Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?
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  1. #1
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    Apr 2019
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    New Braunfels, TX, USA
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    Default Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    I'm fairly new to beekeeping, but I do have three active hives. The local ag exemption requires 6. A guy getting out of the hobby gave me several hives/bodies/supers. I needed more so I bought from Mann Lake (via Amazon). But as soon as I opened them up I saw a problem that made me fill out a return request: There is too much extra space in the box (hive boxes and supers). I could almost get an 11th frame into that gap, and I figured that the bees would fill it with burr comb.

    Am I wrong and the extra space is ok? Was I right to return them? If so, what brand should I get?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Derry, New Hampshire
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Quote Originally Posted by roberts0909 View Post
    I'm fairly new to beekeeping, but I do have three active hives. The local ag exemption requires 6. A guy getting out of the hobby gave me several hives/bodies/supers. I needed more so I bought from Mann Lake (via Amazon). But as soon as I opened them up I saw a problem that made me fill out a return request: There is too much extra space in the box (hive boxes and supers). I could almost get an 11th frame into that gap, and I figured that the bees would fill it with burr comb.

    Am I wrong and the extra space is ok? Was I right to return them? If so, what brand should I get?
    If you want to measure that space exactly at the top bars i can verify. I've ordered and assembled about 100 boxes from them and never had a problem. I even order the lowest grade and they usually are perfect.
    Terrence

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Last act before you close the box, squeeze the frames together on each side. The right angle on your hive tool is perfect for this lever action. This equalizes the 1st and 10th frame space to body side walls, and allows bees to build comb on the outside of the two outer frames. In no time at all, the frames will be a "squeeze" to get back into the box as propolis and honey crowns widens the space taken up by each frame.

    Every single box from ML I have built is a perfect 16 1/4" overall outside to outside. And my boxes now number in thousands. An outside OA dimension that hasn't changed in a very long time.

    I would say the newbee is blowing smoke on claims of defective boxes.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Unlike nucs that vary in width from 9" to 9-1/2", 10 frame Lang boxes are set in their dimensions. The box will be 16-1/4" wide by 19-7/8" long. The exception to this are the boxes made of 7/8" thick lumber which are slightly larger on the outside but have the same interior dimensions. All the boxes I have purchased from Mann-Lake have been correct and match the dimensions of both the Kelley and Brushy Mountain boxes I already had.

    Perhaps the OP is using some homemade equipment with slightly tighter dimensions?

    Roberts0909, be sure to edit your profile to include the hives' location in New Braunsfels,TX.
    Last edited by JWPalmer; 06-29-2019 at 06:35 PM.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Having a tight fit at the sides of the frames makes them hard to work and more likely to kill bees. Squished bees cause release of pheromones that riles the bees up. I have some boxes made from full 1" thick lumber so the inside is then tight. No problem, i run 9 frames in them.
    Frank

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    A properly spaced 10 frame hive body should “almost” fit an 11th frame.

  8. #7
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    Apr 2019
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    New Braunfels, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Sounds like I thought I knew more than I do about this I can easily cancel the return requests and keep the hives and supers.

    I'll update my profile as you suggest, JWPalmer.

    Thanks all!

  9. #8
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    Jun 2011
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Quote Originally Posted by roberts0909 View Post
    There is too much extra space in the box (hive boxes and supers). I could almost get an 11th frame into that gap
    Brand new frames into brand new boxes. Re-visit this when the bees have had a chance to put wax and propolis on those frames. A year from now it'll seem tight with 10.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Quote Originally Posted by roberts0909 View Post
    Sounds like I thought I knew more than I do about this I can easily cancel the return requests and keep the hives and supers.

    I'll update my profile as you suggest, JWPalmer.

