How Many Cells on a Deep Frame?

How Many Cells on a Deep Frame? [Super Easy to Find Out]

Do you like the conventional deep hives for your beekeeping hobby? Winter’s coming and now is the time to store up some honey. 

So you might be thinking of choosing a deep frame.

But do you know how many cells on a deep frame?

Plastic deep frames can contain more cells than wooden ones. It’s because wooden ones have more spacings. There are about 8000 cells in a plastic deep frame. A deep wooden frame with a foundation of 5.4mm has almost 7000 cells. And the one with 4.9mm has almost 8500 cells. 

Still not convinced? Hang on! Here I’ll explain everything to you.

Just keep on moving forward to get a proper idea about the whole thing. Let’s get started now-

Deep Frame Boxes: Quick Guide

You see, the frames determine the number of cells in a hive. These frames are designed to fit within the appropriate size boxes. The depth of the box matters too. 

To put it another way, a deep box wouldn’t work with a medium frame.

The normal and most frequent size for a deep hive body is 19 ⅞ inches long. It should be 16 2/4 inches broad, and 9 6/8 inches tall. 

Honey, pollen, and beeswax all contribute to the weight of a deep hive. In a deep frame box with 8 frames, the honey weighs 64 pounds. And 10 frames weigh more than 80 pounds in the winter! 

This is why some beekeepers opt to build their hives in medium-sized supers. But if you want to collect a lot of honey, go for deep frames.  

You can also measure the individual weight of the frame filled with honey! Measuring the weight in that way will make it easier for you.

Cells on a Deep Frame

Now you want a rough estimation of how many bees are in each box. For that, you’d need to keep a cell count. 

We have prepared a rough estimation of different types of deep frames.

Plastic Frame 

You might find that a one-piece plastic frame has more cells. A wooden frame with a plastic base has fewer cells than the whole plastic frame.

The upper, bottom, and ending bars on the plastic frame are narrower. So more cells could be accommodated on those plastic frames. 

A 4.9mm plastic foundation has almost 8,000 cells per frame. Plastic on wooden frames has more cells than wood on wood. 

Now if you’re looking for plastic frames for your hive then I got some of the best recommendations. Here’s a list-

Wooden Frame

A deep frame with a foundation of 5.4mm has almost 7000 cells. And the one with 4.9mm has almost 8500 cells. 

But despite having a lot of space, sometimes the bees don’t cover the outer part of the frame. 

Oh! I’ve also made a list of wooden deep frames for you. These are pine wood frames with very durable construction. And super convenient to install with pre-cut finger joints as well. Get yours now-

These were just an estimated amount. So your frames might hold more or less these numbers of cells.

Alternative Method: Counting the Cells

If you’re not satisfied with the estimated numbers then you can always count. Manually counting all the cells is a lot of work. So you can do one thing!

Do a cell count of 1 inch in both horizontal and vertical to ensure accuracy. You may then multiply these quantities to find the number of cells in each square inch. 

Just double that figure by the deep frame’s area. That is, multiply the result by the frame’s area. 

Then you’ll know how many cells are there in each frame. This method is applicable for any frame of any height or width.

Now you want to get an idea of how many broods in the deep frame

To do that subtract an inch or two from the total area calculated. Do this on both sides and the top to accommodate for nectar and pollen.

This can be a little tricky if you’re doing it for the first time. This happens as you’ll have to guess how much area you need to reduce. Over time you’ll get better at it.

Do Larger Frames Mean Bigger Cells?

Not necessarily! You might think that vacant spaces will mean bigger cells. 

But that’s not what happens in most cases. One useful fact about bee behavior is, they’ll create comb in any vacant place you provide them. 

You need to ensure that bees only build in the areas you specify. That’s why frames are specifically constructed with this in mind.

Langstroth colonies are available in two configurations: 10 frame and 8 frame. Sometimes people put in fewer frames than the box is designed to accommodate. If you do it the honeybees will construct a wayward comb in the vacant spaces.

Adding a super to your hive without putting in the appropriate number of frames could be disastrous. You will wind up with a complete box of crossover comb clinging to the roof of your hive.  

Fixing this might be a real pain, and there’s no incentive to do it! As a result, always double-check that your hives have the correct amount of frames.

The spaces between the frames could be a bit narrow. I should point out that beekeepers may choose to utilize one fewer frame in their boxes. That’s nine frames rather than ten, or seven frames in an eight-frame box. 

