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Hive construction mistake - advice please

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SimonB 

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Hi, I've just finished building my flat pack National hive, a 14x12, a standard brood and one super. However I realised that I've made a mistake and fitted the side panels (with the frame runners) too high. I read the instructions way back when but then didn't bother reading them again, and have aligned the top of the panel, rather than the frame runner, with the 7/16" mark from the top.

I have stacked everything together including frames and it all seems to fit, no gaps between boxes and in theory bottom bee space is preserved as the mistake is across all boxes. However the QX now sits flush on top of the brood frames, whereas there would be a roughly 1/4" gap if the frame runners were placed correctly. Is this going to cause an issue?

Similarly there is extra space between floor and brood frames, will this now encourage the bees to build comb there?

I can easily fix the problem, rout or dremel the panel back to the correct height, but will the 1/4" gap at the base of the side panel lead to problems with propolising or comb? Should I fix a thin strip to compensate?

I am tempted to fix them all, since otherwise I will have to the carry on the error on all further supers, or risk losing bottom bee space I guess, so would be grateful for opinions on how much of the error I need to fix in reality.

Many thanks
Simon
 

Rosti 

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Simon, if I have this in my minds eye correctly and you only have three units produced then I would advise using a router with a fixed edge guide and pulling the level back. You may be okay but if you are fouling a QE then lateral top bee movement along the sides of the box may be inhibited.

If the gap at the bottom is too great you may risk the girls creating bridging comb between your boxes. You may wish to insert base fillets to compensate but then you are only talking about very small areas at the edges of the boxes so perhaps overkill?

As a second point your choices are limited to, perpetuating the error so your kit is interchangeable, including new gear as you make it up or making good while you only have the 3 pieces to deal with. Being non-standard may also limit you selling on s/h or indeed taking advantage of s/h gear in the future (which is where most of mine has come from). Good luck with it. R
 
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Somerford 

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Hi Simon

The simple answer is this - if there are two bee spaces adjacent to each other, bees will generally build brace comb. This goes for space either side of combs as well as top/bottom bee spaces together.

If the gap is too small for the bee to get through - they generally fill it with propolis - and would be likely to propolise the top of your frames to the bottom of the QX which is why it is important to try and maintain the ratio of top bee space or bottom bee space through out the hive.

Your mistake is a simple one to make - I have done it in the past and I've made up many brood boxes !!

To make life easy I would try and fix it in some way, or knock the box apart and start again (use a heavy mallet against a block of wood to save damaging the hive)

regards

S
 

SimonB 

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Thanks both for the replies, will fix them all I think. I'd rather start my bee-keeping experience with how things should be, rather than kludge from the outset.

Taking apart may be tricky as they are nailed and glued. I can probably rout a lot of it with a fence clamped in, and then dremel the parts that the router won't reach. Panel bottoms I think I will leave, if the bees do build a lot of comb I can think about fixing them later on.
 

jezd 

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"National hive, a 14x12, a standard brood and one super."

SB, thats an odd combo of kit, what is the setup?
 

SimonB 

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Hi jezd - I have a Thornes flat pack National hive, nucleus coming in May/June, I assume on standard brood frames. On the bee-keeping course I recently took the advice seemed to be to use a larger than standard brood box. So my intention is to transfer nuc frames into the standard box, dummy out the remainder of the space and place the 14x12 on top, also suitably dummied to migrate the colony into the larger box - a Bailey Comb Change in effect I think.

I thought about making a jig to allow me to sit the 14x12 straight on the nuc box, but I didn't know what the dimensions would be beforehand and was worried that for whatever reason I wouldn't have the time once the nuc arrived to build the jig, or then make up the standard box, so made everything ahead of time to do the procedure as above.

I can see why the kit list might seem unusual, I assume you were concerned I was doing something wrong, so appreciate you asking.
 

oliver90owner 

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However the QX now sits flush on top of the brood frames, whereas there would be a roughly 1/4" gap if the frame runners were placed correctly. Is this going to cause an issue?

That would most certainly create an issue if your queen excluder is 460 x 460!!

I was thinking what a peculiar combination of boxes. 3 different frame sizes will be a bear. You will likely soon be adding an eke to the standard to increase it, when you go to two colonies, which most would recommend.

Regards, RAB
 

oliver90owner 

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SimonB,

Err, why not put the standard frames in a jumbo box and dummy out the space under them ( to prevent wild comb)? Remove/reduce the spacers as the colony expands onto the jumbo frames. End of problem.

Regards, RAB
 

oliver90owner 

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Which?

How would you get another box on top without bending the Q/E?

or

Which bit about putting 5 standard brood frames and 5 jumbo brood frames in one box (temporarily).

Regards, RAB
 

SimonB 

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Which bit about putting 5 standard brood frames and 5 jumbo brood frames in one box (temporarily).
What I don't see is how this would temporary, at what point could the standard frames be removed and replaced with jumbo frames.

