Number of frames for the brood box


I am wondering why we get 8 frames for the brood box (regular frames, not the flow frames) when there is space for 9?

I have looked at some websites to try to find out if this is common practice and there is info both for and against having less frames with the frames spaced out evenly.

Has anyone got thoughts on this?



The space will get filled up with wax you need the space don’t put 9 in there.

Some people use spacers for other frame types - this is not necessary with the Flow put the frames in it will be OK with just the 8

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I always use ten frames in the brood boxes.

In the supers, I use 10 until the bees start building out the comb, then reduce it down to nine. The bees extend the comb and this makes it easier when you are extracting the honey with normal frames.

I expand on this more on this POST


@kiwimana - I think you will find @Psychochook is talking about 8 Frame boxes not 10 frame boxes

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Indeed, but the same principles would apply Valli :slight_smile:


Hi @Psychochook, I evenly space 9 frames in a ten frame box. I would do the same thing, space 8 frames evenly in a 9 frame box. Be careful you don’t leave any large gaps, the bees will build a narrow strip in the gap which is of no use to anyone. If you get the spacing right the first time, you will have a propolis imprint on the ledge which makes it easier next time & so on.

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In a brood box I would put them tightly together in the center. Evenly spacing them results in uneven comb where the honey protrudes and the brood does not. It also tempts them to build combs between the frames or out from the surface, where tightly spaced discourages this. I shave my frames to 1 1/4" (32mm) and put 9 in an eight frame box or 11 in a 10 frame box. The combs end up much more even and consistent which makes them easier to get out without rolling bees. Also, less bees can cover more brood and you have more frames of brood in the box.

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I don’t worry about it really. The bees will do what bees do. I use 10 frame langs and kind of keep them closer together in the middle. What little space is left on both outsides generally I’ve found the bees store mostly honey filled frames on outside frames and brood on the inside frames. If they biuld up more wax, then I suppose they have a good reason for it. I’ve not had much trouble pulling frames out at all. They can be a little tight but otherwise they will slide out good enough. As far as the extra space, I would tend to think that air circulation might be a reason for any extra space. I’m sure bees get hot too and need a bit of air flow inside a box.

Hi @Psychochook, there ya go Simon, are you confused yet? Evenly spaced vs tightly spaced, you decide. The bees store honey ABOVE the brood. This is assuming you have your entrance at the bottom as Flow intended. It’s best to go with wax foundation, get your wires reasonably tight, embed the wax into the wire so your foundation is nice & straight. The bees will make beautiful straight comb for you if you give them a straight foundation. When removing the first frame of brood, I always look over them to choose what I perceive to be the easiest one to remove first, after that the rest is easy. Sorry I don’t have any links. However I have a video on Youtube if you’d like to look it up, the title is “Beekeeping: Doing a Mid Winter Split”. My frames are evenly spaced, you be the judge.

Hi, I’m a newbee and will get my FlowHive Dec. I’ve been doing a lot of reading trying to prepare. I already bought another brood box as 2 seems to be the norm. I bought plastic frames (black & green) and found that 9 will fit in the 8 frame box. I will try combat mites by swapping out the green drone frames. I was planning on using 9 frames in both brood boxes with 2 drone frames in the top one - which I would freeze at the appropriate intervals. I also read that placing the drone frames on far sides has advantages. But now I’m wondering. A lot of the info states that adding an additional frame reduces drone cells. I need the drone cells on the green frames. Is my plan going to work or should I drop back to an 8 frame box?
Thanks in advance for your advise

Ok, to summarise:

I should use 8 frames and I should use 9 frames. With the 8 frames I should space them evenly across the hive and tightly spaced in the middle.

Thanks everyone for your comments. I mean no disrespect to anyone who made comments, but I think the most beneficial comment has been from Tony…

I don’t worry about it really. The bees will do what bees do.




Welcome to beekeeping. You have learned the first rule of beekeeping. There are lots of opinions, and everyone has one. That is why ultimately everyone suggests to try to find a local mentor, and generally follow their advice. This can be a good place to verify or get supporting information. But both techniques you mention are equally good and useful depending on your personal preference. It might seem frustrating for a beginner who just wants “an answer”… but alas that doesn’t exist in this hobby.

Generally speaking I ask my questions here, take the totality of the information and apply that to what I have read to get what seems to make the most sense to me.

Edit: wow amazing how quickly grammar and language can degrade while you are doing an 18 hour day of work. Fixed a few errors for readability.


Hi @Psychochook, I guess when it’s all boiled down, the best teacher will come from your own experiences. The “bees WILL do what bees do”, however it’s how you arrange things in the hive that will make the difference for you, the beekeeper. Take a look at @DextersShed’s video, you’ll see how he discovered the method that gives him less work in the long run. He started off hating Langstroth hives. I think now he doesn’t hate them so much. cheers…PS in Dexters video, the bees did what bees do:)

@phizbop - Steve you need drones just as much as the worker brood. Putting in green frames wont necessarily mean the queen will lay Drones there - also bare in mind if you destroy drone cells the queen will want to lay more and puts pressure on her when really she will needlessly be taken away from worker laying.

You only need to do a small (100 or so) drone cells to check and only need to do more if there is a problem.

Destroying drone cells a frame at a time is wasteful of drones and the more drones you destroy is another worker you will be short on. Queenie can only lay so many eggs per day.

The way to get drones made where you want them is to put in a short frame. The bees will make drone cells there. Then you can cut them off when they are capped and replace the frame.
However, I agree with Valli and Dexter, you should leave the drones alone. They are necessary for genetic diversity and bees like drones in their hives.

I have a National Frame in each Hive still - not for trying to get full Langs laid up - They are extended on the top by a strip of wood to the same length as Langs and sit happily among them - because the nationals are shorter in width - my bees create brace comb where there is a 2" gap either side of the frame - in the drone season thy fill this with drone comb - presently it is filled with capped nectar and brood.

The bees know what they need and will make it - when spring comes it will probably be drone comb again

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@DextersShed I love Langstroth hives, buts that’s all I use & know. I’ve had my bees draw on foundationless frames many times, but never next to the side of the box, always between two fully drawn frames. I find it’s best to put frames with wire & foundation next to the sides.

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Might I suggest for ease of frame removal is get yourself one of those spring clamp tools. I’ve got big fingers and with gloves on it sometimes is hard for me to get a good grip on frame, but I use the hive tool to loosen frame and then clamp to pull out. It also makes it easier for me to inspect bees and frame over and under. By holding clamp tool and my other hand for balance I can easily twist frame around so I can see the whole thing. Just make sure to keep frame over brood box especially if you don’t use an excluder in case queen might fall off, you want her to stay in box with bees in here box.

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