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Frame Space

 
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Bees Knees
House Bee


Joined: 25 Oct 2015
Posts: 13
Location: Chesterfield, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:51 pm    Post subject: Frame Space Reply with quote

Hi everyone I have a question, so about a week ago I picked up a 5 frame nuc from a local place and a day later installed it into my 14 x 12 hive body, My nuc was the standard size and I was going to put extentions on but they were flimsy and totally unfit for anything but the bin so I said to myself, Well Ill put the nuc frames in and slowly move them to the outside of the box removeing one at a time until I have all 14 x 12. Well that was my plan but I went in today to see how they were drawing the frames out and one next to the nuc frames was stuck to the nuc frame I installed. This got me thinking that there was something wrong so I stood there and looked at the frames and the space inbertween the nuc ones and foundation was different. The bees know that so have stuck them together. Im totally new to this guys! How do I go about this in the best way to get the spaceing right and get my frames drawn out the best possible way while I move them over and out?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Could you take some photos and post a link to a host site so that we could see what the problem is as I'm having difficulty understanding your set up and the difference in bars..... Is your hive a Tanzanian style top bar hive or a long framed hive like a Dartington or Bee Haus or just a standard deep brood. Not sure I understand what you mean by "put extensions on"
It could be that the double comb tying the frames together is as a result of a strong nectar flow, when the bees will draw extra thick comb to store honey quickly with minimum effort.
You can buy plastic spacers to fit over the frame lugs to space frames for either brood or honey. I've mostly used Hoffman self spacing frames, but I'm wondering if you have Hoffmans in the nuc and standard frames for the rest.... a photo would really help....

Regards

Barbara
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Bees Knees
House Bee


Joined: 25 Oct 2015
Posts: 13
Location: Chesterfield, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi yes I will take some pics and post tomorrow. My hive is a british standard but with a brood box of 12 x 14 not the standard size brood box it is bigger, also by bees seem to think the spaceing is not right between the frames where my nuc frames and 14 x 12 frames meet, they are bridging the gap not filling in the frame that needs to be filled and as a result I had a small hole in the new foundation when I tryed to part them. I have spent a huge chunk of cash on premieir wired foundation on both my brood box and 3 supers and I dont want to have to strip my foundation as I have payed extra for it. why do I have to post on another site can I not post pics on here?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure if you have done much reading on this site before you started posting but it is geared more towards "Naturel Beekeeping" than conventional methods. Whilst we are happy to try to help anyone with their beekeeping problems, part of the philosophy here is that spending huge sums of money on hives, frames, foundation and bees is not necessary and is probably not sustainable. There is another way.....

I build my hives from scrap timber, don't use foundation and don't have frames in some of my hives and I don't buy bees.... in fact I give bees away each year to new beekeepers. I am not the only one either.... this community has many members like me. This means that any honey we get doesn't cost a fortune to produce and in many cases our bees are happier and healthier.

I do have framed hives that I bought years ago when I started out, with my original colonies still in them but I am totally sold on this alternative system of Top Bar hives especially as I get older and find lifting heavy boxes of honey less attractive! Whilst I appreciate that you are now financially committed to this conventional framed hive, you will have to excuse us if our interest is not focussed so much in that direction.

I may be site admin, but I think that is more to do with my beekeeping knowledge and diplomacy skills than administrative ability. I'm a real technophobe, so I can't answer your question re photos. I have read that they need to be hosted elsewhere and then linked but some people seem to be able to post their photos direct onto the forum so hopefully one of them will be along to explain how. I think the reasoning may be to keep the data stored on the forum to a minimum, as it costs money....similarly quoting the whole post you are responding to is unnecessary and discouraged. You will see that I have deleted the quote you used of my whole post from your response.... it was just not necessary and clogs up the forum.

Having read your other posts, it is great that you are so enthusiastic about your new Buckfast bees and that you and your family are feeling so at ease with them in your garden. I am so pleased that you have them in a prominent place near the house as I think it is really important to spend time watching them and getting to know them and that is something many people who have out apiaries miss out on. I currently have 10 colonies within 20 feet of my back door and all live very peaceably with me, my visitors, cats and chickens and I love being able to look out of my kitchen window and watch them flying whatever the time of year.
For information, mine are all dark local mongrels which I collect as swarms for free. I transferred a 6 week old cast swarm colony (probably about the size of your nuc into a full size hive the other day, with no smoke, gloves or aggravation despite having to trim some of their brood combs with a knife to fit the new hive and cutting through their brood in the process.
The problem with your Buckfast bees is that if/when they swarm and the new queen mates, they are less likely to be so pleasant natured and the other option of replacing the queen every couple of years is just not financially sustainable and I would also be concerned that the queen that I was buying might be artificially inseminated because otherwise it is quite difficult to ensure purity of breeding with bees.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing your photos later and trying to figure out what the solution might be to your problem.

