Boxes and Frames

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Cedar Field John 

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Hello again,

As I mentioned in my introduction, I am a soon to be new beekeeper. I have ordered my bees and my new hive, which arrived today. When I unpacked my national hive, I notice the brood box and two supers only had ten frames in them, with space for two more frames. The brood box also came with a dummy frame. I wasn't expecting this, I was expecting the ten frames to sit without any extra space into the boxes. From what I have seen, brood boxes seem to be filled with either 11 frames and a dummy, or 12 frames. Also the supers I have seen, either seem to be filled, or have 11 frames in them spaced out. I'm a bit confused, especially with the super boxes, as I know I can fill the brood box with the nuc frames. Am I miss understanding something? I would appreciate if someone could help me on this.
Many Thanks John.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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National brood boxes should have eleven frames and a dummy board at the end (never 12) Supers can have a variety of numbers but ten is the usual.
Where did you get the Kit
Did the frames come loose, strapped together or in a little cardboard box
Are they Hoffman self spacing frames or straight sided
Have you looked in the package to see if there are any runners, spacers or metal castellations?
 

Cedar Field John 

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National brood boxes should have eleven frames and a dummy board at the end (never 12) Supers can have a variety of numbers but ten is the usual.
Where did you get the Kit
Did the frames come loose, strapped together or in a little cardboard box
Are they Hoffman self spacing frames or straight sided
Have you looked in the package to see if there are any runners, spacers or metal castellations?
Thanks for your reply.
They came inside the brood box with cardboard in the two frame gap. There doesn't seem to be anything else in the box, I will check again tomorrow.
If ten is the usual number of frames in a super, what to I do with the two frame gap? Also why never 12 frames in a brood?
Thank you for your help.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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If ten is the usual number of frames in a super, what to I do with the two frame gap? Also why never 12 frames in a brood?
Thank you for your help.
There should be spacers in there so that the ten are evenly spaced in the super (either plastic end spacers or a galvanised castellated strip) twelve frames might fit in the brood box when new and clean but propolis buildup wil make it way too tight a fit later on.
You still don't say who supplied the kit. or whether the frames in the brood box are self spacing (Hoffmans) or straight sidedFrame parts.jpg
 

Cedar Field John 

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I bought it from bee equipment.
I think I have the Hoffman types. There doesn't seem to be any spacers, but I will check again tomorrow. I didn't know you space 10 frames in a 12 box. I thought that was too spacey. Thanks for your help.
 

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hemo 

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Most frame packs come as ten's except for STBK he sells in eleven's which is good. It is no issue using 10 in a BB with the follower/dummy board. Though to make use of the extra space 11 is what most use in a single or double BB.
As you become more proficient in years to come one can change how he /she fills the box, some opt to dummy down to use less frames and insert a diy insulate wide dummy to close the space down.
 

hemo 

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I bought it from bee equipment.
I think I have the Hoffman types. There doesn't seem to be any spacers, but I will check again tomorrow. I didn't know you space 10 frames in a 12 box. I thought that was too spacey. Thanks for your help.
The Hoff's are self spacing so just push them up tight to each other with the dummy board following, you will need extra frames/foundation in the future so one will be best buying extra.
 

ericbeaumont 

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the brood box and two supers only had ten frames in them, with space for two more frames.
I didn't know you space 10 frames in a 12 box. I thought that was too spacey.
This doesn't sound right, John.

Hoffmans are self-spacing and if there's space for two more in the box then unless you fill it with something the bees will do it with wild comb. Spacing frames by eye is a fiddle (a spacing comb costs £4) and fitting castellations or spacers is pointless - after all, you've just bought self-spacing frames!

Hoffmans must be closed up truly tight every time you put the hive together after an inspection, so add at least one frame and a dummy board to each box to reduce the void, yet give you room to work without crushing bees when it and the end frame are removed.

It's likely that Bee Equipment supplied your kit at the economy end and expected you to buy extras to make up a full complement. Trust me, you will need extra frames and foundation and 50 of each would be a modest reserve.

I've worked National wood boxes that take 11 or 12 frames (the number varies depending on manufacturer) and some that almost take 12 but a sloppy 11, but then wood moves and what matters is that the box is full yet workable.

I reckon you've been sold a 10-pack and are expected to buy the extras.

PS: personal opinion: I'd keep 11+a dummy board in the brood but put 12 in the supers, because you don't inspect supers often and you don't want honey frames shifting about in the box.
 

