Ever asked yourself which size hive equipment to use? This article gives you the pros and cons of each and should help you make an informed decision on choosing 8 or ten frame hives and which you should choose.
I've done quite a bit of research and asking around to some pretty experienced beekeepers on this topic. 90% of them say that you really should go with 8 frame equipment. The reasons for this are varied but all seem to be pretty common sense answers. Let's discuss some of those answers and the reasons behind them.
8-frame hive boxes are lighter than 10-frame hive boxes.
When considering 8 or ten frame hives this statement is true. I can attest to the fact that a 10 frame honey super loaded with honey weighs about the same as a transmission from a 1984 Pinto, or at least it feels like it. When i was 20-something this didn't matter, but now that I am forty-five I am starting to take notice. The muscle relaxers required to operate a bee yard, even a small one can be expensive! Not to mention the pulled muscles, strains, and general pains. My advice is that this little nugget of knowledge holds true, no matter who you talk to.
8-frame hive boxes out-produce 10-frame boxes.
When considering 8 or ten frame hives, nearly all of the beekeepers I have spoken to, even commercial beekeepers, say that 8-frame hive boxes will outproduce 10-frame hive boxes for honey production and also for producing queen cells to make splits. I am sure that there are some who disagree but I've gotten it from a highly respected commercial beekeeper that this is, in fact, the case. The reasons for this are common sense. Bees must evaporate water from honey to cap it. The smaller the hive box the easier it is for the bees to get the comb up to temperature and the faster the water evaporates. This allows them to fill an 8-frame hive box faster than a 10-frame hive box. As soon as its full you harvest it and they begin filling the new 8-frame hive box. Overall this results in faster gains than if you had used 10-frame hive boxes. 8-frame hive boxes also have smaller space, therefore maximum population is reached sooner and therefore you are able to make splits more often as the bees produce queen cells. I agree with this reason as well.
8-frame hive boxes are cheaper than 10-frame hive boxes.
When considering 8 or 10 frame hives, I don't think anyone in their right mind can argue that 8-frame hive boxes are not cheaper than 10-frame hive boxes. On average 8-frame hive boxes cost $1.00 to $3.00 less than their 10-frame counterpart. Even in a small bee yard, the economic benefit of this is huge. If you have only three hives with a brood deep and two honey supers each you would have saved $27.00. This is enough to buy your mite medication for the year! Of course, all of the add-on equipment to fit on your 8-frame hive boxes is cheaper also, in an 8-frame size. This includes hive-top feeders, bottom boards, small hive beetle traps, telescoping covers, etc.
8-frame hive boxes allow bees to act more naturally.
Bees in the wild build their colonies in confined spaces such as the hollows of trees. They also do not prefer to build laterally from left to right. In fact, they prefer to build vertically from the bottom and moving up. A narrower hive body such as an 8-frame more closely follows this natural instinct and therefore places less stress on the bees.
When considering 8 or ten frame hives, take all of this into consideration before deciding which to buy. Personally I prefer 8-frame hives and will continue to use them.