Bee space
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Thread: Bee space

  1. #1
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    Default Bee space

    I have read several articles concerning bee space. It seems the bees prefer different space according to the use of the comb. How do you set your bee space?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Bee space

    In a honey super I pull out one frame and space equally. In brood boxes I use the right number of frames the box is built for and push the frames together leaving the spacing on both outsides of the box.
    The reason for the super is for the bees to draw out the frame farther allowing easier removal of capping's for honey removal.
    The brood frames are pulled out by the bees just far enough for the pupa to grow to adult. This leaves plenty of space between frames. Drone broody is obviously a wild card unless you use a drone frame. If so you can adjust around that one frame accordingly.
    On the border near 04619
    Zone 5B @ 29m

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Bee space

    SmokeyHill, "bee space" is understood by most beekeepers as ...
    Bee space: A space (1/4- to 5/16-inch) big enough to permit free passage for a bee but too small to encourage comb building. Leaving bee space between parallel beeswax combs and between the outer comb and the hive walls is the basic principle of hive construction.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...eping-Glossary
    Areas smaller than bee space will tend to get filled/glued by the bees with propolis. Areas larger than bee space will tend to get comb built in it. If that happens between frames, or between boxes, it may result in beekeeper gnashing of teeth and/or bees getting riled up at beekeeper.

    If you intend to adopt different than 'standard' spacing of frames, make sure that you do not add extra space to those frames until after the comb on those frames has been drawn out.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Bee space

    The bees will build brood comb a very consistent depth and honey comb a very variable depth. This is not "bee space" this is thickness of comb. Beespace is the space around the frame that keeps it from being attached and is between 1/4" and 3/8".
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Bee space

    whoa, all you better get your facts straight before spreading false information ^^^
    No way, there is only one correct definition of Bee Space, and that is that it equals 3/8 inch or 9.5mm, no more no less.
    This is in all the scientific bee lit, in all books and no other answer is accepted in all the Master Beekeeping course's throughout the USA and the World.
    Langstroth discovered and confirmed it, as have all university labs, I could go on and on. I could post 100 references to this truth. I won't because it's there in black and white already confirmed. wow...

    There is NO between this and that, Bee Space 3/8" or 9.5mm has been well defined and accepted as fact and you can't change it. No matter what you want to post.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Bee space

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbol View Post
    I could post 100 references to this truth.
    ... Yet you haven't posted even a single reference . . .
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Bee space

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbol View Post
    No way, there is only one correct definition of Bee Space, and that is that it equals 3/8 inch or 9.5mm, no more no less.
    Oh dear - there's nothing quite like being dogmatic, is there ?

    Bees vary in their size - admittedly, not by very much - and so there is therefore a range of what constitutes 'a bee-space' in practice. It is NOT a fixed measurement.

    There is also an observed difference in the spacings tolerated by the bees throughout a framed beehive. The space between a frame top bar and any hard structure above it MUST be one beespace, otherwise adhesions will occur.

    In contrast, the space between a frame side-bar and box wall can be much larger - as much as TWO bee-spaces, as is the space between two brood combs - so that the bees can work both sides 'back to back', as it were ...

    The difference appears to be one of orientation: the bees being far more particular with vertical spacings (except at the bottom of a comb, or frame array) than horizonatal spacings.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Bee space

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeyHill View Post
    I have read several articles concerning bee space. It seems the bees prefer different space according to the use of the comb. How do you set your bee space?
    Basically, beekeepers don't set the bee-space which exists between combs - the bees do that themselves, by extending or contracting the depth of the cells, depending on their intended usage. What the beekeeper does is to set the spacing between comb centres, which often varies according to the size of the bee.

    Large-cell bees raised on standard foundation require a frame spacing of around 35 to 38mm if problems are not to occur, whereas bees raised on natural combs tend to prefer around 32-ish mm - BUT - there is no definite 'must be' about any of this - it's for the beekeeper to adjust the comb spacing to fit the size of bee he or she is keeping - and not the other way around ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Bee space

    I would suggest the industry accepted standard spacing is a good place to go. We know it is "workable". After you experiment with narrower and wider spacings in your climate, with your particular bees, and in your relative style of keeping frame contact surfaces scraped clean, you may decide to vary this dimension generally or in specific locations.

    Fusion_power had a good post on the need for absolutely square frames with no twist, foundation perfectly centered and flat, etc., when using narrow frame spacing. Narrower spacing can have implications and benefits depending on bee breed and your spring and summer flow timings.

    My experience with narrowed spacing is that it is more trouble for me than perceived benefit; Keeping mites under control and ensuring sufficient winter feeds pays better dividends for my degree of attention span!
    Frank

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Bee space

    >whoa, all you better get your facts straight before spreading false information ^^^
    >No way, there is only one correct definition of Bee Space, and that is that it equals 3/8 inch or 9.5mm, no more no less.

    Beespace is between 1/4" and 3/8" It's been that since bees existed... to put it another way it is 5/16" +- 1/16".

    There were just the top three hits on google for "beespace between..."

    http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/bsp.html
    https://missapismellifera.com/2014/1...umber-sort-of/
    http://articles.extension.org/pages/...-to-beekeeping

    But let's ask Langstroth, the guy who generally (though probably erroneously) get's credit for discovering beespace...

