How to properly arrange the frames in the hive: size and location, how to do it yourself

How to properly arrange the frames in the hive: size and location, how to do it yourself

Bee colonies are housed in special houses designed for the convenience of insects and use by the beekeeper. Comfort depends on the design features inside and out. The internal structure of the bee dwelling is distinguished by the location of the frames, which are distinguished into separate types. What are the frames and how to place them correctly in the hive in order to get more honey, let's take a closer look.

What is a honeycomb frame

The upper and lower bars, knocked down with side thin strips, with a wire or string stretched inside, are called a frame. A layer of wax is attached to the wire - foundation. The frames are attached to the "shoulders" on the upper bars for the folds - "shelves" located on the walls of the hive.

Bees build honeycombs on the wire, which they use to store honey or breed offspring. When it's time to harvest, the beekeeper lifts the lid of the hive and easily pulls out the filled frame.

In the season of active pollen collection, an extension with a magazine frame is attached to the main building. It differs from the usual smaller size. Several frames are installed in the annex and the main building. They are replaced with empty ones as the cells fill up.

Frames are installed inside the hive to limit and control honey production.

Varieties of bee frames

Wild bees build hives in hollows and branches of trees, under the roofs of buildings and houses. The houses in the apiary are designed with maximum convenience for harvesting, but also the comb bars should not interfere with the living of insects. Frame structures are divided into types depending on the purpose.


Slats are located along the edges of the hive. The view is intended for feeding insects and warming the hive body. Bees can build honeycombs on them and deposit honey. Covering structures also serve to separate nests, dividing the hive into zones.


  • separate the "residential" part from the walls of the case;
  • Keep warm in winter if you put insulation.


  • bees can get into the space between the bar and the body.
Cover structures are suitable for all hives and vary in size.


Bees earn their own food for themselves and their offspring. But at the beginning of the pollen season and in winter, insects sometimes need top dressing. Feeding frames are designed for additional feeding of insects. Structures are overframe, ceiling and outdoor.


  • installed inside and outside the hive;
  • support the life of the bee colony.


  • not intended to collect honey.

Universal structures with two walls and free space between them are used as a feeder.

Incubators nurseries

Designs are designed to breed worker bees and drones. More bars for offspring and two for honeycombs are installed in the compartment with the queen bee. Incubators maintain the humidity and heat needed to increase the number of bee colonies.


  • required for breeding bees;
  • help natural addition of bee colonies.


  • require additional hive space.

Incubators are given more space in the main body if a magazine is attached outside.


Frame structures, which are covered with plywood instead of wire, insulate the hives before the onset of winter. The slats fit snugly against the walls so that insects do not penetrate the gap. In the northern regions, the space between the body of the house and the solid structure is laid with insulating materials.


  • help bees to winter;
  • safe for insects.


  • suitable only for the cold season.

Solid structures cannot be used additionally, for example for feed.


Slats are designed for breeding drones. There is an opinion among beekeepers that it is not necessary to install them. After all, building structures take labor from the bee colony.


  • maintain the natural composition of individuals;
  • can be used to form honeycombs.


  • when the strings are not tensioned enough, the bees do not use them.

Without building structures, insects breed drones in regular honeycombs.


Special design for fresh comb sale. The frame space is divided into sections. As a result, honeycombs are obtained in the correct form and are easily divided into identical pieces.


  • show the natural origin of honey;
  • easy to use.


  • small size.

The sectional planks are called mini-frames because they are 11.5 centimeters long and 7 centimeters wide.

Drawings and dimensions

Ready-made frames are more convenient because they will fit exactly the standard size of the hive, and the wire or string will be tightly stretched. With home-made, there is a risk that the structure will not be strong enough and the bees will not be able to build honeycombs. But with your own hands you can make a lot of frames for non-standard hives from improvised materials.

In a personal household, you can save on home-made frames. Therefore, before installing the structure, you need to choose the size and drawing for the type of hive: B centimeters

Dadan-Blatt3043.5 1.5 Shop14.5 43.51.5Langonstrop-Ruta23 43.51 Ukrainian Standard30 43.51Ukrainian narrow high43.5 30

Standard hive holds 12 frames. The minimum number of frames is 8 and the maximum is 24.

Choose the right material

Houses for bees are built close to natural conditions, so natural materials are more often used.

