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Too many frames..?


#1

Hi beekeepers!

New beekeepers here (English is not my native language. We are in Denmark). Hope someone can help.
We have added a new brood box with 4 frames (only) because we heard that they should not be too tight in the box. In the new added brood box there is no sign of eggs - actually the bees seem to built the wax from the various frames together…

  • The wax frame seem to clash/melt in top box and bees seem to take this as an opportunity to built them together - but for what reason? (done so for 2 weeks now).
  • Before we added the extra box, the bees placed honey in the flow frames - but now there is hardly any left in the flow frames - it seems as if the bees are moving it down to the lower box. Why?
  • The two outer frames in the lower box seem to have honey in them. why? We are wondering why they are not producing honey up in the flow frames.
  • There is a lot of honey in the brood box. Is that correct?
  • The lower brood box is very packed, but should we remove the top new brood box (with only 4 frames), and “throw” the bees from top box to lower box? (if they can fit into this one)…
    –or should we fill up the top brood box with frames to stop the “melting” of the frames? (btw the queen does not seem to come up there)

With a go-pro I shot this video. I someone would be so kind to what it and comment, we would greatly appreciate it. (the “action” starts from 3min20 secs.)

We are very excited about being beekeepers, and are sad to see that what seemed a success for us after a month, seems to … go the wrong direction in terms of amount of honey produced. But we hope the bees are doing fine though!)
:slight_smile:

Kindest regards,
Brit


#2

You definitely do NOT have too many frames. Just the opposite. Bees want just the right amount of “bee-space” and you have given them far too much. I STRONGLY suggest you fill the brood box with frames as intended. The spurs on the side of the frames give the bees the exact amount of space they want/need to do their business. And yes, they will move stores around to suit their needs.


#3

Hi Chipper! Thank you very much for your advice. We will fill up the top brood box - I am on it as we speak! (Had no one replied, we would have removed the top box today… Thank you.)
Do you think the extra space in top box is the reason why the queen has not been there? And also the reason why they are moving their storage of honey from flow frames to bottom box?
Thank you!
:slight_smile: Brit
Proud new be-keeper!


#4

Hey Faster, I recommend you get in touch with a local beekeeper to perhaps mentor you a bit in how things work in Denmark. Bees have different needs depending on their geographical location and I am not familiar enough with Denmark to offer the best advice. Help me understand what you currently have. Everything I have read and my experience has taught me that bees do not want too much space. It is recommended not to add a new box until the current box is 100% drawn and 80% full. Is this what you have done? I made sure my brood box is complete, then added a super (some add another deep depending on location). I want my bees to be self-sufficient over the winter. Only after they have stores to tide them over, that’s when I put on the flow frames in hopes that I will be able to harvest some for me. Hope this helps.


#5

Hi Chipper,
The lower brood box was full when we added the extra box. We just now added extra frames to the top brood box as you recommended.
We just saw that the bees seem to fill the top frames with honey. The queen seem to be in lower box only.
We though of taking the lower 2 side frames out and replace them with new frames, and then remove the top box completely - so return to 1 brood box and flow frames. That seemed to work. When adding the second box it went “wrong” somehow.
Thank you Chipper. we will also contact the local bee experienced beekeeper if we can. Thank you.
FasterQrt / Brit


#6

In the brood area, especially with undrawn frames, you need 8 in an 8 frame box minimum. I would shave the end bars down and put 9 in. You need 10 in a ten frame box. I would shave the end bars down and put 10 in. The frames are best at 32mm spacing in the brood box. Standard frames are 35mm. Anything over 35mm will be a mess.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#framespacing
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesframewidth.htm


#7

Hi Michael and greetings to denmark :slight_smile:

I´m also a newby, waiting for my first bee package now and that was exactly the answer to my question which is hard to find anywhere: If you set up the box as it is delivered first and put in the standard 8 frames you have plenty of space left and right. After reading about the maximum of 35 mm Beespace I wondered a lot what I should do: Put them together in the middle? Making equal spaces between? Are there distance rolls or nails missing (but these are “Hoffmann”-shaped frames who should provide the Space already)? Now we have it: shave them down till 9 fit in the 8 frame Langstroth box… This is a bit weird and therefore It would be great if this case is handled in one of the beginners videos!

thanks for you guidance!

jan (Germany)


#8

Yes.

No.

The end bars on a Hoffman frame have a shoulder on each side that sets the spacing.

That’s what I do.

Yes. I don’t think I’ve seen it in any beekeeping book that you should put them tight together in the middle. So it is always a dilemma for a new beekeeper to figure out.


