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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bellingham, WA, USA
    Posts
    79

    Question Hive Dimensions question from a newbie

    I've been looking at a number of hive plans online and in books while always trying to thing of bee space. Today I took the plans from this site for the hive bodies and frames and sketched it all up in AutoCAD to see how it all lays out.

    The Langstroth hive plans call for inner dimensions of 18 3/8" X 14 3/4". The length is good, as then the Dadant-style frame plans are about 1/16 away from the edge of the rabbet on either end. Now, with the frames evenly spaced that way there's just under 3/8" between the side bar and hive body. Maybe that's why the plans call for cutting the hive pieces a smidge over?

    Now, about the width of the frames in relation to the hive body. The width of the sidebar determines the overall width of the frame (in top-down view).
    With 10 frames in a box, that's only 13 3/4" across when all the frames are tight against each other. What about that extra inch?

    I think I see that setting all the frames a smidge apart from its neighbor and the hive walls puts the top bars at about 3/8" apart from each other. Is that the way it should be? I've read that some people even cut their top bars a tiny bit more narrow to increase that space for ventilation. Good idea / Bad idea?

    In the end I think I'll be buying all my frames and making the hive bodies, so perhaps I should get all my frame pieces and then build bee-space boxes for them?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default Re: Hive Dimensions question from a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by hipifreq View Post
    ...The width of the sidebar determines the overall width of the frame (in top-down view).
    >>>This is actually called the "end bar".
    Quote Originally Posted by hipifreq View Post
    With 10 frames in a box, that's only 13 3/4" across when all the frames are tight against each other. What about that extra inch?
    >>>It is usually divided between each of the outer frames and the inner hive walls.

    Quote Originally Posted by hipifreq View Post
    I think I see that setting all the frames a smidge apart from its neighbor and the hive walls puts the top bars at about 3/8" apart from each other. Is that the way it should be? I've read that some people even cut their top bars a tiny bit more narrow to increase that space for ventilation. Good idea / Bad idea?
    >>>I believe that if you're using standard frames with 1-3/8" wide end bars, that creates a space where the end bars protrude 5/32" beyond the sides of the top bars, when the end bars of frames come together a bee space of 5/16" is created between the top bars (bee space is considered anything between 1/4" and 3/8"). Setting the frames farther apart is not desirable (it so happens that the bees will force propolis between the end bars, so that over time the end bars become wider). This accumulated propolis should be scraped off, from time to time, in order to restore proper dimensions and spacing to the frames. If you left any gap between frames (violating bee space), the bees would much more quickly fill that space with propolis. Cutting the top bars narrower, is usually only done when the end bars are also trimmed down to 1-1/4" wide, an alternative spacing, usually used in brood nests of small cell combs. If any space inside the hive is less than 1/4" it will quickly be filled with propolis, and if any space inside the hive is larger than 3/8", then it will quickly be filled with burr comb and propolis, including the space between the top bars.

    Quote Originally Posted by hipifreq View Post
    In the end I think I'll be buying all my frames and making the hive bodies, so perhaps I should get all my frame pieces and then build bee-space boxes for them?
    >>>There are minor differences between frames from different manufacturers, not usually enough to cause any major difficulties when used in standard sized supers. The usual differences are in the thickness of the frame lugs (the ends of the top bars that protrude beyond the end bars). This causes the frames with thicker lugs to sit higher in the super than other frames with thinner lugs, which can cause variations in the bee space between the tops and bottoms of frames resting in adjacent supers.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,332

    Default Re: Hive Dimensions question from a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by hipifreq View Post
    I think I see that setting all the frames a smidge apart from its neighbor and the hive walls puts the top bars at about 3/8" apart from each other. Is that the way it should be?
    No. Keep all the frames tight together centered in the hive body. That extra space on each side allows you to move frames over for removal so you don't roll bees when pulling it out. I've never had bees build burr comb there. In time, that extra space won't seem like much after propolis gets in between the frame shoulders.
    Regards, Barry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: Hive Dimensions question from a newbie

    Use the dimensions on the plans! As Barry said, it gives you a little free space to pull the first frame out without rolling bees and especially the queen. Push them all to the middle when replacing the frames. This does not leave enough space to cause any problems with burr comb or propolis. As the propolis is built up on the end bars that extra space will be closed down some.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bellingham, WA, USA
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Hive Dimensions question from a newbie

    Thanks for the replies everyone. I had already assumed that I should follow the plans, as I know many people have used them with success, but if I've got a question then I need to ask.

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