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  1. #1
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    Default 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    I would like your opinion as to which is best: the use of 9 or 10 frames in the brood chamber. I have seen a couple of opinions and cannot make my mind up. The 10 frame configuration is closer to what we find in a natural environment.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    I run 9 narrow frames in an 8 frame deep hive body because that is the closest to what we find in nature.

    This only works in the brood chambers.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    Ten frames in a standard width box gives you more space for the queen to lay in that box. Nine frames makes comb manipulation easier. It doesn't matter in the long run all that much, in my opinion.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    Whatever you do, keep the frames all pushed tightly together in the center of the box. If you use 9 frames, you will find the outside ones extra fat on the outer side, but will still have more room to take frames out.

    If you space them out, you will get a very large amount of bridge comb at the top of the frames and the honey arc will be very fat and uneven, making it very difficult to get the frames out without making a mess. Bees respond to extra space above 3/8" by building comb to close it up, and you will have far too much space between brood areas as they will NOT draw brood comb deeper, it stays the correct depth for raising brood, no more.

    I did this my first year, learned quick. My brother tried spacing out nine frames and had a nightmare, lumpy comb that "interlocked" so it was very hard to get frames out without damage to the brood area, drone comb in patches everywhere, etc.

    I'm trying narrow frames this year, I think it will produce much better brood comb, less misplaced drone comb, and better wintering. I have a couple nucs ready for swarms, and I'll replace any frames I take out of my existing hives for nucs with narrows until I convert them over.

    Peter

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    I cannot see why the extra frame would make a difference to the total area that the queen has to lay in. Studies have shown that a good queen can only use the equivalent of FIVE full brood frames, even though this might be spread out over 8 frames or more.

    Surely the difference between 9 and 10 on the brood surfaces means a single layer of bees in the 10 frame and a double layer in the 9. This surely allows the bees in the 10 frame to cover more brood, keep it warm and expand faster in the spring.

    However, what happens with ventilation? Is the 9 frame able to cope with keeping the hive cooler in high temperatures than the 10?
    Last edited by olympic; 11-25-2012 at 10:10 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    i started with nine, because that's what the first person that helped me told me to do.

    i have since switched to 10, and push them tightly together.

    i like this better because:

    there less propilizing in between the frame's end bars
    they are easier to pry apart using the crook of the hive tool
    the comb is more even
    i roll less bees by 'sliding' the tapered stops on the end bars past each other when putting them back in
    i have read the bees preserve heat and cluster better with that spacing

    i use nine frames however, in the honey supers, to get the fatter honey frames.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    Actually, needing two layers of bees means it takes twice as many bees to cover the same amount of brood, not the reverse. There is also more air movement in the wider space, which means more heat needed to keep the brood warm in cold weather.

    In a feral hive, the brood combs tend to be about 1.25" apart, with drone brood and storage combs spaced more like 1.5" on the outside of the brood nest. Varies a bit, obviously, and we are putting frames in the hive and variable spacing isn't really possible for more than a few hives.

    Narrow frames (1.25" spacing rather than 1.325") always gives flat comb all the way up to the top of the frame since the honey arch isn't thicker than the brood area, reduces the bees to a single layer and lets them control the airflow a bit better.

    Peter

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    Quote Originally Posted by olympic View Post
    I cannot see why the extra frame would make a difference to the total area that the queen has to lay in.
    What you say that studys show may well be true, but what I have seen is that sometimes I will see brood in 8 or nine frames in a ten frame deep. Sometimes that frame up against the feeder, a drone comb, will be layed both sides. Usually the outer sides of the two wall combs are full of honey, but rarely brood and at times the next frames in will have brood on the inside side of the combs, but not on the outside sides of the second combs in.So, take a comb out and not only are there then, (what 4,000?) fewer cells available, but the environmental buffer afforded by those outside combs full of honey is also lost. I think.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    Actually, needing two layers of bees means it takes twice as many bees to cover the same amount of brood, not the reverse. There is also more air movement in the wider space, which means more heat needed to keep the brood warm in cold weather.

