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  1. #1

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    Posting to describe my grandfather's old world style of hives that some have asked me about and ask some questions about beekeeping.


    Michael, their pretty much nothing like the Langstroth of Dandant hives, in fact their unmovable frames (well you can move them without killing bees if your careful (read somewhere in nonmovable frame hives you have to kill the bees to get them out)), basically their is no bee space between the frames so they get propopalised (sp) together and you've got to give it a good pull to get them out.) Like I said their very different, at our last class a guy from the local bee keeping club showed up and was thrilled to meet the grandson of the guy with the heavy beehives. (his friends had apparantly bought a full hive of my grandfather years ago and he was so intrigued he took pictures of it) They have an inner cover and a telescoping outer cover as well as two small entrances (top and bottom, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch high and 4-5 inches wide) Anyway the dimensions are 32in long, 21in tall, and 13in wide. They're made of wood that is 1-1.5 inches thick (depending on part of hive). The frames are oriented vertically in them instead of horizontally and there is only 1 level (story if you will). I'll post some pictures online once I get my digital camera back and link to them).

    As far as why did my grandfather prefer them when he had some langsroth style hives (he only used them when he had nothing else, always made his style ones, and those were always the first to be sold)? One I think it was just habbit he was 80 and had been raising bees since he was 12. Also he claims that they winter a lot better in those hives, which I really didn't believe up until this year. I've heard stories from other beekeepers in the area of a 50% loss rate or worse and like I said I only lost 1 of 20.... so who knows, they are a complete pain to work though so I figure I'll do half and half or something.

    Couple of questions:

    Any recomendations on switching them over quickly, I was just going to take the capped brood, tie it into the new frames (the frames of course aren't compatable anything else would be to easy) and just shake the rest of the bees into the new hive. I figure I'll do it on a nice warm day, either putting the new hive right infront of the old or right beside then just move it into place when I'm done.

    Also can bees use the honey that's hardened and sugared in the frames, or is it worthless to them.

    And the hive that didn't make it can I feed their winter stores to the other bees (when I opened it up their were a bunch of dead bees on the bottom in a pile in the center and a bunch hanging off some of the center frames, I'm assuming they just couldn't move left or right or fell down or something and starved to death. I didn't see any signs of disease but I'm not to great at picking it out yet either. The only thing I did notice was that the combs seem to have a whitish waxish substance on the outside of them, I was thinking this may be due to them freezing or something).

    Mike
    "...not all those who wander are lost..."

  2. #2
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    >Michael, their pretty much nothing like the Langstroth of Dandant hives...I'll post some pictures online once I get my digital camera back and link to them).

    I think it will require pictures. The concept of vertical frames is contrary to how bee build combs, so I really can't even picture it.

    >As far as why did my grandfather prefer them when he had some langsroth style hives...

    If you want a single box that winters well, I'd suggest you get Dadant deeps in a Dadant box (19 7/8" square) with twelve frames. Basically it is otherwise like a Lanstroth.

    >Couple of questions:
    >Any recomendations on switching them over quickly, I was just going to take the capped brood, tie it into the new frames (the frames of course aren't compatable anything else would be to easy) and just shake the rest of the bees into the new hive. I figure I'll do it on a nice warm day, either putting the new hive right infront of the old or right beside then just move it into place when I'm done.

    Id make a board that fits the old hive and the new hive (whatever the maximum dimension in either direction is) and cut a hole to let the bees through the board into the next part. Get a queen excluder. You have your choice, depending on if you want the small of bee go to keep you sleeping outside a few nights or night, of driving the bees down with bee-go or drumming and smoking them up. You put the hive in the direction you wish to move the bees and then either drum and smoke them up or use a fume board to drive them down into the Lanstroth box, preferable one with some drawn comb, and it wouldn't hurt to have some open brood in the box, either from another hive or cut out of some of the frames of this one. After you have drummed on the hive (tap with a stick or a pocket knife) until most of the bees are in the top, or used the bee-go until most of the bees are in the bottom, put the queen excluder between and then let them settle down. If most of the bees have moved to the lanstroth box, then the queen probably did too. Now you wait a month or so for the brood in the old hive to emerge and the bees to settle into the new one and then just smoke or bee go them all out of the old one again and this time take the honey.

    The other alternative is, as you say, to cut out all of the comb and tie it into frames.


    >Also can bees use the honey that's hardened and sugared in the frames, or is it worthless to them.

    They can and will use it regardless of if it is hardened.

    >And the hive that didn't make it can I feed their winter stores to the other bees

    If you don't think they died of foulbrood, there is no danger in feeding the honey. If they did die of foulbrood you could spread it through the other colonies, but odds are they've already been exposed to it from robbing it some anyway.


    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited May 11, 2003).]

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the info Mike,

    I think I did a poor job in explaining the frame orientation. Imagine taking a frame how it normal sits and rotating it clockwise 90 degrees. Instead of it hanging from extensions on the longer side it hangs from extensions on the shorter side. I'll still post pics once I get my camera back. Hopefully it stops raining here so I can get working on them.

