Good question ABB…and as you say “Practice will tell”.
In the photo below is shown an important standard piece of super equipment…the metal 9 frame spacer… which is installed in every 10 frame Langstroth brood box and honey super I have. It appears as if the separation distance between frames is 10mm+ so if you divide that by 2, that is very close to your 6mm figure. Traditionally, some commercial beeks in my area used 8 frame metal frame spacers in their honey supers and swore they got more honey/super and with less frame handling…8 vs 9 frames/super. So I’ll have to just see how the bees react to a larger space between the Flowframes…
As a side note, I will not be using these metal frame spacers for the Flowframes…metal frame spacers are just shown to illustrate the options a beekeeper may use with traditional equipment in varying the bee working area between adjacent comb surfaces. The Flowframe spacers will be wood slats that are installed on the inside super end walls that separate the Flowframes from the top to the bottom of the Flowframe.
Well I guess you can blame the Flow forum and your countryman JeffH for planting this idea in my mind ! JeffH’s theory of frame leakage was a result of “wet capping” of the Flowframe being a cause/source of this issue. My experience has shown that traditional frames that have the comb built out deeper seldom show this “wet capping” syndrome so that’s why I’m setting the stage for the bees to build comb in this wider fashion. Honey bees are capable of building comb 3" (75mm) thick as no doubt you have observed.
I will not be removing individual frames from the Flowhive honey supers…just a normal keying in place.
Good point…and I know this may be difficult to visualize…but my beekeeping area is defined by a condensed timeframe (short) honeyflow…but it is prolific and in good years is continuous from spring to fall. That doesn’t mean that the hive weight increases uniformally throughout that time but it ebbs and flows. The important thing (with regards to robbing) is that there is a near constant supply of native and farmed flower sources during our honey season…so the robbing tendency is suppressed…the bees are focused on foraging. That doesn’t mean that in the fall season the bees won’t rob if the beekeeper gets careless…or if the commercial guy uses this robbing instinct to fall feed in preparation for winter…i.e. bees emptying 45 gal barrels of sugar/corn syrup placed near the apiary sites. I don’t use this robbing method for fall feeding for several reasons.
The “abandonment method” …works well here…no robbing…no bees damaged. Meanwhile, the beehouse hives that these honey supers came from have been “supered up” with wet supers…stimulates them to get in high gear bringing in more nectar as soon as they get back to their hive…but most importantly, the aggressive instinct isn’t triggered…mean bees take the fun out of beekeeping. I’m fully suited up but it’s more so I can just relax while I’m working. The whole process (from removing the honey to the bees back in their original home) takes about three hours…that allows a couple of hours for the bees to abandon the full supers.
Here they are back in the beehouse…bees in every beehouse orifice.