Is my frame spacing wrong?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Bridgewater, NJ, USA
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    Default Is my frame spacing wrong?

    I’m preparing for my first season with Langstroths...

    I have 8 frame boxes from Mann Lake and foundationless frames from Kelley Beekeeping

    When I place 8 frames in there is a lot more space left than I thought there would be - almost 1-3/4 total or 7/8 on each side.

    Is that normal or should I reduce the space with a board?
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Central Alabama, Shelby County
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    The standard description of a brood box is based on frames that are 1.375" wide - ie:8 frame. I suspect that the Kelly foundationless frames might be 1.25" wide. Foundationless frames would appeal to beekeepers that believe in 1.25" frame width so that is why I suspect it.

    You have 1.75" left over. If you put 9 frames in the box that would subtract 1.25" and leave you a quarter inch of space on each side.

    Measure your frame spacers then put the correct number of frames in that 9 frame box.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    In the brood chamber I use a follower board to fill the void. In the honey super I space equally after drawn out.





  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    I would run nine frames personally. But what is called a follower board can be placed on one side, or simply group all the frames tightly in the center. Over time the frames will grow thicker.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL
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    205

    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    Yes

    It is.

    I have no idea why Kelly would sell frames that space 1.25 instead of the 'normal' 1.375 to 1.4375 (1-3/8 to 1-7/16 in fractional measurement); nor any idea why 'foundationless' frames would be spaced closer.

    In fact, this whole 'foundationless' thing is one of those 'What the H*ll' things to me.

    Why end up with a bunch of extra drone comb (and you WILL, because it takes less time and wax) than combs of all worker cells ??

    Can someone explain the allure of 'foundationless' ?

    Thanks

  7. #6
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    Sep 2013
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    TheBeeLoudGlade

    Just reread your original post and noted this is your first year.

    I believe strongly in the 1.25" wide frame. There are those who will incorrectly tell you that you will end up with all drone comb if you use foundationless. This is incorrect. "For everything there is a season." (Byrds reference <<<GG>>>)

    Please consider using a proper foundation on 1.25" wide frames your first year then phase in foundationless the second. My colonies are on Dadant foundation in the brood box and foundationless in the supers. 1.25" frames in the brood box and 1.5" wide in the supers.

    Vance and Odfrank are knowledgeable, respected beekeepers on this board. We each have our different philosophies and methods. The question you need to answer is why you wanted to go foundationless in the first place.

    PM me if questions

  8. #7
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    Jan 2017
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    Bridgewater, NJ, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sour Kraut View Post
    Can someone explain the allure of 'foundationless' ?

    Thanks
    Thanks for your answer SK. In my case I’m going foundationless because I don’t want to use chemicals in my hive, and I don’t want to bring commercial wax with its trace amounts of chemicals into the hives.

    Plus, I’ve read that the bees can vary their cell size as they see fit on foundationless - and that has to be a good thing.

    I’m not getting into beekeeping for business or commercial reasons: my main focus isn’t in maximizing honey production. I want to have healthy bees and bees that may add to the ecosystem.

    Maybe going chem-free isn’t a good idea, it that’s where I am right now

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Seattle WA
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    1,240

    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    8 frame boxes do not have a standard size like the 10 frame boxes do. There always seems like there is extra room on the sides with the Mann Lake eight frame boxes (which is my personal standard box in my apiary) I like the extra room on the sides because it gives be extra room to slide the frames aside when doing an inspection. The only drawback will be the honey frames on the ends will get drawn out beyond the spacer and you will not be able to move them in to the center of the brood area. Those frames will always need to be on the end unless you cut the comb back. It should not be a major issue.

    I never reduce the sides but doing so with a thin piece of plywood would reduce the extra honey comb on the ends.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by dudelt View Post
    I like the extra room on the sides because it gives be extra room to slide the frames aside when doing an inspection.
    I prefer a little extra room on the sides as well, makes removing the first couple of frames so much easier. You will probably find that over time the edges of your frame end bars will begin to pick up propolis and wax and the frames will naturally spread out over time, if you don't make a practice of scraping it off. As the frames start to space themselves out a little the open area on the sides will be reduced.