    "...leaving, between the frames and the hive walls, a space of from one-fourth to three-eights of an inch, called bee-space"--Langstroth on the hive and the honey bee 1889 edition pg 140
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  12. #11
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    Thumbs Up Re: Bee space

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeyHill View Post
    I have read several articles concerning bee space. It seems the bees prefer different space according to the use of the comb. How do you set your bee space?
    Welcome to Beesource SmokeyHill!

    Mandatory "Bee Space" is built into your equipment, (it is what makes moving your frames possible without destroying equipment or honey combs), "Frame Spacing" within that equipment is somewhat variable.

    Additional space between frames is not desirable in the brood nest, but can be used to advantage in honey supers. Most reports of additional frame spacing are between frames of drawn comb in honey supers; usually one frame count short of the design width of a super, i.e., 9 frames in a ten frame super, or 7 frames in an eight frame super. Bees will add depth to the drawn comb to store extra honey. If there is too much space between frames, (or, above or below the frames), there will be burr comb. HTH
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Bee space

    Draw foundation with frames tight together. Keep brood frames tight together. Bees like a compact brood nest. I actually shave my brood frames so 11 fit in the box. Once comb is drawn, I only run eight frames in honey supers. Makes extraction so much quicker and easier.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Bee space

    Lots of good comments here. Unfortunately, the real experts & 0nly ones who know for sure, the bees, don't post here.
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Bee space

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeyHill View Post
    How do you set your bee space?
    The frames and boxes are designed in such a way that they maintain bee-space ie the height of frame-rest relative to the frame and width of the side bar of the frame. n using convectional langstroth style equipment...you don't really need to "set" bee space, its already figured out for you.

    ps. dimensions between manufacturers do vary. Like dadant frames in kelley boxes with a flush inner cover leaves too little space to maintain bee space. The result is the bees propolis all the top bars to the inner cover to manage and trap hive beetles.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Bee space

    Quote Originally Posted by beeman2009 View Post
    Lots of good comments here. Unfortunately, the real experts & 0nly ones who know for sure, the bees, don't post here.
    The first thought I had was regarding people. "One size fits all". Yup, sure thing. Until it doesn't fit you. Most true for hats, now that I don't have the pesky hair to make my head even bigger, I'm quite particular regarding what hat really fits my shiny handsome (if I might say so myself) head.

    I suspect individual bees say the same thing. Big Bertha and Mini Mary often debate this in the hive, I've listened their debates before.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Bee space

    Maybe I should have emphasized you and your. I was actually curious how individual beekeepers determine the bee space they will allow the bees. To say the bees do that themselves is incorrect. A beekeeper, however unintentionally, forces the bees to build according to their surroundings.

    According to Cushman, the largest bee space is created in the brood area (9mm according to his writings).

    If you use standard Langstroth frames with small cell foundation, or no foundation, are you ever concerned about the bees having to draw deeper brood cells than necessary to achieve what ever space they desire?

  18. #17
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    Default

    I dont think the bees will draw longer brood cells like they would draw longer honey cells. Beespace is set by the equipment you purchase. And i suppose how lazy of a beekeeper you are if you let frames seperate from eachother.

    Im kinda confused. What r you trying to accomplish?

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Bee space

    Im kinda confused. What r you trying to accomplish?

    Ditto that. Beespace is a space in which the bees will neither propolize closed nor build burr comb. It happens to be about 3/8". This is not a manmade constraint, it is a natural fact. Frame spacing is another matter and should be addressed as such.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Bee space

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeyHill View Post
    According to Cushman, the largest bee space is created in the brood area (9mm according to his writings).
    That's right. The 'beespace' between brood combs isn't always uniform - i.e. parallel. The bees draw-out the cells towards the top of the comb (to reduce the gap there), and often around the sides too. The space which results can best be visualised by placing two dinner-plates or saucers together, rim-to-rim - that's roughly the shape of the resulting gallery between the two brood combs - resulting in a "Bee-Space" of around 9 mm (providing a space for two bees to work back-to-back) within the central area, and much less (space for one bee to pass) around the periphery - specifically around the top. Pretty good way of controlling the brood-nest environment ...

    But this isn't always clearly seen, so I guess some sub-species are more prone to doing this, than others.
    LJ
    Last edited by little_john; Today at 04:37 AM.
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Bee space

    It was while writing the previous post that I spotted a possible source of confusion. What is commonly called "Bee Space" is only indirectly related to the actual size of bees. It's easier to describe this in millimetres, so bear with me ...

    I make my own Queen Excluders with a wire spacing of 4.16mm, which my bees can wriggle though fairly easily - but a 4.5mm spacing would remove any need to wriggle - and so 4.5mm could therefore be considered as being one 'bee-space'. 9mm (near enough to 3/8") is therefore two of these 'bee-spaces'.

    So - what is being described in the literature as "Bee Space" is simply an attempt to describe a spacing within which bees will neither draw comb, nor attempt to seal with propolis. The dimensions of "Bee Space" will indeed vary a little according to the size of the bees it relates to - BUT - the expression "Bee Space" (as used in the literature) is simply being used there as a generalised descriptor.

    A problem thus arises when the terms 'A' or 'One' precedes the term "Bee Space", as in 'A bee-space' or 'One bee-space' (or 'Two bee-spaces'). Once a person starts adding numbers to it, a different understanding of the term may then be intended, with focus being made upon the number of bees which can fit within (what has become known as) "Bee Space" - such that "Bee Space" can often provide space for two bees ... i.e. "Bee Space" can equal two bee-spaces.

    Confused ? Don't blame me ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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