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  1. #1
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    Default Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    I was reading this old issue of American Bee Journal and I found an interesting article on page 177.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=MFJ...ournal&f=false

    I had considered square Langstroth hives before and wanted to try them. I already have a number of other configurations, 5-frame, 6-frame, 10-frame, 21-frame, and I've seen other larger versions as well. I'm wondering what effects a square, or by any means larger cavity would have on the bees, production, wintering, survival etc. At some point, someone mentioned that you can orient the frames perpendicular on successive levels and that might have some effect.

    I already keep quite large hives year 'round even when such a configuration is unnecessary. I credit that decision for a distinct lack of swarming in my yards. There have been a couple of these old magazine articles which have credited large hives with little swarming and large honey crops. Add to that, Oscar Perone who seems to be communicating the idea that bees decide sometime in late winter how much they need to grow in order to swarm. Meanwhile, typical practice is to remove honey supers during winter and overwinter with the smallest hive feasible. What are your thoughts?

    I realize there is a lot of information here, but give it your best shot. Tell me your experiences, your opinions, and your conjectures.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #2
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    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    they were square and deeper. If they had been practical they would still be used. bees did not winter well in them and it took superman to pick them up. also low resale value. everyone is always looking for greener grass.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    Square has the benefit that you can orient the comb "warm way". The deeper 11 frame hives beeware is referring to is the Dadant hive. They became obsolete in the US because we are geared towards migratory operations and the smaller Langstroth hive ships more per truck.

    The Jumbo Lang and Modified Dadant are both still popular in Europe, The second being the choice hive of Brother Adam and still in use at Buckfast Abbey to date.

    As far as wintering; look up the DE hive from Canada. They were designed for superior wintering and that is accomplished with a square box that can be oriented cold way for maximum summer access and warm way for wintering.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  4. #4
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    May 2002
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    > If they had been practical they would still be used. bees did not winter well in them and it took superman to pick them up. also low resale value.

    Good I didn't know this when I built ten in 1979. You could fool me. Mine winter fine, lots of stores on those big brood combs, they have lasted 30 years so I don't care about the resale value, I am smart enough to work them without having to pick them up.
    Read Brother Adam's Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey. He test all available hives and concluded the square hive with 11 1/4" deep frames was best for him. For me, crops like this on them are not uncommon.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    So how do you work them w/out taking off each super? They must be heavy when full.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  6. #6
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    I would do them in mediums. Not excessively heavy.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    So how do you work them w/out taking off each super? They must be heavy when full.
    The medium honey supers full weigh about 50 lbs and the deep hives are not heavier than a lang double. I now have them permanently mounted on trailers and in the past kept them at permanent sites. Sure, they are not for someone who wants to meet commercial standardization, but they are a great unit for honey production. Add one piece of 1X4 on top of the honey supers and you can stack on regular Lang supers. Get strong labor and they can heft the occasional deep I draw comb in as a honey super.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Good I didn't know this when I built ten in 1979. You could fool me. Mine winter fine, lots of stores on those big brood combs, they have lasted 30 years so I don't care about the resale value,
    Sounds just like those crazy SC beekeepers assuming it's the cell size that's the cause of their success.
    Regards, Barry

  9. #9
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    Feb 2010
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    Park City Ky
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    Solomon.... I have built a few 21 frame hives for ease in splitting hives in making nucs for sale. Since I'm not interested in honey, I don't use supers and the horizontal configeration makes it easier to find the queen since I am not taking off additional boxes each time I split. When I am preparing for making nucs, I find the queen, move her to where I want her, slide a queen excluder where I want to keep her out. Then when I get ready to split, I know where the queen is, and can manipulate the frames of brood, honey, just bees, for making nucs quickly. I use two commercial type tops, (no inner cover), that way not all of the frames are exposed.

    At the end of the splitting season, I return them to regular singular deep or two deeps to go through the winter. I winter most in single deeps. In Kentucky, I don't have a problem wintering in one deep.

    cchoganjr

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    I think "standardization" is a detriment to US beekeeping. No other country in the world standardized around one hive. Hives should be selectable depending on the bee and what the beekeeper is trying to do. Could you imagine if, lets say, all cars were Ford Fiestas and all parts were interchangeable? It is ludicrous when we apply the principle to any other subject besides beehives.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    I should have been more clear when I said they did not winter well. that is for upstate ny where they may be under 3 feet of snow and have few if any flights for 2-3 months.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    I have used the 21 frame hives in the past, but I have yet to see one survive winter. I have one in now, and it seems to be doing well thus far. Time will tell.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    I can't think of any logical reason that the width of the box would have any impact on wintering ability? I thought everybody here subscribed to the "bees don't heat the box, just the cluster" philosophy
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    In the winter it is harder for the bees to move sideways vs up and down. has nothing to do with heating the hive.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    Right; so how does adding three additional frames change that? If they are on 20 or 26 frames in two deeps it should have no impact on the amount of room they have to move up and down. Likewise if a person winters on mediums, 30 frames vs 39 frames should make no difference.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    Quote Originally Posted by beeware10 View Post
    In the winter it is harder for the bees to move sideways vs up and down.
    They have to move either way. Why is it harder one way verses the other? Aren't they fighting gravity trying to move up?
    Regards, Barry

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    Think about it Barry. The path above is open, whereas the path to either side may be blocked by comb.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  18. #18
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    Well yes, thinking in terms as you put it, that would make sense, especially if it is a critical time when moving is "dangerous" due to temperature. Any other time shouldn't make a difference. I had a mental block thinking side to side on the same combs.
    Regards, Barry

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    Bluegrass..... Barry... Don't they also say, that in horizontal hives, the bees often cluster in the center, then as cold weather approaches move toward one end. When they run out of honey on that end they starve because they think they are out of honey. In reality, the other end still has honey but they don't move back to it. I am not an expert on this, I have never tried to winter in 21 frame hives, but it could make sence.

    cchoganjr

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Square Hives, 13 Frame Boxes, Big Hives, and Swarming

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    I thought everybody here subscribed to the "bees don't heat the box, just the cluster" philosophy
    Dead is dead. One that I lost was frozen in place near stores in the wide part, the other was frozen in place near stores in a deep stacked on the wide hive. Why they died, I do not have the greatest insight. But they are dead. In the current one, the cluster is right in the middle of the wide box. They seem to be doing fine so far. But they are also from a different source.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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