    You might be dealing with a frame of fat comb for a while but eventually it will straighten itself out.
    To everything there is a season....

  11. #10
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    OK

    I've waded thru all that.

    My impression is that it all seems to be based on this:

    "Standard foundation has been upsized

    That upsizing has caused a bee that is 150% of it’s natural size

    The fact that upsizing foundation makes a bigger bee and that we now have upsized is well documented by Baudoux, Pinchot, Gontarski, and most recently, McMullan and Brown. "

    Which all the above authors seem to condemn.

    So my question becomes: "Why is 'upsizing' considered such a bad thing ?????"

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    Less male mites are able to mate:
    Reproduction of Varroa destructor in South African honey bees: does cell space influence Varroa male survivorship, Stephen J. MARTIN, Per KRYGER : http://www.apidologie.org/index.php?.../01/Martin.pdf

    Less mite offspring:
    The influence of brood comb cell size on the reproductive behavior of the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor in Africanized honey bee colonies Giancarlo A. Piccirillo1 and D. De Jong : http://funpecrp.com.br/gmr/year2003/..._full_text.htm

    Smaller cell size significantly contributes to reduced reproductive success of Varroa: Cell size and Varroa destructor mite infestations in susceptible and naturally-surviving honeybee (Apis mellifera) colonies : https://link.springer.com/article/10...5f_z5B1l8IrKLg

    Survival of a Commercial Beekeeper in Norway, Hans Otto Johnsen : https://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...per-in-norway/

    Trial of HoneySuperCell® Small Cell Combs, Randy Oliver : http://scientificbeekeeping.com/tria...ll-cell-combs/

    Effects of Comb Cell Diameter on Parasitic Mite Infestations in Honey Bee Colonies, Eric Erickson Jr. : https://beesource.com/point-of-view/...-bee-colonies/

    The workers live longer:
    On small cell bee longevity: Life span of worker honeybees reared in colonies kept on small-cell combs, Krzysztof Olszewski, Grzegorz Borsuk, Jerzy Paleolog, Aneta Strache : http://medycynawet.edu.pl/images/sto...1412777780.pdf

    The pupation cycle is one to two days shorter by my measurement and that of Huber and Dzierzon:
    On Shortened Pupation: A model of the mite parasite, Varroa destructor, on honeybees (Apis mellifera) to investigate parameters important to mite population growth, D Wilkinson, G.C Smith : http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...04380001004409
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #13
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    Mar 2014
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    Red Bud, IL, USA
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    Can someone explain the allure of 'foundationless' ?

    Not trying to start a tinkling contest but Michael points out the advantages shown through research. Other folks have philosophical reasons whether perceived as valid or not. Too much overthinking it, some of us plain and simply started foundationless and never saw a reason to change. The potential for wonky comb maybe one less thing a new beekeeper has to worry about but they won't turn into a pumpkin if they use it either. About as much of a personal choice as solid/screened bottom board or types of treatments. As with all the other things tried and not fitting well, always time to "not doing that again."
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Minden LA, (NW Louisiana)
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    297

    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    I run 10 frame boxes, but accidently picked up a bunch of 8 frame boxes that I now use for splits. The 8 frames are a bit wider than standard, 8 frames fit in there too loose but there isn't enough room to squeeze in a 9th. I just push them together tight and center in the box.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
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    568

    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    nice frames of worker brood can certainly be had foundationless. so can drone brood and cross comb. the beek needs to understand timing and colony desires.
    are those deep frames? they will be much more fragile than mediums.
    as a new beek, are you prepared and willing to cut and rearrange cross-comb? often times the comb tends to curve off center as they expand outward.
    i would run a ninth frames in that box...

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Cedar City, Utah
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBeeLoudGlade View Post
    When I place 8 frames in there is a lot more space left than I thought there would be - almost 1-3/4 total or 7/8 on each side.
    The Langstroth is designed to have a bit of extra space on each side. Without that space, the bees are reluctant to use the outside face of the outside frames. So, pack those frames tight together and enjoy that extra space on the outside.

