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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Madison, AL
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    25

    Default Layens Vs Top Bar

    So I am trying to learn everything I can about beekeeping and various hardware so that in spring when I start my first hives I will be as prepared as possible. In so doing I was following another thread on these forums (see page 32 for posts relevant to this thread) and this podcast was mentioned which introduced me to the Layens hive.

    The question I am pondering is how is the management of a layens different from other top bars like the kenyan or a tanzanian?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    2,262

    Default Re: Layens Vs Top Bar

    Layens is a rectangular frame in a box made typically to hold 14 frames. It is designed to be extracted. Frames from top bar hives generally can't be extracted. This is the primary difference between the two. The Layens is not designed to have a box set on top for honey storage. The intent is to let the bees fill a frame then extract and return the empty frame to the hive to be re-filled. The Layens hive fits in a middle ground where it is more labor intensive but not as capital intensive as Langstroth equipment or similar top-supered hive designs. Think of it like this, with a Layens hive, an extractor, and some bees, you have everything needed to produce honey. A similar Langstroth setup would require 2 deep brood chambers and 4 or 5 supers for a total of 6 or 7 boxes. This represents a significant cost difference. Extending the comparison, a top bar hive is about as cheap as it gets, no extractor needed, just the box and bees. All honey produced is cut off the bars, squeezed, and strained.
    DarJones - NW Alabama, 46 years, 24 colonies, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,635

    Default Re: Layens Vs Top Bar

    Layens hive has frames, essentially, it is a "long-hive"
    http://www.horizontalhive.com/how-to...e-design.shtml

    I personally prefer long-hive based on Lang's dimensions (deep frame). This way, you can use standard equipment and add standard Lang's supers on top of the long-hive. Horizontal (long) hives are popular in Europe, particularly in Ukraine, but most of them are longer than Layen's hive. It is believed that bees winter better on super-sized frames without brakes.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Bergen County, NJ
    Posts
    444

    Default Re: Layens Vs Top Bar

    First year with bees here. I started to read about various equipment etc last year. Finally picked an adaptation of layens thats lang wide and double deep size. I guess thats no longer a layens. Built two large hive boxes out of plywood, built frames from 1x pine etc. I was going to reserve my review until next year but here it is (so far).

    Please note that this is ONE NEEBEE review and I am sure I got lot of things wrong.

    Pros:

    1. With lang wide size, I could buy Nucs and put them in without having to cut any frames etc
    2. Being 25 frame size boxes, they are heavy but inspection is easier as I can just pull frame without having to lift any boxes
    3. Cheap(er) to make. I found cull lumber (3/4 plywood) at HD and made these boxes pretty cheap. Dont know how long they last though.

    Cons:
    1. I had to build custom frame extension without ears to attach to bottom of Nuc frames (otherwise bees were building comb at the bottom without frame extension)
    2. Bees were slow to draw comb without foundation. I am not sure if it would have been different with foundation
    3. Despite lot of space (these are huge boxes, about 25 frames), one of the hives swarmed. Not sure if it would have been different with regular lang.
    4. Did split of the hive that swarmed and raised three queens. Realized that these double deep frames are not that helpful when you want to split resources easily. I guess lang frames would have provided better options in splitting and resources
    5. Nucs to overwinter - same problem. Unless you already have these layens or double deep drawn comb frames, making Nucs is doable but not as flexible as Lang.


    Note that I did not try standard Lang hive / frame yet. So I could be imagining benefits of lang over layens / double deeps.

    A good compromise could be a horizontal hive that uses standard lang deeps and thats it - from cost and weight perspective.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Madison, AL
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Layens Vs Top Bar

    Thank you all for your feedback I find it interesting. I was considering the horizontal with lang deeps. Its between that and a Kenyan top bar. Personally Lifting heavy boxes just doesn't interest me and seems a good way to shorten the life of my back

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,635

    Default Re: Layens Vs Top Bar

    In this thread you may see some pictures including my long-hive (post #206 for instance)
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-16-2012/page6

    This long-hive has 2x Lang length and top bars. It does not have frames - it is foundationless. Essentially, it was created under the influence of the Kenyan and Tanzanian hives, but with compatibility with standard hardware in mind. To my taste, 2x-long is not enough, 3x would be a proper size, but huge! 2x is a little bit small, but I can add standard Lang supers on top, which will eliminate the advantage of having easy access to all frames in horizontal hive. Taller than Lang's deep-frame size for foundationless is impractical.
    Good luck with your bees!
    Серёжа, Sergey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    2,169

    Default Re: Layens Vs Top Bar

    Jovian -

    Do ask Fusion_power about his hives. He's using Deep Dadant hives that are 19-7/8" by 19-7/8" square with narrow (1-1/4" wide) frames and 5.1mm foundation. He just recently converted over to them after many years of using 10-frame Langstroths with 11 narrow frames and small cell foundation.

    This is perhaps the ultimate honey production setup. I am going to make some and try them out myself, only perhaps even larger. If it works well, I may follow in his footsteps.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Madison, AL
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Layens Vs Top Bar

    Cerezha those are some beautiful hives and thanks for the added bit about 2x langs not being long enough but 3x is huge.

    Kilowcharlie, I have heard of dadant before and looked at them briefly but thought they were very similar to the Langstroths and at the time was looking (and still am) more towards the horizontal hives. That said I will give the Dadants another look and since I haven't googled yet not sure what questions to pose to Fusion_Power so maybe in the future. That said Fusion_power if you want to add something on them feel free.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    7,018

    Default Re: Layens Vs Top Bar

    to add to what dar said regarding extracting and reusing comb vs. crushing and straining for honey harvesting...

    in our area jovian new comb building only takes place during a very short window of time and that is typically about late april until about early june. a swarmed colony might not draw any new comb in that season.

    this is assuming that you aren't providing supplemental syrup which is sometimes used to get new comb drawn, but doing so might have unintended consequences like interfering with a natural brood break for example.

    having drawn comb is invaluable for everything from swarm prevention to increasing honey yield to getting splits off to a faster start.

    if the layens frames can be extracted and reused that would be a huge advantage over top bar in my opinion. (assuming swarm prevention and honey production are important to you) does anyone know if the layens sized frames will fit into the extractors designed for langstroth sized frames?

    the other consideration is that with my stock and in my location colonies that are not split and also prevented from swarming (the best producers by far) end up needing the space equivalent of between 4 and 5 ten frame deep langstroth hive bodies to keep from running out room. trying to prevent swarming with any volume less than that i feel would necessitate the harvesting of frames of brood during the spring build up to prevent overcrowding - and that harvested brood would be perfect for making up splits and nucs.

    the problem with the plan of selling off nucs from that splitting, and assuming you are running the layens sized frames, is that since most beekeepers have langstroth hives they would be unable to utilize those frames and therefore it would be difficult to sell them.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Madison, AL
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Layens Vs Top Bar

    SP I didn't realize that the time to drawing comb in our area was so short. I would have thought about a month longer but I guess that makes sense with the last frost date being around april 10th.

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