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I was reading in one of the catalogs about frame spacers. I'm useing a SBB and was going to limit my brood box to 8-frames, and 9-frames in my shallow suppers. I am doing the 8-frame to help eliminate mites, and just let the mites fall to the ground from the hive box. I used no medication in my hives, and they are wintering well, with plenty of stores. It lookes like i will get to spit the hives next month. I saw a devise for $15.00 that you just run between the frames to evenly space for the configuration of the number of frames you want. Is there any pro, or cons on useing such a devise, verses the nail in type spacers?
 

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Time is the only con. If you are using sbb it dosent matter how many frames you use in the brood nest, the mites will fall off of ten the same as eight. another thing to think about ,if you use nine or eight frames in a brood nest the bees will draw the comb further out causing you to roll youre bees and possibly killing the queen in the process.
 

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>I was reading in one of the catalogs about frame spacers. I'm useing a SBB and was going to limit my brood box to 8-frames, and 9-frames in my shallow suppers.

I'd do 8 or 9 in the supers and 10 or 11 in the brood box.

>I am doing the 8-frame to help eliminate mites, and just let the mites fall to the ground from the hive box.

I don't see how it will help. My bet is if you go to 8 in the brood area they will build a comb in between the frames. In the honey area they just build fat combs, but you can't just build fat brood combs and bees will not waste space.

>I saw a devise for $15.00 that you just run between the frames to evenly space for the configuration of the number of frames you want. Is there any pro, or cons on useing such a devise, verses the nail in type spacers?

Pro's: You only have to buy one. You don't have to nail all those spacers in. You don't have to have two (or maybe three) kinds of hives because some do and some don't have spacers. You can slide combs around to make space when opening up a hive.

Con's: You have to use the comb to space them. With the frame rests it's automatic. You can't move combs around. You also can't cheat a fat one a bit off of the standard spacing.

I use the spacing device, not the frame rests.
 

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I have some second-hand equipment that had frame rest spacers. I couldn't slide frames around if I wanted. The spacers in the deeps were for 9 frames. I was starting from foundation, so I needed to insert 10 frames. Had to take out the spacers. I suppose when someone has their system up and running, it gets a lot simper to know which deeps are for supers and which are for brood boxes. But I need to be diverse right now.

I though that I would just take a strip of wood and insert some dowels of the poper diameter at the proper spacing to make my own comb. The dowels would be tapered of course. For me, using a drill press is easier than a jigsaw for cutting a comb out of plywood.
 

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I've heard that a Queen will not lay in a deep comb such as you would find in a 8 frame box, I've also heard the same for 9 frame brood. I agree w/MB use that set-up in your honey supers and, IHMO, leave your brood boxes 10 frames, But I'm no expert. More comb more brood, I think that is the way its supposed to work.
 

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"Interesting Information"

Permadent has about 6,500 usable cells when both sides are counted.Pierco has 10% more.
Queen lays 1,500 to 2,000 eggs per day.
1,500 x 21 =31,500
31,500 divided by 6,5oo usable cells per frame=4.85 maximum possible full frames of brood per normal single queen hive.


Terry
 

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Not that I would recommend spacing brood frames to eight in the brood box(es).The queen has no problem laying in the deeper frames and in actual practice this does happen in some of our commercial hives by default in early spring as we run a single brood box with honey boxes without excluders spaced to eight above.In some cases a queen will go up and lay out some honey frames.That aside brood frames spaced to eight would have exactly the same bee space once drawn out as 10 frames would.Frame spacer in photo has been in service over a decade for spacing honey frames to eight.You effectivly get extra honey in boxes spaced to 8 because the 2 bee spaces gained with two less frames equilize out to fatter frames of honey (hence heavier).A real bonus when uncapping and less frames to extract for more honey,assuming your boxes are packed out.

http://tinyurl.com/44npl

Brood frame wide spacing can have an effect on brood temperature extending the post capped stage before bee emergence allowing more varroa mites to reach maturity) that would not normally under warmer brood temperatures.The spacer in the photo was made up out of 3/16" ABC plastic.
 

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>Permadent has about 6,500 usable cells when both sides are counted.Pierco has 10% more.

