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Nuc frames thick, should I be worried? Can I fix it?


Hi there, new beekeeper here. I installed two nucs 6 weeks ago. The frames in one nuc were built out past the frame, very thick. I went ahead transferred the frames and let them go and they seem to be doing fine, I’m just wondering if it is an issue that needs to be fixed (if I can). The nuc came with five frames and it is tight on the ends in the brood box after adding three more frames (with foundation).
Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.


recently I cleaned up a friends have where he had spaced the frames too widely apart. The bees built out the combs all too fat. When I first opened the box I though: ‘what a mess- this will be difficult’. However it turned out that the bees had only really built out the the top edges of most frames where honey was stored. I methodically set about cutting this off and was surprised to find it wasn’t that difficult or disruptive. The brood comb was all the correct thickness. Have a look at your frames to see if they are similar- it might be possible to clean them up. A few of his frames were not drawn exactly in the center of the frames- these I cut out completely and ‘rubber banded’ the brood back into the frames.


What did you use to cut it with?


I used a serated knife- and I didn’t so much cut them as shave off the areas where the honeycomb suck out beyond the general width of the frames. I lifted each frame out of the hive and shook the bees off (back into the hive) before cutting them. I used a brush to get of a few malingerers… Except for those two combs which were not centered in the frame which I cut out completely and reinstalled with rubber bands. On those two the majority of the comb was fine- it was just a matter of cutting it all out, removing a few wonky bits- and then using long rubber bands around the frame to hold the comb in the center where I wanted it. (these were foundationless frames so there was no issue with hitting wires inside the comb- if you have wires it would be much more difficult)

It’s all a bit messy: the frames I was doing had capped honey at the top- and it was built out perhaps 5mm beyond what it should be- so I shaved off the cappings, which caused honey to drip out and then placed each frame back in the hive. After cutting I was able to push each frame up closer to the next one and I just moved my way along. I was surprised that the only areas that needed to be shaved were an inch or so of just honeycomb at the top of each frame.

If you hive has a solid bottom you may want to remove each frame and shave them outside the hive- as honey drips down the comb. If your bottom is solid that honey will pool at the bottom of the hive and bees can get drowned in it. If you have a mesh bottom put the coreflute slider into the bottom slot and when you are done take it out and place it in front of the hive so the bees can eat the honey. If it has pooled a lot take care that bees don’t drown in it.

Of course- your frames may not be the same as what I faced and it may not be so easy to clean them all up.


Thank you! I will be doing my hive inspection today and will see what I can do.



Hmmm, personally with only being the upper honeycomb areas it no big deal. It doesnt sound like connecting BURR Comb so I wouldn’t sweat the small stuff.

Some hibbiest n many commercial beekeeper leave out one in 10 frame Lang’stroth hive to encourage such comb extensions over the totall frame for increased honey production. I’m sure this is not your situation but just an example the honey extension is not abnormal.

I’ve even received Nuc’s from supplies this way n gives my colony a bit of added honey supply on the corners of the brood frames. Personally I’d just leave it as it’s not hamper the bees any, right. I have several Huves with few frames just like your. … Burr comb is another story n should be kept cleaned up. I also scrape off a lot of excess drone comb cells that often extends n hang down n often connects frames of the upper super to the lower brood box frame. These I’d deal with at each inspection.

Ohhhh, next time a couple of clean nice pix from couple angles are very helpful dealing with questions n proper better answers.

Good luck n keep on keeping on !


The frames were exactly as you described, just the honey was sticking out. Went ahead and “shaved” the worst one off and let the others go for now. Definitely made a difference with room. Thank you again!


Thank you Gerald! I only messed with one of the frames, it was enough to make some room. Got to taste a bit of honey, so good!


Love getting a pre-hảvest tastes when cleaning up frames.


that’s good to hear. You might want to clean up the other frames one by one as you do inspections going forward.