I have just purchased my second Flow Hive. As you know the brood box is a standard “8 frame” box. I set up my first hive with 8 frames and I must admit I have had problems with cross combing. That first hive has been set up for 2 years. As I am setting up the 2nd hive and waiting for Spring to get my bees, I notice that I can put 9 frames in the 8 frame box (see picture). The frames are somewhat snug, but at least empty and clean can be easily lifted out. So my question: 8 or 9 frames in my 2nd hive brood box ?
If you go for nine make sure you shave a little bit off each frame so they will fit when they get mucky, that is one of the reasons for the space. Other than that, its your choice in the broodbox but remember, it will alwas be “fun” with nine during inspections, the space is left for a reason. BTW it will always be eight in the supers as honeycomb tends to be a bit wider.
You will find 8 frames will work well if you evenly space them. Maybe about 3mm between the shoulders as well as 3mm from each side. Properly fitted wax foundation works well in preventing cross combing. If you must use foundationless frames, place them between two fully built straight combs. That way the bees will follow suit & build straight comb.
I will be getting a 5 frame nuc. Would you use foundationless frames or frames with foundation?
I always use frames with wax foundation. If you was to use plastic foundation, make sure it is wax coated so that the bees readily build onto it.
I like the idea of foundationless; do you ever alternate foundation frames with foundationless?.
No I don’t. I would only use foundationless frames in my observation hive because I know the bees wont build drone comb, on account of the colony being weak.
If you use foundationless frames, place them hard up against the fully drawn frames, or checkerboard them between fully drawn frames, keeping them tight until they are drawn. After they are drawn, then you can evenly space them.
I found that the frames absorbed moisture when they went live so to speak and gave me a lot of grief getting them out. This was despite the frames being snug but extractable when they went in. I did try making the outmost two very slim so that there was room to take frames out but now just put in 8.
I have my 8 frame hives set up shoulder to shoulder with the frames an an equal gap on the sides, it makes it so much easier when you are trying to remove the frames in inspections and you won’t be damaging the brood cells. The boxes are called 8 frame boxes because that is the ideal number of frames to put into them…
I have had 9 frames in the brood box from day one (except when I wanted wax and wanted it produced fast…). It is a tight fit but with care you won’t pull apart your frames when inspecting. After your second season you’ll likely find you need to pull up frame #8 or #2 first, not Frame #1 or #9.
(I always remove two frames when doing my inspection to facilitate the process with the other frames. This necessitates a need to be able to spot the queen and ensure I don’t remove her from the hive)
I find that the outside face of frames #1 and #9 mainly get filled with pollen in preference to nectar/honey, the exception being during a good flow when I find drone comb around the bottom edge and edge closest to the entrance. This does, unfortunately, mean that occasionally I’ll end up ripping the cap off some of the drone cells when I inspect…and than all I can think about is that picture of that omelette/pancake I saw here a couple of years ago (posted by @Gerald_Nickel ???) …
Hi Dawn, that was Wilma’s dad. He left us earlier this, no, last year at the age of 93.