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Frame width, 33 or 35mm


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I would like some clarification on why the difference in some frames width.

According to Andrew Mathewsons Book he states that the standard size for frames is best at 33mm and there is still a hang over from the imperial days when the conversion was 35mm.

A standard Langstroth box is 365mm wide allowing for 10 frames (333mm) plus 35mm for spacing and a bit of manipulation. With 35mm frame there is on 15mm space. This makes things a bit tight when the bees put a bit of propolis around the frames.

Does it make much difference to the bees except that 35mm would give them an extra 2mm of bee space.

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The distance between comb centres in a wild hive, is determined by the size cell the bees intend to build if it's a brood area, and further out in honey storage areas they'll go quite wide even with smaller cells.

 

Our standard foundation has a cell size of 5.5 mm's per cell. For that, a gap between comb centres of 33 mm's is just more than they need, they could get away with 31 mm's. But that wou;ld allow no wiggle room, if a comb had a bend in the foundation, that portion would be unuseable to the bees for brood reaing as it would be too close to the other comb. When I started beekeeping we all used 35 mm's and that worked fine, plus allowed for a cocoon buildup over time on the bottom of brood cells.

 

People overseas using small cell foundation sized at 4.9 mm's per cell, will sometimes trim their frames down to 30 or 31 mm's wide, and run eleven frames to a brood box.

 

For us, in honey supers, combs can be run at 8 frames per box, which meets the bees natural desire to have honey storage combs at around 45 mm centres. It also makes extraction easier and uses less gear. However if starting with foundation you have to run 9 or 10 to the box to get them drawn without the bees building burr comb in between. Next year when you have drawn comb, you can put the box on with 8 evenly spaced combs.

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The distance between comb centres in a wild hive, is determined by the size cell the bees intend to build if it's a brood area, and further out in honey storage areas they'll go quite wide even with smaller cells.

 

Our standard foundation has a cell size of 5.5 mm's per cell. For that, a gap between comb centres of 33 mm's is just more than they need, they could get away with 31 mm's. But that wou;ld allow no wiggle room, if a comb had a bend in the foundation, that portion would be unuseable to the bees for brood reaing as it would be too close to the other comb. When I started beekeeping we all used 35 mm's and that worked fine, plus allowed for a cocoon buildup over time on the bottom of brood cells.

 

People overseas using small cell foundation sized at 4.9 mm's per cell, will sometimes trim their frames down to 30 or 31 mm's wide, and run eleven frames to a brood box.

 

For us, in honey supers, combs can be run at 8 frames per box, which meets the bees natural desire to have honey storage combs at around 45 mm centres. It also makes extraction easier and uses less gear. However if starting with foundation you have to run 9 or 10 to the box to get them drawn without the bees building burr comb in between. Next year when you have drawn comb, you can put the box on with 8 evenly spaced combs.

 

Hi Alister.

 

Many thanks for that info. Pretty much as I was thinking. Someone told me that the commercials only use 35 everywhere.

You make a lot more sense.

 

Thanks

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  • 1 month later...

I ran the 33mm frmes on 12 hives back when i was hobbying 11 frmes /box, the idea was to lower the amount of drone brood to reduce mites, yes i did get less drone brood and yes i still got plenty of mite, now have nearly burnt the lot, things were also to tight in the hive and mainly the gear wasn't compatable with the most 35mm gear i had, also what i noticed is if you put a box with 10 35mm frames on a box with 11 33mm frames (for brood nest) the hive had trouble they seemed to prefer staying in one box and struggled to expand, they did seem to prefer 35mm :thumbdown:

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I picked up a heap of 35mm frames as they were out of stock of 33mm at the time. Once 10 have been in the box a few weeks there is no room to prize them apart. Propolis packs them in too tightly. I am now trying to use them only for honey at 9 per box and save the 33mm for the brood with 10 per box

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I picked up a heap of 35mm frames as they were out of stock of 33mm at the time. Once 10 have been in the box a few weeks there is no room to prize them apart. Propolis packs them in too tightly. I am now trying to use them only for honey at 9 per box and save the 33mm for the brood with 10 per box

 

This is my thoughts exactly. That's why I only use 33mm. When I have purchased a few 35mm frames I use my router and cut them down to 33. This is a bit time consumming however I am happier with the result. I can still use 10 in the honey box with a bit of spacing between the frames.

