Anybody using D.E. hives from Beeworks (www.beeworks.com)? Iím really curious about their claims. Iím a firm believer in ventilation, using a screened inner cover my self year round. Any detail photos of their top? Iím sure they donít post them so we handy folks canít build our own. Not that I blame them. I like the side entrance idea. That does seem to mimic the natural hives I have seen. Iím wondering if the trapped air space at the bottom effects IPM for Veroa. So if someone out there in Bee Source land is using them, how about some feedback?
Re: D.E. hives
I'd try a search on DE Hives. They have been discussed. Unfortunately "DD" is too short to search on. So try "David Eyre" and see what comes up.
I ran four of them for several years.
Here's what I like about the DE hive:
o It has good ventilation (but you can use the Langstroth kit to provide
this for your Langstroth hive)
o It has the frames running so you can stand behind it to work it. (but
you can get this in a Langstroth by using the kit)
o It has a system that almost eliminates having to break frames loose.
This keeps the bees calmer, especially when working the brood chamber.
(this you cannot get by using the Langstroth kit)
o It is nice dimensions from the bee's perspective. It's a square box
and has 11 frames that the queens fills out nicely. (this you cannot get
from a standard Langstroth hive)
o The frame design is very light, very strong and very good at keeping
the foundation straight in the frame. I wish I could get such well
designed frames for a Langstroth.
o The DE frames are really light to handle.
o The DE frames are dimensions such that you almost never have to use a
o The long end bars are really nice for handling the frames, especially
when you're extracting but also when you're working a hive.
What I don't like about the DE hive:
o My biggest irritation is that it is not a standard size. This is no
end of frustration when you see something really useful, but it won't
work with them. Like a nice triangular bee escape or a top feeder or a
bound queen excluder. I get around it a lot by building things that are
universal. e.g. a bottom board with 1 1/2" edges instead of 3/4" that is
sized long enough for a Lang. I can put either a Langstroth or a DE on
it. I built several adapters and often mix the DE supers and
Langstroths. Also since it's not standard I can't buy stuff already
assembled when I'm short of supers or hives and don't have time to build
o There's this space around the ends of the top bars, that the bees
can't get to when the hive is closed. The purpose is to keep the bees
from propolizing the ends of the bars. My problem with them is the bees
run into them when I have the hive open and I can't get them out. Shades
of the Arizona, they get trapped in there when I put the covers back on
or a super on.
o I did have to modify my extractor to fit them. Maybe some wouldn't but
the top part of the rack was spaced too far, so I had to get three
threaded rods and replace the ones that came with the extractor. Now it
works for either DE's or Langstroths.
o The long end bars (which are so nice to handle) stick down more so you
can't have as much honey in the tank before they hit the honey and bog
down the motor.
o It takes practice to not knock off the little plastic spacers on the
ends of the bars when you're uncapping. It's kind of frustrating to be
looking through a bunch of cappings for missing ones.
As you can see there's more I like than don't, but the big problem is
the non-standard size. Next is the cost. I sold all of mine and went to eight frame mediums and top entrances.
Re: D.E. hives
Thank you sir, your replies are always insightful and detailed. I was thinking of converting a Langstroth and comparing itís performance with ďmyĒ standard for a Langstroth. Did you keep or incorporate any of the D.E. features into your operation?
Re: D.E. hives
I also had three or four of David's Langstroth conversion kits in addition to the DE hives. I liked them, but they cost too much and were more complicated than necessary. But they are well thought out, well planned and well tested.
I liked the top entrances and went to them exclusively. They are useful in many ways, not the least of which is letting out the moisture in winter, but also the moisture of evaporating honey and, since I closed off the bottom, keeping out skunks and mice. The DE had a bottom entrance, but it was the DE that really interested me in a top entrance.
I try to get some through ventilation going. but although his ventilation boxes work well, you could prop the lid open and have some way for air to get in the bottom and have the same convection. His system is very versatile and very well calibrated for a Northern hive, I just think it's too expensive and complicated. But it certainly worked well.
Re: D.E. hives
Here is a picture of a first year DE Hive. I started this hive on April 20 with a 3lb package and this picture was taken around August 15. Everything was started from foundation. The top 3 supers were totally full of honey. From the bottom box to the top box it was packed full of bees. Never had any hint of swarming and with the ventilation system designed into this hive, on 100 degree days the bees never hung out of the hive because it was too hot.
I initially bought the basic hive. Then I built the rest of the deeps and supers. I also built all the frames. It is all very easy to build including the frames. You canot tell the difference from what I built and what I purchased from the Bee Works.
I started a total of 50 hives with 3lb packages at the same time. The rest were in Langstroth hives using the DE method of ventilation and starting them on drawn comb. None of those hives came close to doing what this hive has done. Most of those hives were on a strong honey flow of clover and they averaged about one medium super per hive. The DE hive is in my back yard in a suburban development with no predominant flower source to produce a strong honey flow.
What Michael says about these hives is true. However I believe the bees do so much better because of the size and dimensions of the hive even though nothing is really interchangeable with a Langstroth.
If you ever plan on producing nucs for sale this would never be the hive to use because it is totally non standard with the Langstroth. However if honey production is what you want to do it is a very good hive for that purpose.
Re: D.E. hives
Thank you sir for the info, photo and taking the time to reply. I don't plan on going beyond 10 hives or so for a couple of years (started four Langs last year and have built a top bar over the winter) , so i doubt I'll get into DE's yet. They look like a really good idea, just have a big hill to climb to replace the standard, whatever it's faults. I did order a ventalation top from Honey Run Apiaries, which looks similar to the DE top. If it works well for me i will make more of my own.