Hoffman invented the self spacing frame that is in common use in this country. Where the end bars are butted against each other for proper spacing of the brood chamber.
Langstroth's original design was not self spacing.
Eugene Killion was fond of making his own frames and putting a nail on the side of the top bar for a spacer. I have done the same with a staple when I've made my own frames.
I make my frames with the top bar pointed like some sites show you to do with TBHs. My end bars are the same width as the top bar and I use sheetrock screws to keep spacing. They do squish less bees and are easier to get apart as there is less surface area touching the next frame. This makes removing a frame much easier than the Hoffman/selfspacing type. I have a block of wood cut to the right thick ness and long enough to hold easy as my depth gauge for the screws and have 2 cordless drills one set up with the drill bit for predrilling the other with the driver bit. It surprized me how quick it was installing the screws.
in regard to 3 sided frame: I had pondered that, and witnessed others' attempts to support the comb better and prevent bracing in TBH's... what I finally came up with was ..... the lang. hive.
I decided that what I was doing in designing a tbh system to give me the benefits I wanted was simply reinventing the Lang. The only thing that a tbh would give me that the traditional Lang woudn't would be self-drawn comb. But then, foundationless frames solve that one, eh?
I also decided that, while I wanted to cut set-up costs, the effort and expense to experiement and design supported combs and the like, would put me right back where I am. I'm not bashing TBH's at all. I love their ability to allow introduction with limited capital.
I would love to try a TBH, but still trying to get things running smooth and the varroa controlled. But sell me on the idea of a TBH over a Lang with foundationless frames.
>decided that what I was doing in designing a tbh system to give me the benefits I wanted was simply reinventing the Lang. The only thing that a tbh would give me that the traditional Lang woudn't would be self-drawn comb. But then, foundationless frames solve that one, eh?<
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming...'Wow! What a ride!'"
With a free-hanging frame, of whatever size, the top bar, end bars, and bottom bar are all the same width, 1 to 1-1/4". Top bar is made of 7/8" stock, ends and bottom of 3/8" stock. The ends of the top bar are rabetted out, like with a regular frame top bar. Nails go through the top of the end bar into the top bar at the rabbet. The bottom bar is fixed between the bottom of the end bars. Very simple -- wish I could describe it better. They are cheap, fast and easy to make out of scrap.
Simple foundationless frames in a long hive configuration would be an effective practical arrangement, especially for those who move their bees, and 1-3/8" wide top bars would create a covered hive like a typical TBH.
Another comb-support idea! Here is a website showing the Jackson Horizontal Hive, another long hive using frames in which the sides and bottoms are made of dowels:
http://www.rupertshoney.co.za/ http://www.rupertshoney.co.za/rh/new_JHH.htm http://www.rupertshoney.co.za/rh/why_a_new_hive.htm http://www.rupertshoney.co.za/rh/how...%20JHH%201.htm http://www.rupertshoney.co.za/rh/jhh_advantage.htm
and here is Mr. Dartington's UK version many of you are probably familiar with:
Hope some of this might be interesting. Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Turkey day to all too!
JWG thanks for the links. I want to copy something from that South African Site that may answer a question/comment above.
"The Reverend Langstroth designed, in 1853, a beehive to accommodate his brilliant discovery, the beespace. We accept this beespace to be between 6 and 8 millimetres. No one has ever queried this beespace in relation to the smaller African bee races, but they seem to be happy with it. The only cheap, convenient, box he could find to take the bee frames was the wooden box that protected the standard fuel container of the time, the common wooden paraffin or kerosene box. The dimensions, less the bee space, determined the size of the modern standard bee frame in use throughout the world today. This standard is the only one we have followed in designing our new hive. We do not agree with it, believing from thousands of observations of wild swarms, that the natural shape of a brood comb is hemispherical, that is twice as wide as it is deep. It is only when our colonies are short of space that they start building comb into the corners to make a deeper, rectangular comb. However all modern equipment is built to accommodate the frame dimensions dictated by the old paraffin box!"
What is the support for "the natural shape of a brood comb is hemispherical, that is twice as wide as it is deep"?
Hi David and Everyone,
When I was running small cell hives, I noticed the bees sometimes reduced the space between the top bars. So I got out the camera and took a few photos. Superimposed a scale and did some measuring. I found a single beespace was about 4.3mm.
I generated a web page with this information, placed it on my site, but never linked it to the home page. You can see it at:
You can use the photos to take your own measurements if you wish.
In a top bar hive a beespace is irrelevant. That's what makes them so easy to build and that also allows a wide range of materials/designs to be economically optimized.
When I switched to tbhs, my focus moved away from some of the photos and data I had pending with small cell/standard hives. That's why I didn't get the beespace page up and running:> ) But it could prove useful now.
>What is the support for "the natural shape of a brood comb is hemispherical, that is twice as wide as it is deep"?<
What kind of support are you looking for?
I would also be interested to read that.
IMO, I think the above statement is not exactly true. I think it is just an observation. One thing we know is that bees or anything in nature for that matter, makes the best, most efficient use of it's environment = survival. However wider than deeper makes perfect sense as far as supporting weight goes. I know one thing and that is, the bees know what is best for them. We can try as we may to figure out why they do what they do, but untill we can read thier minds it will always remain one of mother natures mysteries
Nice page on beespace Dennis.