Regards

Barbara


Last edited by Barbara on Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 304
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you mix self-spacing frames with any other frames you will likely get incorrect spacing between them.

You can do it no problems as I have done but need to space em out so you have about 35mm between the centre lines of the foundation.

You may also get more propolis at the top between the frame top rails.
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Bees Knees
House Bee


Joined: 25 Oct 2015
Posts: 13
Location: Chesterfield, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a pic of my problem but cant post on this site. The top bar on my nuc frames are thiner than my frames I got with my hive. I put a bigger space inbertween the nuc frames and new hive frames yesterday and the bees have totally patched up the hole that was made as a result of them sticking them together. I think I may have sorted it out as long as I keep enough space for them to work on both combs back to back. They are takeing a huge amount of 1 to 1 sugar water Ive been feeding on tap and they take 2ltr per day, is that something I should keep doing or cut back? Today I gave them somehive alive that they say is natural they claim you can have over 80% growth in your hive but I find that a huge claim but as its natural why not see? I have just started beekeeping and I cant build my own hives yet sorry boys
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Bees Knees
House Bee


Joined: 25 Oct 2015
Posts: 13
Location: Chesterfield, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="AndyC"]If you mix self-spacing frames with any other frames you will likely get incorrect spacing between them.

You can do it no problems as I have done but need to space em out so you have about 35mm between the centre lines of the foundation.

You may also get more propolis at the top between the frame top rails.


Will the space between the frames be right if I mesure 35mm from centere to centere even if they are a different size?
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Bees Knees
House Bee


Joined: 25 Oct 2015
Posts: 13
Location: Chesterfield, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply to Barbara Site Admin Reply with quote

Im totally new to beekeeping and altough I would like to build my own hive I just dont have the tools or know how yet but if you would be willing you could show me how. I could get free wood and I need a new hive next year so I have plenty of time to build one or two. Where do you live? Maybe I could come around if we dont live too far apart? The guy I got my bees from has over 100 hives so his stock is pretty consistant as I understand it. he is also an inspector but I dont want to call him every day when I have a problem as he is very busy
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 304
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Bees Knees"]
AndyC wrote:
If you mix self-spacing frames with any other frames you will likely get incorrect spacing between them.

You can do it no problems as I have done but need to space em out so you have about 35mm between the centre lines of the foundation.

You may also get more propolis at the top between the frame top rails.


Will the space between the frames be right if I mesure 35mm from centere to centere even if they are a different size?


As long as you maintain about 35mm centres you should be fine no matter what frames/bars you use.

I just find it easier having self-spacing frames/bars as you can just push them up together from either side and walk away.

Sometimes the little tykes will make up their own rules but generally that should do the trick.
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Bees Knees
House Bee


Joined: 25 Oct 2015
Posts: 13
Location: Chesterfield, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes Mine are self spaceing but the nuc ones have plastic space so I dont think they meet right. Thanx Ill mesure the distance and keep them apart with a makeshift spacer for now until they are all out
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 304
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have to be careful with mixing plastic spacer and self-spacing frames as the spacers don't always line up.

We intentionally have some mixed frames at our teaching apiary to show how the bees space changes and to line them up by eye if needed.

It's good practice to scan them to check before closing up as errors can be a nuisance to correct after only a week.

PS
Having a hive tool with a 35mm end or marks on it is not a bad idea if you have trouble guauging it by eye.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could also just get some plastic spacers and slip them over the lugs of your frames so that they are all spaced by plastic spacers.... make sure to get the small ones for brood and not the wider honey ones. The different top bar widths will not make a difference to the comb/frame spacing, as Andy has said. It is the distance from the centre of the bars (combs) that is relevant, although you may find they build a little brace comb between the bars at the top, if there is a big gap.

