Swapping frames?

I’m looking at replacing a couple of frames in the brood box. (10 frame box)

When I take out the frame what do I do with it and all the brood?

Do I leave it outside the hive for the others to clean up?
Could I put it in a nuc and leave it next to the hive?

Hiya onehive, great question. This topic has just been raised in another thread,

Why are you thinking of sacrificing brood? Heck of a waste
Make a nuc or give them more room,
Poor baby bees, yet to be born :disappointed_relieved::disappointed_relieved:

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Cycle them through the super, but only honey, pollen and capped brood (no eggs)

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How do I “cycle” them through my super?

My super has 7 flow frames, thus not room for normal frames.

if some of your flow frames are empty you can temporarily remove them and put a standard frame in just until all the brood has hatched out. Or you can get another box and put it on top and let the brood hatch out there before removing it.

Or- like Dee said- buy a small Nuc hive and make a split. you can probably sell the new colony for a nice little profit if you don’t want it.


I’m not clear what is wrong with the frames you are removing. If you don’t want to lose brood, put it above an exluder until the brood emerges or cut the comb out of the frame and rubber band it into the new frame.

My understanding was its good practice to replace older brood frames after a couple of years as the cells become too small and old.

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Yep, thats what I do, even with a Flow super on top of a single brood, I under-super the Flow with another box (consisting of standard frames) this box is for moving 2 frames every 2-3 weeks up from the brood box into the standard super over spring. This continual cycling cleans most of the grubby frames out of the brood box as well as creating new laying space fo the queen and keeping the bees occupied, so hopefully they don’t swarm… but of course, the bees have a mind of their own and don’t always follow the rules.

Every three years is sufficient and you wait till there is no brood in them.
Lots of folk don’t replace them though and the bees still thrive

The only reason to remove them is to get contamination from treatments out. The cells will only shrink down to natural size and after that they will chew them out to get them back to natural size. A. Grout did the research on this back in the 30s and 40s. I WANT small cells. Small cells make short gestation times and short gestation times mean less Varroa. I don’t treat, so I don’t contaminate combs and I never swap out combs.and I start with small cells…

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I moved some crooked old banded up frames into a box above the Flow super. They had honey and brood on them hoping the bees would move the honey down and the brood to hatch then I could remove them. This was several weeks ago and i wasn’t seeing much action in the Flow window so I had a peek into the top box this arvo and, low and behold, a full box of bees on top… The buggers are passing straight through the Flow super to get to the top super. Time to get a bee escape… Stoopid smart bees. Back to the drawing board…


See. What did I say? Some people don’t take out old frames. :smiley:
Bees like old comb

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Yes. Bees also winter better on old combs than new combs. That was also researched…

The Average Brood Comb Age of this graph is interesting too:

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Thanks Dawn…you and I have discussed this previously but it’s a timely reminder. People here in the UK yak on and on about disease and old comb. There is a really stupid fad here for shook swarming bees onto new comb EVERY year. Heavens what a waste!!!

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