I am currently switching to all 10 frame Western (7 5/8"). Nice compromise between deep and medium.
The horizontal hive is at a height that is comfortable with a deep super. It also allows you to put things on the side your not working, like having a bench at the right height. So you don't have to bend down.
As with a deep super on both sides you could put the equivalent of 4 mediums (2 side by side). 6 medium supers (3 side by side) wouldn't be too much of an issue either.
I'm also going to try a couple of 5 frame Nucs on it as well.
Another good thing about horizontal hives - especially if they have a split roof - is that they have a convienient built in table to sit your tools on.
Oh, here is a pic of a few of my hives...
Transportable - with metal roofs to block the desert sun.
I took the advice given and I'm leaning towards horizontal hives, even went so far to email Michael Bush for advice. I do have questions on how they differ in frame placement and such, but I’m sure if I stick around here those will be answered too.
Something else not mentioned is that you can kneel beside a horizontal hive when you work your bees and the bees don't even hardly pay attention to you, compared to towering above them and scaring the daylights out of them. However, removing the frames is a bit more systematic than a normal lang. You can't just start pulling, you have to work your way from back to front, for the most part. Not a problem, but definitely different than a standard box.
Paul I noticed differences in the two you have in your picture, is it cosmetic or functional changes?
Well, the brown one was the original hive i first built years back; it started life as a top bar hive. The yellow one is what it morphed into after I built a whole bunch of them and fine tuned it a bit taking into account bee space and stuff like that. I eventually put a wire skunk guard on the front of the yellow hive. It also has a screened bottom board with removeable tray. My newer hives have taller legs, no guard, and simple wire screen floor vents. I use an 8 frame imrie shim for winter feeding, or just throw an 8 frame super on them, and seal the back half with a follower board. I ditched the screened bottom in favor of splitting the hive up when the season is done.
The legs also fold up on the brown hive so it is not so tall when it is moved. Even though it was not built with bee space being a factor, I have raised three different colonies in the brown hive and so far they have not burred it up like you think they would. Bees love that thing for some reason.
I was doing maintenance on them when I took this picture. That yellow hive - #7 is my most productive hive this season. It holds 44 frames and is filled just about all the way to the end with bees. I caught them trying to swarm last week and did a cut down split on them and harvested their honey to make room for the second flow in the desert.
Last edited by Paul McCarty; 06-09-2012 at 10:01 PM.
Would it be possible for you to post more pics, or have you done it in another thread? Plywood bottom and plank siding or entire 3/4" plywood? Michael Bush suggested several migratory tops with a piece of cement back board for waterproofing. Notice you use tin.
Last edited by Sticky Bear; 06-10-2012 at 02:03 AM.
Sticky Bear, it's no different from making a standard Langstroth hive. The only difference is that the width of the base and the hive body is double (or triple) the width of a standard hive. Just like placing hive bodies side by side. So that the long sides are together. Use your existing equipment to make measurements. There's no internal walls, and the width of the two is the same as one frame. So the hive takes 21 frames.
The base and roofs are marine grade plywood, with marine grade varnish. The hive bodies are standard pine. My entrances are in the front of the roofs, but there are entrances on the base at the sides. (Instead of at the front on a standard hive.)
I don't use cement sheeting anymore, it's heavier and cracks too easy.
I'll post some more pictures when I get a chance.
Nothing special about mine, basically just a lang box that extends back instead of up. My outer cover/roof is in three pieces - each sized for a super and can double as a standard lang roof. Some of these I have added inner covers to, but going without has not been a huge issue. These roofs are also insulated with a layer of insulation sandwiched between plywood. The tin roof is just a piece of tin laying across the top as a heat and rain shield. It is the desert here, and solar radiation is a killer. I size them so there is a bit of wrap around to shade the sides and keep the heat off the box. It is so dry here, I don't bother with marine grade plywood. I use an 8 frame imrie shim for feeding candy in the Winter and a follower board.
I've had chronic back pain for years, but so far have avoided surgery. I'm currently making the switch to 8 frame mediums. I already ran mediums, so going 8 frame was't a big deal. So far, I love it. The boxes are easy to grab and I can split by the box(which has been my focus this year).
I will be 50 this year, and this change should help me avoid further back problems for a while. Maybe when I'm 70, I'll dump these 8 framers and make me some 5 framers.