    In a feral hive, the brood combs tend to be about 1.25" apart, with drone brood and storage combs spaced more like 1.5" on the outside of the brood nest. Varies a bit, obviously, and we are putting frames in the hive and variable spacing isn't really possible for more than a few hives.

    Narrow frames (1.25" spacing rather than 1.325") always gives flat comb all the way up to the top of the frame since the honey arch isn't thicker than the brood area, reduces the bees to a single layer and lets them control the airflow a bit better.

    Peter
    U mean center to center, right? Not apart, face to face.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    A full depth Langstroth frame with 5,4mm cells has about 3,250 cells per comb face. That is about 6,500 cells per frame. If we have a really good queen pumping out about 1,500 eggs/day then it will take her about 4 days to fill the area of a single frame. 21 days for a brood cycle and we can see that the brood area is maximum 5 full frames. The rest is pollen and feed honey, which, when is in the outer frames, acts as a stabilizer against temperature fluctuations.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    Quote Originally Posted by olympic View Post
    A full depth Langstroth frame with 5,4mm cells has about 3,250 cells per comb face. That is about 6,500 cells per frame. If we have a really good queen pumping out about 1,500 eggs/day then it will take her about 4 days to fill the area of a single frame. 21 days for a brood cycle and we can see that the brood area is maximum 5 full frames. The rest is pollen and feed honey, which, when is in the outer frames, acts as a stabilizer against temperature fluctuations.
    sounds good on paper, but i have personally seen as many as 9 frames of brood in a deep.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #12
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    Were these 9 FULL frames? Or did they have less than 100% brood. I can't imagine 9 frames 100% brood. I have seen many colonies spread the brood over +- 15 combs, but when it is measured it never amounts to more than about 30,000 cells.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    yep, nearly all brood. this was a very strong colony last year brooding up in the fall for winter. we had a really good fall flow last year. i acutally donated a couple of brood frames from it to some nucs i had started.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    I guess some AHB in the make up?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    none found this far north, yet. these bees were more yellow, italian?, heavy propilizers, and darn good honey producers. also the only survivors out of 6 old hives that had preventative afb treatments stopped abruptly.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #16
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    Interesting bees to say the least.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    none found this far north, yet. these bees were more yellow, italian?, heavy propilizers, and darn good honey producers. also the only survivors out of 6 old hives that had preventative afb treatments stopped abruptly.
    Could be Caucasian. Mine produced a lot more propolis than my Russians. Really freaking hardy bees.
    If you think anything organic is good for you, go drink some organic solvents.
    geek, learning how to be a beek

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    How about 11 frames per deep

    Some small cell beek trim the frames to fit 11, I would but it's alittle hard to trim the frames with bees and brood.

    I use 9 frames in the suppers.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    My brother's bees are very dark, and man to they stick things together! Been known to close the bee escape hole and block off most of the entrance, too.

    However, they are tough -- had a very light single deep make it through the winter last year, not that we had much of one, and typically they don't have problems with mites most years.

    "German" black bees were popular some years back for this reason, but the amount of propolis them make puts people off them in favor of Italians.

    Peter

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 9 or 10 frames in the broodchamber?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    How about 11 frames per deep
    Some small cell beek trim the frames to fit 11, I would but it's alittle hard to trim the frames with bees and brood.
    I use 9 frames in the suppers.
    I made some medium boxes out of some left over 1/2" OSB I had. The outside measurements are the same as my commercially bought boxes and they fit 11 frames just fine.

    I was told to use 9 frames in the 10 frame brood box, so I did. Then I put the other frame back in. It took a bit of adjustment, but now the frames are a lot easier to get in and out of the boxes and the bees seem a lot happier with it. I am thinking about possibly shaving down some frames and seeing if I can get 11 frames in my normal/commercially bought boxes.
    Last edited by seyc; 11-26-2012 at 05:12 PM.
    If you think anything organic is good for you, go drink some organic solvents.
    geek, learning how to be a beek

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