Frame Spacing

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Paul Cottier, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Paul Cottier

    Paul Cottier New Member

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    When i inspected a hive last week i forgot to keep the correct spacing in between the frames and left them spaced far apart. When i went to the hive today to give them more feed i found they had drawn out the comb so thick that it nearly touched the other frame. So just a reminder to all the new beekeeps including myself that there is a "correct" spacing between frames. They make tools for this but if you dont have one the frames should be 3/8 of an inch apart (top bar to top bar). Any larger the bees will create burr comb and make inspections a pain or near impossible. Lesson learned.
     
  2. SuiGeneris

    SuiGeneris Member

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    Quick question from a total newb - if this happens, how do you address it? Do you have to scrape the frame to foundation and let the bees rebuild?
     

  3. Paul Cottier

    Paul Cottier New Member

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    It depends. At this time of year for my hives they have built up their stores of honey and pollen and all that burr comb has been filled. I wouldnt do that at this point because it sets their work back and will spill a lot of honey into the hive and may attract predators/beetles. I will wait til mid spring to remove the excess comb to where it should be and place the frames to the apprpriate bee space when they should be using it for brood and wont be threatening their winter stores. I personally wouldnt take it to the foundation because it will just create more work for them however, if the comb is older (1+ years) then yes i would remove it to the foundation to make way for new, clean comb.
     
  4. ccjersey

    ccjersey Member

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    In the brood areas of the hive it is best to maintain bee space ie 10 frames or 8 frames in standard hive bodies. In honey supers, once the bees have drawn the frame and it has been recapped and extracted it is most efficient to space 9 frames evenly so the bees will draw the cells out to maintain the bee space making decapping very easy and actually getting a bit more honey packed away in each super.

    I have been warned not to space foundation out that far or the bees may cross comb it. Additionally they may go overboard if you "checkerboard" or alternate empty drawn comb with bare foundation. Sometimes you get the drawn comb extended too far and the foundation not drawn out far enough. Best to checkerboard capped honey with foundation or with drawn comb or put in all drawn comb or all foundation.
     
  5. Paul Cottier

    Paul Cottier New Member

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    My parents have tried evenly spacing 9 frames in their supers with the same idea and found out it didnt work that well for them. Might be a hive-specific thing im not sure but their honey frames were very irregular and even cross-combed in some places. Maybe if the top bars were larger?
     
  6. ccjersey

    ccjersey Member

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    Had the frames they used been drawn before they were spaced out?

    I had never thought about doing that until I had a friend who is a commercial bee keeper come help me go through my hives this spring. She immediately commented on the 10 frames in the honey super! I expect trouble free complete decapping is very important to her operation since she is extracting large numbers of frames on an automated line.
     
  7. Paul Cottier

    Paul Cottier New Member

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    The frames were fresh and empty, no comb or honey. I understand from her perspective as a commercial beekeeper but will need to experiment and compare to an average 10 frame harvest.
    Anyway, 3/8 is the optimum bee space found in nature, they will create excess burr comb with anything larger. Im inclined to keep what works but will experiment a little ;)
     
  8. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I keep to 10 frames in my 10 frame equipment for the most part, but our honeyflows here are short and kinda scarce. They still make huge fat frames of honey. I run foundationless in my medium supers BUT I alternate either foundation or drawn comb between foundationless frames and try to keep an eye on what they are drawing until they get the box going well.

    As far as pruning comb that is crazy, I would do that just before the spring flow, as they will have the work force to tackle rebuilding. I use rubberbands to hang straight sections in the foundationless frames, and they reconnect to the frame pretty well. USUALLY.