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Newbies needing advice

need some help,I would like to know if I’m starting with a 10 frame nuc. Would I have to add in frames gradually or can I put all the frames in the box and leave the bees let them do their thing ?

Do you mean you are putting a nuc into a 10 frame box?

I don’t have a problem when I expand from a 5 frame nuc to an 8 frame box. I put the three central frames from the nuc into the centre of the box with the frames in exactly the same orientation. This is typically where the brood nest is. Next goes either starter strips or foundation on either side of this central brood nest. Then the two outer frames from the nuc. These are usually honey/pollen. Lastly I put another empty frame against the wall of the box and this completes my setup.

Bearing in mind that I haven’t ever done this, but if I were expanding a five frame nuc into a ten frame box, I would set it up exactly the same as for my 8 frame expansion. There would be space for one more empty frame between one of the honey/pollen frames and the second side of the box. This would give me nine frames and I would space all nine out to even up the gaps.

I would be interested to hear what beeks who use 10 frame boxes do.

Mine are ten frame but not Lang.
One frame of foundation against a wall, nucleus frames, another frame of foundation, Insulated dummy. Check in a few days, turn foundation frames over. When the frames are drawn I put the next two in and repeat till all the frames are in…unless it’s warm and there is a massive flow then the whole lot gets put together at once but I don’t split the nuc frames like science master did. They stay intact as they were delivered/collected

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I meant I’m getting a nuc but it’s a ten frame instead of the five frame box,so inside will have 3 frames with brood and honey etc. I wanted to know (for the sake of the bees and me bothering them) shall I put the other seven frames in the box all the once or gradually add in frames ,I want to disturb them as less as possible .

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Oh and by the way thanks for the advice guys ,new to this so I’m trying to gather as much info from experienced beekeepers as possible ,have lots of questions hope you guys don’t mind answering 0.o

I think the confusion comes from the expectation that if you’re getting a nuc, every frame of that nuc will contain brood/pollen/nectar, with most nucs ranging between 3 and 6 frames. It sounds like you are just getting a 10 frame langstroth box with a three frame nuc pre-installed, not sure I’d call that a 10 frame nuc.

A basic rule, if you have a 10 frame box, it should always have 10 frames in it. There are some exceptions, but in your case you want them building comb in the frames. If you leave additional space between the frames you will get crazy comb, bridging comb and burr comb… a tedious cleanup.

My approach would be to install the frames in the hive with foundation. I would then feed the nuc sugar water which gives them fuel to draw out the foundation and increase the laying space for the queen (a nuc will have limited field bees collecting nectar and pollen). Once the foundation is drawn and filled with worker brood and the population increases, wind back the feeding.


Sorry didn’t mean to contradict @sciencemaster re: 9 frames, he’s going to start thinking it’s personal! 9 frames in a 10 frame box can work, but there are several caveats. I wouldn’t have undrawn frames spaced this wide especially in a brood box as it results in ‘puffy’ frames, these frames then become a nuisance to cycle out if you want to go 10 frame in the box. ‘puffy’ frames have their place… I know @jeffh is a fan for honey supers and uses this method to make uncapping easier in traditional supers.

Not sure where you are in the world, but I haven’t mentioned a dummy board as @Dee has because they just aren’t common in Langs where I am (Aus). As a result I’m not sure how easy one would be to source if you don’t have the woodworking skills to make one.

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OK, I think we need a bit more information.

  1. This 10-frame box of bees you are getting, are you wanting to transfer it to an 8-frame Flow hive? Or are you going to use it in a 10-frame Langstroth hive?
  2. What equipment do you have so far?

About adding the frames one at a time - you definitely do NOT want to do that with frames which have eggs, larvae or brood in them. If you delay putting them into a hive, the brood will get chilled, die and probably get a fungal infection called chalk brood. Not good. Even for honey and pollen, you want to leave it out of a hive for as little time as possible - wax moths, pollen mites etc will feast on this food supply if there are no bees on the frame.

Your profile says you have 5 hives. Do you have beekeeping experience already, or are you wanting to start with 5 hives? Sounds like a lot for a new beekeeper.

If can give a bit more detail, it will be easier to work out exactly what you are asking, and get you some useful answers.

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Ok well I’m new to it , I was to start with a 5 frame nuc but because I’m good with the beekeeper I’m starting with a 10 frame box with the three frames inside already ,I have all the equipment needed just needed some advice on how to expand,my partner said to add in frames gradually but it never really made sense to me ,just give them the frames Nad they wld build to suit ,this is why I asked u guys who has years of experience,I live in the Caribbean also so winters won’t really affect me ummmmmmmm what else…oh the games are bare frames ,no wax foundation so another reason you I asked the question as to how to go about adding frames to the hive,ummmmm also ,what is the Standard space between the frames in the box?.

Might be easier if u guys tell me what info u need and I’ll get it to u :slight_smile:

OK, that gives a bit more info. So here are my questions:

  1. Do you have a Flow hive or not? The reason I am asking is that a Flow hive has 8 frames, not 10, so the box you are getting won’t fit without some juggling or adapting.
  2. The “three frames inside” that you are talking about - presumably these are frames of bees, brood, honey and a queen?
  3. Do you intend to have 5 hives, or just one?
  4. Are the “bare frames” designed to be foundationless? By that, I mean does the supplying beekeeper intend that you put your own foundation into them, or do they have a starter guide (strip of wood inside the top of the frame) to guide the bees into building straight comb? If they don’t have comb guides, you are going to need to modify them before installing in the hive, otherwise your brood box will end up a total mess. If you need foundation, buy it at least a month before your box is ready, so that you have time to make up the frames. Some suppliers run out of foundation in Spring, so you need to think ahead.