If you look to the left hand side of each person's post, you will see their username and location below it. As you will see, I am in County Durham in the north east of England, so we are not exactly neighbours! Unfortunately most BBKA groups channel people into conventional framed hives which are just not cost effective for hobby beekeepers and not always bee friendly either. If you do a little reading, particularly here on this forum and I would recommend buying Phil Chandler's book, The Barefoot Beekeeper, you will perhaps start to realise there is another way.
There are "natural" or balanced beekeeping courses and self help groups around the country and some occasionally do "Build a Hive" workshops but for standardisation and ease of construction, they tend to use new timber rather than reclaimed.

As regards feeding, I never feed more than a 5 or 6 1lb size jam jars full of syrup and then only to small late cast swarms that are struggling if the weather is poor. The vast majority get nothing at all and do just fine. Conventional beekeepers want their colonies to build up quickly and become large so that they will produce a surplus of honey in their first year. Personally I think it is far healthier for them to build up at their own rate from foraging for nectar from flowers and learn to live in harmony with their environment and seasons. Once you start feeding them in large quantities they become so big, they are dependent upon either feeding or strong nectar flows and cannot cope without one or the other and in periods of bad weather if the beekeeper isn't vigilant, they can starve, because the bigger they are, the more they consume. Colonies that are smaller and learn to live in harmony with their local forage and conditions, don't produce so much surplus honey, but they also are self sufficient and will survive winter on much less stores.

I would advise you to steadily cut back on feeding them syrup. The hedgerows are blooming and there is plenty of natural forage for them. Otherwise you are surely going to end up with a hive full of syrup instead of honey.

Just out of curiosity, how many litres(or gallons) have you given them so far?

I'm not being critical of you here as I am aware that this is the advice you have been given, I just want to assure you that it doesn't have to be that way and most of us here on this forum find that our bees do very well without this sort of intensive farming practice.

Regards

Barbara
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Bees Knees
House Bee


Joined: 25 Oct 2015
Posts: 13
Location: Chesterfield, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They have had 6ltr of 1.1 so far. Im just a bit worrid about building them up for winter as I got the nuc late as a result of the bad weather. They have a lot of work to do to get the frames drawn out and store enough honey but Im not sure how long drawing the frames will take
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 304
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There seem to be two schools of thought here.

One is feed the weak and try and get them through the winter and the other is merge them to support the strong.

If this is your only colony then you are kind of between a rock and a hard place and have to try and build them up quickly even if it means them storing syrup.

And you can always feed them more during the winter.

I am in the same position but have five colonies so have to make the decision to merge the two weaker colonies with stronger ones to improve their chances of over- wintering.

It means killing a queen or two and I hate the idea of doing that.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I no longer worry so much about small colonies going into winter. I don't combine unless I have a queenless one and I've had colonies make it through with no more than two combs total. If they have 5 or 6, no problem. This has not just happened once, but several times. Bigger colonies need significantly more stores in my opinion. That said, I have mostly dark bees which are pretty hardy and frugal.
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jnickison1
Guard Bee


Joined: 20 Mar 2016
Posts: 69
Location: USA, Michigan, Mecosta.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:47 pm    Post subject: new beekeep (BK) Reply with quote

Hi Bees Knees (BK) to save space...
I'm a new bee also, started in Mar/April this year, I think-tempus fugit when building relationship with the little smarties. I'm not as confident as Barbara with hive building and even have difficult time building machano (sp?) but I did get Phil C's books early, they include building a Top Bar hive and I found it relatively easy. Built two in a couple of weeks out of used wood. Must admit they are not very bee tight in places but I am learning to relax with that, and the bees don't really care.
My advice is go for it, and have fun!
John
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only thing I would say about not being bee tight is to ensure that the cavity itself is, because at this time of year, wasps will find a tiny crack at the back of the hive that is not being guarded and start raiding the hive. Follower boards being bee tight is much less of a problem as long as the whole of the top of the hive is completely covered with snugly fitted top bars and spacers/shims as necessary.
Gaps in the body of the hive can be covered with "Duck Tape" or similar if necessary.
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 304
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barbara wrote:
I no longer worry so much about small colonies going into winter. I don't combine unless I have a queenless one and I've had colonies make it through with no more than two combs total. If they have 5 or 6, no problem. This has not just happened once, but several times. Bigger colonies need significantly more stores in my opinion. That said, I have mostly dark bees which are pretty hardy and frugal.


And I think microclimates are a very real factor in colony survival although I have no research to back that statement up.

By observation some parts of my garden are much warmer and less windy than others and that seems the obvious places hives should be.
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