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Thread: Trimming Frames

  1. #1
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    Default Trimming Frames

    I'm getting ready to assemble my frames for next spring and I was thinking of trimming them down to fit 9 frames into a 8 frame box . Does alot of others do this ? And does it help keep the build up between frames to a minimun? Are there any disadvantages to this ?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    You will probably be the first. It is more common to run less than a full super. Current Hoffman frame dimensions were developed through time and experience. Hey we're going back to frameless and foundationless hives of 150 years ago. The bees will let you know!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    It is not uncommon to see 9 frames in an 8 frame box in the broodnest.

    I run 10 frame boxes, and commonly put 11 frames in the broodnest boxes. I find I have much less burr and bridge comb built between the top bars.

    The only disadvantages that I have found are that 1) it requires extra labor to trim the frames, and 2) the first frame you remove can be difficult if you don't use a J-hook tool.

    A few beekeepers will trim frames for cut comb frames, so they get thinner combs, but is not very common.

    Hoffman frame spacing was not developed from time and experience. Hoffman frames were designed for ease of frame manufacture. Hoffman frame spacing is the correct spacing if you want to raise all drone comb.

    In the honey supers, using 9 frames will just create more work for you, as you have to extract extra frames. You will likely use 6 or 7 frames in an 8 frame honey super. However, if your plan is to raise bees and not honey production, running 9 frames in all boxes will make it easier for you since all boxes are interchangeable.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    I have started trimming my frames down to 1 1/4" frame width and I wish I had done so from the beginning.

    I just received another box of 100 frames that will be trimed down as well. I may trim the endbars before assembling the frames this time.

    I really like the look of the 9 frames in the 8 frame brood box. As Countryboy mentioned, you will most likely space out eight, or seven frames in a honey super.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    For honey supers can you still use the trimmed down frames and do you guys just space them out evenly but with less frames per super? I will be using all 8 frame mediums and want the frames to be interchangeable.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by David W. View Post
    For honey supers can you still use the trimmed down frames and do you guys just space them out evenly but with less frames per super? I will be using all 8 frame mediums and want the frames to be interchangeable.
    Yes, simply space them out.

    But remember that the wax needs to be drawn out before you widen the spacing in the super. Otherwise you will end up with a mess.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    I'm not being a nay-sayer, i guess I just dont understand why trim frames to stuff more in a brood chamber. I run 8 frame equipment, and put 8 frames in the brood boxes....using 8 allows "wiggle room" or room to manipulate and remove frames easily... and I dont see an "excess buildup" of burr or brace comb or any reason I would want to stuff 9 frames in an 8 frame box. Im not very gentle when checking hives, i would imagine but stuffing 9 frames in there I would roll more bees and kill more queens the with the standard 8 frames with "wiggle room". Seems like a whole lot of work for little if any return?? In honey supers I might drop down a frame to 7 if I get around to them, but usually run 8 in the supers too, properly spaced with the spare wiggle room in the box they run through our uncapper just fine with minimal if any scratching to be done.
    A government large enough to provide everything you need is strong enough to take everything you have. T. Jefferson

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    Just some info

    Side bars are smaller below the shoulders for a reason.
    Place two side bars side by side (w/ shoulders touching). Measure the gap or space. This 1/4" its enough to allow bees to pass between the frames. Trimming the shoulders will destroy this space. Is that a problem?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    That space on the bottom of Hoffman frames is one of the improvements made to the original Langstroth design. They were also designed to be easy to grasp in groups. Those extra cuts and shaping is what Countryboy says are simplicities, guess he cuts a ton of his own frames.

    "Hoffman frame spacing was not developed from time and experience. Hoffman frames were designed for ease of frame manufacture. Hoffman frame spacing is the correct spacing if you want to raise all drone comb."

    I was not around 150 years ago so I have to trust someone who was there. I am not getting the burr comb or drone problems CB enjoys eaither.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    The inch and three eights center to center spacing of frames in the brood nest was decided on because that was the most common spacing between combs in the brood nest area of wild colonies.

    The Dadants used inch and a half because of their belief that it provided more ventilation and would reduce swarming.