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  • 9 months later...
Alastair, when you use 8 frames per super for honey supers do you use anything to space them apart from sight? I find adjusting them by hand very time consuming and was wondering about buying or making a spacing tool?

I have made my own. I am also experimenting with one hive where 10 frames are all pushed together towards one side leaving no gaps between shoulders to propolise. However I should try it on another hive as this one hardly do any propolis. I can slide the frame without without hive tool. P1140836.JPG.c27bf68db342c12b06cc4728b909727c.JPG

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Hi Robjonsco I think PK answered that! :) A spacer like his can certainly be used.

 

Although for me, I just do it by eye, that's just how I was trained, pinpoint accuracy with honey frames is not essential. After the first few thousand boxes you get fairly quick at it LOL!

 

PK, a common method in the brood box is to squeeze the frames together, in the middle. So there is a small gap on each side of the box, rather than no gap one side and a larger gap the other side.

There is a difference of opinion about which frame to take out of the box first, but for people like me who mostly go straight to the middle, squishing the frames together with a gap at each side of the box means I can stick my hive tool in and prise the middle frames apart quite widely before pulling the first one out.

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Hi Robjonsco I think PK answered that! :) A spacer like his can certainly be used.

 

Although for me, I just do it by eye, that's just how I was trained, pinpoint accuracy with honey frames is not essential. After the first few thousand boxes you get fairly quick at it LOL!

 

PK, a common method in the brood box is to squeeze the frames together, in the middle. So there is a small gap on each side of the box, rather than no gap one side and a larger gap the other side.

There is a difference of opinion about which frame to take out of the box first, but for people like me who mostly go straight to the middle, squishing the frames together with a gap at each side of the box means I can stick my hive tool in and prise the middle frames apart quite widely before pulling the first one out.

 

I blame my having to wear progressive spectacle lenses not giving me the ability to do it by eye or gauging things being on the level or plumb. I confirmed my inability with my spacer. I did it by eye and every time I used the spacer, frames shifted. So now every frame is according to spacer and repeatable.

 

I will try one of my hive with your method of spacing, ie, space on both sides. I don't think I will try removing middle frames. Not yet anyway. Not until I have "just in case" queens.

 

Because I had the large gap to one side and a few days ago I found 3 swarm cell, I was able to transfer the cell to "golf tees" and stick it to the side of a middle frame and created a bit more space for the protruding Q cell.

P1160137.JPG.e20fa299e9e64920e6bff6f47e1eef43.JPG

 

The left cell started as a more developed larvae but it fell and they continued to make a queen cell between the bottom of the top box frame and the top bar of the bottom frame. It broke when I moved the frames. Gave the royal jelly to wifey who says it took the "lining off her throat" ( is there a recommended dosage for royal jelly or warnings?).The middle and RH cell were just eggs. RH failed to developed (actually will need to check again if that had also fallen).P1160139.JPG.018c62fdb8bc522e70a76d15f125e0bd.JPG

 

Why the golf tees. Easy to take out and put anywhere. Just need to to improve on the transfer process perhaps.

P1160142.JPG.827533ab4a4ea7d2948d5f8347a0316f.JPG

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My right hand man has taken a year to have a try of royal jelly, to get him to have a go i told him its much like Kina which he really likes, when he heard that he was into the first cell he could find, While its not quite like kina not salty its more pepper like ( might go well together) to me it there is something kina like about it, i think its the creamy part of it? any way he ate it not sure if he'll go back for more in a hurry, but i think if you ate a bit of it, it would grow on you.

Nice job whith the golf tee PK

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I always push all of the fames to one side so I have a gap on between the box and frames. I keep the edge of the frames clean so they fit closely together. This makes it quicker and easier to work the hive. The brood boxes have 10 frames or 8 frames and a feeder. The feeder is pushed so the gap is between the feeder and the box. The gap means it is easy to open the frames up and go stright to the middle frame.

 

For honey frames I use Manley frames

 

No mucking about spacing frames, that takes time

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How do you attach the cells to the tees PK?

These tees were in a queen raising bar before and they primed it into cups in another hive. I did dip them in bees wax first. I cut the cell out and press the excess into the primed cups. I have in the past used a hot blade to melt them together. They will re-sculpture the attachment anyway. I have been putting map pins when ever I find queen cells, practice or not, during inspection to make it easier to locate and check. This time as I saw they were making them all over the place, I transferred it to the top box on the same frame for easier access.

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