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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last Summer when a Iowa bee Inspector was visiting my hives, he suggested that each Spring I should remove the two outside frames in each brood box, spread 4 frames to the right and 4 to the left, and insert 2 new frames/foundation in the center of the box. It seems like this would split the brood area, but is this how you rotate frames?
 

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I prefer to add empty frames on the outside of the brood nest, between the outer two frames of brood. One per box, maybe one on each side if the colony has a very high population of bees capable of festooning and filling in all the voids on the empty frames.
 

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I am a hobby beekeeper with 3 hives. My hives are 3 years old.
I will start replacing the deep frames with wax foundation when spring arrives.
How long will it take to replace all the frames?
 

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I certainly wouldn't put in two undrawn frames. I do believe in placing a frame of foundation or foundationless frame between two frames of capped brood. The bees will almost always draw out a perfect frame of worker cells and do it in a hurry as they are restoring the integrity of the brood nest. Mr. Gilmore's method is sound too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I prefer to add empty frames on the outside of the brood nest, between the outer two frames of brood. One per box, maybe one on each side if the colony has a very high population of bees capable of festooning and filling in all the voids on the empty frames.
Then how do you rotate the frames in the center of the brood nest? According to the inspector, you continue to remove 2 outer frames and insert 2 new frames in the center to get on a five year rotation.
 

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Then how do you rotate the frames in the center of the brood nest?
I don't like to disturb the "center" of the broodnest with empty frames.

For example, if you have 5 frames of brood across the center of the box remove two frames of honey from the far outside edges of the box. Leave the center three frames of brood in place, and slide the outer frames of brood toward the sides, creating a gap for an empty frame, as seen below.

HHBBBBBHHH
HB BBB BHH ...Remove a frame of honey from each side, slide the outside brood frames toward the sides.
HBEBBBEBHH ...Insert empty frames in the gaps between brood.

I prefer to only do one frame at a time per box, unless the population is pretty high. If you are planning to recycle brood frames out, later in the year after they have drawn out the two new frames of brood, move those new frames of brood to the center of the box and move the older brood combs from the center to the outside of the brood nest so you can cycle them out later.

Mark each frame with the year and keep moving older frames to the outside and you will be on a five year rotation.
 

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How long will it take to replace all the frames?
I think that will depend upon the flow, and how much honey you are willing to sacrifice for them to burn up drawing out new comb. You could probably get a whole box of new comb drawn, but that will wipe out a significant amount of the honey crop. I would plan on cycling out just 2 or 3 frames per box each year to maintain a nice balance. JMO
 

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I don't see rotation being critical. I usually pull out the bottom box in the spring so if I scrapped one box per year I would be close to a 5 year plan. If you look at the frames you can see how black they get and really scrap based on color.
 
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