    The Hoffman frame was designed for ease of frame spacing. The frames in use before the Hoffman and Quinby self-spacing frames had to be placed in the proper place individually. Moving colonies with freehanging frames caused damage that did not occur with the Hoffman frame.

    A.I. Root conducted tests with the Hoffman frame that lasted several years before he made his recommendation that beekeepers adopt the Hoffman over the Quinby and the various other freehanging and self-spacing frames.

    Beekeepers argued over spacing in the past. Dr. C.C. Miller in an article written in 1890 stated most beekeepers prefered the one and three eights over the one and a half spacing, and that very few prefered the one and one quarter spacing.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    Well I dont see any problems with my bees based on the spacing of the Dadant Frames I use, no burr or brace comb, no reason I can see to shave or trim the bars...8 frames to an 8 frame box, easy to remove with plenty of wiggle room and very few rolled bees and queens...thanks for answering the questions.
    A government large enough to provide everything you need is strong enough to take everything you have. T. Jefferson

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    I am sorry, I failed to say that Dadants frames made today are all made to Langstroth dimensions and spacing. They stopped producing the frames with the one and a half inch spacing center to center, they were not as popular as the Langstroth. They were 11 and a quarter inches deep and were very heavy.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    For honey supers can you still use the trimmed down frames and do you guys just space them out evenly but with less frames per super?

    Yes, you can use trimmed frames spaced apart in honey supers, but keep in mind the bees will add propolis to the gap between the endbars. You'll need to scrape the propolis off before you can get it back in the broodbox.

    i guess I just dont understand why trim frames to stuff more in a brood chamber.

    By putting 9 frames in an 8 frame box, you get 12.5% more brood comb in the same amount of space. A winter cluster of a given population can only cover a certain volume of space. For folks in colder regions, this allows a cluster to cover more brood in the same cluster volume, which allows the bees to build up faster.

    With 1 3/8 frames, it takes 2 layers of bees between frames to keep brood warm. When you use 1 1/4 frames, it only takes one layer of bees to cover brood to keep them warm. This frees up a layer of bees to do other tasks in the hive.

    When measuring the comb spacing on feral hives I have cut out, I find that 1 1/4 is the spacing for worker brood combs. I trust the bees to know what works best for them, so I try to run my brood combs on the same spacing.

    In honey supers I might drop down a frame to 7 if I get around to them, but usually run 8 in the supers too, properly spaced with the spare wiggle room in the box they run through our uncapper just fine with minimal if any scratching to be done.

    If you ran 6 frames instead of 8 in a honey super, you could extract the same amount of honey in 3/4 the time and with 3/4 the number of frames to buy.

    Side bars are smaller below the shoulders for a reason.
    Place two side bars side by side (w/ shoulders touching). Measure the gap or space. This 1/4" its enough to allow bees to pass between the frames. Trimming the shoulders will destroy this space. Is that a problem?


    This gap is known as a beeway. This is a 1/2 inch gap. When you trim the frames, you end up with a 1/4 inch gap, which is plenty of room for bees to pass through. If you do not trim your top bars, you end up with a 3/16 gap.

    The honey super cell frames with the drone comb with the dot in the center of each cell, made for use in honey supers have no beeway. These are the heavy frames that weigh 1 pound each before any comb is drawn on them.

    The inch and three eights center to center spacing of frames in the brood nest was decided on because that was the most common spacing between combs in the brood nest area of wild colonies.

    I have never found 1 3/8 to be the most common spacing in ANY wild hive. (I haven't heard of anyone else finding it to be the most common spacing either, when you examine their research.)

    1 3/8 is the AVERAGE comb spacing. Worker brood combs tend to run 1 1/4 on center. Drone combs tend to be 1 3/8, and honey storage combs are usually about 1 1/2 inches on center.

    The 1 3/8 spacing was chosen as a one-size-fits-all frame spacing, because of the convenience for the beekeeper and the frame manufacturer. Even though 1 3/8 may not be the spacing bees choose themselves, but it isn't a beespace violation so the bees will use it as is.

    I am not getting the burr comb or drone problems CB enjoys eaither.

