View Full Version : The Dartington Long Deep Hive
06-09-2003, 03:24 PM
Please see this new UK website which gives an overview of "New Beekeeping in a Long Deep Hive" - pioneered by Robin Dartington.
The URL is:
Robin Dartington has kept bees for over 25 years in both rooftop urban settings and more relaxed country apiaries. He has made a lifetimes study of the biology and ecology of the honey bee and from this has developed an innovative approach to practical management which reduces swarming to a minimum.
His motivation was simply to make beekeeping for the home hobbyist safer and more enjoyable -by producing a hive that worked with the bees natural colony development.
As a professional engineer he has designed the Long Deep Hive (LDH) from first principles - starting with the ergonomics and safety of lifting weights. The maximum weight anyone ever has to lift in normal honey-box manipulations is about 16 lbs (8 kilos).
Robin is emphatic that there is nothing 'new' about the Long Deep Hive - he has merely brought together some very ancient principles of hive construction and produced a new synthesis - based on a profound understanding of the normal development of a bee colony over the year.
The site includes details of the numerous books and publications Robin has produced relating to the Lond Deep Hive. There is also an extensive photo-gallery which records my own DIY construction project to build my own first LDH. As someone who has both British National Hives and Langstroth Hives - I can only say that the Dartington Hive has transformed my beekeeping. It is MUCH easier to use; the bees are much LESS disturbed by inspections and it is all just more enjoyable.
I would stress that the Dartington Hive has been designed with the home-hobbyist in mind - it is not a commercial hive. However, there are more than 5 variations on the design including specialist hives for queen rearing; migratory beekeeping; back garden town apiary; country apiary and so on.
This is the 'unofficial' site - Robin will be putting and official site together in the coming months. I just wanted to help out in the interim and to document the DIY building of my own Long Deep Hive - which has transformed my enjoyment of beekeeping.
06-09-2003, 07:26 PM
Not a lot different than what MB and some of the TBH'ers have posted here already.
Might be fun to make a couple.
06-11-2003, 02:08 PM
It looks like a nice hive. It looks a lot like a couple of hives I built. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif I did make a trough hive back in the 1970's before I had ever seen one, but I know now, that I wasn't the first. I built it for an old lady who loved bees and had a bad back.
06-15-2003, 06:51 PM
It's a beautiful hive. With the larger frame sizes, I am just curious about the method of extracting the honey. Are your frames made like the ones used in a Langstroth hive except for the dimensions?
06-16-2003, 01:55 AM
The Dartington Hive uses the 'long deep' variant of the British Standard frame - which measures 14" by 12".
The supers are placed on top of the hive body - but theya re only half the size of a normal super - having just 5 frames for honey in each 'honey box'. Four honey boxes fit on top of the hive body and the roof covers the lot.
Robin Dartington gives a detailed overview of the history of hives and frames in his various books. His conclusion is that when they standardised the British National Hive sometime between the wars they chose a frame size which does not allow the full development of a normal colony. There just arent enough cells to give a modern queen room to lay and raise brood without swarming every year.
The result is that most UK beekeepers use a double brood box system with a total of 20 brood frames. He argues that even the Langstroth Hive requires a brood and a half or a double brood box to give enough room.
The Modified Dadant is the only hive, I think, that guarantees to provide enough cells for a complete brood nest in a single box.
The result is that the beekeeper has to break the brood nest in half
every time he inspects the bees - which is not good for their temper.
So he designed the Long Deep Hive to give a maximum space of something like 100,000 cells spread over 21 British 14" by 12" frames.
This means that you can inspect the entire brood nest on a single level without having to take one brood box off the top of another. You just move frames horizontally and you can inspect the entire colony with little disturbance.
The real breakrough is the ability to divide the colony into two colonies by inserting a vertical divider - and then opening the second entrance at the back of the hive. This makes queen rearing very easy and reduces swarming to virtually nil.
06-16-2003, 05:01 AM
Actually when doing a really long hive like this I think the Dadant deep makes good sense. I also used four frame deep supers when I was running deeps. Much easier to lift.
06-16-2003, 10:26 AM
So during the Winter, you only have the brood box without any supers? Sounds like a good way to go. What are the dimensions of the honey box frames? Can they be extracted in a typical extractor used here?
08-10-2004, 10:06 AM
Ive been corresponding with Robin Dartington, the designer of the Long Deep Hive. Of course I was already pursing the concept of a long hive, but he has been managing bees in them for some time and I learned a lot from his management advice.
