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Is Mann Lake and Betterbee woodenware compatible? I need to order a few things (double nuc setup, some frames, an outer cover, etc). Currently all my equipment is from Mann Lake but I'd like to switch over to Betterbee. No complaints about Mann Lake, Betterbee is just closer and I'd like to stay local. But, I don't want to be stuck with equipment that isn't interchangeable. I searched the archives and didn't see anything on this specifically. Any insights?
 

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I don't have "Betterbee" equipment, I started out with Dadant, and I should have stayed with Dadant. I purchased some Mann Lake equipment, but the Mann Lake stuff is just not the quality Dadant is. Also, I purchased Mann Lake mediums, Mann Lake frames for those mediums, and Mann Lake plastic foundation for those mediums.................. The foundation didn't fit :eek: I called Mann Lake and they said I should have purchased XYZ foundation, wait a minute, the foundation I did purchase was for mediums, why doesn't it fit. Mann Lake frames are not as robust as Dadant, many of the Mann Lake boxes I've purchased are younger than the Dadant, the Mann Lake boxes are warping, Dadant's are not. I've purchase the same 'quality' from both companies.
 

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5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
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Is Mann Lake and Betterbee woodenware compatible? I need to order a few things (double nuc setup, some frames, an outer cover, etc). Currently all my equipment is from Mann Lake but I'd like to switch over to Betterbee. No complaints about Mann Lake, Betterbee is just closer and I'd like to stay local. But, I don't want to be stuck with equipment that isn't interchangeable. I searched the archives and didn't see anything on this specifically. Any insights?
if better bee is close measure the lids and bottoms and boxes , pay them a visit. measure and decide if they will work, Maybe take a frame or 2 along to see if they fit the same. Ideally bare wood frame taking one of your combs into the store may raise some unwanted attention.

Could also paint the Mann Lake, Mango and the Better Bee, Blue and just order parts for each as needed.

I settled on a "vender" and find it easier to just stay the same.

GG
 

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A lot of the usual 10 frame stuff is mostly standardized, but when you start getting into things like nuc equipment, the other vendors are not at all compatible in a lot of cases. All of my equipment is Mann Lake as well, I am starting to get disappointed in their quality though...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, visiting would be ideal. Even though it's the closest vender, Betterbee is still 2.5 hours away so I don't think I'll get there any time soon. Different colors is a good idea.
 

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Yes, they are pretty compatible. ML 8 frame boxes are 14" outside and Betterbee's (and everybody else's) are 13-3/4". I think the thickness of the frame top bar lugs where they rest on the rabbets is tiny bit different too (ML a little thicker). The lumber quality is much better from Betterbee. Their budget boxes are better than other's commercials. I get all budget and can typically assemble several select boxes from the order.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Schultz, good to know. Given that they're much closer, mostly compatible, and people seem to prefer Betterbee, I think I'll go for it.
 

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I think betterbee frames are probably the best out of all companies. Dadant frames would be my next choice. I have betterbee boxes that are 25+ years old. Mann Lake boxes are more like 10-15 yrs before they die out. So I prefer betterbee Deep boxes for brood chambers as they are outside with the most exposure. Mann Lake boxes for honey supers to keep costs down, knowing they usually get stored under cover. Betterbee frames are nice and heavy with Mann Lake seeming weaker and cheaper. I'd get Betterbee every time if I could but sometime I have to get the most for my $$$ quanity wise.
 

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I have used Dadant, Betterbee, and Mann Lake. I tried to use Dadant several times as they have a store near me. In my experience their quality has always been worse. I think Betterbee is probably the best overall, but aside from frames Mann Lake is pretty close.
 

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Others have addressed the boxes... Frames from Betterbee and Mann Lake do use a slightly different scheme https://beesource.com/product-reviews/wood-frames-for-the-langstroth-hive/ of top and bottom spacing. Scroll down to "Mix and Match"

No experience with Mann Lake frames but think they are more similar to Dadent than Betterbee frames. If going foundation less, Betterbee frames have a narrower groove which is much easier to glue Popsicle sticks in than Dadent. D's grooves are also deeper so their foundation requires trimming a 1/16th inch to fit in BB frames without bowing. If you scroll down a bit further to the pictures of the bottom bars. it looks like Mann Lake frames are half way in-between Dadent and Betterbee. So these two issues may be less.

Overall like Betterbee frames best but they do not have free shipping:eek: Have found you can add a bunch of light items to an order and the shipping only creeps up a tiny bit from that initial shock on a 100 pack.
 

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When we started out 3 years ago, we simply bought whatever was cheapest. Mann Lake, Dadant, Brushy Mtn. Each had slightly different dimensions, but they are compatible.
After our initial purchases, we now, only use boxes from Blythewood Bee. They are local to us, in SC, BUT, the boxes are all made from yellow pine, sort if like redwood, more resistant to rot and deterioation.
 

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One of the issues that is often overlooked is that different manufacturers may create bee space between boxes in different ways. This can result in excessive comb being drawn between boxes from different sources. There was an article many years ago in ABJ that determined compatibility between different suppliers.
I have experienced issues mixing Kelley and Rossman…for example.
 

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I have found that if the depth of the frame rest is the same,you won't have the issues beemandan mentions.5/8 in is the standard
Keep in mind that Better Bee sold 7/8 in thick woodenware for a while but now that they bought Humble Abodes that option is out.
One of my mentees had a problem with ML med frames also.Due to an ordering mistake,the grooved bottom bar was too shallow for med wax foundation.
Better Bee does not sell split bottom bars so I regularly order split bottom bars from ML and wax foundation from BB with zero problems.
 

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Weren't the deeper frame rest ledges meant to be used with the metal frame rail addition that took up an eighth of an inch. That system left a hiding space for beetles under the ends of top bars. If somebody installs the ledgers on a standard 5/8 deep hive body then bee space is compromised.

When I started I bought or created some misfits for sure.
 

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You can still get 7/8" thick woodenware from Betterbee. Just have to select. the option where available. I converted all my hive bodies to 7/8" deeps this spring.

If buying the budget 5 packs then the option is not there. You get 3/4" boxes.

I am mixing Mann lake and Betterbee frames now. Slightly different heights on the top bars but does not appear to be enough to violate beesapce when mixed. So far so good.
 

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On frames I like to make frame that where made at that time. Have had a hundred made one year and the next years where a little different. But i do buy from the Amish.
 

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"When I started I bought or created some misfits for sure."

Keep bees long enough and you're bound to collect stuff that drives you crazy.You swear you're going to trash it when you have the time or next time you visit that yard or if you remember to bring a replacement or if the colony dies or...................
 
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