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MadDad

Question Bee space and frame spacing in a box

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Good day all, 

I am just getting into the bee scene, been reading and researching for the last 18 months to make sure this is something I would like to do. I have decided to build my own bee boxes and the way I am getting my bees is to trap a swarm, my swarm trap is ready to go and was starting to build my boxes from 19mm ply that was free. I know there is thoughts of buying your boxes being more cost effective and easier etc. I am currently attending a bee club (yet to join as a member) and looking for a mentor, have also obtained my equipment for this beeautiful hobby. I enjoy doing stuff for myself and building things which gives me a better idea of the situation and environment, that way I know why and what I am getting myself into. So the question.......

 

I have many plans to build langstroth hive boxes, some sourced, some converted from imperial but few of 8 frame plans. I am looking at going down the 8 frame 3/4 depth for all my boxes, but this question will probably cover all box configurations in the langstroth hives design. I cut the sides of my first two boxes and laid my home made frames from my swarm trap onto the one side just to confirm I am on the right track, which is when I came up with this question.

So the side bar of the frame is 33mm used in NZ (used to be 35mm from imperial), taking that and multiplying it by 8 comes to 264mm (33 x 8). However the inside dimension of the NZ 8 frame box according to this (http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/lang.html) is 310 - 313mm which is a space of 46mm +. Is this correct as that is enough for an additional frame along with more space? From everything I have researched and seen, the frame spacing is side by side and is where the bee spacing comes from the design of the Langstroth hive? I have also seen spacers for frames which I gather is the reason for not having the 33mm side spacing on the frames, otherwise would one not just increase the spacing side?

Can someone clarify what I am missing or if my calculations are wrong or is this the norm? I know I hear "build it and they will come", but am also aware of the mess of a hive when it comes to pulling out the frames with cross comb so any clarification will be welcomed, or is it suggested I just go to 10 frame mediums? Cheers

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I agree with @tristan. Start with a standard 10 frame langstroth box. If you keep gear standard from the start , anything you buy will fit it.

Good move starting out with 3/4. Wish I had from the start 😊

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My boxes are 365 mm internal wide which hold ten frames plus a bit of extra space if the are frames pushed together . 

What is the attraction of a smaller 8 frame box ? 

Edited by M4tt

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Looking at the size and weight of them, getting my son interested in beecoming a beekeeper and just mindful of the weight of them down the track. Once he gets used to it and a bit bigger I will look at going to the 10 frame mediums, but at this stage want him to be confident enough to manage the hives himself when I am not around.

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58 minutes ago, MadDad said:

was starting to build my boxes from 19mm ply

 

58 minutes ago, MadDad said:

So the side bar of the frame is 33mm used in NZ (used to be 35mm from imperial),

 

making boxes from ply can have issues with the corners. plus ply tends to delaminate when it gets wet.

frames are available in many sizes eg 31, 33, 35mm. 8 frame boxes use ~42 or 44mm.

 

1 hour ago, MadDad said:

I am looking at going down the 8 frame 3/4 depth for all my boxes,

i recommend simply buy standard boxes and frames (10 frames per box) and copy it. why reinvent the wheel.

8 frames is only used for honey production, they are not used for brood. which means you need to run different sizes for brood and supers, which makes things awfully complicated and can restrict your beekeeping. its far better to just stick to one size. if you have any issues lifting heavy weights then avoid 8 framers as they end up heavier.

 

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Thanks for the updates, will go to the supplier and see what I can find.

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Good on you Mad dog Southlander.

You have a few challenges ahead and one day you will look back and ask yourself why you even considered non standard gear.
Your challenges are going to be so confronting that you will be glad you haven't added to them unnecessarily.

3/4 frames are probably the answer for you.

A swarm is one way but on the other hand good hives arnt expensive and the person that sells you a hive is probably liable to be your first point of contact should you require some help in the future.

Are you from Edendale?