#9

Yes

No

This is not a standard method, and my personal opinion is that it shouldn’t be used by beginners. It is too easy to get it wrong and mess up the bee space. Also, with more frames in the box, there is more risk of rolling and killing bees (or even the queen)… :cold_sweat: So I don’t think it would be right to put it in the beginner’s videos. I believe that they already discuss pushing the 8 frames tight together in the middle of the brood box, but perhaps it could be better emphasized, as this question comes up numerous times in this forum! :blush:


#10

I’m afraid to ask, not intended to insult you or anything, but: did you do a beekeepers course? If not, it is very much recommended!


#11

Just to put a spanner in the works, I’m going to suggest that you space the frames out evenly. That’s what I do with success, however I keep bees in a sub-tropical climate. I don’t know if that makes any difference. I’ve been doing it like that for 28 years now.


#12

Man- this whole bees busines- there are so many variable one can play with- it seems every time I see a question I see two contradictory answers. I have now heard the axiom, 'Ask two beekeppers a question and get three answers". It’s utterly true!

Right now I am trying to decide: screened bottom or unscreened? Covered screen or open? Top entrance or bottom or both? Ventilated coverboard/roof or sealed? I have found good arguments for every permutation… the only thing I can do is design my beehive so it can accommodate every potential option.

as far as the shaving down of frames question goes- @Michael_Bush every time I have seen you mention your practice I have seen the counter argument about rolling bees. To me that’s a powerful argument to avoid it as a relative beginner- and hater of accidental bee killings. What are your thoughts? Do you think it increases the risk of ‘bee rolling’?

Also on our frames the small extra space (8 in an 8 box) has quicly been covered in a layer of propolis so there is no need to carefully align them as they all abut each other. Do you find you can to periodically remove this propolis so you can easily insert your frames?


#13

Hi Michelle, that’s all correct. The main thing to do is find out what works best for you. Don’t close your mind to any strategy because that strategy might turn out to be the best strategy for you.

I use solid floors, bottom entrance, a decent bee space in the lid, however mostly with no ventilation in the lid. The bees normally block them anyway. A vinyl mat over the top frames with a bee space all round. That just about covers it. Oh & one brood box & mostly one honey super. Deep frames throughout.


#14

Thanks Jeff- I noted your preference for fixed solid bottoms- my hive allows that if you want it. On the top- I have set up the inner covers so there will be a ventilation hole- that can either be removed- or covered in cloth (maybe even a woodchip ‘blanket’) in a place where the bees can propolise it shut if they want to…

This is the type of confusion I have- I have read articles that say" the more ventilation the better" I have read other that say “The less ventilation the better”. I guess it really depends to some extent on local conditions- perhaps bee varieties- and perhaps to some extent purely on bekeeper preference. So you may have two beekeepers successfully operating side by side using diametrically opposed methodologies.

All of this confusion is good though- it makes for a perfect hobby! How boring it would be if there was just one way of doing it right.


#15

I experimented with wider spacing in the brood nest and found I rolled a LOT more bees because of the unevenness of the combs. This is because honey is whatever thickness they want and brood is a fixed thickness. Wider spacing creates the dichotomy of thick honey and thin brood all on the same comb. To avoid rolling bees was the main reason I went to narrow spacing. Another was that I was going to the spacing that the bees built when I let them. Another was that they seemed to draw smaller cells at natural spacing. Another was that they can cover more brood with narrower spacing. I tried wider spacing and I did not like it.

“…if the space is insufficient, the bees shorten the cells on the side of one comb, thus rendering that side useless; and if placed more than the usual width, it requires a greater amount of bees to cover the brood, as also to raise the temperature to the proper degree for building comb, Second, when the combs are too widely spaced, the bees while refilling them with stores, lengthen the cells and thus make the comb thick and irregular–the application of the knife is then the only remedy to reduce them to proper thickness.”–J.S. Harbison, The bee-keeper’s directory pg 32

If rolling bees is your main concern on the matter, then get a follower and put it on the outside. Remove the follower first then spread the frames where you want to pull them.


#16

Hi Michelle, a lot of my strategy, especially about ventilation is derived after watching this video several times.


The part to pay particular attention to in relation to ventilation is between the 3 minute to 4:30 mark. You’ll see how they use tissue paper to show how the bees draw air in one side of the entrance & expel it out on the other side. That is also the reason why I like a wide entrance.

You can imagine how added ventilation would only hinder that process. This is perhaps the reason why the bees use propolis to block any gaps in the lid or anywhere else.


#17

Good video until the last 5 or so minutes when he starts comparing the 10 commandments to bee behavior patterns, got a little strange after that!


#18

Yeah well, ignore all that part. I do.


#19

Loved the music & the ‘high speed’ computer :wink: But some amazing filming, wax production & comb building, & the ventilation demonstration


#20

I have always put my new brood boxes below. The bees like to go from top to bottom.