I have put the artificially enlarged bees we all usually raise (5.4mm) on 9 frame spacing and 10 frames spacing with no real problems, they just draw out the face of the honey storage more on 9 frame spacing. I do prefer the 10 frame spacing, which is about 1 3/8" on center. If bees are naturally sized (4.8 to 4.9mm) would they do all right on 1 1/4" spacing? This is the normal spacing for African bees.
Good question - I'd be curious to know the answer to that myself. A question for you: Have you tried getting the bees to draw foundation at 9 frame spacing? I have read that it won't work, that the frames need to be pushed together to ensure they are drawn correctly, so haven't tried anything different. I plan to try it this year just to see what happens.
I have had them draw it out on 9 frame spacing. They are a little more likely to do a cross comb or try to build one in between two of them, but they usually draw it fine. If you give them empty drawn comb the fill it out more. If you put 9 frames in a brood chamber they leave the brood shorter but fill out the honey more so the face of the comb goes in for the brood and out for the honey.
This has been covered on biobee list and organic list. 35mm spacing is about max. Which is standard 10 frame. But after checking ferals in Austrailia and a few other countries the spacing is usually 32mm. Which I believe would give 11 frames to langstroth box. I believe Wedmore states that UK bees natural spacing was 31mm to 33mm. Have to look it up to be certain exactly.
That's kind of what I figured. It would be nice to fit an extra frame of brood in each box.
I have posted some shots of small cell bees reducing the width between the topbars on BioBee. It appears that 1 1/4" will work fine. That's the spacing I've chosen to use in my tbh. Reports also indicate that a wider and more variable spacing is used by the bees for storage comb.
>I have posted some shots of small cell bees reducing the width between the topbars on BioBee. It appears that 1 1/4" will work fine. That's the spacing I've chosen to use in my tbh. Reports also indicate that a wider and more variable spacing is used by the bees for storage comb.
I've noticed the variable spacing before, both when using 9 frame spacing in a brood chamber and in an observation hive I have that has excess space. The brood is more shallow than the honey on the same comb. It occured to me that most of the things I read about differences between African, Africanized and Eurpean Honey bees seemed realted to the size of the comb and not the genetics of the bees, in which case the spacing would also be affected.