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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    California, Maryland
    Posts
    14

    Default 8 Frame Medium Hive Suggestions (Tips or Enhancements)

    So I've never kept bees before, and I'm new to the forums. Etc.. Etc.. You probably all know the drill so i'll get right to it..

    I've been looking at keeping bees for probably over a year now but it was too late last year to get started. I'm not so much looking to collect honey or make money off bees or anything. There just seems to be a lack of bees in my area so I figure why not do something to help out... After spending a lot of time figuring out what setup I wanted, I settle in on an 8 frame medium Langstroth. Two in fact.. In January I had ordered one Nucleus colony or "Purdue Leg Chewers" (I think they are partially VSH Carnolians). Shortly thereafter I thought about it and I figured why not get two colonies? I'll be able to contrast and compare between the two as I go. It might help me learn a bit more, it might not, I dunno. So I ordered a nucleus of Ontario Buckfast as well. Both of these are coming from Jeff Berta at Alwayssummerherbs in PA (I live in Maryland). They should be ready for pickup late this month.

    Now to the point of this thread.. I selected an area for these two hives and have been getting it ready. It's a spot about 15 feet into the woods behind my house. It's loosely wooded and will get a decent amount of light through the day. Anywhere else on the property and it would be either too close to human activity or it a high wind area. Since this area doesn't get full intensity light I plan on not painting the hives and keeping them natural so they can breath a bit better. In order to keep them from rotting I got about 35 board feet of a very rot resistant wood called Goncalo Alves. A bit expensive, but I only plan on having two hives and any swarms or splits will go to a friend of mine down the road. Right now it's enough wood for 8 boxes plus enough extra for the covers. The bottom boards and other assorted things will be made from other woods.

    Now I can build these boxes as you would any standard 8 frame medium. But.. I want to hear from anyone on any tips or additions I should or could make to them. Are there any suggestions you have as to how to build them (I.E. Dimensions inside the box, around the frames, etc). Maybe something you do personally, maybe things that you've seen people do.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Middletown, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: 8 Frame Medium Hive Suggestions (Tips or Enhancements)

    Since you are building your owne.. Check the prices of 2X 2x8s are cheaper then 3/4 here at the box stores. I know a few people who have gone this way and sware by it.. 2x giving the bees a little more protection and not that much heavier. I built several over the winter to try this year..

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA, USA
    Posts
    324

    Default Re: 8 Frame Medium Hive Suggestions (Tips or Enhancements)

    (not what you asked, but) because you are not in the sun, small hive beetles might be more of an issue. I recommend you google Freeman SHB traps (and look on beesource) and have a bottom oil tray.

    The most important thing is learning: a mentor, a bee club, and a good class or reading. the other most important thing is doing what you learn.
    4 years, 5 hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    California, Maryland
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: 8 Frame Medium Hive Suggestions (Tips or Enhancements)

    Quote Originally Posted by CrMax View Post
    Since you are building your owne.. Check the prices of 2X 2x8s are cheaper then 3/4 here at the box stores. I know a few people who have gone this way and sware by it.. 2x giving the bees a little more protection and not that much heavier. I built several over the winter to try this year..
    The wood for the hives already arrived last Friday. It's a true 1" thick board and it's pretty dense. Each box just by itself without frames is going to weigh about 15+lbs. I'm hoping that's plenty of protection. If the winters get tough I have an idea to add a sort of second barrier outside the hive. Something that adds a bit of insulation but doesn't increase humidity or block the bees from exiting the hive. I dunno, no serious plans yet.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    California, Maryland
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: 8 Frame Medium Hive Suggestions (Tips or Enhancements)

    Quote Originally Posted by RudyT View Post
    (not what you asked, but) because you are not in the sun, small hive beetles might be more of an issue. I recommend you google Freeman SHB traps (and look on beesource) and have a bottom oil tray.

    The most important thing is learning: a mentor, a bee club, and a good class or reading. the other most important thing is doing what you learn.
    Been doing a lot of reading, there are bee clubs and I know of a few people in the area that have hives. Hopefully I'll find all the information I need as I go.