The support I was looking for (natural bee hive is twice as wide as deep) was either anecdotal or written. It seems like a pretty big point. But it would be difficult to determine since bees use preexisting natural cavities.
The Jackson Hive is wider than deep. This really adds volume. The structure makes a lot of sense too. The two parallel bars that supoprt the top bars are the main structural feature. The body of the hive is plastic. Makes the hive cheaper and lighter.
By extending the top bar supports you provide yourself with a natural place to rest your removed top bars.
The frames are four sided, with simple dowels at each side and below. The bottom of the frame is a smaller dowel, maybe 1/4inch, which goes through holes drilled in the bottom of the side dowels, which are about 1/2 inch.
So you have to buy the dowels, drill holes, and glue.
Any ideas for a cheap source of material for the hive sides and bottom?
When people are throwing away bulk trash you can pick up boards for nothing by the side of the road. Construction sites are a good source of scrap ply. Someone else has used large military surplus or shipping boxes, and Jim Satterfield, I think, has used old parts of furniture, drawers or whatever. But if you build your own cavities from scrap boards, of course, you can standardize them.
Apparently the Jackson Hive is meant to be supported by hanging, the weight being borne by the two side rails, so the walls don't have to be strong. I wonder if the plastic (corrugated plastic?) could be had inexpensively. I have checked around once or twice and it was a bit pricey, but from the right supplier it might be feasible and a good material to experiment with. Dowels tend not to be cheap but in bulk from the right vendor they might be OK too.
(So many ideas but after all they are not too much good when the bees are so hard to keep alive in the first place! ;o/ )
Barry's tbh was both wide and deep. The bees built ll bars of comb and they stopped around 16" deep. For that cavity, the nest shape was more hemispherical.
It seems the bees prefer a shape that is volume rich and surface are poor. But they are highly adaptable regarding the cavity. It's amazing how the amount of the different kinds of comb, in the different hives, was pretty much the same.
It is true natural comb, as it is drawn is "somewhat" hemispherical. If it WERE true hemispherical it would be, by definition, twice as wide as it is deep because a hemisphere, hanging down, is twice as wide as it is deep.
...and aren't feral nests found in the open typically longer than their width? (in the temperate zone anyway)
This is simply a reflection of the conservation of energy.
Bees will build semi-hemispheric combs in unrestricted space because the circle (or half circle) gives the greatest volume for the expenditure of materiels. (A given length of perimeter provides more volume in a circle than in any other shape.) This may be academic since colonies that build these semi-round combs usually do not survive in the environment where found. Cave bees in the tropics perhaps, but not in N. America.
Feral bees ordinarily seek cavities. In a tree bole the comb will be longer than wide, as it will when built between the walls of a house.
I'm just talking about how they build it. In the end they fill all available space with it.
with all that said we are at two distinct opinions ....
the first being that no matter what we try to devise we are led back to the langstroth
the advantages of natural comb and the TBH
Who knows all we can do is keep trying.
Procrastination is the assination of inspiration.
Not necessarily. As mentioned before, very simple frames (free-hanging frames, those made with dowels, or whatever) can be used, with wire reinforcement, if desired, and the natural comb built within them. They can be of any depth (see pic at http://www.gutostler.de/Imkerei/body_imkerei.html ), and they can used in a long hive -- similar to a TBH -- which does not require any supering or lifting. Sort of the best of both worlds.
I have used TBH's in which each top bar was cut lenghtwise down the middle (into two half bars). I would pinch a 2.5" to 3" deep strip of duragilt plastic reinforced foundation between the halves and nail them together with brads. This type of starter strip provided some good reinforcement at the top portion of the comb, where there would be a lot of stress. The bees build their combs naturally below the strips, and did not attach them to the hive walls, which were curved.
After a year or two the brood combs were quite tough and could be handled easily without too much care. A longer starter strip might not hang true so I never attempted to use a larger piece of foundation than this. Anyway, it worked very well, at least for brood combs used season after season. New, heavy combs of honey would still be prone to breakage and one would still have to be pretty careful with them.
Great site with good ideas, however if you read it the Imker herself states that the project was only in it's infancy started early this year and that she will post the results later. I like the idea however, it's proof of nothing, still just an experiment which leaves us back at my previous post.
Procrastination is the assination of inspiration.
The nearest thing I have to that kind of a hive is a double wide Dadant Deep. Of course that's 11 1/4' frames. I put a comb guide (bevel) on the top and sides and I had to put a support half way down or the combs would collapse. I put a 1/16" welding rod half way down. I didn't want a lot of wires getting in the way of cutting comb out. I still have not found that a very long, heavy, new, comb can support itself without some help.
Did you notice the triangle shaped topbar on the frame in the close up. I read the site: the timing, idea and designe would suggest that this Imker (Beekeeper) is also monitoring this site, would not suprise me in the least it's a popular site here in Germany also. Most Germans will read english however corresponding can be more of a challenge.
Procrastination is the assination of inspiration.