Because Pierco deeps are 5.25mm cell size. I don't have any Permadent here, but all the others (Plasticell, etc.) are 5.4mm. Here's my calculations:

Number of cells on a frame
Cells on one deep frame of 5.4mm wax foundation 7000
Cells on one deep frame of 4.9mm wax foundation 8400

I have let the bees build what they want. Enlarged ("normal" bees) will build on 1 3/8" centers (10 frame crowded to the middle) for brood and will space honey in all sorts of sizes but 1 1/2" to 2" is a pretty normal range. That works out similar to 9 or 8 frames in a 10 frame box.

Small cell bees build brood comb on 1 1/4" centers and honey in the same range as the large cell bees. I often put 11 frames in a brood box by planing down the end bars to 1 1/4". All my top bars on my top bar hives are 1 1/4" in the brood nest and 1 1/2" in the honey storage area. The bees cheat on these if they don't like the width. One of the top bar hives has no comb guides and that's what they are spaced too.

Let's see, small cell at 11 frames is 8400 * 11 = 92,400 cells in one deep box. Large cell at 8 frames is 7000 * 8 = 56,000 thats 60% of the number of cells in the same size box in small cell with 11 frames.

My problem with less frames is they draw it different depths depending on if there are laying brood in it or putting honey in it. I've only done 9 frames and this is noticable. 8 frames will be worse. The protruding comb, as mentioned, can roll a queen. It makes it difficult to rearrange comb because if both protrude at the same place you have to space them more. If one protrudes too much where there's brood on the other the workers can't emerge. You have to be a lot more careful what you put where when they are spaced out more.

The other thing, which may not matter to you not regressing, but the bees seem to draw smaller cells with 11 frames than 10 frames. I have not measured them against the ones drawn at 9 frames, but if the same trend continues I would expect that 9 frame cells would be larger. I would speculate that some of the reason for this is the bees perception of the intended use for the comb based on the spacing. When THEY build it they space brood comb 1 1/4" apart. When THEY build it they space honey more. Maybe they percieve that wider spaced combs are intended for honey storage and therefore build the cells larger.

All I know is they DO build cells larger with wider spacing.
 

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Interesting Information"

Permadent has about 6,500 usable cells when both sides are counted.Pierco has 10% more.
Queen lays 1,500 to 2,000 eggs per day.
1,500 x 21 days =31,500
31,500 divided by 6,5oo usable cells per frame=4.85 maximum possible full frames of brood per normal single queen hive.
Why do some beekeepers have 2 and 3 brood boxes.


-----------
Terry
 

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"Drone cells containing worker brood were less attractive to mites than worker cells containing worker brood, whereas drone larvae in worker cells were attractive for a longer period that those
in drone cells (Beetsma et al. 1999). This suggests that varroa invades the cell when the larva fills the cell-bottom. In plastic cells
which have a slightly larger diameter, the time the worker larvae are vulnerable to invasion is reduced from 14 hours to six hours, i.e. by 58% (de Jong 1997). Making worker cells slightly larger might reduce attractiveness, but by far less than the 96% change identified by the model.

The depth of cells also affects invasion rate: invasion begins when the larva is between 7 to 7.5 mm from the comb surface and increases exponentially until the cell is sealed (de Jong 1997). Elongated worker brood cells were attractive for a shorter period than normal worker cells and contained only 16-50% of the mites
(Beetsma et al. 1999). Shortened worker cells contained 200-300% more mites than normal worker cells. However this approach does not achieve the 96% reduction required and is impractical in modern honey bee colonies. Drone brood cells are susceptible to invasion 2 to 3 times longer than worker brood (40-50hrs compared to 15-20hrs) (Beetsma et al. 1999). Although mites which do not invade drone brood are available to enter worker cells, their reproductive growth is less.
Thus only a 19% reduction in drone cell invasion is required to reduce the annual mite population growth rate by 25%. This suggests that reduction of the window for invasion by the 19%
required offers a possible route to limiting mite population growth. This might be achieved by increasing the diameter of the drone brood cells slightly to reduce the length of the window for invasion between the larva filling the bottom of the cell and capping. If similar to the effect reported for worker brood, this would reduce the invasion rate by 58% which is far more than the 19% required.

Realistically, breeding bees which produce larger cells for drone laying but not larger drones is unlikely. An alternative approach would be introduction of artificial comb with slightly
larger cells but the proportion provided would need to be carefully controlled, so as not to encourage mite breeding."

