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  • Thick brood frames

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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #11251  by Ewen
 17 Jun 2021, 21:25
Was wandering if you can advise.
I've got my 5 frames nuc couple of weeks ago,and placed them in their new home adding waxed frames on both sides of the brood frames.When I got, them I think the space between the frames was quite loose and they build these rather thick brood frames,if that make sense.
When I inspected them a week later I've noticed they had hardly any space to move on that brood box,and removed a frame,leaving them a bit more space,now I'm thinking maybe it wasn't such a good idea?
Any suggestions please.

 #11253  by Patrick
 17 Jun 2021, 23:00
Hi Ewen

It’s an easy and common problem to arise if frame spacing becomes a bit lax. Ideally all combs should not only be interchangeable with others in the same hive but also with other hives of a similar design.

As you say, you are trying to maintain sufficient space between the drawn out faces of combs to allow bees to freely travel between them. If you end up with a bulge on one comb and maybe a recess on another it’s no issue whilst they remain like that but you are stuffed if you end up putting one bulging frame next to another without the reciprocal recess.

The golden rule here is to always finish inspections with brood frames tightly together. Combs may only be excessively drawn out in the areas used to store honey / nectar in the top corners etc. In that case I would shake all the bees off and use a kitchen carving knife to cut back the excess to reinstate a parallel comb face. It will probably be messy, so do it into a container or the upturned hive lid. The bees will quickly tidy it up.

It may seem a bit drastic but a box of randomly shaped combs is a real headache likely to only get worse with time, will lead to inevitably squashing bees, possibly including the queen. But don’t feel bad, we have all probably done it at one time or another.
 #11255  by JoJo36
 18 Jun 2021, 05:06
I did this myself once allowing them plenty of space thinking they'll have 'plenty of breathing room', however just as you said, I ended up with brace comb stuck out in all sorts of places and squashing bees as the lumps they built didn't all correspond when I placed in full hive from nuc. Better to push them together after manipulations and they are more uniform, however I still get frames that do stick out more than others........
 #11261  by AdamD
 18 Jun 2021, 15:18
Bees will fill up to the space available - unless it is below about 6 - 9 mm (known as the bee space) which they will keep open. Pound to a penny, if you give them room, they will put comb in where you don't want it.
 #11265  by Alfred
 19 Jun 2021, 06:56
May only be the stores halo at the top that are supersized- you could trim these down ( upward with a bread knife s)one seam per inpestion then close up the frame.
 #11266  by NigelP
 19 Jun 2021, 16:57
I find a heated polystyrene cutter ideal for trimming errant frames back. Bit slower than a bread knife but makes a nice neat job. However, given beekeepers reluctance to part with their honey money...use a bread knife :)