Monday, February 13, 2012

nine frame gauge

The 'nine frame gauge' is very useful to get the frames in the honey super spaced exactly.
"When the frames are left at the standard spacing using ten frames it will be seen that the bees do not build out the comb beyond the top bar and then they cap the comb with wax. This makes it extremely difficult to uncap prior to extracting the honey in a centrifuge (spinner). If the boxes of honey are sent to a commercial extraction plant they invariably look at the job with dismay as the uncapping is almost impossible to do with automated uncapping machines. Even with a hand held uncapping knife it is difficult to uncap the honey comb."
With only nine frames, the bees will build the comb beyond the top and bottom bars so that uncapping becomes very easy (and quick) because the uncapping knife can simply run along the top bar and under the wax capping. This leaves a smooth and regular, flat comb from which the honey is easily extracted by spinning.
The gadget shown below can be made from a plastic oval pipe or from a damaged roadside marker. Of cause, other suitable materials can be used so that you do not have to get permission to uplift the damaged marker. The thickness of the plastic should be no more than 3 millimetres so that the tines fit snugly between the edge of the box and the end bars of the frames.
We hope that you can follow the hand drawn sketch above. Please contact me if further information is needed on how to make it.
It must be said that I always start my honey supers off with foundation waxed frames with ten frames in the super. This gives the necessary ‘bee space’ for the bees to work with and begin the process of drawing out the wax comb. After about two weeks I remove the frame nearest the edge of the box and then use the gadget to space frames at nine per super. By this time the bees will be filling the new comb with honey. They will continue to draw out the comb beyond the bars and then fill the combs with honey.
Some beekeepers take this a step further and remove another frame so that the bees have only eight frames in the honey super but I find this move unnecessary. See the demos at the next club meeting.
Good luck with the project!!
Derek & Jan

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