colony.
In standard hives frames are inserted with either plastic foundation or wax foundation with the size of the cells designed by machine. Plastics can Emmit toxic and hormonal fumes and while wax foundation initially is more appealing it is made from wax off commercial operations where high levels of pesticides have been detected contaminating the wax.
The bees produce the wax from glands in their body, they excrete specific enzymes into the wax at different stages. For instance the wax that is the foundation of the comb has a slightly different composition then that of the capping or cells.
Theory’s have raised stating that the bees need to produce these specific enzymes for proper health.They are not able to produce these building on the foundation frames.
In natural comb the bees can more easily build the sizes of cells that they require. The worker cell is a small sized cell with the cappings even to the comb, Queen cells look much longer and larger then any other cell and kind of resemble a peanut,drone cells are longer then a worker and look like pencil erasers.
This season I experimented with foundation less frames in langsthroth hives…I was so impressed with this combination of standard hives and top bar hives. I like how it is sort of the best of both worlds, you have the vertical design using supers (usually shallow) with the natural comb of the top bars. You can harvest honeycomb from the Langstroth this way. There is nothing as sweet as biting into Honeycomb. Plus the benefit of all the antiseptic qualities of the honey cappings (the way the bees preserve honey)
The breathtaking beauty of the naturally built comb is something you just can not compare to. Its completely perfect in its design and shape and absolutely fascinating to observe.