Erichalfbee 

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As for supers I put 11frames in a national
The next season 10 of those frames get moved into a box with castellations and they stay there to be used even year.
So get them drawn on 11 used on 10. Some folk even spread them out to 9 but I don't like the fat frames. Personal choice
 

Boston Bees 

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I didn't know you space 10 frames in a 12 box.
Sorry, I think some of the comments may have confused you.

Let me confuse you more by explaining what they are saying!

You have Hoffman frames, which is good.

Frames containing brood (eggs. larvae etc) will only ever be built out by the bees to a certain length, as a bee larvae is a certain length (or depth, whatever is the right term for the sideways dimension!), and no longer. Hoffman frames are designed to match this length perfectly. As such, in any box which the queen has access to (i.e. any box under the queen excluder), the frames must be pushed up nice and snug with each other, so the Hoffman frames are touching each other (or within 1mm or 2mm of doing so). This is because, if the gap between frames is larger than this, the bees will fill it with extra sheets of "wild" comb, creating chaos in your hive. So make sure your Hoffman frames touch. For now you can do this with the 10 frames you have, then the dummy frame. There will be a gap behind the dummy frame, but that's fine. In time you can buy extra frames and then you will have 11 frames plus a dummy board, and no gap between the dummy board and the wall of the hive, which is probably the most common set up for new beekeepers

In boxes which the queen does NOT have access to (i.e. boxes above the excluder) things are a little bit more relaxed. This is because these frames will only contain honey and pollen, and the bees are happy to make the cells containing food like this as wide as necessary. So if there is a wider gap between frames they might not build a new sheet of comb, and may just make the cells on the frames longer to fill the gap. Some people find it useful if the bees make honey frames nice and wide, so they have fewer frames to extract later, and more honey on each frame. As such, some people will space the frames wider, putting perhaps 10 frames (or fewer) in the box, spaced evenly, rather than 11. There are various ways to do this. For now though, you don't need to worry about this. Spacing frames wider than the default Hoffman setting in a honey super is NOT compulsory. Just push the frames close to each other in all your boxes (above and below the queen excluder, if you even use one) for now, and don't worry about extra things like plastic spacers. You can play with those later.

I hope this helps - it may not!
 
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Gilberdyke John 

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Hello again,

As I mentioned in my introduction, I am a soon to be new beekeeper. I have ordered my bees and my new hive, which arrived today. When I unpacked my national hive, I notice the brood box and two supers only had ten frames in them, with space for two more frames. The brood box also came with a dummy frame. I wasn't expecting this, I was expecting the ten frames to sit without any extra space into the boxes. From what I have seen, brood boxes seem to be filled with either 11 frames and a dummy, or 12 frames. Also the supers I have seen, either seem to be filled, or have 11 frames in them spaced out. I'm a bit confused, especially with the super boxes, as I know I can fill the brood box with the nuc frames. Am I miss understanding something? I would appreciate if someone could help me on this.
Many Thanks John.
As others have already covered the various options about number of frames and spacing I'll leave you to digest what they have said. What I will add is you should buy extras (a nuc box and frames or a full brood box with floor and crownboard with roof) to allow you to undertake swarm control measures when the bees start making charged queen cells. The bees wont wait for you to catch up once they decide to swarm. As the boy scout motto "be prepared".
Some claim a colony won't swarm in its first season - they can and do!
 

Cedar Field John 

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Sorry, I think some of the comments may have confused you.

Let me confuse you more by explaining what they are saying!

You have Hoffman frames, which is good.

Frames containing brood (eggs. larvae etc) will only ever be built out by the bees to a certain length, as a bee larvae is a certain length (or depth, whatever is the right term for the sideways dimension!), and no longer. Hoffman frames are designed to match this length perfectly. As such, in any box which the queen has access to (i.e. any box under the queen excluder), the frames must be pushed up nice and snug with each other, so the Hoffman frames are touching each other (or within 1mm or 2mm of doing so). This is because, if the gap between frames is larger than this, the bees will fill it with extra sheets of "wild" comb, creating chaos in your hive. So make sure your Hoffman frames touch. For now you can do this with the 10 frames you have, then the dummy frame. There will be a gap behind the dummy frame, but that's fine. In time you can buy extra frames and then you will have 11 frames plus a dummy board, and no gap between the dummy board and the wall of the hive, which is probably the most common set up for new beekeepers

In boxes which the queen does NOT have access to (i.e. boxes above the excluder) things are a little bit more relaxed. This is because these frames will only contain honey and pollen, and the bees are happy to make the cells containing food like this as wide as necessary. So if there is a wider gap between frames they might not build a new sheet of comb, and may just make the cells on the frames longer to fill the gap. Some people find it useful if the bees make honey frames nice and wide, so they have fewer frames to extract later, and more honey on each frame. As such, some people will space the frames wider, putting perhaps 10 frames (or fewer) in the box, spaced evenly, rather than 11. There are various ways to do this. For now though, you don't need to worry about this. Spacing frames wider than the default Hoffman setting in a honey super is NOT compulsory. Just push the frames close to each other in all your boxes (above and below the queen excluder, if you even use one) for now, and don't worry about extra things like plastic spacers. You can play with those later.

