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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Northeast, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Frame bee space between supers

    Is the 3/8" required bee space very important between the frames which are between two supers? The reason I ask is the space between the frames in the 9 5/8" deep supers is a 1/2". If I cut the boxes down to 9 1/2" then the bee space would be the required 3/8" between the frames on the top and bottom supers. Everything I read says that bee space should be 3/8" and yet the majority, if not all, of the companies that sell deep boxes are 9 5/8" deep and all the plans show to build them this way. I now wonder if this violation of the 3/8" bee space rule between the upper and lower frames explains why myself and another beekeeper have a lot of comb between the upper and lower supers. Thanks in advance for the feedback.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,241

    Default Re: Frame bee space between supers

    You've got it right. It's the reason for the interbar comb. 3/8 is a MAX. The extra space induces cord wood drone brood in the interbar space in the spring - a waste of colony energy when boxes are separated.

    Unfortunatly, box dimensions from some suppliers do not support the 1/4 to 3/8 desired spacing. I don't use the stand up slide rail that is supplied by Kelly with their deep boxes - use 9 frame metal spacers. I can shim the frame rest ledge with stripping and take 1/4 off the bottom, or take 1/8 off both top and bottom. I shoot for 5/16 interbar space and get very little interbar comb when I get it right.

    Boxes acquired from the northwest many years ago have a 5/8 deep rabbet for the frame rest. That's about right for my purposes. Any adjustment can be trimmed from the bottom of the box. Any time spent making it right before the box is put in service pays dividends for the life of the box. (For you and the bees)

    Walt W

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,146

    Default Re: Frame bee space between supers

    Also some frame top bars are thicker/thinner than others which makes the spacing off.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,459

    Default Re: Frame bee space between supers

    I believe the answer to your discrepency lies in the dimensions of comb honey section frames used before extractors where common. I measured some and they had the correct bee space when used in a 9 5/8 super. If one uses one deep for a brood chamber, the error is on the bottom board end, and causes no problems. I have yet to resolve the all wood innercover bee space issue, but since it is usually on the fringe of the cluster, it seems to cause less problems.

    Roland

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,019

    Default Re: Frame bee space between supers

    I buy from Brushy Mtn & cut the frame rest down so that when the deep, medium or shallow super is set on a flat surface with frames in it, the bottom of the frames will set on the flat surface. There will be a 3/8 space between the tops of the top bars and the top of the super. At least that's my goal. I make all my own inner covers with a flat bottom surface. I don't think that's the way they are supposed to be, but it works for me and it makes sense to me.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,479

    Default Re: Frame bee space between supers

    ya, but ,

    you know,

    I have boxes I made, boxes someone else made, boxes professionals made, boxes that someones grandfather made. The space between the box frames vary from no space at all to too much space.

    Dont worry about it, scraping bur comb in the honey house never bothered me too much, it usually means the boxes are full of honey

    It is a it of a pain in the brood boxes though,
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Newport, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Frame bee space between supers

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    Any time spent making it right before the box is put in service pays dividends for the life of the box. (For you and the bees)

    Walt W
    Checking the bee space should be including in beginner beekeeping books.

    Maybe someone can could do a magazine article evaluating and comparing the various manufacturers.


    I helped a couple of new beekeepers get started this year. They both started with all brand-new equipment. Lots of brace comb between top & bottoms of frames. The boxes were over sized. It is a shame, because they both spent top dollar for "beginner hives".

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default Re: Frame bee space between supers

    "Unfortunatly, box dimensions from some suppliers do not support the 1/4 to 3/8 desired spacing." --wcubed.

    "Maybe someone can could do a magazine article evaluating and comparing the various manufacturers." --BoBn.

    I agree, when I got back into keeping bees five years ago I purchased woodenware from different suppliers [mistake I think] just to try them. I think I've had an undo [unnecessary??] amount of burr comb between boxes. Of course the bees will build "bridge comb" if the space is too large; they aren't dumb. They also probablty build it more when there's a big nectar flow. I noticed that the boxes from Walter Kelley is the shortest for brood boxes at 9 1/2 inches; from the L. Carron book. For those that use Kelley boxes, do you get less bridge comb?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Northeast, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Frame bee space between supers

    Thanks for the feedback everyone. I built everything myself and I have learned a lot from doing so. I have access to a lot of lumber and woodworking tools and my plan is to start selling supers (with box joints), tops and bottoms, Nuc's, etc.. I figure $10 for a deep, $7 for a medium and $6 for a shallow, regardless of quantity or grade, should be a fair price and they will have the right bee space. Enjoy the day everyone.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North Bend, WA
    Posts
    506

    Default Re: Frame bee space between supers

    There's as much variation in frame sizes as there is in box sizes. My best advice is to pick one supplier of frames. Then, trim your boxes down to support the proper bee space. Don't ask how I learned this.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Frame bee space between supers

    Any chance this extra space between boxes is to accommodate wood shrinkage?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,220

    Default Re: Frame bee space between supers

    I don't know why deep frames are 1/8" short -- as far as I know, all the supplier's I've looked at have frames that leave 1/2" between frames vertically if you use two deeps. Other boxes are fine, just the deeps.

    I suppose it's a hang-over from using only one deep (the original Langstroth design) and shallower boxes, or maybe someone thought that having a space for drones between the boxes was a good idea (it's not so far as I'm concerned).

    I make my own frames, and make deep frames 9 1/4" instead of 9 1/8" -- I prefer correct bee space.

    Using two Kelley deeps and standard frames will result in a ton of drones between frames, the space is 1/2" just like everyone else's.

    Peter

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