View Full Version : 9 Frame Brood Chambers

07-16-2004, 05:59 AM
How many people are working only 9 frames in their brood chambers?

I was considering using only 9. Some say it is the prefered and others say it isn't necessary and you have less room for the queen lay.

What are the thoughts of the other more experienced beekeepers on this forum?



brian spilsbury
07-16-2004, 06:03 AM
My observation up here in the great white north is those that use single brood chambers for over wintering are usually using 10 frames, while those over wintering in doubles are going or at 9 frames.
I have no experience either way!

Michael Bush
07-16-2004, 06:13 AM
There seem to be a lot of people who do both. Personally I do the opposite. I like to shave a little off of the end bars and make them 1 1/4" (instead of 1 3/8") and do 11 frames in a 10 frame box. That gives me smaller cells, because the bees seem to build cell size partially based on the distance to the next comb, and it gives me another frame of brood. This is also the natural spacing of natural sized bees according to my observations and according to Huber's observations. I also space PermaComb at 11 frames in some of my hives. What I didn't like about 9 frames is a lot of in and out of the face of the comb. This makes it difficult when you rearrange the brood nest in any way because of protruding honey.

The proponents think it makes the brood nest less crowded and standardizes all of their boxes, if they use spacing frame rests.

07-16-2004, 07:17 AM
I use 3/4 suppers with 9 frames in them. I give the queen 3 of those boxes to lay in. If I use 10 I'm affraid that I might roll (kill) the queen. With 9 frames I feel that the chances of doing that is less. It also give the bees more cluster room.

07-16-2004, 08:10 AM
we use both we lik the 9 frame hives because it is a little easyer to get the frame out and to stick a queen cage in
the ten frame we like cause i think that we get smaller cell and the comb face is much more even and the queens has more space to lay in we are thinking of going all to 10 frame. also if you many hives the cast of tow extra frames a hive will add up. Mr. Bush how do you shave the end bars down and how far? Nick

07-16-2004, 08:30 AM

In order to fit 11 frames in a Lang. all you have to do is shave 1/16 off both sides of the end bars of your frames. This comes in real handy once you've regressed your bees and are using all small cell foundation or foundationless frames.

Michael Bush
07-16-2004, 08:53 AM
That is correct. You take 1/16" off of each side. You can cut them on a saw ahead of time. You can plane them off with a plane, IF you don't have nails in the way. I try to glue and nail from the end into the top bar instead of from the sides into the top bar, so that I can plane them off if I want.

My experience is that the uneven face causes bees to get sqashed, but in a less consistent manner than rolling. You can still hurt the bees.

In order to not roll them you really have to pull and end frame off and move them over as you go. You can shave them down to 1 1/4" and make a follower for the end and just use 10 frames. You get more cluster space because they can cluster on both sides of the follower, you can pull the follower to make room to move the frames. I have some with 10 frames and a follower and I kind of like it, but I don't have enough followers to do them all that way and haven't bothered to make them.

Those frames that look like a punched queen excluder that are supposed to make more cluster space, would probably work for a follower on the ends.

Personally if I WAS going to do 9 frames I'd put a follower on both ends to give the same cluster space, room to manuver the frames and still have consistent comb faces.

07-16-2004, 09:13 AM
Interesting. I've always wondered if 11 frames would work because I've noticed that while the honey and pollen cells come out almost flush with the sides of the top bar, the brood cells are much shorter. If the top bars were crammed together, there would still be at least a bee space between brood cells on adjacent combs. Getting the frames in and out may be a problem.

I've also thought about building a "side entry" brood box where one side was hinged or somehow easily removable and you could slide brood frames out horizontally rather than vertically. This would prevent rolling so many bees and prying so much on the top bars. This might also allow access to the bottom brood box without having to remove the top one. I'm sure strength and propolizing would be issues. Any thoughts?

07-16-2004, 09:24 AM
thanks for the replies.

Can someone tell me what a 3/4 super is? Is that different than a medium super?


Michael Bush
07-16-2004, 09:28 AM
>I've also thought about building a "side entry" brood box where one side was hinged or somehow easily removable and you could slide brood frames out horizontally rather than vertically. This would prevent rolling so many bees and prying so much on the top bars. This might also allow access to the bottom brood box without having to remove the top one. I'm sure strength and propolizing would be issues. Any thoughts?