I hope this helps - it may not!
Thank you BB, that explains everything for me. Thanks for taking the time to reply.
 

Cedar Field John 

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As others have already covered the various options about number of frames and spacing I'll leave you to digest what they have said. What I will add is you should buy extras (a nuc box and frames or a full brood box with floor and crownboard with roof) to allow you to undertake swarm control measures when the bees start making charged queen cells. The bees wont wait for you to catch up once they decide to swarm. As the boy scout motto "be prepared".
Some claim a colony won't swarm in its first season - they can and do!
Thank you John. Good advice 👍. I will have something ready.
 

Cedar Field John 

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This doesn't sound right, John.

Hoffmans are self-spacing and if there's space for two more in the box then unless you fill it with something the bees will do it with wild comb. Spacing frames by eye is a fiddle (a spacing comb costs £4) and fitting castellations or spacers is pointless - after all, you've just bought self-spacing frames!

Hoffmans must be closed up truly tight every time you put the hive together after an inspection, so add at least one frame and a dummy board to each box to reduce the void, yet give you room to work without crushing bees when it and the end frame are removed.

It's likely that Bee Equipment supplied your kit at the economy end and expected you to buy extras to make up a full complement. Trust me, you will need extra frames and foundation and 50 of each would be a modest reserve.

I've worked National wood boxes that take 11 or 12 frames (the number varies depending on manufacturer) and some that almost take 12 but a sloppy 11, but then wood moves and what matters is that the box is full yet workable.

I reckon you've been sold a 10-pack and are expected to buy the extras.

PS: personal opinion: I'd keep 11+a dummy board in the brood but put 12 in the supers, because you don't inspect supers often and you don't want honey frames shifting about in the box.
Thanks for your advice Eric. 👍
 

Arfermo 

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National brood boxes should have eleven frames and a dummy board at the end (never 12) Supers can have a variety of numbers but ten is the usual.
Where did you get the Kit
Did the frames come loose, strapped together or in a little cardboard box
Are they Hoffman self spacing frames or straight sided
Have you looked in the package to see if there are any runners, spacers or metal castellations?
Dummy boards unnecessary with 11 slot castellations. Makes inspections easier for a newbie - and I have never, ever rolled the queen or any other bee doing it that way.
 

Kaz 

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Hello again,

As I mentioned in my introduction, I am a soon to be new beekeeper. I have ordered my bees and my new hive, which arrived today. When I unpacked my national hive, I notice the brood box and two supers only had ten frames in them, with space for two more frames. The brood box also came with a dummy frame. I wasn't expecting this, I was expecting the ten frames to sit without any extra space into the boxes. From what I have seen, brood boxes seem to be filled with either 11 frames and a dummy, or 12 frames. Also the supers I have seen, either seem to be filled, or have 11 frames in them spaced out. I'm a bit confused, especially with the super boxes, as I know I can fill the brood box with the nuc frames. Am I miss understanding something? I would appreciate if someone could help me on this.
Many Thanks John.
In addition to all the great advice you've already had, I would add find your local beekeeping association and sign up to a beginners course and spend some time getting "hands on" at the branch apiary (when permitted). I can't overstate the value of the contacts and experience you will gain. A great source of support and advice. 🙂
 

tom8400 

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why not 12? they certainly fit, yes it maybe tight and hard to get them out.
But I use 12 and I'm in no hurry to use a dummy board it creates places for nasties from what I've seen. Need a valid reason for not using 12? Hoffman in brood box.
 

ericbeaumont 

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why not 12? they certainly fit, yes it maybe tight and hard to get them out. Need a valid reason for not using 12 Hoffman in brood box.
Yes, as your box takes 12 and it works for you, stick with it; if tight, take out the second frame first - less fiddle and risk.

I'm in no hurry to use dummy boards either (saves expense) and my preferred box - an Abelo poly - takes 11 Hoffmans neatly without the need for a board.
 
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