    Mike

  4. #4
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    The hive is all on one level? Longer than it is wide (with the frames spanning the width) That would be a trough hive. The frame dimensions don't sound like anything standard here in the states. Do the top bars meet with no gaps? I think that's what you said. If so, this is similar to a top bar hive in that the bees aren't coming out of the hive at you from other frames.


  5. #5

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    Yep that's exactly what it's like, one level, longer than wide, and the top bars meet with no gaps. I'm sure since the frame dimensions and hives were all custom built that they aren't anything near being standardized. Heck many of them won't even fit into each other without some cutting or nailing on spacers let alone be standardized . At least I finally know what the things could be called, thanks.

  6. #6
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    It actually sounds like a very nice setup for a hive. All on one level. No lifting boxes. You open the top and there aren't a lot of bees coming at you. All the advantages of a trough top bar hive and a frame hive rolled into one. I think they were so well glued together because no one had been working them. The same happens to a Lanstroth.


  7. #7

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    Yeah, their not bad I plan on leaving half of my hives that way. The disadvantage is that if I wanted to say check the brood, I have to remove basically every frame (or at least 3-4 in order to be able to move the others around). So it takes alot longer, another disadvantage is that there's no such thing as a queen exlcuder (or bee escape) so taking honey requires a frame by frame approach and brushing bees off and while she often does a good job of keeping the honey and brood seperate it isn't always the case. Also feeding is tough. But as you said no heavy lifting to do at all and no bees coming at you, so it does take them quite a long time to realize your're there... until you start removing frames at least. I think the lansgroth is quicker to work but requires much more heavy lifting, these style take longer to work but obviously not nearly as much lifting.

  8. #8
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    >The disadvantage is that if I wanted to say check the brood, I have to remove basically every frame (or at least 3-4 in order to be able to move the others around). So it takes alot longer

    But in a Lanstroth you'd have to move four or five supers, and a top brood box (that may have brood or not) and then remove at least one or two frames in order to be able to mote the others around and look at brood. I don't see where it would take less time.

    >another disadvantage is that there's no such thing as a queen exlcuder (or bee escape) so taking honey requires a frame by frame approach and brushing bees off and while she often does a good job of keeping the honey and brood seperate it isn't always the case.

    True, but you could build a box with a lid that holds ten frames or so and build a triagular bee escape and put it on and pull frames into that.

    >Also feeding is tough.

    Make yourself a frame feeder by taking some masonite, wood, hardware cloth and waterproof glue. Brushy Mt. sells these for lanstroths if you want a pattern.

    >But as you said no heavy lifting to do at all and no bees coming at you, so it does take them quite a long time to realize your're there... until you start removing frames at least.

    You're not facing more than a frame of bees instead of a lot of frames of bees. I know from top bars this is much calmer for the bees.

    >I think the lansgroth is quicker to work but requires much more heavy lifting, these style take longer to work but obviously not nearly as much lifting.

    I can see that a few things would take longer, like on a Lanstroth you can pull a super off and put it on an escape (if you have a queen excluder), and come back later to finish clearing it out. I don't run an excluder and I have to look for brood first, so I don't think it makes a diffeence in time except I think the trough hive takes less because I don't have to move everything to get to the brood chamber for an inspection.

  9. #9

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    >But in a Lanstroth you'd have to move four or five supers, and a top brood box (that may have brood or not) and then remove at least one or two frames in order to be able to mote the others around and look at brood. I don't see where it would take less time.<

    Hmmm, that's true never thought about it that way, just always considered spring time brood checking before any supers were put on, guess it all depends on the time of year.

    >You're not facing more than a frame of bees instead of a lot of frames of bees. I know from top bars this is much calmer for the bees.<

    This is very true my grandfather didn't own a bee suit and I do remember the bee inspectors on many occasions remark how calm his bees were.

    >I don't run an excluder and I have to look for brood first, so I don't think it makes a diffeence in time except I think the trough hive takes less because I don't have to move everything to get to the brood chamber for an inspection.<

    Yeah I have to agree time wise if you don't run an excluder, the excluder is one of the main reasons I'm switching some of them, that and I'm still pretty sure it's a much tighter for for this style of frame, even with no bees in it and no propolis you have to pull pretty hard to get them out, whereas in a langstroth you can just lift them out.

    It'll be interesting when I run both of them this summer, I'll let you know what I think.


  10. #10
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    I've never been able to just lift a frame out of a Lanstroth unless it was a brand new box and the bees hadn't been in it for more than a week. Otherwise you pry the frames apart.

  11. #11

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    Hi Mike,

    I think once again I've done a bad job of explaining, I also think I understand what your picturing and to be honest I may try to create that kind of setup. But the frames in my hives are currently tough to get out and in even when they are empty without any drawn comb in them and completely free of propolis. The reason being is because they don't so much hang as get jammed down in. I'm thinking if I can alter the frame construction a bit so that they actually hang (something I'd never thought of before, thanks for the idea) then I'd have a really nice different style of hive. Unfortunately right now the sides of the frames are jammed right agains the sides of the hive the entire way down (often the frames aren't even compatible between hives or in different positions within the same hive, due mainly to everything being made with scrap lumber and without I assume any real plans. If I did change the frames a bit so they were hanging and you didn't have to jam them in or turn pry and wiggle them out, then I think I could really learn to enjoy these hives. Thanks for the advice.

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