 

Lol

Mad dog, Ive just had an email from a notorious banned member who says, "Tell him to turn back while he still can"

Lol

Edited by Philbee

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I have built all my boxes, many out of untreated ply - up to 50 now.  The ply works fine provided you seal the cut edges well to keep the moisture out.  Pine is better.  Like you, I read lots, studied bee space and carefully designed my initial box size so that the bee space would be perfect taking into account that ply is a bit thinner so the overall dimensions I used were smaller too.  Big mistake!  If you build odd sized gear nothing made commercially will fit it, queen excluders, top feeders and so on.  Luckily I learned that before building too many, I now have 4 special "9 frame hives" that don't fit any of my other gear.  My advice is regardless of whether you go 8 frame or 10 frame, 3/4 or full depth, use the commonly used commercial external dimensions.  I use 10 frame boxes (505mm x 405mm external) because they fit most other gear.  That means that if you have 33mm frames you have quite wide spaces on the outside edges of you push them to the centre.  My bees don't care, apparently they read a different book on bee space.......

Edited by SuperB

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I think you need to go back and have another look at just what a bee space is. While the distance between each frame is important it can vary a lot depending on how many brood frames you run and how many frames you have in your honey supers.This distance has nothing to do with the bee space. In New Zealand the top bar is generally almost flush with the top of the box with a bee space at either end of the box between the super ends and the end bars and also between the bottom bar and the bottom of the box .All modern beekeeping is based on the bee space. Have less than a bee space and they will glue everything together with propolis and more than the bee space and they will fill it up with honey and wax. 

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31 minutes ago, john berry said:

While the distance between each frame is important it can vary a lot depending on how many brood frames you run and how many frames you have in your honey supers.This distance has nothing to do with the bee space.

Sorry John, that reply doesn't make any sense.  Of course the space between frames and between the outside frame and the side of the box matters and bee space applies here too.  The bees will fill any space with comb if the space between frames is too big after the bees have drawn comb on the frame.  Just leave a frame out and see what happens.

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Thanks for all the comments, suggestions and tips all. I had already cut the material for the two boxes so have not gone too far down the rabbit hole, so thanks for the info and I will revisit the plans and suggestions. Perhaps the standard 10 frame sizes at 3/4 depth is the way to go from what I can see.

 

@Philbee - further down south in invers on a bit of land, not seen much bee activity around where I am so hoping that I can introduce a few pollinators to the neighborhood lol. If anyone is or might know of someone keen to be a mentor or for me to shadow them please drop me a line, always keen to learn and get first hand experience. cheers

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I suggest you use the dimensions on pages 28 to 31 in the book 'Practical Beekeeping in New Zealand. I made my first boxes over ten years ago out of Douglas fir, and used those measurements, and well painted, they are all still going strong. Ply will start to delaminate within very few years. It simply isn't true that people with very little experience in  beekeeping can read some overseas stuff and improve on the knowledge of those with decades of experience and close observation to draw on, and earn their living beekeeping. 

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On 22/09/2019 at 8:38 PM, SuperB said:

Sorry John, that reply doesn't make any sense.  Of course the space between frames and between the outside frame and the side of the box matters and bee space applies here too.  The bees will fill any space with comb if the space between frames is too big after the bees have drawn comb on the frame.  Just leave a frame out and see what happens.

The bee space is a constant.  The distance between frames is not. Leave them enough room and absolutely they will  build burr comb between the frames  but the number of frames per box can vary between 11  and seven all of which I have seen and that is certainly not a constant.

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On 22/09/2019 at 6:00 PM, tristan said:

 

8 frames is only used for honey production, they are not used for brood. which means you need to run different sizes for brood and supers, which makes things awfully complicated and can restrict your beekeeping.

 

Agreed that 8 frames per box is for honey production only, but totally disagree with the remainder of this statement. My honey boxes are all 3/4 and Manley frames and my brood boxes are all FD with Hoffman frames. That way I keep honey frames always separate from brood frames (have done so for the better part of 20 years). If honey frames and brood frames were the same size, it would be more difficult to keep them separate.

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43 minutes ago, Gerrit said:

Agreed that 8 frames per box is for honey production only, but totally disagree with the remainder of this statement. My honey boxes are all 3/4 and Manley frames and my brood boxes are all FD with Hoffman frames. That way I keep honey frames always separate from brood frames (have done so for the better part of 20 years). If honey frames and brood frames were the same size, it would be more difficult to keep them separate.

we run FD brood and mostly 3/4 supers, and it complicates the hell out of things especially for beginners.

it is substantially easier to run all one size and allows a lot more things to be done.

