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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All of my own equipment is 10 frame (no issues), but I'm mentoring someone with 8 frame Mann Lake medium boxes, and I'm surprised by all the extra space on each side after the 8 frames are pushed together in the middle. (It would appear that Mann Lake 8 frame equipment has an outside dimension of 14" vs. 13-3/4" from most of the other suppliers) I did try doing a search of prior posts on the topic, and it seems the answers on how to deal with this fall in three camps:

1) "it doesn't seem to be a problem for me- no extra wide comb or side attachments" (but I'm already seeing problems with overdrawn comb and side attachments, even on a 4 week old package)

2) "you can actually wedge 9 frames in there" (I'm not sure this is a great option if things are tight, because if there's zero extra space, there's no way to pull out a first frame without rolling some bees)

3) "make follower boards"

So....

How do you guys deal with the extra space? If you've made follower boards to fix this, what dimensions did you use for the follower boards? (one per box, or two per box?)

Thanks in advance for any input!

-Knute
 

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I have all Mann Lake boxes and have the same problems... you have probably come across some of my postings in your search.

I'm probably gonna follow the Michael Bush approach and shave down my frames to get 9 in there.

I have tried a few things so far with mixed results (foundationless):

1. Tight and in the middle (as per recommended here), they did OK, but it can be tricky with hived swarms because frames can shift easily in transport and if you don't want to open them up and mess with them when you get home they can get started wrong. Once going and done properly, it works well but there is comb on the sides, no doubt about it and it makes sense with that much room in there!

2. Given the problem with comb on the side, once they drew out the frames we thought we might be able to spread them out a bit. Ugh, bad move. Drew out super wide on one frame and other wonky comb issues. Going to have to get in there and straighten that mess out soon.

3. Last swarm I picked up I jammed 9 frames in. Plenty of room at the time, but things got humid and swelled up a bit. Still was able to get that 9th frame out easy enough... but not something I wanted to do again. So since they were building from one corner of the hive out I just took that 9th frame out and kept them jammed all against the side that they were working on. If they would have been in the middle it would have been another tight and in the middle situation. I'll probably move it to the center once they either draw out the outside frame all the way or start drawing out closer to the big gap that is in there. Hopefully I'll have shaved down some frames before then!

Other observation, even though they are tight and against the wall the latest frame they are working on is being started to the inside of that frame and not on the wedge. They are also already working on a bit of comb coming down the other side. So it seems my Kelly F style frames aren't exactly the bee spacing that these girls like. This makes me think I should shave down frames even more. They seem to want to start off tighter than what the "natural" frame spacing is providing for them.

I doubt this helps much but it is what I'm doing and what I have gone through.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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I like 9 frames in my eight frame boxes... this requires either shaving them all down or shaving down at least one frame, which I have in the center. I have a lot of PermaComb around and it has no spacers so I put one in the center and then four Hoffman frames on each side. Sometimes I just use a follower to fill the extra space. Sometimes I just leave the space (evenly split on both sides).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies!

Shaving the frames is more than my new beekeeper friend is likely willing and able to do, so I think I'll help her make up a few follower boards and see how that goes. I think I'll also contact Mann Lake and inquire directly about fixing the dimensions on their 8-frame equipment. (Gotta try!)
 

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Use a mannlake frame feeder with cap and ladders, only need to remove one frame. I think that's why they make theirs so wide, but only guessing.
 

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This is a box full of follower boards I made for mine:
with pecan wood hangers!

 

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I have the same questions for my new 8 frame Mann Lake boxes. I can easily fit without shaving a 9th frame, however I worry about what happens once the bees start to draw out the frames, will there be enough space to get the frames out.

When centered with 8 frames I have just about 1 inch on each side perhaps 1/16th less then 2" total.
 

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I have a bunch of boxes with those dimensions, here's what I do:

If it's foundation (or a foundation/foundationless mix) squeeze 9 frames in.

If it's drawn comb center up 8 frames.

As they are building having them hard and tight really helps avoid burr comb on the outter edge. Once they get 6 or 7 good frames of drawn comb, I rotate in any partially drawn comb and make sure there's drawn comb facing the edge of the box. Pull the 9th frame then.

I seen to get very little burr comb this way, and when inspecting, I wiggle the #1 frame over and pull #2 - virtually eliminates rolling bees.

And don't have them "fix it" - I've got 100+ boxes of 14" width!
 

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I wouldn't want to try 9 stock frames once they are drawn. Just the humidity was enough to cause an issue. I used the "hook" end of my hive tool to reach in and lift. That was a clean (read: no propolis) frames.
 
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