-from "Modelling Biological Approaches
to Controlling Varroa Populations" by D. WILKINSON, H. M. THOMPSON and G.C. SMITH, 4/2001, ABJ 7/01

http://www.csl.gov.uk/science/organ/environ/bee/varroa/ModellingBiologicalApproaches.pdf
 

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Q:Would narrow brood spacing result in shallower cells? Say, 1 1/4" spacing vs. 1 3/8" (std.) vs. 1 1/2" (Dadant spacing)? Or is the bee space itself all that is changed? With 9 frames in the brood nest there is a tendency for the cells to be a bit deeper. Too deep and the queen won't lay in them.

Anyway, I thought there were some intriguing points raised in the article and that some might find it interesting, regarding spacing, cell depth, cell size, etc.
 

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The actual space between the comb stays the same from my experience(which is not alot yet). The combs are drawn to the depth we give them for centering the combs. I made one box when I started making my own boxes 1/4 inch to narrow so I spaced 9 frames as evenly as I could by eye and fingers for measuring. The comb was drawn deeper and this box made bigger bees. I have torn this box apart and made it into a nuc since. I want small/natural size bee for mite reduction.
 

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From my experience the depth of brood comb is always the same (at least for a give size bee SC or LC) regardless of the spacing. Just the honey gets drawn out more or less. I have not noticed a change in depth because of a change in spacing except for honey.

>Anyway, I thought there were some intriguing points raised in the article and that some might find it interesting, regarding spacing, cell depth, cell size, etc.

It is interesting reading and they have some interesting ideas.

This is just above what you quoted.

"The size and shape of the brood cells
The diameter of the worker cell appears to affect the invasion of
varroa mites. In the absence of drone brood, the varroa infestation
rate has been reported to be 16-50% lower in the small Africanized
worker cells than in the larger European (Italian) worker cells
(Guzman-Novoa et al. 1999, Rosenkranz 1999). This in part may
have been due to a higher visitation rate by nurse bees as the
European larvae were larger and heavier, and to the longer periods
spent capping the larger cells which would increase the time period
over which a mite can invade the cell (Message and Goncalves
1995)."

And a bit further down:
"No differences in larval attraction between Africanized and
European worker brood have been reported in laboratory or
colony trials (Rosenkranz 1999, Beetsma et al. 1999) suggesting
that there are no, or only slight differences between strains of A.
mellifera."

And:
"Several workers (Message and Goncalves 1995, Guzman-
Novoa et al. 1999, Ruttner, et al. 1984, Rosenkranz 1999, Medina
and Martin 1999) showed low rates of mite fertility: 40-50% in
worker brood of Africanized and European bees in Brazil and
Mexico. In these studies female mites entered worker cells but did
not lay eggs. However, this effect was worker brood specific as
about 90% of mites entering drone cells of Africanized bees were
fertile (de Jong 1997)."

IF there is little difference besides cell size between the two...

And this:
"Worker Africanized bees usually have a post-capping period 20
hrs shorter than European bees (Rosenkranz 1999). However,
among European bees there is significant variation in the average
duration of the capped period and this is a heritable characteristic
(Harris and Harbo 2000), but it can be affected by climatic conditions.
European Apis mellifera carnica bees had a worker postcapping
time only 8 hrs longer than Africanized bees at the same
tropical site (Rosenkranz 1999).
The model predicts that, in order to bring about a 25% reduction
in mite population growth (excluding the possible effects of
reduced mating success and fertility of daughter mites) the postcapping
period for worker brood needs to be reduced by 7% (20
hrs) for worker brood, by 9% (30 hrs) for drone brood and by 7%
(20hrs worker, 24hrs drone) for both. This results in a post-capping
time close to the minimum reported for worker brood, but
drone brood has greater phenotypic variation (de Jong 1997) suggesting
that it may be possible to breed bees that produce drone
brood with a shorter post-capping period. Buchler and Drescher
(1990) reported that 25% of the variation in mite populations in
their colonies could be accounted for by variations in the post-capping
period, which fits in well with the results of our model.
However, in a survey of European bees an average 8.7% reduction
of mite infestation rate was calculated for each 1hour reduction in
the capping time (de Jong 1997). This is a much larger effect than
our model predicts, suggesting other factors are confounding the
comparison in European bees."

