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How many bars before I space out the honey comb

 
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 3:42 pm    Post subject: How many bars before I space out the honey comb Reply with quote

I have a hive that the brood area on are 36mm bars, towards the edge I have switched to 38mm as there is some drift. I am aware that honey comb can be built out much bigger and spacers can be added to help the bees do this. However, I have also seen the bees empty out comb previously used for honey and start it for brood. So the question is:
How many full comb bars should there be left at 36-38mm for brood before I add spacers in to let them build out bars for honey only?
I was thinking either go with 15 OR add bars only to the outside of the brood nest and when a bar is moved out two positions from there it can be spaced out.
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Dcats
House Bee


Joined: 06 Oct 2013
Posts: 17
Location: USA, Western North Carolina

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 8:04 pm    Post subject: Re: How many bars before I space out the honey comb Reply with quote

AugustC wrote:
I have a hive that the brood area on are 36mm bars, towards the edge I have switched to 38mm as there is some drift. I am aware that honey comb can be built out much bigger and spacers can be added to help the bees do this. However, I have also seen the bees empty out comb previously used for honey and start it for brood. So the question is:
How many full comb bars should there be left at 36-38mm for brood before I add spacers in to let them build out bars for honey only?
I was thinking either go with 15 OR add bars only to the outside of the brood nest and when a bar is moved out two positions from there it can be spaced out.


A newbee here and would like to hear a response to this as well. I started my TBHs with 10 bars between the follower boards. How many top bars would be used before they just start making comb on one to store honey?
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 8:32 pm    Post subject: Re: How many bars before I space out the honey comb Reply with quote

Dcats wrote:
. How many top bars would be used before they just start making comb on one to store honey?


I think only your bees can answer that, theres no rules set in stone,
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ August;

My bees are not so eager to build new comb if I space between two honey combs but do build fast if I space between the last brood comb and first honey/pollen comb.

Its not a rule but i count at least 8 brood combs includinng 1 pollen/honey comb at front and one at the back of brood nest = 10 combs.

Everything after 10 combs I count as honey area.

@Dcats;
Late Spring and Summer is the time for colony expansion. To do that bees need to feel their body/hive volume. I always open most of the hive leaving only some space at the end for the follower board.
That said, i dont manipulate my bees any more. I dont practice spacing anymore since bees know best when new comb is needed. Comb building needs lots of energy in form of nectar/honey.

If you decide to only have 10 comb hive they will use each comb for brood and will store honey above the brood which is perfectly natural but you will not b able to harvest honey. Bees need no more than 10 combs to survive the winter (maybe Italian bees need 12 combs)
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Dcats
House Bee


Joined: 06 Oct 2013
Posts: 17
Location: USA, Western North Carolina

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Che Guebuddha wrote:
@ August;

My bees are not so eager to build new comb if I space between two honey combs but do build fast if I space between the last brood comb and first honey/pollen comb.

Its not a rule but i count at least 8 brood combs includinng 1 pollen/honey comb at front and one at the back of brood nest = 10 combs.

Everything after 10 combs I count as honey area.

@Dcats;
Late Spring and Summer is the time for colony expansion. To do that bees need to feel their body/hive volume. I always open most of the hive leaving only some space at the end for the follower board.
That said, i dont manipulate my bees any more. I dont practice spacing anymore since bees know best when new comb is needed. Comb building needs lots of energy in form of nectar/honey.

If you decide to only have 10 comb hive they will use each comb for brood and will store honey above the brood which is perfectly natural but you will not b able to harvest honey. Bees need no more than 10 combs to survive the winter (maybe Italian bees need 12 combs)


Thanks for the responses: @Che Guebuddha; Are you saying that I should open up more space in my hives now? These were packaged bees and have only been in the hive a bit over 3 weeks. Keeping my feeder at one end of the hive, I could have 18 bars available for them to build on. I guess you should know that I went with center entrances and two follower boards.
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dont have experience with packages. Tha said I personally would not give a swarm more than 10 top bars space (approx 40 litres) because they dont have any combs to start with.
Once I see at least 7-8 combs I open up the space behind them. I do this to avoid often hive opening for spacing combs. This is where window comes in handy to check if the bees are crosscombing.

I would keep one follower board close to the entrance at all times and expand the other end. I use end entrances only.
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Dcats
House Bee


Joined: 06 Oct 2013
Posts: 17
Location: USA, Western North Carolina

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again, I think I get the picture. Going to do my first inspection tomorrow, will expand if they have comb on most of the bars.
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Merinos
Foraging Bee


Joined: 12 Sep 2011
Posts: 163
Location: Brussels, Belgium

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would let the bees choose.

They are the only ones that know how many bars they need.

My big TBH has now 20 brood bars and only 4 with reserves... I hope them to start to make a huge quantity of honey. As they are now with more that 2 very populated hives, they could produce like mad girls.

Once they are starting to build, let's them have the complete volume. (Just keep one empty bar and the spacer at the end(s). It will help for the visits)
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