I've had a lot of thoughts on this. I never came up with a workable system though. By the time the bees propolized everything and the amount of structural weakness from the hinged side, I don't think it will work. I went for more of a horizontal hive to avoid the lifting. But that has it's problems too. Swarming seems to be a bigger problem in a horizontal system and I'm not sure I've got the management all figured out for it, but I do like not lifting the boxes.

As far as rolling I DO take them out horizontally anyway. I pull the end one first and then slide each over as I go, or I pull the end out and pry into the middle to make some room to pull a middle frame out without rolling.

07-16-2004, 10:02 AM
Thanks for the rolling suggestions. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/wink.gif

Dan (feel like I'm talking to my self http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif ) 3/4 suppers are 2/3 depth of a full supper. A full supper is 9 and 5/8 inches high, a 3/4 is 6 and 5/8 inches high, and a shallow is 5 and 11/16 inches high. I use the 3/4 since it only holds about 50 lbs. Very easy (ha!) on the back when lifting. A full supper will be about 80+ lbs. and a shallow maybe 35-40 lbs. For the amount for work for a shallow I don't think it's worth it. I hope I have answered your question.

[This message has been edited by bjerm2 (edited July 16, 2004).]

Michael Bush
07-16-2004, 10:27 AM
Name(s) Depth Weight full of honey Uses
Jumbo, Dadant Deep 11 5/8” 100 - 110 pounds Brood
Deep, Langstroth Deep 9 5/8” 80 - 90 pounds Brood & Ext
Western? 7 5/8” 70 - 80 pounds Brood & Ext
Medium, Illinois, 3/4 6 5/8” 60 - 70 pounds Brood & Ext & Cmb
Shallow 5 ¾” or 5 11/16” 50 - 60 pounds Cmb
Extra Shallow, ½ 4 ¾” or 4 11/16” 40 – 50 pounds Cmb

Michael Bush
07-16-2004, 10:30 AM
I'm with bjerm2. I run all mediums for everything. I used to run deeps for the brood nest, but as time goes on gravity keeps increasing (don't know why someone doesn't research this more), so I went to all mediums.

I cut down all my deep frames to mediums and all but a couple of my deep boxes to mediums.

07-16-2004, 12:06 PM
I thought maybe you were talking about the Illinois med. but I wasn't sure. I already have everal deeps and frames but I'm gonna just use up the deeps I have then go to the medium super (3/4). More boxes to make and more frames to buy but the deeps are definately heavy.

07-16-2004, 01:40 PM
My brood boxes are the 9-5/8 and the 6-5/8. Anything smaller is a super. So I refer to a brood box as a 1, 1-1/2, 2, or 2-1/2...and so on. That being the 9-5/8 is one and the 6-5/8 is a half. I never heard anyone call a box a 3/4 box.

The honey supers are 6-5/8 and called mediums, and the 5-5/8(3/4) are called shallows. Odds sizes like for comb, are call just that, whatever they are used for.

07-16-2004, 03:48 PM
Howdy All --

There is a cmpromise for 9 vs 10 brood.
I use a 1/2" spacer frame on each side of
a Medium with 9 frames crowded together in

Removal of one of the spacers is easily
done because it is not heavily psropolized.
This eliminates rolling bees when the first frame is removed.

In the 1/2" top bar a piece of masonite
is mounted in a groove with glue.


07-17-2004, 07:51 AM
I am surprised at some of the comments, particularly those concerning "rolling" and the mention of bulging comb.

For years I have used 9 frames in all my supers and ten frames in the hive bodies. Because the bees do not generally crowd the end frames I always remove an end frame before any center frames. If there is some slight attachment to the sidewall I can insert a hive tool to break that first, then lift out the end frame. After that the remaining frames are moved over and lifted out. In a crowded hive I leave two frames out while examining the others. "Rolling" just does not occur if you do this, even if a bit of smoke is required to move a few bees off an end frame.

As for the ten-frame vs nine-frame issue, I draw all combs in ten frame boxes, then place them in supers with 9-frame spacers. Only recently I re-read Walter Kelley's book (which I think is still one of the best beginner's bee books on the market) and saw that he advocated doing the same with brood boxes. I will be doing that next year.

At any rate, bulging comb in 9 frame supers has never been a problem to me, and bulging comb in brood frames involves only honey. By moving an end frame these bulges can be managed without damage. I think burr comb presents more problem than bulging comb.