    As for the beetles I do have some ideas. I want to have a stand that nothing can climb up.. Mice, Ants, Beetles, etc etc. I think it'll be a regular stand with aluminum flashing on top and bent way down over the sides. So the only way anything can climb up to the hive is if it can climb on metal and traverse upside down over the edge of the metal that's hanging down. Just my idea for now. If things do get in the hives then yeah i'll probably build a trap.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Emporia, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: 8 Frame Medium Hive Suggestions (Tips or Enhancements)

    I believe SHB can fly.

    Another idea would be to cut an opening in the back of the box, inset a piece of glass into the opening on the inside, and then put the cut-out piece back on as a removable window cover. That way you could peek in occasionally without cracking the box open. Not something I would do to all my hives, but since you're building from scratch and seem to want to stay small, it would be fun to do.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    California, Maryland
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: 8 Frame Medium Hive Suggestions (Tips or Enhancements)

    Quote Originally Posted by tunedin5ths View Post
    I believe SHB can fly.

    Another idea would be to cut an opening in the back of the box, inset a piece of glass into the opening on the inside, and then put the cut-out piece back on as a removable window cover. That way you could peek in occasionally without cracking the box open. Not something I would do to all my hives, but since you're building from scratch and seem to want to stay small, it would be fun to do.
    I tried researching if they can fly or not and yes I believe they can as well but what are you gonna do about that unless you build really small automatic lasers to shoot them down midair.

    Anyway I could put a glass window in. I think i'll build all 8 boxes right now just as standard boxes. But in a month or so i'll be building probably 4-8 more so I have 6-8 boxes for each hive and I might do it on one of them and I could swap it out wherever I would want to put it in the hives.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Cullman, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    716

    Default Re: 8 Frame Medium Hive Suggestions (Tips or Enhancements)

    Rule #1.) Understand & observe bee-space ! top, bottom, sides, in between frame end bars ( that's why the end bars have shoulders!)
    Honeybees enforce this rule religiously. Some times their tolerances are closer than ours

    Seriously consider moving the hives into the sun. You can fashion a wind break, but its hard to compensate for being in the woods. SHB do fly, & they often are delivered with your new package of bees. Aaaand, shb are not the only varmints.
    My first 8 frame hive bodies I made myself from plans "somewhere on the internet".
    I cussed because they were so wide I could get 9 frames in them. I was disgusted that I had a bunch of "non-standard" boxes, so I bought some "standard" 8 frame boxes from Dadant. Those boxes are plenty big too, but not big enough to put an extra frame in, so I have to add a filler board for my brood boxes. ( remember bee-space? well there is an explanation, but yada yada!)
    2020 hind site, I really like the 9 framers better.
    Enough of my whining. Good Luck with your bees. CE

    PS, "standard" frame end bars are 1&3/8 inch wide. That dimension, times the number of frames plus 1/4 inch would be my version of correct width, but you know the "beekeeper question rule" ... ask 3 beekeepers the same question & get 5 answers.
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    California, Maryland
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: 8 Frame Medium Hive Suggestions (Tips or Enhancements)

    The location is about as good as it gets for me. The only two spaces in full sun are: One, within 15 feet of a road where kids play. And two, between my neighbors driveway and mine which are 30 feet apart. This would be perfect, and they are super nice, but they are older and I don't know the demeanor of the bees yet.

    And by woods Its kind of a loose term. The upper canopy of the trees is about 50+ feet up and not very dense. And i've spent the past two weeks clearing around the beehive spot. It's about a 60 foot diameter section thats totally clear. All in all they should get about 25% sunlight at sunrise maybe 50% in the morning and from about 11am on it's more or less full sun. Not having sun in the early morning bothers me but there are no places around my house that get full morning sun. I'm working it as best as I can for now.

    As for the spacing.. I had an idea to use alumimum rails to hold the frames inside the box instead of making a ledge from the wood itself. It would be a U shaped rail and the U would provide a space for bees to go to avoid getting crushed while putting in frames. But this then leaves all that space open below that rail. How would the bees react to space on the ends of their frames?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Cullman, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    716

    Default Re: 8 Frame Medium Hive Suggestions (Tips or Enhancements)

    Space at ends of frames .... if it is more than 3/8 inch, they will build comb in it.
    If it is less than 1/4, they will glue it to the wall with propolis. Most bees get out of the way when you are moving frames.
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

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