    Just out of curiousity, how much burr and bridge comb do you get between the frame topbars? Are most of your top bars clean and free of burr comb?

    I'm not saying it is a problem to have burr comb between frame topbars. It's just a lot more convenient to not have it.

    Do your broodboxes look like this at the 2:15 mark?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMVwNHn8bzc
    At the 1:05 mark, I show a nice foundationless frame drawn all out in worker comb, with no drone comb.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by David W. View Post
    I'm getting ready to assemble my frames for next spring and I was thinking of trimming them down to fit 9 frames into a 8 frame box .
    Why are you doing this? What is wrong w/ 8?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    Over the past 30+ years I have tried spacing frames from 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches center to center, I have tried 25 frame Long Hives, square boxes using 13 9 1/8 inch frames and 12 11 1/4 frames, standard Langstroth sized boxes using 6 5/8 to 11 1/4 inch frames, small cell comb, natural comb, standard wax foundation and plastic foundation.

    It is my opinion that success in beekeeping comes from keeping bees in a good location, using a good bee and learning to manage them and not by using some special style or type of equipment. Often a good bee and a good location overcomes beekeeper error and brings success which the beekeeper then attributes to using a particular type of equipment.

    Established beekeepers do a disservice to novice beekeepers by recommending they begin beekeeping using styles other than standard practices. Once a novice learns to properly manage bees using standard equipment and techniques he can start experimenting and can develop his own style. A novice tends to worry too much about aspects of beekeeping that are usually of little importance as it is without giving them more to think about.

    Beekeepers are very individualistic, we always have been and always will be. We just need to learn to accept that we are different. Your bees are your bees and you should manage them the way you wish. Mine are mine and I will do the same.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    Established beekeepers do a disservice to novice beekeepers by recommending they begin beekeeping using styles other than standard practices.
    That would spell the end of Beesource forums. Numerous posters on this board would go crazy with boredom and have their self importance shattered.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    That would spell the end of Beesource forums. Numerous posters on this board would go crazy with boredom and have their self importance shattered.


    You certainly said a mouth full of written words that time, I agree completely.

    Read recently that newbees generally don't last too the third season.

    That's a little longer than most of our newbees in our Bee Club last.

    PCM

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by PCM View Post

    Read recently that newbees generally don't last too the third season.
    That's a bit discouraging. I wonder ... if you could look at a cross section of the "drop-outs", what percentage were following the textbook approach to beekeeping vs. experimenting and trying alternative methods?
    To everything there is a season....

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    That's a bit discouraging. I wonder ... if you could look at a cross section of the "drop-outs", what percentage were following the textbook approach to beekeeping vs. experimenting and trying alternative methods?
    I'm in my third Winter...

    I started with two smallcell nucs the first year.

    Treated fall syrup with thymol the first two years.

    3 of 3 made it two Spring last year

    Did some splits/bought some queens/and had a little honey this past year.

    The only treatment was sugar dustings this year.

    My eight colonies were buzzing in their boxes when I listened a few days ago.

    I went with all 8-frame mediums from the start and every colony is on smallcell. (I don’t make claims about SC, I just use smallcell frames/foundation).

    As for trimming frames, I wish I had cut down every single frame from the very beginning.

    In an eight frame box you theoretically end up with 1/8" less space at the sides after trimming down to the narrow width and adding the ninth frame.

    In a 10 frame box the side space is the same after adding the 11th frame. At least on paper.



    I waited two years before finally deciding to go with narrow frames and as I said, l wish I had done so from the start...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Trimming Frames

    Once a novice learns to properly manage bees using standard equipment and techniques he can start experimenting and can develop his own style.

    Just how long does it take before someone learns how to properly manage bees in 'standard' equipment? How many 'experienced' beekeepers are having problems keeping their bees alive and thriving?

    From my personal observations, both novices and the vast majority of beekeepers don't know how to properly manage bees using 'standard' equipment. (The experienced beekeepers I've seen find what works for them, proper, improper, or indifferent.) The biggest difference between them that I have seen is that novices don't have nearly as many bad habits to break.

    It's a lot easier to find what works for you if you can avoid unlearning what doesn't work for you (but recommended by others.)

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