Castellated frames or hoffman style

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Mar 27, 2023
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Milton Keynes
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Good afternoon all I've recently got 3 national hives 2 of which had castellated frames in the brood box and supers.The third has hoffman frames In your opinion which is the best ones to use when Starting your journey into beekeeping ,should they be all of the same type,can the brood box be different to the super ie mix and match .Thoughts be greatly appreciated thanks
I favour Hoffman in the broods for ease of inspections and 10 frame castellations in the supers, though I do have some Hoffman supers as well.
Castellations in the brood box means you cannot ease/slide frames along like you can with other frames, either hoffman style or even with spacers. If your hives will be static I would suggest you do not use castellations in the brood box. It is largely a matter of personal preference though.
Thank you The Poot and Murox for your replies I am leaning towards Hoffman frames and time will tell .The hives will be static .Going to the Apiary in Mid April so will see what their set up is and how they manage their colonies .Hope you both have a good season
Hoffmans in the brood and ten slot castellations in the supers. Nothing wrong with castellations in the brood box, it's a matter of personal choice. I believe Hivemaker used to use castellations in his broods
Do you mean the frames have plastic spacers on the lugs not the spacers that fit the brood box?

I have both, one thing I do like about using spacers is there’s less chance of squishing bees when pushing the frames together.

You can use both together, but you need to add the spacers to the hoffman frames as well.
NEVER castellations...anywhere. Being able to slide the frames along is a massive time advantage in all parts of the hive..with castellations you have to lift every frame individually.

Everyone to their own but to me castellations are a museum piece and half the speed you can work a hive in...also prefer one size boxes too. So all the same.
My preference is Hoffman in deep boxes and Manley in the shallows. Don't think bees care one bit as long as there is the correct space (and is the space is not correct the mess they make will bother the beekeeper more than it does the bees) so it personal preference if you go for castilation, hoffman or spacers. Recently saw 2 hives on DN1 frames spaced by adding screw in picture frame eylets to the frames.
In what way, I have always found spacers a faff
Hoffmanns if propolised, are difficult to get in and out. You lose a frame with spacers, but I find them much easier to manipulate.
In what way have you found them a faff?
Hoffmanns if propolised, are difficult to get in and out. You lose a frame with spacers, but I find them much easier to manipulate.
In what way have you found them a faff?
Dummy board in the brood box with Hoffmans allows free movement - no dummy board is the only reason I can think of why it’d be difficult to move the first frame
JBM may not like spacers but they're a damn sight easier to work with than hoffmans.
in what possible way. I've had the misfortune of handling colonies on DN1's with plastic spacers, alongside ones with Hoffmans. I struggle to find one redeeming feature of spacers - quite the opposite in fact.
In what way have you found them a faff?
I am going back some years but recall my dad acquiring some hives with plastic spacers. Little bits of plastic on the lug of the frame that fall off, break and get in the way when holding, taking off and putting back on for extraction. Seems a faff to me. I will stick with Hoffman and Manley frames and do without extra bits of kit to get in the way.
What horrifies me most about plastic spacers is the thousands of bits of plastic. I'd live with "metal ends" over plastic but for the corrosion. Hoffmans do suffer from propolis more than I'd like, but they seem to be a reasonable compromise if you prefer rails in the brood box (and don't want plastic or metal spacers), which I do, because as others have said it means you can pop out a dummy board and break the seals on the frames by levering them sideways with the hive tool rather than lifting them and snapping lugs. Perhaps an improvement on Hoffman frames would be to have them full width only near the top and bottom of the side rail so there's less area to put propolis on whilst still maintaining the proper spacing. Possibly more expensive to machine though.

For supers I don't think it really matters. I use rails because that's what I've always done. I'd quite happily use (decent quality) castellations if someone gave me a load of supers that had them though.

Hoffmans do suffer from propolis more than I'd like
seriously, I've never experienced that - the only time I get issues with then being stuck together is the first inspection in the spring.

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