    BTW, since you're using foundationless frames, you'll find you'll have much better success getting straight combs if you alternate each new foundationless frame between fully-drawn frames. Otherwise, your bees might be "creative" -- even with those nifty Kelley frames. (Bees are a lot like bison -- you can lead them anywhere they want to go.) Let us know how those Kelley frames work out for you. Using the method described above, they've worked well for me.
    A cold bee smoker is bad for the soul.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Coshocton, Ohio, USA
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    I use foundationless frames in all hives. I found that Langstroth frames, with or without foundation don't leave the .25 inch bee space between comb. My bees build comb out to 1.5 inches thick and if the frame tabs are touching the bees usually end up attaching one comb to the next. Use a spacer as others have suggested or I eyeball .25 inch space between the frame tabs.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    8 frame hives have a little bit more room in them than 10 frame hives.

    Ten frame hives are 16-1/4 wide, or 14-3/4 inside. Ten frames are 13-3/4, leaving you with 1" extra space inside.

    Eight frame hives are 13-3/4 inches wide, or 12-1/4 inside. Eight frames are 11" leaving you with 1-1/4" extra space inside.

    A Mann-Lake 8 frame hive has even more space. Mann-Lake 8 frame hives are 14 inches wide, or 12-1/2 inside. The Mann-Lake 8 frame hive has 1-1/2" of extra space, which is enough room for another frame if you want but then removing the first frame will be tight.

    In my 13-3/4" 8 frame hives I push all the frames tight together and push them all to one side. The extra 1/4" space hasn't been a problem. Its nice to have the extra room to slide a frame into before lifting it from the box. Bees hang out in that space and bees also use it as a highway to the supers. They do build a small amount of ladder comb on the walls to help them climb up. I usually leave it there until it gets thick, its easy to scrape it off when necessary. I don't have any experience with the 14" 8 frames so I don't know if they'll build more, but you could just center the frames and leave them with a 3/4" highway to the supers on both sides. I actually wish I had started my 8 frames at 14" so it would fit the Mann-Lake queen excluders better, but since excluders are on for only the flow no way am I remaking everything.
    Zone 6B

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBeeLoudGlade View Post
    Thanks for your answer SK. In my case I’m going foundationless because I don’t want to use chemicals in my hive, and I don’t want to bring commercial wax with its trace amounts of chemicals into the hives.

    Plus, I’ve read that the bees can vary their cell size as they see fit on foundationless - and that has to be a good thing.

    I’m not getting into beekeeping for business or commercial reasons: my main focus isn’t in maximizing honey production. I want to have healthy bees and bees that may add to the ecosystem.

    Maybe going chem-free isn’t a good idea, it that’s where I am right now
    I'm going to go a little bit off thread topic here, as this post is raising a couple of red flags. If I am off base in what I am reading between the lines then forgive me.

    I sincerely hope you are not one of the new beekeepers who thinks you can just drop bees in a hive and be all natural, as in doing nothing to manage pests, and that you are doing something to help the ecosystem. Gone are the days that we didn't have to worry about hive pests. Those days disappeared thirty years ago when invasive pest made there way in from Asia, and they are everywhere now. We live in a new reality and one of the largest threats to the bee population are beekeepers who do nothing to manage the pests. What they end up doing is giving them a nice comfortable place to flourish and then spread to the local bee population.

    IMO you cannot go truly chem-free. There are many good pest management techniques, some use chemicals, some use hive management techniques. Using a combination of them works best. We love to see beekeepers succeed. But if natural means doing nothing about pests it is a road to ruin and it is the worst thing we can do to bees. If you really want to help the ecosystem and bee a successful beekeeper, then learn them and use them.
    Zone 6B

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Is my frame spacing wrong?

    >IMO you cannot go truly chem-free

    And yet thousands of us have been doing just that for the past decade and a half.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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