Frame Spacing

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Eddy Honey, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Now that I have 7 fully drawn 8 frame medium honey supers, I am thinking about trying 7 frames in an 8 frame box. Should I buy a frame spacer like this http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/7-Frame-Plastic-Spacer-Tool-for-8-Frm-Box/productinfo/659B/ or can it be done by "eyeballing it."

    Once I get the frames spaced correctly will they just sit there and not get pushed around by all the bees or do I need to hold them into place some how?

    What are some of the benefits to doing this? Well, 1 bebefit is I'll have an extra 7 frames of drawn comb and can make another 7 frame super.....but other than that...lol
     
  2. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    If I understood you correctly, you want to put 7 unbuilt frames distanced from each other so that they are spaced wider and give you deper frames.
    Spacing frames furher apart should only be done after the combs are built, otherwise the bees will build between the frames and you'll end up with one big mess. If you increase the space between built combs, the bees will extend the cells and make them deeper. I don't know if that is such a good idea for new combs. It's best to use 2nd or 3rd year combs that have been used for brood raising because they are stronger and will hold up well with the heavier weight of honey.
    You can easily space the frames evenly apart and don't really need frame spacers. I have never seen a hive where the bees moved a frame. But jostling the super can upset the spacing and spacers will prevent that from happening by accident.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012

  3. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    All frames are drawn...56 total medium frames (7 supers)
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    The only other advantage I can think of is that the capped frames of honey may be easier to uncap because they will be proud of the frames even more.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    reducing one frame per box (8 or 10 frame design) also gives you better circulation up thru the stack + (for me) it makes removing the first frame in any inspection situation just easier.... less trauma for me and less trauma for the bees (rolling bees has just never appealed to me).

    frame spacer might be nice but are unnecessary for me... after a while you get so spacing them by hand and eye works just fine.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    If there is 3/8 in. between combs in a 10 frame box, then 9 frames are drawn out until there is 3/8 in. between combs, how does it make it easier to get a frame out? :confused:
     
  7. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Iddee, I always start removing frames to look at, by taking one of the end frames out, seems the bees don't draw them out quite as far ( 9 frame spacing ) there always seems to have enough space between outside face of frame and inside wall of super, to pry it out without damaging anything, once removed the other can handily be pried apart and lifted. I always used stoller frame spacers.
    Barry
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    well first iddee I get most of my frames drawn with 10 frames in the box and then remove 1 frame <not that 10 frames is really required here if you have time to do one or two steps along the way to get the comb properly drawn.

    most times with 9 frames in a 10 frame box the bees (mostly during the more active spring season) will only pull the very top of these frames comb a bit fat... mostly where they are storing honey. almost always in doing inspections i want to pull one of the center frames and not each and every frame in the bottom box. with 9 frames first you can (using the hive tool as a pry bar) pry the outer four frame towards the outside wall(s) and then removing the center frames is pretty easy (easier for me and you don't roll a lot of bees).

    so 9 frames first saves me a lot of time which is essential given my number of hives and more importantly (for here) it adds a good bit of ventilation in the stack of boxes (mostly important later when the summer heat arrives.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Even if it is only across the top, 3/8 in. spacing will allow so much air flow. If the lower portion is all foundation, the air flow will still be controlled by the smallest opening.

    My boxes are wide enough to be able to pry 3 or 4 frames to the edge with 10 frames in them, and they are commercially bought. I do not make them.

    Not saying you are wrong, just that I have some 9 and some 10 frame boxes, and I don't see a difference when working them. Just trying to see what you see.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I cannot say Iddee the exact dimension between the comb. maybe 3/8 inch... maybe somewhat more... don't really know. I do know that I want to pull only one frame and I don't really like to roll bees in the process. even if I had fewer numbers or more time I would not really want to pull any frames beyond some minimum number since this extra time and manipulation just adds to the chaos and confusion and raises the potential risk <I kind of follow along with George Patton's hypothesis here in regards to armed conflict.... ie reduce the time of conflict and you also reduce the casualty rate.

    here the heat of summer represents even a higher potential risk. with 10 frames in a box come late June or early July almost without fail the side of the box that gets the most day time radiation also has the outside one or two frames melted down. in a somewhat similar fashion.. if I did not have a top entry on a hive, those hives have a high likely hood of having their entire upper boxes melted down.
     
  11. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Some more info ----

    The hives I use will normally hold 11 frames in a super. By manipulation I work this down to 9 fat drawn frames per super.

    9 frames per super means less frames to un-cap and extract.

    The scrooge in me is now using DRONE base foundation to draw out and eventually get to 9 frames per super spacing ---- hopefully bigger cells --- easier to uncap and extract. :smile::smile:
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Barbarian:
    some commercial bee keepers here run 8 frames in a 10 frame box... these are only used in honey supers. the spacing in these is so wide in these that some kind of spacing device is likely a good idea.

    some equipment suppliers here produce foundation that tends to get drawn into drone cells and thereby (or at least as suggest by the supplier) reduces the queens willingness to lay there, so a queen excluder is not so necessary. seems to me the stuff I tried the queen had no problem filling these with drones.
     
  13. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    tecumseh:.. Further info :-

    I use fixed castellations to space the frames in my supers. I am unsure if castellations can be used on some Langstroth frames.

    I have used frames with drone foundation/comb in the brood box as part of IPM for varroa control. Don't use it recently since it seems an awful waste of the bees efforts to raise a capped frame of drones then kill them off by sticking the frame in the freezer.

    :dash1:
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    the barbarian writes:
    'fixed castellations'.... not certain what that means???? some kind of hardware????
     
  15. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Fixed castellations :--- Castellations are commonly used in UK to space and hold frames in supers. Each castellation is a strip of metal with cut-outs to hold the frame lugs. They are used in pairs --- one for each end of the frames. The strip also has 4 or 5 nail holes for securing the strip to the inside of the super up near the rebate --- hence I used "fixed".

    Castellations are available with different spacings ----- we can use 9, 10 or 11 frames in a National super.

    The link below shows them.

    http://www.thorne.co.uk/hardware/hive-hardware/spacing-runners-and-entrance-fittings/spacing

    Hope this helps
     
  16. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    We get them here too, metal frame spacers.

    9_frame_spacer.jpg
     
  17. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I bought a few just to see what they looked like. They would prevent you from being able to pry frames sideways a bit to break them loose; frames must be broken free by lifting straight up and must be dropped straight in. Seems like more opportunity for loosening top from end bars or rolling bees.
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I remove these from whatever equipment I have. I myself typically like to have 9 frames in a 10 frame box but sometimes I want to slide in 10 (like when you are getting foundation pulled*).... they do seem to limit my choice here. there are devices that look a bit like a bunch of triangles on a stick that do the spacing 'automatically' but my skinny little finger were made for spacing 9 frames in a 10 frame box and at some point all that 'extra stuff' just gets to be a bit too much.

    *or try installing a frame feeder with these in a box?
     
  19. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Thanks Zulu ----- a picture is worth 1000 words. Still on my to do list ---- learn how to take and post pics.

    Crofter ----- valid comments ---- I tried to explain how I only used frame spacers/castellations in my supers. The frames are loaded away from the hive and only removed from the super at harvest time when the super has been cleared and is ready for extraction. The spacer keeps the frames separate so little propolizing together to make removal difficult.

    "You pays your money and makes your choice " :grin:
     
  20. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    as a casual observation from here Barbarian (and one I hope you need not experience) the space between the hive body and these self spacing frame rest is an excellent niche for the small hive beetle.