You should do this when you feel that the box is a bit clustered. This will provide greater space for the bees to operate in the hives during checkups. It is perfectly fine as long as your frames are evenly spaced.

But don’t do the mistake of counting the hive’s top cover. Although using a well-ventilated top cover is very essential for constant air-flow in the frames of the hive. 

You’ll find different top covers for your 10-frame or 8-frame hives. Some of them are mentioned below-

Now let’s see why there are different sizes of cells in a frame. 

Factors That Affect Cell Size

First, there is no one size of cells nor one size of worker brood cells in a hive. But you might sometimes notice that some cells in your frame are larger than others. 

Cell size variations are one of the few things that a bee hobbyist like you should know. 

We have gathered a few factors that affect the size of honey bee cells in the frame. Let’s give it a look!  

Factor 1: Type of Bees

Comb cells come in two varieties. You’ll notice the tinier ones. These are called worker bee cells. And then there are the drone bees and their cells to consider.

Drone cells are typically seen in clusters around the top or bottom edge of the frame. And there may be hundreds of them in a single frame. Compared to worker cells, drone bee cells are substantially larger.

However, I use cell protectors in the frames. These Cell Protectors go over the queen cells to protect them from being destroyed. You just need to place a queen cell inside of this and then push it into the drawn comb of a brood frame. The worker bees are more likely to accept the new queen cell.

These protectors I’ve used so far-

If you don’t know how to use the cell protectors or cups watch the following video-

Factor 2: Size of the Bees

The cells of big bees are quite huge. Because of this, they are unable to produce normal-sized cells. Normal bees are 25mm in length.

There seem to be a lot of bees that have been genetically enlarged. If you choose to make use of them, the cell sizes will be greater. We’ve discovered that the majority of them will produce 5.1 mm worker brood cells.

First-generation bees will build a standard hive with cells measuring 5.1 mm. This varies considerably but is often the middle of the hive.

Bees of the following generation will construct worker brood comb. The brood cell’s thickness in the first generation will be between 4.9mm and 5.1mm. 

You might feel that these “regressed” bees should be allowed to their own devices. But you’ll find a spacing in the middle of the brood nest to be 1 ¼ inch. And the bees will be 31-32mm in size. 

Factor 3: Spacing of the Frame Bars

There is empty spacing between each bar of the frame. It could also be the reason why the cells are larger. If there is more space then the cells will be significantly more in number. 

The plastic frames have narrower space than the wooden ones. 

Now we’ll try to figure out how many bees there are in each frame. If you have too many bees in the frames then the bees might die outside.

Nevertheless, you should use the good quality cell foundation in your frames. Something that easily slips into a groove top frame and and holds upto years. And i think these following sheets meet all of the mentioned qualities. 

Total Bees in Each Frame 

Some beekeepers use the usual statistic of 25 honeybees per square inch. Use this stat in your frames too. In that way, you’ll figure out how many bees there are in the emerging frames.

Just observe the frames over several weeks. In the meantime, keep a watch on the number of bees that will hatch from a certain frame. With time, you will be able to accurately estimate the numbers.

There are enough cells in a conventional deep Langstroth frame to produce 3500 or more bees. The number depends on the size of the frame. This is only for each of the frame’s sides.

3,600 bees on either side of the frame is a good bet most of the time. That’s about 7000 mature bees every frame. 

But sometimes you’ll observe that there are more bees swarming inside the frame. You can assess the numbers solely based on the level of “bee traffic”.


Do I need to arrange ventilation in beehives?

Yes, sometimes you need to arrange ventilation in the hive. Insufficient airflow is a common complaint with screened-in bottom boards. You can use popsicle sticks or other craft sticks to help keep the bees ventilated.

How many supers can a beehive have?

A single hive can have at least two or three supers in it. Add additional super on top after your first when it’s about 3/4 full with honey. Keep going through this method till you’re prepared to drop a super.

What is the minimum number of bees required to establish a beehive?

To start a hive, you’ll need at least 6 to 10 thousand worker bees. And one queen bee. In the peak of summer, a healthy hive might have up to 100,000 bees.


Now you have an idea about how many cells on a deep frame. You don’t need to make a habit of counting them. Just a rough estimation is enough. 

For better honey quality and use a double deep frame configuration. 

Good luck with the bees! 

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