Also how would you distribute the different frames initially?
 

rae 

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I did this on my first two supers. The solution is easy - take the frame runners off. The frames then sit at the right height (but are a bit prone to propolising) and there is a long thin gap at the bottom that the bees don't seem to notice.
 

oliver90owner 

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Temporary as in 'not permanent'.

Place nucleus frames in hive, with the space underneath them filled (to prevent the bees adding comb to the standard brood frames). There would, of course be a divider required, fitted behind the nuc frames, to reduce the brood size. Add in 14 x 12 frames at the front (near entrance) as required. Add more frames as those get drawn until there is a full complement. Then start removing standard frames (and replacing with more jumbo frames) until box is full of same size frames, by removing the rear frames as further jumbo frames are added at the front. You will eventually finish with the permanent arrangement of a complete set of 14 x 12 frames in situ.

One advantage is that you will have your bees in just the one brood box for your inspections throughout the summer.

RAB
 

SimonB 

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I did this on my first two supers. The solution is easy - take the frame runners off. The frames then sit at the right height (but are a bit prone to propolising) and there is a long thin gap at the bottom that the bees don't seem to notice.
Thanks, that's an idea I hadn't thought of, and I may well do for the one super, I would like to get the brood box right though if it will make inspections and management easier. Reassuring to know I'm not the only one though :)
 
T

Tom Bick 

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Hi SimonB I think it is best to bite the bullet and alter the BB and Super now put right the mistake life will be so much easier in the long run. As for how you go from standard frames to the 14x12 is up to you but keep it simple.
If you have extra frames for the standard BB then let the bees fill that BB first your experience will grow on the smaller frames when the bees are on 8 frames you can then position the 14x12 BB over the standard BB and the bees will move up into the 14x12 once the queen is in the 14x12 queen excluder between the two BB and after 3 weeks the Standard BB can be removed.
If you dont have extra standard deep frames then I dont see why you can not just put the frames straight into the 14x12 BB give them two extra frames and dummy down the rest of the BB they will build comb off the bottom of the standard frames you will just have to be careful when inspecting. In time you can remove the outer frames and eventually will have a full box of 14x12 frames.


Sorry RAb never intended to steal your thunder
 
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SimonB 

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Temporary as in 'not permanent'.

Place nucleus frames in hive, with the space underneath them filled (to prevent the bees adding comb to the standard brood frames). There would, of course be a divider required, fitted behind the nuc frames, to reduce the brood size. Add in 14 x 12 frames at the front (near entrance) as required. Add more frames as those get drawn until there is a full complement. Then start removing standard frames (and replacing with more jumbo frames) until box is full of same size frames, by removing the rear frames as further jumbo frames are added at the front. You will eventually finish with the permanent arrangement of a complete set of 14 x 12 frames in situ.

One advantage is that you will have your bees in just the one brood box for your inspections throughout the summer.

RAB
Thanks for being patient with me. I do like this idea, so want to make sure I understand it.

Where I am unclear is when is a standard frame ready to be removed, do I remove it when it still contains brood, if not how to do I stop laying in it?

The divider should extend all the way to mesh floor?

You say add frames near the entrance, I was planning on running 'cold' (beekeeping course advice again), as long as the divider is to the left or right of the entrance presumably this procedure would work in a 'cold' setup?
 

wilderness 

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just to be difficult - :cuss::cuss:

why not route out an extra 8mm from the side walls of the brood boxes and make them top bee space. The super just take off what is required to make it proper bottom bee space.
 

oliver90owner 

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Running top and bottom bee space together will be a pain or a disaster - sooner or later.

Overwintering with a brood and super with a large gap would not be good - although generally a 14 x 12 alone is adequate for overwintering most colonies in most places. But, I suppose Warre users get by...

I run all my hives on top bee space now. I have converted just about all (might still be a couple or three old boxes around with bottom bee space. I find it so much easier (again, like the majority of hives around the world)

Now, The divider should extend all the way to mesh floor?

No, but to the top and sides to retain warmth in the brood area.

The outside frame at the back will fall out of use for laying (brood nest will be located centrally for heat retention. That will be the time to remove and replace.

I find comb is built more evenly the 'warm way'. Probably most removable frame hives in the world are 'warm way'.


I just bought enough 8mm correx to make a dozen 14 x 12 dividers. Now need to source some decent adjustable edging strips so it can be fitted tightly to the box walls and coverboard. May have to use the springy spine bindings for booklets. Idea from the beehause - it does have some good developments.

Regards, RAB
 

wilderness 

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Running top and bottom bee space together will be a pain or a disaster - sooner or later.
I've found it to be no problem but have only had this configuration for 2 years. I have 14x12 brood boxes.

Now need to source some decent adjustable edging strips so it can be fitted tightly to the box walls and coverboard.
Regards, RAB
How about the plastic strip used as draught excluder for round front doors?
 

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