There is a lot of bewilderment over which frames to use but there shouldn’t be. Once you understand what the different types are designed to do, the confusion is gone.
In this part of the world we tend to use either National or Commercial hives. Either way, the same principles apply – the only difference being the length of the lugs – that’s the bit you get hold of.
Basically there are two types of frame: Manley or Hoffman. Both are defined by their side bars.
You will sometimes see straight, narrow side bars which are neither Hoffman nor Manley – avoid them because you will need to consider how to space them and it’s not worth it in my opinion. Trust me – I’ve been there.
If you have old brood frames it is always a good idea to fumigate them before using them again to kill Nosema spores and wax moth. However, be sure they don’t come from a hive where the bees died of AFB. If you aren’t sure, or if frames contain patches of old sealed brood it’s probably best to burn them.
I was reading an article about wintering bees and the author said any fool could winter bees, whatever the winter and however poor the beekeeper. And he has a point. The reason being that in order to successfully winter bees you just have to leave them alone. Leave them alone – they know more about it than you do. Well he might be right but if you keep an eye on your bees there are things to be done to prevent the losses we saw in the winter of 2012/13. Continue reading Things to do in February→
This is how to assemble a frame properly but don’t do this too early or your wax will go off:
Remove the wedge cleanly or it won’t sit properly when you put the wax in. It doesn’t matter too much with wired wax, but if you’re using unwired wax the wedge won’t grip it properly. If necessary shave the area clean with a nice sharp chisel.Continue reading Frame Assembly – Good→
You know – it is so irritating when you’re stripping down frames and discover that they’ve been put together wrongly. It’s usually one of three mistakes – or all of them, as in this frame.
First of all, don’t use panel pins – they’re too thick, they’ll split the wood and they’ll rust. Instead use proper 10mm lacquered frame nails or gimp pins available from beekeeping suppliers.
Don’t put a nail sideways through both bottom bars. Why? Because when you come to take it apart you won’t be able to remove that pin unless you chisel away at the wood so you can get hold of it with pincers. And unless you do remove that pin – it will obstruct the channel that your new sheet of wax is destined to slide into. Instead nail downwards into the endgrain of the side bar and towards the top bar. The bottom bars don’t support any weight so they won’t come adrift and you can tap them out with a hammer when you need to.
Thirdly, don’t nail straight through the wedge into the top bar – your pin will almost certainly come out the other side and every time you try to clean that top bar your hive tool will come up against the points.