Frame spacing

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Drone Bee
Aug 25, 2009
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Oswestry, Shropshire, UK
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Number of Hives
Having just made up a batch of hoffman frames for my BB (National), i notice that i can fit 12 in leaving just a very small gap (maybe just over 1/8" )at one end.
If i fit 11 frames and add a dummy board then i end up with a bigger gap.
Would 12 be the normal configuration?

A newbie so limited experience. My Thornes national came with 11 frames. My understanding is that you need the space to be able to slide the frames for inspection so that you do not crush any bees. Hoffman frames are "self spacing" - in the frame to frame gap
You may fit 12 in now but when they've been propolised you might not. Best way is to use 11 and a dummy board. Keep the frames pushed up tight so the bees don't build brace comb between the frames.

hoffman frames at 35mm spacing were oringianlly designed for langstroths and are abit narrow wherase older spacing for a national was 37mm and the frame spacers used with straight frames are normaslly 37mm,

so if you use the old 37mm them only 11 11x37=407 plus 17mm space for dummy..but 12 x35 hoffmans gives 420 mm and a hive is 422or424 mm wide

.so its a bit confused when you read it in books as they normaly just say 11 plus dummy without explaining they are using 37mm spacing and 35mm hoffmans will be looser...and even looser at about 34mm if the frames have dried out by being in your sitting room for days

i have seen 37mm hoffmans but not from a major supplier,and for small black bees on small cell foundation i have seen 32mm spacing..thats 13 frames :)
Many thanks for that reply, i can now understand why i would have these gaps.
so, as hawklord suggests, and as you point out, and the books suggest, i should use 11 frames and the dummy board all pushed together leaving a rather bigger space at the dummy board end?
You may be better to use 12 at first, until they start to draw them out, and then as the hive fills up with bees, you will begin to realise why only 11. Once you begin to roll bees when taking a frame out because of the tight fit, then you can remove the 12th frame and add the dummy board and by then any spare space wont be so "gappy" A frame at either end of the hive would be good to remove, it's doubtful it will have been much drawn anyway.


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