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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Pisgah Forest, NC, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Frames Spacing.... HELP!?!?!?

    I'm having a problem with the bee's building honey combs so wide that I can't pull the frames beside them out for inspection without destroying the comb. Plus the width of the combs is affecting how they draw out the other foundationless frames. I started with 9 frames in an 8 frame medium box, I was able to manage because it was only a few frames at first, but now these hives are 3 boxes high and we're in the first week of sourwood flow, and as a result the upper third of the combs just keeps getting wider and wider. I thought it would help if I just put 8 frames in the top box and spaced them at 3/8", but they continue to build wide honey comb around the top third of each frame. Is there a solution other than running 7 frames in a box?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Frames Spacing.... HELP!?!?!?

    You have fallen prey to bloggers...... Its a ten frame box for a reason. to set the proper bee space, you always start with ten until the frames are drawn, and then sometimes people will switch to 9 frames AFTER the frames are already drawn. Personaly I think its just a waste of time and effort and screws up bee space. You do not get more honey in the box, and if you do it to suppers your frames don't line up and they build more bridge comb.

    But despite that, your fix is to pull the frames, cut the high spots of with a serrated knife, and put 10 frames back in untill all your comb is drawn. they will clean up the mess...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Frames Spacing.... HELP!?!?!?

    Are you using popsicle sticks or any types of guides on your foundationless frames? Do you have them tight together? I'm new with this but am finding each hive seems to do it differently using these same standards. Will be interested in reading other opinions and there are many! I just harvested one super like you described but feel it was my error as I left too much space between the frames. The super under it is perfect. When I put the empties back I took a couple perfect ones from below and put them up top. Michael Bush says they will build straight comb next to straight comb so we shall see. My other hive is picture perfect. But I am also using the crush and strain method so far and not worried about using an extractor...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,848

    Default Re: Frames Spacing.... HELP!?!?!?

    If the frames are pushed together, how is it a beespace issue? Only the outside ones would get wider, unless ranger, you're not pushing them together all the way. And he said 9 frames in an 8 frame, but I'm assuming he meant 10? And you can fit 9 frames in an 8 frame box with certain frames, but good luck pulling them out w/o rolling bees.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,969

    Default Re: Frames Spacing.... HELP!?!?!?

    Sounds like he is running nine frames in an eight frame box which is very possible. The joys of foundationless! You have to just move and play with them and trim them as suggested until they are all drawn. Then go to seven or eight for ease of uncapping. When you get two frames properly spaced and drawn, feed new frames with a guide in between them and they usually turn out pretty good.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Pisgah Forest, NC, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Frames Spacing.... HELP!?!?!?

    Yes I am running 9 frames in an 8 frame box, per M. Bush's advice (more advice M. Bush would be greatly appreciated if you happen to read this thread.) I trimmed down the end bars to make the frames 1 1/4in. wide from 1 3/8in. wide. My frames are the foundationless frames made by Kelley. I too will be using the crush and strain method when I do harvest honey. I was just worried about trimming those wide sections because it would send honey running everywhere, but I imagine the bees will clean that up quickly?!? I'm running unlimited broodnest so I'm not adding honey supers, when the top box is close to full I'm just adding another one and baiting them up. However, from the 3rd box and up I had planned on only running 8 frames in the box and spacing them like the end bars were 1 3/8in. rather than 1 1/4in. That way I'm keeping the broodnest tight and then allowing for honey storage up above. It all makes sense in my mind, but I'm not an expert, what do you guys think?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Frames Spacing.... HELP!?!?!?

    'Keeping the broodnest tight' is not really compatible with Unlimited Broodnest Management as I understand it. Keeping the broodnest tight would in fact be limiting the broodnest in your management.

    Three 8-frame mediums is not nearly enough to house a reasonable sized hive. Mr. Bush typically uses six or better. I would not think of keeping a hive in anything less than three deep 10-frame boxes myself for any period of time.

    If you want a workable solution, you're going to have to trim those frames. Don't worry about the honey, honey is the business of bees. They will handle it. Focus on adding new frames in between established broodnest frames and place the ugly ones as high up in the hive as you can. Always get the comb drawn first before you go to wide spacing.

    Keep working on it. Remember, many of the undesirable effects we see in hives are the bees' natural response to our interferences. Work on learning what it takes to work with the bees to achieve the desired result.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    665

    Default Re: Frames Spacing.... HELP!?!?!?

    Ranger

    There are certainly many trials and tribulations concerning the production and manipulations in allowing bees to draw natural comb frames in conventional beekeeping equipment. The more experience you attain the easier it will be to deal with the inevitable cross combing that will occur. If you are going to crush and strain your honey comb then I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I think the fun part for you is having to perform routine colony inspections with naturally drawn comb that is irregular and hard to work with. When you become more experienced you will realize that keeping bees in N.C. might not be like they do things in Arkansas or Mississippi. My standard here is a single 10 frame deep and a medium shallows for brood production and then honey supers above. Double deep setups here are not beneficial for honey production and are a waste of equipment for our needs. We overwinter lots of colonies in single deeps here even with temperatures of -10 on occasion. Our normal set-up is a deep and a shallow or 2. As far as spacing out frames in honey supers there can be advantages. On strong honey flows we always run 9 frames (drawn) evenly spaced or with frame spacers. One advantage is equipment. I can use the extra 100 frames of drawn comb to make up an additional 11 medium boxes to super other colonies with. This arrangement will allow me the opportunity to produce another 300-400 lbs of honey using the same resources of equipment. Good luck.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

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