Shorter capping times are what I suspect are the reason for small cell successes.

All in all the paper is interesting, but it still makes a lot of assumptions. But to make a mathematical model you have to simplify things.
 

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> From my experience the depth of brood comb is
> always the same...regardless of the spacing.
> Just the honey gets drawn out more or less.

This is very surprising.
Regardless of the purpose to which comb is put,
the bees should follow the "bee space" convention,
and draw the comb out to be wider, or try to
create extra combs between the widely-spaced
combs.

If there is no nectar flow, and/or if the
colony is weak, drawing the comb out may be
difficult for the colony, so this might explain
why no comb drawing was observed.

I've never tried to use "9-frame" or "8-frame"
spacing in brood chambers, as I would view this
as counterproductive, but I have come across
hives where 9-frame Stoller spacers were left in
place and frames of foundation were inserted. (A
massive mess results from this, as the bees will
draw a few "extra" combs between the frames,
draw comb at an angle to the frames, and otherwise
create comb that requires lots of surgery to
restore to some semblance of a "workable" hive.)
 

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I have done 9 frame spacing and that's why I don't do it anymore. On 9 frame sapcing in the brood nest, they will certainly build all honey comb out to leave only a beespace to the opposite comb. But from my experience, they will not draw brood comb facing brood comb out to fill that space. This is why Dadant was convinced that 11 frames in a 12 frame box was a good idea for a brood nest. To get more cluster space in the brood nest.

But this is also what causes the combs to go in and out in a 9 frame brood nest and that's what I don't like. It's really bad when it's honey on one side and brood on the facing comb. Then the honey really sticks out because the won't draw the brood any deeper than brood is supposed to be, but they will draw the honey to within a beespace of it. I've seldom gotten the in between combs in a 9 frame brood nest, but, like Jim, I would expect them with the 8 frame spacing.
 

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What Jim is saying about the width bees draw frames under normal conditions is correct, with the bee space remaining constant.We have had farmers right hives and in doing so get the boxes on upside down.Bees carry on all season no problem.Say after extracting a 8 frame spaced box of honey you are to add a couple of the same width frames to that box and return to the hive what would you think the bees will do?Yes you have guessed it.They simply cut the wax back to the correct bee space.As the topic opened with frame spacing and eliminating mites you may be
interested to know that mites need to be orintated for reproduction.This site is an attempt to disorientate the mite.

http://tinyurl.com/44l88
 

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"You can slide combs around to make space when opening up a hive. . .I use the spacing device, not the frame rests." Amen, Michael. 10 frames in the brood box(es), 9 frames in the honey supers, all medium size, 10-frame boxes. My experience (which ain't much) has shown that the comb in the brood box with the 10 frames is much shallower than the comb in the honey supers. That means no rolling bees or my queen and extra honey for all of us!
 

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>>Why do some beekeepers have 2 and 3 brood boxes.


Many many beekeepers work with one brood box, and produce the same honey as I do in two boxes. Our brood count is much the same, but I have more stores for them to work at. Singles require a little finner tuned management and are wintered indoors here, I winter outdoors.
Blows the three brood chamber management right out the window, unless you are beekeeping in the far north

I use my fingers and thumb as a frame spacer. Takes a little more time, but I never loose them. ;)
 

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> Why do some beekeepers have 2 and 3 brood boxes.

Ian explained why "two", and I have nothing of
value to add to his explanation, but "3" may be
the statement of one of us who have "seen the
light" and converted to all mediums. We most
often use 3 mediums as a baseline brood chamber,
as 3 mediums would be roughly equivalent to 2
deeps (18 inches of brood space either way, as
2 * 9 = 3 * 6).

The need for 3 mediums really only exists
during over-wintering and during the
mission-critical brood build-up period prior
to the spring nectar flows.

I remove the 3rd medium from most hives when
I super, or if it is a good warm spring,
when I make splits. Some of the 3rd mediums
are used to create new colonys splits, and
some are simply culled of all frames with
brood, (which go back into the two remaining
brood chambers) and are placed on the hive
upside down to encourage the bees to clean
them out so they can be stored.

(Bees HATE supers of upside-down comb, and
do a very good job of cleaning them out.)

But 3 deeps would be overkill anywhere except
places where one would be able to film a
remake of "Ice Station Zebra".
 
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