Frame Spacing and 9 frames in 8 frame box

I’m saying that Hoffman frames are too wide for brood and too narrow for honey, but Julius was looking for a compromise that would work for both so he wasn’t “wrong” he just didn’t think it mattered that much. But he did think it mattered that it was not any wider than 35mm. Dadant was convinced that 1 1/2" (38mm) was better. Koover and many others were convinced that 1 1/4" (32mm) was better.

You can get spacers here to put on the end of frames yo make them progressively wider for honey storage…and castelations.

That would be a hotly debated issue, as much of the research, and anecdotal evidence points to the smaller the bee the better.

I would never talk about my yields because that is not my focus nor may goal. I am interested in healthy bees. The only yield I need is enough for a family of 4 plus possibly Christmas presents to family and friends.

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That may be true, but over worked, over sized bees are going to be more susceptible. Hives regularly treated will not have the microbial density and diversity needed to help the bees care for themselves. There is plenty of research being done one the necessity of beneficial microbes in the hive. I’m not trying to avoid these pests and diseases I am trying to best equip the bees to manage them for themselves.

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Actually it has not been the same for 150 years. The spacing of frames has been a point of discussion during that entire time and many people have kept both narrower and wider spaced frames. Dadant was fond of 38mm (1 1/2") spacing while Koover was fond of 32mm spacing. There were many opinions before Hoffman came up with 35mm (1 3/8") and spacing was by eye and everyone had their own ideas.

Well, today I gave up on 8 frames in my brood box.

Third inspection where they have drawn significant amounts of brace comb between the end frame and the wall. I had them spaced tight to the center, shoulder to shoulder. They have two totally empty frames on the other side of the hive and at this point I have removed, cumulatively, enough comb to have half filled a frame.
But they ignore the empty frames and continue to build on the wall.

I shaved down one side of the last frame so that the short side fits against the wall. I didn’t want to cramp the space between it and the drawn frame next to it.

I guess I am ok with it. We never see temps above 85° and that only rarely, for a few days in the late summer and fall. So ventilation shouldn’t be an issue as I understand it. I hate how tight it makes things. But then again it’s brood. So long as it works for the bees…

You didn’t want to try a Follower board?

One other thing that I learned from Randy Oliver at Scientific Beekeeping. Bees often have trouble with discipline or finishing the job properly on that outer frame. One thing he does (and I have used with success) is to take the second frame in, turn it through 180 degrees and put it next to the wall. This is only worth doing if it doesn’t contain brood, and it is mostly drawn. If it has brood, they may chill too much by the wall. However, drawn comb helps to discourage the bees from crazy comb stuff, as the bee space is almost correct when you already have mostly drawn comb on the outer face by the wall.

I would have happily done that but don’t have one on hand. And I am leaving the country this week and will be gone 3 weeks, so I didn’t have time to get one. It was pretty clear I needed to do something to remedy the situation. This seemed to be the best option at hand.

Getting a board and installing it after I get home might be a way to go. But hopefully the rearrangement of the frames will lead to better drawn comb so I don’t face a mess when I get home!

@Valli I’m a brand new Flow Hive owner and Bee keeper. How do I get a dummy board?

Depends on where in the world you are. Most bee supplies companies will have them. In the US, they are called follower boards, and Mann Lake has them:

@buzz Or you could always make one - same height, length and depth as a frame only a little narrower

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I am not sure who came up with the original 8 frame dimensions in Australia, but the bee space is all wrong which is one of my biggest gripes with it (haven’t seen flow specifically, but 8 frames from other manufacturers).

You shouldn’t be able to fit nearly 9 frames into an 8 frame box, if that were the case I would expect the standard 10 frame box to take 11 frames, which just isn’t the reality. What also amazes me is that it has persisted… Bee space is a known quantity, basic maths will provide the internal measurement for an 8 frame box if you are using 35mm Hoffman frames with correct bee space, I’m intrigued as to how it ended up so much wider than necessary. If you’re manually spacing your frames, it completely defeats the purpose of the Hoffman frame design.

Does anyone have the internal width measurement of the flow 8 frame box? Either in metric or imperial?


It appears the internal measurement is here (, which is 315mm.

So if the Flow 8 frame box is 315mm, 315mm/8 means that each frame is given 39.375mm.

The internal width dimension of one of my 10 frame AU Langstroth boxes is 370mm (which matches, which is 37mm per frame.

If you’re using the spacing from my 10 frame box in the ‘8 frame’ box, it equates to an 8.5 frame box.

Another way to look at it is if the 10 frame box is 10x35mm with 10mm to each side. If this were the case, the 8 frame box should be (8x35)+10+10 which is 300mm, still 15mm less than the internal width.

A flow frame is 50mm wide, so the maths works in a 10 frame super 7x50mm = 350mm, same as 10x35mm Hoffman frames.

I think it has to do with the thickness of the hive panels varying. I have hives with thicknesses that range from 18mm to 25mm and whether the inside or outside measurement is used as a base figure. I’m guessing the outside measurement is the important size to keep the outside flush so the inside diameter could be 14mm larger.
Just an observation.

I’ve been looking at the space between the 9 frames in my 10 frame brood boxes. I think the space would be equal to the thickness of a 3" nail.

I would definitely argue that the internal measurement is the most critical as this is the measurement that maintains bee space inside the box and has the greatest impact on the bees, the external measurement is purely aesthetics. In this scenario flow are providing both the frames and the box, so the thickness of the box is a known quantity, but agree that discrepancies are likely caused between manufacturers because of a different interpretation of the measurements that are important.

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Ok great. Thank you!