Spacers between frames in brood

When my friend bee Suzy & I put my flowhive brood box together with three nucs frames we carefully spaced the frames to limit crazy comb etc.

Last weekend when I opened the brood to inspect, the frames had moved and the comb was proud of the frame.

I lifted the frame second from the edge out and as i did the comb was torn- honey was ozzing out (it was quite difficult not to rip off my suit and have a taste). I am sure the bees will repair the comb.

My question is, does anyone successfull use ‘spacers’ between the frames to ensure the bees stick with the program? Thanks

Are langstroth frames not self spacing?
You push them up tight against each other rather than spacing them apart and have a whole box full. If you don’t have 10 or 8 frames in there you have to have some some sort of dummy


As Dee has said, the Hoffman edges/spacing on Langstroth frames (where the frame end widens to ~35mm at the top) provides the spacing, the frames should be pushed up hard against each other.

The confusion comes in (as I have come across this question many times) when people see the spacing is out in the 8 frame Flow super so the immediate reaction is to space the frames evenly across what is essentially a 9 frame box.

My suggestion is always to push the frames together tightly and center them in the box. You may (likely will) get burr/bridge comb to the edges of the box, but this is a more workable problem than dealing with ‘puffy’ frames that have been spaced/established wider than the frame width.

The 10 frame (7 Flow frame) super doesn’t suffer this issue with spacing.


That’s why Julius Hoffman created the self spacing frame. Push them together tightly in the center. Better yet, shave 1/16" off each side of each end bar and put another frame in…

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Michael, Thank you for your helpful response.

There probably would be a bit of play in the making of the wooden frames… a millimeter here a mm there. It all adds up. I’ll check the dimensions of the 8 frames I have in the brood, and check if another will fit. :blush:

… in the alternative I’ll try a spacer at the ends to hold the frames in place.

This is my recommendation for flow hive brood frame spacing. This is what works for me. It’s in my video. I go off topic a bit during the video, however you’ll get the picture by watching the whole video.

This is the results of one of my flow hive bee customers several months after they picked their bees up. They followed my recommendations.


Edit- PS, they picked up their first colony from me 8 months earlier & their second colony 2 months earlier. We don’t have flow hives ourselves, however it’s great to see people who are happy & successful with theirs.


I am thinking- the best thing to do with an 8 frame box- would be to put in a permanent spacer/sheet of wood- to make the box smaller?

I have the flow hybrid super that holds 4 regular frames and 3 flow frames- there is about 6mm extra space on either side of the regular frames. The four comb I have in there have all been drawn out fat- and there is quite a bit of bridging comb. I wish I had modified the box before I installed the hive now…

I bought a follower/dummy board to do just that in case my boxes rebuilt large islands of brace comb up against the outer hive wall. They were from Mann Lake:

The first time I put empty frames up against the walls (with wax-coated plastic foundation in them), they got large “islands” of brace comb protruding from them. However, once I scraped those off, they got the message and built normal comb. I haven’t decided about using the “blank” boards in my new hives this year, but I might experiment a bit, as I have them already.

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It works much better if that board is removable and a little narrower even than the space you are trying to fill. You push it up next to the last frame and even though there is a space between it and the wall of the hive the bees will ignore it. Then when you have to inspect the bees you simply move the board, lift it out and you have lots of room to move and raise the first frame without squashing the bees. That’s why I don’t like Michaels’s wheeze of squeezing in an extra frame. You roll a lot of bees taking that first frame out

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Phew, I have a lot to learn. Thank you all for your input and suggestions. :sunny:

I posted a spreadsheet here which lists frame/box sizes and may be of value:

That is so kind. Thank you. It’s a bit of a mind boggle - there is so much information and detail to sift through. Much appreciated.

Thank you for your help.

Hi Caterina, the best way to find out what is the best method for you will be your own experience. All of the techniques described in this thread work. The main thing to avoid is large gaps between the frames. I have seen large gaps that people have left between frames. What the bees do is build another comb between those gaps.

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Jeff thanks. That’s good advice. I’ll take it all on board, follow the advice of the ‘brains trust’ and see what works in my locale.


Hi RBK. I’ve been busy at wk for the past couple of days and now have a few moments to work through your figure.

I have a spare 8 frame brood that i purchesed last year from a Brissie supplier ( i hung a ‘to let’ out for about 8 mths in the hope a swarm would move in but no takers) … anyway that box’s internal dimensions are 310 mm (i plan to use it as another brood box) and the spare Flow super I have is 315mm. Interesting.

Tomorrow I’ll have a look in the flowhive boxes with bees in it and measure up!

PS: I posted this under another topic in error and thought i’d carry it over here.

PPS: If the frames are 35mm and the flow frame brood box is 315mm, then there could be room for another frame in the brood.

The issue with ‘could be room for another frame in the brood’ is that 315 will fit 9 frames, but it won’t leave any spacing to the side (walls) of the hive, which you need.

I came up with another solution to the frame spacing issue here:

The first photo shows the corrected spacing with the frames centred.


Hi RBK thanks for that post. A few mm here and there can make a big difference to the fit.

I’ll have to read through your post in detail to see how it fits with the system ie where the changes to the frames are found. Something i can’t do today. Speak later. :sunflower::honeybee::eyes: