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Thread: Bee space

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    2,506

    Default Re: Bee space

    Bee space in terms of inches is 3/16 of an inch minimum, and a maximum of 3/8 of an inch. Exception, bees always ignore the 3/8 maximum below the bottom bars and the bottom board of a hive in the area of the bottom entrance. In that area they will not fill in with comb until the gap exceeds 7/8 of an inch.

    My reading of the original post was that the information wanted was the spacing for the frames in the brood nest and honey supers. Brood nest spacing was standardized as being 1 3/8 inches center to center when A. I. Root began to manufacture the Modified Hoffman frame that became the standard for U.S. beekeeping. Spacing in the honey supers depends on the number of frames used, which is usually 8 or 9 frames in a 10 frame box, with the space equalized between them.

    As with all things in beekeeping, there were differing opinions concerning the spacing in the brood nest. The different spacing worked because bees are able to adapt. Each beekeeper can keep his bees as he desires, and the bees survive, and often prosper.
    40 years - 25 colonies, 32 Nucs - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

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  3. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Follansbee, WV, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Bee space

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    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
    This, and your previous post, is exactly what I was referring to LJ. Sorry for the confusion everyone.

    This all stems from an article from the Ontario Beekeepers' Association Technology-Transfer Program ( http://www.ontariobee.com/sites/onta...rroa-Mites.pdf ) that discusses drone brood removal for the management of Varroa Mites. It suggests inserting a frame with drone foundation into the brood chamber.

    Randy Oliver of Scientific Beekeeping takes it a step further by designing a specialized drone frame:
    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/figh...al-tactics-ii/

    Ontario recommends placing the frame in position 2 or 3, while Oliver merely states "at the edge of the brood nest".

    Come to think of it, I believe I read somewhere that drone brood is generally raised around the perimeter of brood frames, which makes perfect sense according to the excellent explanation given by LJ above describing two plates face to face. It makes me wonder if dishing of the brood chamber is an intentional act by the bees to rear drones or merely a happy coincidence in that it leaves comb ideal for raising drones.

    I am building my own equipment, including frames. So, what I am trying to accomplish is determining whether all frames are created equal, so to speak, with foundation choice being the only difference. Would widening the frame by some amount yet to be determined be of any benefit for drone comb or even honey comb?

  4. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    frederick, md
    Posts
    755

    Default Re: Bee space

    I converted all of our brood boxes to 9 frames, makes it real easy to remove frames for inspection. We did this at the beginning of the season last year. The bees made no cross comb. Most of the frames were already drawn, we did open the brood nest via empty frames cut frames, no issue with them drawing the frames out.

    The bees gave us our best ever honey harvest, the brood was in all three boxes top to bottom side to side. Our first swarm, we think only, occurred right at the end of our nectar flow, third week of June.

    We also have the supers at 9 frames, some I am going to convert to 8. I leave some boxes with 10 frames for empty foundation drawing.
    Zone 6b: 18 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Follansbee, WV, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Bee space

    Thanks Missy, that's very helpful. When you say "converted" your brood boxes to nine frames, did you structurally modify anything, or just alter the spacing of the frames?

  6. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: Bee space

    Smokey, it is just a matter of spacing the frames, no modifications necessary. Note that you need to get the comb drawn with 10 frames in the box. Afterwards you can reduce to 9, or even 8 in a honey super. Once the bees have drawn the comb out further, you can put an undrawn frame in and it will get built straight.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  7. #26
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,335

    Default Re: Bee space

    >I converted all of our brood boxes to 9 frames, makes it real easy to remove frames for inspection. We did this at the beginning of the season last year. The bees made no cross comb.

    This is what happens in my area with nine frame spacing; in this case in the middle of winter! I would never space a brood chamber at nine frames.


  8. #27
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: Bee space

    Looks like they propolized all the frames together and built a lot of wavy comb. Oops! I have always heard the bees like the brood chamber tight.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    frederick, md
    Posts
    755

    Default Re: Bee space

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeyHill View Post
    Thanks Missy, that's very helpful. When you say "converted" your brood boxes to nine frames, did you structurally modify anything, or just alter the spacing of the frames?
    Bought a lot of the metal nine frame spacers. Keeps the frames where they should be. Picked up from mann lake.
    Zone 6b: 18 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  10. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    frederick, md
    Posts
    755

    Default Re: Bee space

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    >I converted all of our brood boxes to 9 frames, makes it real easy to remove frames for inspection. We did this at the beginning of the season last year. The bees made no cross comb.

    This is what happens in my area with nine frame spacing; in this case in the middle of winter! I would never space a brood chamber at nine frames.

    Our bees must beeeehave, never have had a brood box end up looking like that. This picture was taken around September, 2017, we changed the brood chambers to 9 frame in February/March 2017

    bees1.jpg

    We are planning to inspect this coming Wednesday, going from snow and 30's to 70. Will see how they did over winter.
    Zone 6b: 18 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  11. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    52,502

    Default Re: Bee space

    Just to clarify terminology, Langstroth, who coined the term "Bee-space" was defining the distance between two fixtures in a bee hive (typically the gap between the frame and the wall or the top bar and the bottom bar above it) that would not be filled by comb (as it is if it's over 3/8") or filled with propolis (as it is if it's under 1/4"). He was not defining the space between the surfaces of combs, the space to the bottom board etc. just the space between removable pieces of wood that needed to not be attached other pieces of wood in order to remain removable.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  12. #31
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    frederick, md
    Posts
    755

    Default Re: Bee space

    This is how our 9 frame spaced boxes look after being converted for a year. We climbed to 77 today so did a quick inspection of most of our hives. Saw queens, saw eggs, saw low honey stores. Added a bunch of sugar blocks again.

    IMG_2143.jpg
    Zone 6b: 18 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

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