Bees Not Filling Space on Converted BS National Frames

Hi Everyone

I’m a new beekeeper - started with a nuc around mid July. The nuc came on British Standard National frames, which I then converted to Langstroth frames to fit my flow hive. Problem is, after several weeks they haven’t filled out the gaps on the frames as a result of the conversion, which bothers me. In addition, few of the frames seem pretty old as well and I am thinking about swapping out all the frames for Langstroth frames, as I have a second box spare, and Langstroth frames with foundation.

A few questions if you wouldn’t mind:

Is it too late in the season to swap them out now? Wait till next year to do so?

If it isn’t, what is the preferred method to swap out all the frames?

Many thanks

The bees will build extra comb when they need it. If all the comb was in use for brood and stores then they would make comb ok… The colony is still small but as they build up it will all happen, you worrying about won’t make it happen faster so best is to relax and observe how they work at their pace mate. Remember a bee in her lifetime will only produce 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey, the main thing is not to give the colony too much space in the hive as that can slow things down more.
Welcome to bee keeping, where you will never stop learning about this addictive hobby.

Yes. August is peak nectar dearth time in much of the UK, and bees only draw comb efficiently during a nectar flow.

I usually just do 2 at a time. That is less of a hit to the colony in terms of workload and lost resources. Next Spring, when things are flowering and the bees are active, I would do this:

  1. Choose 2 frames to cycle out
  2. Put them above a queen excluder so that the brood can emerge but the queen can’t lay any more. Put 2 fresh frames in the brood box.
  3. Drill an upper entrance so that any drones can leave the hive, otherwise they will die trying to get through the queen excluder.
  4. Wait about 3 weeks for the frame to empty.
  5. Inspect the new frames in the brood box. When they are 80% drawn comb, and fully covered with bees, consider starting again at step 1.

Just my thoughts. :blush:

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Thanks for your responses @Peter48 and @Dawn_SD. Much appreciated. I will wait till next year to cycle them out and not worry :slightly_smiling_face:

One other question: I would like to get a second hive and stuck as to whether to get a BS National (as this is the most common hive used in the UK, I think) or a Langstroth (to match somewhat with the flow hive). Pros and cons?

Thanks for helping this new beekeeper out! :blush:

If you are going to a Flow Hive then why not let go of ‘mother England’ completely and go for standardizing with a Langstroth brood box which is exactly the same measurements as a Flow hive brood box and the Flow Super will be a perfect fit.
I would compare the price of a Langstroth full depth box and base board with the same from Flow. That is the way my Flow Hives are set up. If you standardize on Langstroth then all the frames are interchangable and that will be a blessing for you.
Make sure if you are going to buy a Flow Hive Super that you buy the genuine article and not a Chinese copy which is a total waste of money, they are crap, putting it nicely. No quality control, no quality in any way and no interest in you when you have issues with their junk.

Let go of Mother England? :open_mouth: Noooo…joking aside, you’re right @Peter48 interchangeability is a huge benefit.

Great, I’ve just cancelled my B.S National hive order and will get a Langstroth instead.


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I agree with @Peter48. Stocking and assembling different frame sizes and styles is a pain in the sensitive areas. It is so easy to mix things up unless you have a very tidy storage area. Plus you have to buy 2 different sizes of foundation (or 4 if you have National and Langstroth deeps and mediums of each). Too many boxes of stuff! Donating frames from a strong hive to a weak hive is also much easier if the frames are the same size. :blush:

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Thanks for the advice @Dawn_SD. I’ve decided to get a second Langstroth hive instead of a National.

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