One problem Ive had is swarming. His solution is to split the hive IN the long box at the begining of the swarm season and get them to raise a new queen and then remove the old queen and combine. The idea is to simulate a swarm and then a recombine.
Also, he runs supers above the long hive and I seem to be having better luck with this approach also, putting supers over the brood nest seems to help with swarming. Although I have been trying to avoid it because of lifting.
I think the nearest thing to his hive in OUR standards would be a Dadant Deep hive two boxes long (32 ½) so you can put 22 frames in the hive and supers on top.
08-10-2004, 06:54 PM
I like the idea of starting a split on one end. That's why I've built an entrance on each end of my horizontal equipment. It's an easy, graftless way to requeen which makes horizontal hives that much more carefree to run.
08-16-2004, 04:19 PM
> Also, he runs supers above the long hive and I
> seem to be having better luck with this approach
...revealing the basic and serious compromise one
makes when using this type of hive, first developed
in Eastern Europe, and copied by Dartington.
If horizontal hives were practical, supers and brood
chambers would be stacked side by side on racks, rather
than atop each other.
They aren't, so they aren't.
08-17-2004, 12:50 PM
>...revealing the basic and serious compromise one
makes when using this type of hive,
Most everything is a comprimise of some sort.
in Eastern Europe,
I would guess them've been around as long as people have been around.
> and copied by Dartington.
Certainly he was not the first to build one. I know I "invented" it when I didn't know they existed, back in the '70s. But I wasn't the first. I just didn't know anything about them at the time. I was not copying anyone I was just trying to make a hive for an old lady who loved bees and had a bad back. Dartington may not have been copying anyone or he may have been. I really don't know.
>If horizontal hives were practical, supers and brood
chambers would be stacked side by side on racks, rather
than atop each other.
A lot of mine are and I do a lot less lifting.
>They aren't, so they aren't
I have five horizontal hives right now and they've done as well or better than any of the rest of my hives this year.
But I have learned that they require a different management style to keep them from swarming.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited August 18, 2004).]
08-23-2004, 10:37 AM
I have already pulled 2 of the 4 deep I have out of service because of there weight. I am going to make a couple long hives this winter and pull the other 2 deeps in the spring as a split into the long hives. So what are the antiswarming methods for long hives? Is it to just split the nest and raise a new queen then combine or have you learned another trick. I also plan on start 2 TBHs in the spring by attaching my TBH TB to a bar which fits the lang so they will be drawn out and layed in by the queen. Did it this year but the queen was lost during mating so I recombined then removed the comb and replaced frames. It was the only split I made that did not successfully make a queen so it was not a great disapointment. But I really wanted a TBH going this year. The only use I see for my deep equip is to make a long hive lol.
08-23-2004, 10:52 AM
>So what are the antiswarming methods for long hives? Is it to just split the nest and raise a new queen then combine or have you learned another trick.
I haven't tried the split and recombine method, so I have no comparison for my method. I just keep inserting empty foundationless frames in the middle of the brood nest and moving the combs of brood to the back of the brood nest. This seems to keep them busy filling in the brood nest. when I find combs of honey I move them all the way to the back of the hive. I also started putting one or two supers right over the brood nest and then move them to the back when they are full and I need to get in the hive so I don't have to move them again.
>I also plan on start 2 TBHs in the spring by attaching my TBH TB to a bar which fits the lang so they will be drawn out and layed in by the queen. Did it this year but the queen was lost during mating so I recombined then removed the comb and replaced frames. It was the only split I made that did not successfully make a queen so it was not a great disapointment.
I had very good luck with my long medium depth Lanstroth sized TBH. I just made 3/8" thick 19" long bars. I only put a starter strip on the first bar and put it in the center of a five frame medium nuc and let them do the rest. It's worked out very well actually and is probably how I will do my TBHs in the future. I did not have any luck with a TBH that was langtroth deep dimensions of the same design because of comb collapse.
>But I really wanted a TBH going this year. The only use I see for my deep equip is to make a long hive lol.
I cut the end bars off at 6 1/4" and cut the bottom bars off so they fit between the end bars and made all my deep frames into mediums. I cut the deep boxes down to 6 5/8" or cut them 7 1/4" and nail a piece of 1/4" laun on the bottom to make a swarm catching hive that has an attached bottom.