Finally, do not just put the 3 full frames in a box and leave the rest empty. That is an invitation to the bees to get creative = random patterns of comb in the empty space which is very hard to correct. If you are using a 10 frame box, it needs to always have 10 frames in it. Foundationless frames can be “empty” (but have comb guides), or your frames can have wax or plastic foundation in them. That means you will have 7 other frames in the box. I would put the 3 full frames in the middle of the box, then put 3 “empty” frames on one side, and 4 on the other.

The optimal space is no space between the frames. They should go “shoulder to shoulder” in the middle of the box. They are cut by the manufacturer to leave the correct space for the bees when you position them this way. If there is some extra space, leave it next to the wall of the box - equally on both sides. That will give you some space to pull the first frame out of the hive without squishing bees.

Ok dawn :), I have 7 flow frames but I don’t plan to use em anytime soon so we could put that on hold for a while.to answer ur second question yes ,brood,queen and honey probably some pollen in there too.
3rd. Yes I plan to start with 5 hives and as they get stronger I plan to split em and expand.
4th. I’m asking him now as we speak so I’ll get back to u with an answer for that one but in the meanwhile ,if the frames were meant to have foundation and I just put them in the hive wouldn’t the bees build the combs?

Well he now replied to me and said the bees will build the combs on it ,what’s ur take on it guys/gals?

And could someone please if you have time explain how to start with foundationless frames ,if you could include pics with your explanation that’ll be nice if not it’s OK either way.now read that’s it’s better to start foundationless so seeing as how I don’t have the foundation to begin with I guess I’ll try this method and see how that goes .

So are you getting 5 boxes of 3 full and 7 empty frames from this beekeeper? Or just one and see what happens as time goes by?

There are many ways to do this. One is to put a thin strip of foundation across the top of the frame. The bees hang from this in a “festoon” - kind of necklace shape of bees. They pass wax between bees and build comb down from the top. If there are wires in the frame, they will embed them in the comb, and it helps to make it stronger when you inspect the hive. Here is a photo:

Another comb guide is a strip of wood glued into the top of the frame. Some people use paint stirring sticks, shims, or even craft sticks and popsicle sticks. It looks like this:

Other frames are manufactured to be foundationless and have a special wedge at the top of the frame to guide the bees as they hang down from it:

Hope that clarifies things a bit. :blush: I don’t know what your bee supplier is giving you, but it sounds like he is familiar with the foundationless concept.

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They might, but you need to understand how bees work to see why this can be problematic. When bees build comb, they hang down from a top surface, and build down from that in semi-ellipses. To start with, it looks like this:

Then this:

Eventually they will fill most of the frame.

If you use a frame with a flat top bar, they don’t have a guide to hang down from. So they may pick a random surface and build diagonally across frames. The guide just gives them something easy to hang from, so that hopefully they pick the simple option and build where you want. They can still do crazy cross-comb, even with comb guides, but it is less common.

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Thank u over much :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :),is that wire or nylon string in the frame though ?

Doesn’t matter, both work. Nylon fishing line is easier to handle IMHO, but wire is traditional.

No I’m very happy with constructive criticism such as yours.

I certainly agree with what you are saying about “puffy frames”. With my Honey Flow Light box, the Flow frames are in the middle and there is a window on one side. The only way I can use this window to get some observation time on the edge flow frame is if I use starter strip frames to fill the space. My girls fill the flow frame first, then the adjacent frame and lastly the frame near the window. For a while there is a big empty space in the middle of the Langstroth frames with the starter strips. First the girls puff bits of surface wax on the flow frame out. Then they do the same with the first Langstroth. By the time they are drawing out the frame near the window, they are running out of room.

Hi everyone
I am from Goolwa south of Adelaide, and have a new flow hive.
A swarm was added around mid october. Since then there has been plenty of activity. I should have inspected earlier but was waiting to get some more expertise and for brood to be established before adding Super.
On inspection recently the brood box had some cross comb and there was a lot of burr comb in the roof. I cleaned out all the burr comb from the roof and scraped the small amount of comb off the top of the frames. The frames came out reasonably easily but the comb was quite thick across and crossing between frames in a few places. I didnt remove much of this.
The super is now on and I will recheck in a week or so. Should I try and remove the cross comb? Is this easy to do? Now super is on will it be less likely for burr comb in the roof, or should I put a mat across the top of the Flow frames or will the supplied wooden board with the central hole do - presume want to keep some air circulation.
Thanks for any comments

Removing the cross comb is unnecessary but you do need to break it to lift out the frames. Bees will clean up mess and ensure themselves a bee space between the frames.

You don’t say if you actually removed all of the frames. I gather you may have taken some of the frames out in a block. You can’t inspect the combs in a block of frames. They need to be inspected individually. If you can remove one frame from the box, taking out the rest is easier but it must be done in the box. Use the hive tool to gently prise a frame into the space left by the one you took out. You may want to push the hive tool down between the frames to break some of the cross comb. I find it generally breaks by itself. The comb in wired frame is stronger and easier to manipulate than the soft, flexible comb in unwired frames.

Where I have run into problems is when my girls have braced a comb against the wall of the box. Sometimes I can slide the hive tool to break the edge frame away but sometimes I use an old, flexible breadknife.