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5 Frame Nuc supers vs 10 frame.  

New Member Customer

hey I ordered carnolian bees this year. Previously takn classes etc. I was given some 10 deep supers and frames from a friend that need to be cleaned. I was thinking of just sticking with a 5 frame Nuc Box instead dealing with 10frame supers. I realize more checking on em and adding boxes. But the idea of lighter is a nice thought at least. I live 20min north of Beemaniacs store, Would they be good during the winter around here? Or do you suggest keeping em in something bigger

Posted : 03/02/2019 7:53 pm
BM Staff
Member Admin


With Langstroth equipment, we have only tested 10-frame and 8-frame hives for overwintering in the Inland NW.

A couple of beekeepers in the area were going to try going with all 5-frame equipment, but we have not heard feedback on how that worked out over winter.

As the number of frames is reduced, the colonies tend to stack higher. From 10 to 5 frames, you could say the height of the colony would double.

The issue we could see over winter with this setup is that at some point during winter, the bees will be at the top of the hive and eat honey in that area (the top of the hive is the warmest section). If they run out of food on the top box, they may not be able to go back down to get more honey, even if they had stores left there. Since in a 5-frame set up you can only store half of the food in a box, they may run out during cold weather. At least it's going to be more likely than with 8 and 10-frame equipment.

If you had insulation, the bees may be able to break cluster more often and rearrange food where they need it.

The closest we have been to test this configuration was by using the Warre hive (it's a vertical top-bar hive where each box is small, about the volume of a nuc).  We can say from experience that under the same weather and food stores conditions, the bees are less likely to survive winter in a Warre hive than in standard 8-frame Langstroth equipment (even if using Medium boxes instead of Deep boxes).

If you do get to test a 5-frame hive setup, please do share back your results.


Posted : 05/02/2019 11:49 am