Switching to all 10 frame 7-5/8" boxes for everything except my nuc/queen production yard as 90% of all beeks want deep nucs only!
So all my deeps are getting division boards in them to make them into 2 -5 frame nucs in each box. I do med nucs as well and have been trying to convince the backyard hobbyist newbies that going with all meds is a good thing, some bite and some don't!
Hugus Creek Honey Farm: St. Maries, ID / Lewiston, ID
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I'm in Western Colorado and we average less than 10 % humidity and 7 " of rain a year. High mountain desert and solar is a big factor here too. Not knowing how severe my restrictions will be after my surgery I'm hesitant to continue with anything that requires bending or lifting. So I'm assuming you fill the entire box with frames and or use a devider board to keep them in a confined space until they need more. or I want to use an end for a split, correct? How thick of insulation in roof panel? We have to deal with cold during the winter and heat the rest of the year. Thanks for all the input guys, I'm on a crash course here with very little time and I don't want to lose my bees. I still need something to do after the surgery.
Last edited by Sticky Bear; 06-10-2012 at 05:26 PM.
I live at 7000' feet in New Mexico - My conditions are probably very similar - but we get more rain, though it is dry as a bone. It gets darn cold here too, and we get dozens of mountain snowstorms in Winter, from October into March. It can get as low as -10 but normally does not stay that way for more than a week or so, then back up to 35-40. I cannot answer how my long hives overwinter in the mountains, as I keep them in the desert primarily. This will be my first year with them up here, but I don't expect any issues. It gets even colder in the desert, but it swings higher in the day. I use a piece of sheathing insulation cut to fit inside the outer cover. My standard langs have quilt boxes, though I don't think they really need them. I was going to make them for my horizontal hives, but went with insulated exterior sheathing, as it was easier and cheaper. I used both kinds - the mylar silver stuff and the pressed wool board. They eat the pressed wool. Not sure I like that.
I fill my boxes as full of frames as I can and add more when they move across the box. Sometimes I use a divider/follower, but mostly not (just in the cold). Just keep adding empty frames in the middle of the brood nest to get them to fill the box. Eventually they will draw honey storage and do the same with it - add empty frames and push the drawn capped honey to the rear. In no time the box will be JAMMED with bees. I think they do it faster than in standard langs. I can find the queen easier in them too. If you use deep frames, you have the equivalent of a 4 box deep lang and you can conceivably get more honey.
Last edited by Paul McCarty; 06-10-2012 at 11:16 PM.
Here is a link to the photos of different aspects of my long hive:
These photos show the way the frames go and a side entrance:
If you are in the desert, don't paint it a dark color like I have. Also my roofs are designed to retain heat better which you don't want. For ventilation, If you have entrances on both ends open they can cool the hive quite well.,
You will need the equivalent of two deep hive bodies for your winter (I say that based on overwintering colonies in Cheyenne, WY at 6,000 ft). Your colonies might get by with three medium supers, and you could phase out the deeps in time -get help for the first year or two as you work the hives with deep supers. Join a bee club and trade someone for medium or shallow supers. Consider eight frame equipment. For overwintering in Alaska and Wyoming, I used standard Langstroth style equipment with a telescoping cover, with wind protection and one modification: A 3/4 inch hole above the hand hold on the top super for air ventilation.
Also, since you live in a desert, get ready to feed the bees until you have a handle on your honey flows, and how much honey stores your bees need over your winter.
I've seen a youtube video of Russian beekeepers putting just a few frames in a hive body and covering them with canvas and a pillow to restrict bee movement from the open space, but I would not recommend that with our wax moth and hive beetle populations.
My good wife had three disks fused 18 months ago and she is fine now, just can't bend over much. You are not going to be doing any manipulation of supers for at least nine months, probably a year or more....They are heavy, so you might just as well arrange for some help lifting for the foreseeable future.
I had a visit by a beekeeper from Siberia this week. One of the things discussed was a hive design where the beekeeper opens the hive like a filing cabinet (meaning, no lifting). I think it was a discussion of hives mounted in a trailer for moving from field to field. I asked for some pictures, we'll see what we get. If I get anything, I'll share it with you.
That file cabinet system is common over there. So are the bee trucks. I believe they use them instead of bee yards.