Slats and bars

Factory frames are made of plastic and are easier to care for. But wood is best for making your own planks. To make a honeycomb frame, soft species of deciduous trees are taken: poplars, willows, lindens. Birch and pine are quickly chipped by cutting wire.

Benefits of wood:

  • costs less than plastic;
  • easy to process;
  • to be repaired quickly;
  • safe for the environment and insects.

Plastic unlike wood is resistant to moisture and heat, rodents and bugs. But, according to the observations of beekeepers, bees are reluctant to build honeycombs on plastic frames, and the taste of honey is not for the better. Plastic construction is difficult to make and impossible to repair.

Wire and sleeves

For making frames at home, it is better to use stainless steel wire and brass bushings. Stainless steel is resistant to moisture and insect waste products. Regular steel wire is easier to cut, but can spoil the product with a metallic taste. Stainless steel frames will last longer.

Unsuitable material for making strings - wire made of soft metals (aluminum, copper). Over time, they stretch and sag.

For homemade frames, it is better to purchase a special wire for beekeeping. It is made from low carbon steel. The string diameter is 0.3-0.5 mm. Also, an alternative to beekeeping and stainless wire will be a galvanized steel string. It is strong and flexible and does not tangle.

An expensive but reliable option is tungsten or nichrome wire, which is used in electrical appliances.

Material for fastening honeycombs

Wooden bars are connected with self-tapping screws or knocked down with stainless steel nails. Also, standard shoe nails are suitable for assembling the honeycomb frame. In order for the parts of the frames to hold well, they are additionally lubricated with PVA glue marked D-3 or D-4, which is safe for insects.

Production process

The production of honeycomb frames takes place in four stages: the preparation of slats, assembly, tension and winding of the wire, disinfection. Plank boards are pre-dried.

Do-it-yourself slat preparation:

  • the board is removed with a planer to a thickness of 30-40 centimeters and cut into segments from 14 to 43 centimeters long, depending on the type of hive;
  • in the bars intended for the top of the frame, “shoulders” are cut out with a depth of 10 millimeters, stepping back from each edge 1-1.5 centimeters;
  • grooves are cut in the lower bars for connection with the planks, stepping back from the end 1 centimeter.

Before cutting the bars, the centimeters necessary for cutting out the “shoulders” and grooves are laid in their length.

How hive frames are assembled:

  • alternately connect the top bar with the side bars, and then the bottom one;
  • bars and planks are knocked down with nails or screws are screwed in.

At the next stage, the strings are pulled. To prevent heavy honeycombs from distorting the frame, the wire is pulled vertically between thick bars.

DIY string tension method:

  • make holes in the upper and lower bars;
  • treat with antiseptic;
  • insert bushings;
  • at any extreme hole, drive half a nail, wind the wire and hammer to the end;
  • pass the string one by one through the holes in the bars;
  • at the last hole, drive in the nail again, wind the end of the wire and hammer it in completely.

Before you finally hammer in the second tension nail, the wire is properly pulled with pliers. A well-stretched string springs back and sounds like a guitar string. Staples can be used instead of nails.

The last step is to attach the wax wall or waxing. The wooden parts of the frame are disinfected with a 10% alcohol solution of propolis. The wire is heated, immersed in a layer of wax. The procedure is convenient and quick to carry out with the help of an electric filler.

How to arrange frames in the hive

The number and arrangement of honeycomb frames depends on the size of the bee colony and the type of hive. It is also important to arrange them so that the bees build even combs. Curved cells are not suitable for storing honey.

Features of frame placement:

  • in a square case, the frames are placed up and down relative to the notch;
  • if it is customary to tilt the hive for inspection, the comb structures are placed longitudinally so as not to damage the insects;
  • wax plate attached to the wire will help keep the frame straight and the bees will build more combs on both sides;
  • wire tension must be tight, otherwise the honeycomb will be poorly fixed and fall apart;
  • in a standard hive, incubation frames alternate with honeycomb frames so that they do not break under the weight of insects;
  • in multi-hull hives with a good bribe, you can put several incubation frames in a row;
  • if a magazine case with frames for honeycombs is attached to the hive, structures for breeding are placed inside.

In addition to the location of the frames, the position of the hive is important for the construction of honeycombs. The body should be placed slightly inclined towards the notch.

It is also important to make frames in incubators well so that the bees build strong combs for breeding workers. Unstable cells can be used to raise drones or ignored altogether. Therefore, the productivity of the bee family and the amount of honey depend on the quality of the frame.

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