    Thanks all!
    feel free to ask here first next time. while i'm sure there are mistakes with commercially done equipment it is minimal. i do recommend sticking with one seller though. I believe some other outfits have slightly different dimensions. Maybe i'm remembering wrong.
    After the bees propolize inside you'll love having that extra space. i don't normally maintain my equipment like scraping proplsis between frames so my boxes are typically tight. You might run into this esp if they draw out comb for honey next to an undrawn foundation frame. they make it wide so when you put it back in you have to leave a space as to not uncap the honey. they proplize this space between frames.
    Terrence

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Sometimes the manufactures do make mistakes. I bought some hive bodies from Kelley once and two of the boxes had finger joints that did not line up. I called customer service who was already aware of the problem and they sent me replacements immediately.

    Terrence, sticking with one supplier did not work out well for me, I chose Brushy Mountain!
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Sometimes the manufactures do make mistakes. I bought some hive bodies from Kelley once and two of the boxes had finger joints that did not line up. I called customer service who was already aware of the problem and they sent me replacements immediately.

    Terrence, sticking with one supplier did not work out well for me, I chose Brushy Mountain!
    ha. Wasn't someone selling frames or boxes that did not fit other sellers? Maybe that's what i should have said. choose standard equipment compatible with any seller if yours goes belly up.
    Terrence

  13. #12
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    Dec 2015
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    Grant Co WV
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Bet you are using plastic frames. Wood frames require slightly more room. The burr comb, if any, produced on the outside walls is insignificant. I usually find the bees simply draw the outside of the #1 & #10 frames out a little further.
    Last edited by JWPalmer; 07-01-2019 at 11:54 AM.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Internal space in Mann Lake boxes is a little bigger than other manufacturers to accommodate their feeders and only losing one frame. If you try to put their frame feeders in other boxes, you have to remove two frames.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    As others have said you will like that little bit of extra room. I like the ML nucs because of the extra room. Makes the frame feeder for ML fit much more comfortable and the other 4 frames can still be removed easy enough. ML does pretty good work.

    I'd say compare the actual ML website to the Amazon site price for price.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    I have been making follower boards for extra wide boxes by running a plastic frame through the table saw and cutting off one side of the spacing shoulders and top bar right down to the plastic foundation. These can be then turned either direction in the hive. Uncut side to the comb if the box is wide, or uncut side to the box to prevent a SHB hiding place.
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Another thing to consider is that what is sold on amazon as "Mann Lake" may not actually be Mann Lake. Counterfeit and/or mislabeled stuff on amazon is not terribly uncommon, so it could also be that.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Quote Originally Posted by elmer_fud View Post
    Another thing to consider is that what is sold on amazon as "Mann Lake" may not actually be Mann Lake. Counterfeit and/or mislabeled stuff on amazon is not terribly uncommon, so it could also be that.
    It has been My experience that, what is sold on Amazon as Mann lake is shipped directly from Mann Lake with a Mann Lake Invoice.

  19. #18
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    Apr 2019
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    Default

    Thank you to everyone for the advice. I appreciate every post. 😀

    I'm pretty sure they are from Mann Lake, unless the boxes are counterfeit also.

    If I may add a related question: these came with plastic foundation in the frames. That surprised me. Everything I have is the empty wooden frames, or in the supers, wooden with a few wires. I have messed up enough comb to appreciate the idea of the stability this will bring, and it is the small cell size, but is it actually a good thing?

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Quote Originally Posted by roberts0909 View Post
    but is it actually a good thing?
    Depends who you was. Wood frames with wax foundation, wood with plastic foundation, wood frames with no foundation, plastic frames, or just a bar across the top. Lots of options, and for every option there are many folks that say 'its the best' and even more that say 'its the worst'. In the end, it boils down to what matters for you personally.

    I use plastic frames. I have no desire to spend hours hammering together fiddly little bits to make frames when I can buy full assembled ready to go into a hive out of the box. Assembled wood with plastic foundation is not available in our area, if it was, I'd consider that. But we can get plastic frames quickly and easily, so that's what we buy.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Houston, Texas
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    Default Re: Mann Lake Failed Me - Best Premade Hive Box?

    Mann Lake has a distribution warehouse in Marshall, Tx and Dadant has one in Paris, Tx. Since you are in central Texas, if you order from those locations you will will save on freight and time. They usually have everything you need in my experience at these locations.

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