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You may not know until it is a big problem. The more the bees have to climate control and protect, the more their resources are stressed. When they are overrun by wax moths or small hive beetles or get chilled brood it is too much.
 

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If your concerned about it its probably too much. Not a TBH guy here but opening them up too much at one time invites disaster in the forms AB outlined.
 

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It depends on how many bees are in the colony. If all the voids fill with festooning bees when you add empty frames, you're ok. If not, then you run the risk of setting them back with chilled brood if a cold front comes through and they can't cover all the brood.

Please don't ask me how I know this. ;)
 

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You can certainly open it up too much. Every other frame would only work well in a hive about to swarm with a lot of unemployed bees. The bees need to be able to fill the gap with heat producing festooning bees. If they can't then the brood will die and the bees will get stressed trying to heat the brood.
 

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Depends on the temperature and the number of bees. Push "em. Make a mistake, then back off 20 percent. Right now we are running 4 empty- every other.

Roland
 

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I would be a little apprehensive opening up the brood nest every other bar when the night temps are in the 40's ... but that's just me.
 

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I agree, not with the temps in the 40's , but it is in the 60's at night.If there are enough bees and food, it would still be OK. You need to have a "feel" for the weather and hive conditions to "guess" how much they can handle. Some times we screw up.

Roland
 
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