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18 minutes ago, tristan said:

we run FD brood and mostly 3/4 supers, and it complicates the hell out of things especially for beginners.

it is substantially easier to run all one size and allows a lot more things to be done.

 

The difference is: you want to mix brood and honey frames and I don't.

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1 hour ago, Gerrit said:

 

The difference is: you want to mix brood and honey frames and I don't.

thats one of the advanced topics that beeks can do once they are proficient.

but for beginners its best to make things as simple as possible as there is plenty of things that will go wrong during learning. adding unnecessary complication makes for difficult learning. 

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1 hour ago, tristan said:

thats one of the advanced topics that beeks can do once they are proficient.

but for beginners its best to make things as simple as possible as there is plenty of things that will go wrong during learning. adding unnecessary complication makes for difficult learning. 

 

Yes, I all understand that very well, no problems. It is also best to decide early on how you want to do your beekeeping. Not mixing your brood and honey frames has some advantages, such as: easier storage of honey frames (not as much wax moth problems), lower CFUs and generally easier to get clean honey (just wax and honey are easier to separate than that there are other parts in). I like to have clean honey. In the end it is a choice and I think when you learn beekeeping, it is good to start the right way. Only my opinion.

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It really depends on the point of view.  I have always been a hobby BK and used one size (3/4),  don't use queen excluder, and freely use boxes anywhere which have had brood.  Honey has lots of pollen in it, and is full of flavour, and lots of bits of wax especially if it contains kanuka - it needs "tickling" to get the honey out of the comb.  And, obviously, no active brood in the cells when considered for extraction. It is strained and not filtered, and in high demand with people who like really tasty honey.  But only a couple of hundred kg's per year, completely different view point!

 

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My style of beekeeping doesn’t allow me to keep brood and honey frames seperate. I am continually lifting brood frames I don’t like the look of , up and then out for scraping down after the honey comes out of them .

We all do things differently which is fine .

I enjoy beekeeping even more now all my gear is 3/4 , which I actually give @tudor credit for, because it was from your posts years ago , the seed got planted in my mind 😊

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Yes, I like that, everybody does it their way. I have to make sure that I produce a product that sells in these challenging times. I want to be able to control as much as I can in order to have a good product. I am not sure if it best that you learn from the start or later adjust your beekeeping.

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1 hour ago, Gerrit said:

It is also best to decide early on how you want to do your beekeeping

 

40 minutes ago, Gerrit said:

I am not sure if it best that you learn from the start or later adjust your beekeeping.

sorry if it seams like i'm picking on you a bit here.

 

but its best to learn to beekeep and ignore any ideas you have about beekeeping.

its a really hard thing for people to do because they always want to do their thing, but generally that tends to backfire.

put all your intentions on hold, learn to keep bees successfully, then your free to make up your own mind at want to do. you will be much more successful that way.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, tristan said:

 

sorry if it seams like i'm picking on you a bit here.

 

but its best to learn to beekeep and ignore any ideas you have about beekeeping.

its a really hard thing for people to do because they always want to do their thing, but generally that tends to backfire.

put all your intentions on hold, learn to keep bees successfully, then your free to make up your own mind at want to do. you will be much more successful that way.

 

 

 

OK, I know lots of people want to do it their way, but bees do what they do and only that we can use to our advantage. And that takes some learning, although the honeybee is pretty resilient.

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4 hours ago, Gerrit said:

 

The difference is: you want to mix brood and honey frames and I don't.

i recommend beginners and hobbyists don't stress about mixing brood and honey frames - much easier, and us beginners/hobbyists aren't selling honey

1 hour ago, M4tt said:

I enjoy beekeeping even more now all my gear is 3/4 , which I actually give @tudor credit for, because it was from your posts years ago , the seed got planted in my mind 😊

i'll blame (give credit to) @tudor for a lot of my approaches to beekeeping too.

Although i do have a bit of a creep of heavy full depth boxes which is entirely my fault./

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