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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Beekeepers,
We installed a nuc about two weeks ago and installed them with 4 foundationless frames. The frames from the nuc were very widely built out so we only added 4 frames to give us some elbow room. I don't see how we can try to push them together without trapping bees and possibly harming the queen. Is there any problem them having the wide combs like this?
Thank you so much! We are relatively new beekeepers and have tons to learn!
 

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Are the combs centred? IE, does the foundation of the comb run exactly down the centre line of the end bars? Because if it's off to one side you may never get good results pushing the frames together, unless you push the comb over so the foundation is centred.

But assuming the foundation is centred, you can push the frames a bit closer to each other every time you work the hive, and the bees will chew down extra wax. Comb used for raising worker brood is only so thick, and can be pushed togethjer straight away, assuming you have standard sized end bars.
 

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Is it possible your end bars need to be scraped down? Some beekeepers run 9 frames in a 10 frame box in the broodnest. It would lead to what you are describing. This would give 1.5 inch comb spacing which was in fashion once upon a time. Some still like it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The combs do seem to be centered so we will start pushing the frames closer a little bit each time. I was worried that we might hurt the bees somehow by doing that but it makes sense to do it gradually. It is amazing how the bees are so good at restructuring what they build! As for the end bars, they seem to be a normal width. We do want to run 9 frames in the broodnest so I guess if the combs are a bit wider it is okay?
Thank you both very much for your replies!
 

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The combs that are too wide - those combs are most likely just honey combs.
Possibly drone brood also.
The worker brood comb can NOT be too wide.

And so - just take a long knife (serrated bread knife is best) and slice off the combs where they are too wide.
Give some combs the "hair cut", so to speak.
In the process you will most likely spill some honey and possible cut into drone brood - not a big deal.
Whatever falls down/spills down (honey or drone brood) - bees will cleanup and is not your concern.
After the "hair cut" push the frames tighter together (scrap those frames of any propolis/wax burrs).

Just get it done once and move forward with your life; no need to monkey about.
 

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The combs that are too wide - those combs are most likely just honey combs.
Possibly drone brood also.
The worker brood comb can NOT be too wide.

And so - just take a long knife (serrated bread knife is best) and slice off the combs where they are too wide.
Give some combs the "hair cut", so to speak.
In the process you will most likely spill some honey and possible cut into drone brood - not a big deal.
Whatever falls down/spills down (honey or drone brood) - bees will cleanup and is not your concern.
After the "hair cut" push the frames tighter together (scrap those frames of any propolis/wax burrs).

Just get it done once and move forward with your life; no need to monkey about.
Just to clarify what GregV is saying, and although my experience is limited, it is my understanding that worker comb can't be too deep or too shallow. It all has to do with the length of the queens abdomen. Too deep and she might not be able to lay the egg in the bottom of the cell. Too shallow and she most likely will not lay an egg because there isn't enough room for a developing pupae.

Such is the case of improperly made wax foundation frames. Rookie mistake to not install wax foundation as straight and centered as possible. I have a whole lot of frames to correct that I inherited from another BK. All of them are curved because the frame style seems to be made for plastic foundation. The slots are too wide and the bottom slot is not open. Standard wax foundation is too long by about 3/32". Rather than tossing them I will trim down the wax foundation, and probably wax glue them in to try to keep them straight.

Bees don't care, it just makes for wonky looking frames that cost you time to manage. So yes I am currently running a monkey business. The wonky frames aren't hardly much good as honey frames either, it makes decapping a longer step. Going to fire up the wax melter.

You could wait until the brood is capped and move it up a box. If the frame doesn't get re-laid as brood when the bees hatch out, then remove it from the hive and let the bees rob it out before trimming and re-using.
 

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I /we went into a new package install with first time beekeeper. She had left about an inch of space between the frames. The bees drew it out wide and it has brood in it now. Since there are only 3 frames of brood drawn out I had her move it to the out side of the brood nest, no empty frames on that side. It's up against the side of the box. When that frame gets empty of brood and gets used for honey storage then it can be shaved down like GregV suggested.
 
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