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I am a newbee awaiting my first nuc (probably with too much time on my hands!). When building my hive of all 8 frame medium boxes I noticed I can fit either 8 or 9 frames into each box. I am going to run frameless (mostly) and am hoping for small cell comb.

As I understand it, if I run 8 frames and space them properly the bees will pull deeper comb, holding more honey. If I run 9 frames they will draw shallower comb. Will 9 frames be more conducive to small cells, or are all the cells the same size, just with variable depth? Should I go 8 for brood and 9 for honey? For a novice who intends to experiment a lot to learn as much as I can what would you suggest?
 

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Cell size is the diameter not the depth of the cell. I think you mean foundationless instead of frameless, you will get what the bee's want draw out. I would run 8 frames in the brood chamber pushed together in the center, you have to have room to remove them. The honey super 8 till they get comb drawing out then you could go to 7 for thick combs of honey.
 

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In my experience with running 11 frames in a ten frame box, I would guess you will get better drawn comb running 9 frames. Just keep them running straight from the start. Good luck and remember you need comb guides.

After your frames are drawn, you can go to 7 frames in your supers by evenly spacing them.
 

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If I were going to use 8-frame brood boxes, I would use 1 1/4" narrow frames and put 9 in. Narrow brood frames seem to work better, less lumpyness and no wide ridge of honey storage above shallower brood cells that end up spaced a bit too far apart.

The bees will make the brood cells the correct depth for brood, never more, but honey storage can get quite deep. The spacing of standard frames is a compromise between the narrower brood comb in wild hives and the wider honey comb -- brood is often 1 1/4" apart in wild hive, sometimes closer, but honey storage is often 1 1/2. Narrow brood frames and standard width honey super frames, spaced even further apart once drawn, will give you fewer frames of honey that is easier to uncap and extract while not reducing the amount of honey while keeping the brood nest easy to work.

Peter
 

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I am a newbee awaiting my first nuc (probably with too much time on my hands!). When building my hive of all 8 frame medium boxes I noticed I can fit either 8 or 9 frames into each box. I am going to run frameless (mostly) and am hoping for small cell comb.

As I understand it, if I run 8 frames and space them properly the bees will pull deeper comb, holding more honey. If I run 9 frames they will draw shallower comb. Will 9 frames be more conducive to small cells, or are all the cells the same size, just with variable depth? Should I go 8 for brood and 9 for honey? For a novice who intends to experiment a lot to learn as much as I can what would you suggest?
I think you mean, "foundationless", not frameless.

Generally, it is considered conducive to having more smaller cells, if the combs are spaced closely together.

I would think 8 for honey and 9 for brood.
 

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I am a newbee awaiting my first nuc (probably with too much time on my hands!). When building my hive of all 8 frame medium boxes I noticed I can fit either 8 or 9 frames into each box. I am going to run frameless (mostly) and am hoping for small cell comb.

As I understand it, if I run 8 frames and space them properly the bees will pull deeper comb, holding more honey. If I run 9 frames they will draw shallower comb. Will 9 frames be more conducive to small cells, or are all the cells the same size, just with variable depth? Should I go 8 for brood and 9 for honey? For a novice who intends to experiment a lot to learn as much as I can what would you suggest?
If you are running foundationless frames DO NOT space the frames so as to leave gaps between frames. Push the frames tight against the other. As many folks have warned, and last year I experienced, the bees will run burr comb all over the place when gaps are left between foundationless frames. It looked like bees on drugs, as comb was intertwined between several frames. :pinch:

If I were you I would put in 9 frames, especially in the brood chamber. Also if you have time on your hands you might want to shave down your frames from 1-3/8 to 1-1/4 spacing. The bees being slightly more crowded in the brood chamber worked very well for me last year. As far as whether that will result in small cell, I cannot say.

For brood I would go 9, for honey 8. For the honey box, I would let the girls get the comb going. When they have drawn out at least 5 or 6 of the frames, THEN you can space the frames, leaving gaps. That may result in some cross-comb, but not the hellacious disaster I experienced.

Phil
 

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I've found that with 14" 8-frame equipment, you can fit 9 standard frames in initially. That 9th frame is tight and really won't fit once you get a bit of propolis - plus, it won't leave you any wiggle room to get the first frame out when inspecting. It worked well for me to put it in when they were drawing comb and it cut down on the wonky burr comb between the outer frames and the box. Once drawn, I go back to 8 frames.
 

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>As I understand it, if I run 8 frames and space them properly the bees will pull deeper comb, holding more honey.

If they are drawn and if they are using them for honey, yes.

>If I run 9 frames they will draw shallower comb. Will 9 frames be more conducive to small cells, or are all the cells the same size, just with variable depth?

Frames in the brood nest should always be tightly together. If you do that, they will be spaced the same whether you squeeze another frame in or not, unless you shave the end bars down.

> Should I go 8 for brood and 9 for honey? For a novice who intends to experiment a lot to learn as much as I can what would you suggest?

If you are extracting, I would use 8 until you have drawn comb. When using drawn comb in a super I would use 7 or 6 frames in an eight frame box equally spaced.

But then I would also shave the end bars down. Sounds like you have 14" boxes if you can squeeze 9 regular width frames in, but you'll probably find if you do that, that the first one is hard to get out. I would leave the gap at each side and crowd them in the center.
 

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I am a newbee awaiting my first nuc (probably with too much time on my hands!). When building my hive of all 8 frame medium boxes I noticed I can fit either 8 or 9 frames into each box. I am going to run frameless (mostly) and am hoping for small cell comb.

As I understand it, if I run 8 frames and space them properly the bees will pull deeper comb, holding more honey. If I run 9 frames they will draw shallower comb. Will 9 frames be more conducive to small cells, or are all the cells the same size, just with variable depth? Should I go 8 for brood and 9 for honey? For a novice who intends to experiment a lot to learn as much as I can what would you suggest?
** emphasis added

What are the dimensions of your medium boxes? I run all 8 frame medium equipment, while mine, like most 8 frame boxes, tend to have quite a bit of extra room, they won't accept a 9th frame. Of course, that's with standard width frames...You can shave them down to 1 1/4" to fit 9 if desired, or space them out and run 7. Personally, my advice would be to simple run 8 frames in both your brood boxes and honey supers. Once you accumulate some drawn comb and experience, then you can start playing around with running an extra or one fewer frame if desired.
 
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