I have read that bees will make comb in any space larger than 9mm. They will make propilis in anything smaller than 4.5mm. My Flow Hive 2 instructions say to push the brood frames together to the middle. This leaves 2cm of room for wax build up on each end of the brood box. Am I correct in thinking that this will create one big mess of comb that will be impossible to get through? What can I do to fix this?
Your right in what your saying and the idea of having all the frames in the middle of the brood box sitting shoulder to shoulder will give the right bee space and so less bridging comb and ‘mess’ to clean up during an inspection. It is much easier to remove bridging comb from the sides of a box than trying to get it off each frame as you remove each of them from the hive.
Sort of. If you push the brood frames close together in the centre of the hive as @Peter48 describes, then as you say, you will have large gaps at the outside. However, if you inspect fairly regularly (every week or two during a nectar flow), you can remove any really crazy comb from the outer frames.
Over time, the bees will just draw this comb out deeper on one side to fill the space. Issue becomes a non-issue, unless you can’t handle the visual appearance of asymmetric comb. The bees won’t care about that though, as the outer frames are mostly used for honey. Cell depth only matters for brood.
Thank you for answering so quickly. I will take your ideas/comments under consideration.
Except for the snarky one about not being able to “handle the visual appearance of asymmetric comb.” Remember “criticism is welcome but criticize ideas, not people.”
Sorry, it wasn’t meant to be snarky, just joking. That is why there was a smiley at the end. Oh well…
Ok, don’t be sad. Im sorry I didn’t understand your meaning and intent.
One of our very experienced and active forum members, @JeffH doesn’t seem to like the extra space at the outside of the brood box. I thought he would chime in above, because that was an indirect tease for him. He actually evenly spaces his brood frames in the brood box. I don’t like doing that, as I seem to get large patches of drone brood when I have tried it. It works for him, but not for me, so I put up with lopsided outer frames.
Hi Dawn, I’m a bit behind in reading threads lately. Evenly spacing frames works for me as long as I maintain the even spaces. I don’t get much drone comb because I use fresh foundation or newly built full frames of worker comb in the brood box. I’m doing splits right now & finding only small areas of drone comb in some of the bottom corners. The bees do build some bridge comb across the tops of the frames, but I don’t see that as an issue. Sometimes I’m having to remove that bridge comb before removing the first frame. After that, every other frame is easy to remove.
If for some reason the bees do build a lot of drone comb in the brood box, I cut that drone comb out, before placing the frame/s above the QX to be used for honey.
Reading that comment from @JeffH made me think of something else. I think the Flow brood boxes (at least for the Flow Classic, version 1) are about 1/4" or 5mm wider than most Langstroth boxes. That may be what causes my drone abundance. Jeff doesn’t use Flow boxes, so he doesn’t get the extra (more extra than most Lang boxes) spacing.
I do get a whole frame gap by placing 9 frames in 10 frame boxes. That would be slightly bigger than the gap left when using 8 frames in the flow classic brood box because you can fit 9 frames in them after shaving a little bit off one frame.
My spacing starts on the sides with about a 3-4mm gap on either side, then evenly space each frame with about a 3-4mm gap between the frame shoulders.
I like the extra spacing for 2 reasons. One it gives the bees more room to circulate air in hot weather. Secondly it gives the bees more room to chase beetles. Then on the topic of beetles, I’m not squashing bees between tight combs, when removing or replacing frames.
I do the same as jeff- I try to keep a small gap between all the combs with just a slightly larger one on the outermost two against the walls. When I catch swarms I ‘chock’ all the frames with little pieces of cardboard between the lugs so they don’t move in transit and are positioned evenly so the bees fill them all out nice and straight. When I do inspections I am careful to maintain all the spacing. It is surprising how many people don’t pay attention to spacing (it’s easy to do) and end up with issues.