I am thinking of purchasing the one of the DE Hive modification kits for one of my Langstroth hives. I was wondering if anyone has had any experience from this type of hive design. I value this boards opinions and maybe someday will be able to add information that may be helpful to someone on this forum. I have provided a link to the site that explains what the modification kit does to the hive.
I have several of the modification kits for Lanstroths and I love them. I sometimes buy them and sometimes I build something similar myself. I usually just build one box with the vents in it for the top instead of the two pieces David has. His is more versital, mine is simpler. His provides very good controlable ventilation. You flip the vent box part under the lid and you can have more or less ventilation for winter and summer. His bottom boards are very light, strong and durable and his stands are well designed. The kit allows you to stand behind the hive to work it so you tend to not run into as many gaurd bees who spot you when you're on the side. The bees cluster outside a lot less. They swarm less. And, I think they produce more because of the ventilation. Of course it's hard to say what causes this, but I have had a DE ventilated Lanstroth right next to a regular Lanstroth and you can see the difference especialy at night, but even all of the fanning bees in the daytime.
Your subject line would indicate you wanted to know about DE hives. This is a different subject. They are a whole different type of hive.
Here's what I like about the DE hive:
o It has good ventilation (but you can use the Lanstroth kit to provide this for your Lanstroth)
o It has the frames running so you can stand behind it to work it. (but you can get this in a Lanstroth 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 Lanstroth 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 Lanstroth 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.
What I don't like about the DE hive:
o My biggest irritaion 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 Lanstroth or a DE on it. I built several adapters and often mix the DE supers and Lanstroths. 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 them.
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 popolizing 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.
As you can see there's more I like than don't, but the big problem is the non-standard size.
Thanks for the reply. It is nice to know that what I have read on the website can be backed up by an someone who has had actual experience with the hives. I think I will try the kit first. I am somewhat concerned about the non-standard size, but will probably try one of the DE Hives later next spring.
Due to the lack of interchangability I've decided to use just Lanstroths for my brood chambers. It's just a pain when you want to take a frame of brood from a hive to raise a queen etc. and you have two kinds of frames. It's bad enough when you have deep and medium and shallow but now you deep and meduim and shallow DE's and deep and medium and shallow Lanstroths. I've decided to just go with deep Lanstroths and make smaller boxes (four frames) for the supers. If I wasn't working toward a more horizontal hive I'd probably go with nothing but mediums. I am still using the DE's, (I have about 10 deeps and 8 mediums) but I'm going to go to using them for supers. It's sad, because they do work nicely for brood chambers. But it's not so important to have standaradization in supers, becuase you can (and do) run all of the bees out of the supers anytime you want.
As I've already said, I like the DEs but I just don't like being non-standard.
Now if the rest of the world would convert to using DEs, I'd jump on that bandwagon and cheer it on.
I was just extracting a bunch of DE and Lanstroth frames last night, so I'll say what else I remembered:
o The DE frames are really light to handle.
o The DE frames are dimisions such that you almost never have to use a capping scratcher.
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.
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 Lanstroths.
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.
I just ordered the Langstroth Hive kit from Beeworks.com. Is there any pitfalls that I should be aware of?
I have a moisture problem in one of my hives and I am going to try and correct it with the aforementioned kit.
Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
About the only problem I've had is when yellow jackets gnawed through the screen over the vent holes and built a nest in the vent box. I put hardware cloth over the one they chewed through and didn't have any more problems.
In my climate (Eastern Nebraska) The only other pests I've had in the vent box are spiders and they aren't a problem for me. I think it works great.
It may be that in a warmer wetter climate you may have other pests that try to nest in the vent box, but I don't have that problem.
I have these or some homemade version of them on all of my hives.
Thanks, We have had a real problem with the Wax moths this year. I am in Western North Carolina and our drought was extreme this year. I have had to start feeding in order to insure enough winter stores. I have an idea why the wax moths were such a problem was because it was so dry this year, but that is only an idea.
I will let you know how it works in getting rid of my moisture problem.
I've had more wax moths here also.
Got my Langstroth Hive Kit from beeworks. Let me say this design creates alot of ventilation. Should any of the holes in the top be closed for winter. I would never have believed it would create that much ventilation. It is pretty cool how it creates a draft through the hive like a chimney effect.
Thanks for all the advice. This item is neat and being on the langstroth design means standard frames and bodies.
The box that goes between the lid and the inner cover is reversible. You put the holes up and they get covered by the lid. You put them down and they are open. For the winter you put them up and restrict the ventilation to the one row of holes in the lid and this seems to work well for me here in Nebraska, and for David (the designer) in Ontario Canada.
That is neat. The instructions on the kit did not explain that very well. I hope it really helps. Looking forward to seeing how well it performs.
Actually, another wonderful thing about the DE kit is the light weight of the parts. The bottom boards I've gotten last really well and weigh very little. The lid is also very light in weight with the 1/4" Laun plywood on the lid. When I first saw it, I didn't think it would weather well, but it does. You'd think it wouldn't matter that much what it weighs, but it's surprising how often you're carrying a lot of equipment and every little bit of weight adds up.
You are right, it is really light and it went together like a glove. I had to wait awhile to get it, because they had some problems getting the right lumber, but it is cut exactly and fits together superbly.
Hopefully, I can be a proud testimonial for the beeworks group.
Thanks for all the help.
Is the Outer cover covered with metal? Dale
The ones I got weren't, so I assume they still aren't. You could put tarpaper on them, or roll roofing. My sons do rubber roofs, so I glued a piece of rubber roofing on and tacked it on the corners. The top is like a telescopic cover only taller with vents.
What all is included in the Kit? Dale
First the concept is to turn the hive sideways so the long way is the entrance. This allows you to stand behind the hive to work it instead of beside it. Second it provides a larger entrace for more ventilation.
It has a treated wood stand. A bottom board. An inner cover with screened vents. A reversible vent box with vents all around and a telescopic lid with vents down one side.
Got the Kit installed and the bees seem to like their new arrangments. Time will tell if the ventilation is going to benifit the hive.
I don't know where you are (geographically) but I'm sure how it works and how well it works is dependant on climate. I do know that for me here in Eastern Nebraska, the honey makes quicker and they produce more with lots of ventilation in the summer. I also have observed that the winter better with SOME ventilation. As far as standing behind the hive, it obviously avoids those ankel stings from a guard bee when you're standing beside it. Let me know how it works for you.