# Thread: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

Originally Posted by Michael Bush
>However when speaking with some people about pf-1xx plastic frames some individuals were touting how great they were and that you used a lot of them, and may prefer them more than foundationless. Is that true?

I have a mixture of things. I prefer foundationless if I have the time and energy to build the frames. I prefer the plastic PF120s when I don't have the time and energy. The foundationless "feels" better and is obviously more natural.
For the frames do you go with a bevel, or a starter strip? I may try some of the pf120s, but would love to know how you get success with foundationless , if a frame type works better than another.

In my case I am shooting for 2-5 hives, so building the frames shouldn't be too bad.

Thanks!

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

Frame Equivalents Medium to Deep...

Assuming that a medium frame has 2/3 the surface area of a deep- a commonly stated conversion factor

Then 1 Medium Frame = 2/3 Deep Frame

Rearranging this 3/2 Medium Frame = 1 Deep Frame

For 10 frame boxes 10 X 3/2 Medium Frames = 10 Deep Frames
then 15 Medium Frames = 10 Deep Frames

Comparing an 8 frame Medium box to 10 frame Deep
If a Medium Frame is 2/3 the area of a Deep Frame
then 8 Medium Frames = 8 X 2/3 Deep Frames
8 Medium Frames = 16/3 Deep Frames
8 Medium Frames = 5-1/3 Deep Frames

Compare 10 Frame Deep to the equivalent number of 8 frame boxes
1 Deep Frame = 3/2 Medium Frame
10 Deep Frames = 10 X (3/2) Medium Frames = 15 Medium Frames

15 Medium Frames / 8 Frames per box = 1.875 8 frame Medium boxes

This means that one 10 frame Deep box is equal to 1.88 8 frame Medium boxes ( you would need one less medium frame for the 2 Mediums 8 frame boxes to be equal to the Deep).

(edited the last statement for math error)

by math challenged TooFarGone- Hope it helps
Last edited by TooFarGone; 10-16-2012 at 10:26 AM.

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

My bad appologies to the group, I learned from this.
I checked the usable foundation dimensions from the Foundation Form Board from the build it your self section and used the following dimensions:
Both are 16.9375" long (16 15/16").
Deep is 7.875" tall (7 7/8")
Med. is 5.0625" tall (5 1/16")
20 deeps (2 sides) is 5335.3 sq. inches
16 med. (2 sides) is 4115.8 sq. inches or 77% of 2 deeps
24 med. (2 sides) is 5469 sq. inches or 102% of 2 deeps
My math may not be exact but I think the ratios are valid.
Thank you all for the help and advice, lesson learned
Last edited by mmmooretx; 10-16-2012 at 09:51 AM. Reason: typo

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

If we are going to need a degree in Math to be successful in Beekeeping, I am out of luck. (HA)

cchoganjr

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

I would start with a standard, 8 or 10 frame set up. ( I'm cutting several of my 10 down to 8 frame deeps now ) But I wouldn't mix them just yet. I had several calls this year from beginning beekeepers looking to combine hives or hive swarms and they had mixed hives.. 1 lang, and 1 warre or 1 kenyan... it makes it much more difficult to move bees from one type to the other... I started with 2 langs and after 4 years built a kenyan and a lang long.... 90 percent of my bees are still in the langs..

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

Originally Posted by Beelosopher
For the frames do you go with a bevel, or a starter strip? I may try some of the pf120s, but would love to know how you get success with foundationless , if a frame type works better than another.

In my case I am shooting for 2-5 hives, so building the frames shouldn't be too bad.

Thanks!
I am in my first year as well and cant resist chiming in here too...

I was precisely where you are in terms of trying to get everything perfectly planned and decided, and while Michael Bush's advice on 8 frame mediums sounded (and IS) wonderful, the fact of the matter was that where I am, nobody has 8 frame equipment --- when I bought my bees, I bought the whole hive and it was 10 frame and so that settled that. Thats what everybody had and thats the size of the screened bottom boards with oil trays are that everyone is building here are too. So...I started with one full deep hive full of bees, and an extra 10 frame deep, and quickly purchased a few 10 frame mediums.

From there I just continued with deeps as the brood chamber and keep worked up to 10 deeps and 20 mediums, and 5 nucs; ensuring I had enough equipment on hand for swarm calls, splits, etc. I was able to lend and borrow frames, boxes etc. (unused to hold people over till their orders arrived from the mainland and they could replace my equipment). Same size equipment is important where I live and is probably not as much of an issue for you.

Also, I dont have a cold winter, so the overwintering is also not an issue.

My boxes and my frames are now all assembled; the frames are now half with wax foundation, half without, so that in a pinch I can slide a foundationless frame between two drawn out frames and not have any problems. It is much easier to assemble all the frames you would need in a year and store them hanging in stacked empty painted boxes than to have to have an assembly party mid season when you are busy with other things....

I know you are probably in information overload, and I dont want to add overly to that, but wanted to share a couple of things.

1. Whatever you chose, be sure you have enough on hand, ready to carry into the bee yard when you start on day one. And have extra on hand. Why? Because day two might bring a swarm call! I have had to cobble together three mediums to house a swarm when I didnt have my deeps ready to go. Just be prepared....Thats still my strongest hive, BTW.

2. buying frames is much easier than building them. Spend your time making a nice jig that will enable you to staple together 10 frames at a time if you are handy...but the unassembled frames are cheap enough and no reason to re-invent the wheel to make them when they are so reasonably priced.

3. my bees have expressed a clear preference for no foundation or wax foundation over plastic. For ME, a hobbyist, there is no reason to try to make them use plastic, they would rather build little wax shims and build 3/8 inch off the plastic than draw it out.

4. sometimes you need to just jump in the water. I was paralyzed with information overload till my mentor just told me...."Get the Bees, you ARE ready." I am glad I did, because I can still learn here and from reading and working with other folks in their beeyards; but the bees are teaching me too.

5. Get the big smoker. I thought I would only have two hives. Now I have 9, Including a TBH that I happened to be able to get as a trade for some graphic arts work I did. I put a swarm in it and it stayed. Now I have another waiting for bees...The point of that story is--you never know, you might end up with more bees than you thought

Good luck....

7. ## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

"usable foundation" depends on if you have fat wood top bars and wood bottom bars and wood end bars, or you have plastic frames with narrow top, end and bottoms. But volume is the main thing for a winter cluster. Three ten frame mediums is the equivalent of two ten frame deeps for most purposes.

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

Originally Posted by Michael Bush
"usable foundation" depends on if you have fat wood top bars and wood bottom bars and wood end bars, or you have plastic frames with narrow top, end and bottoms. But volume is the main thing for a winter cluster. Three ten frame mediums is the equivalent of two ten frame deeps for most purposes.
Michael,
Thanks again for your insight. I currently have 3 10 frame double deep hives I am looking at starting 2 8 frame hives in April using med. supers boxes so I am currently planning how many boxes to buy/make.

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

I am currently keeping bees in 8 frame deeps, 8 frame mediums, 10 frame deeps, 10 frame western (7 5/8") and 8 frame Jumbo. I will switch all my hives to 8 frame and 12 frame Jumbo, I like the single brood chamber.

Here are pictures of a foundationless Jumbo frame and hive.

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

Love the hive stand!

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

It seems like all the options here can cause indecision as we overanalyze these choices. I think you should flip a coin to decide between 8 frame or 10. Then, flip again to decide between deep or mediums. Done.

I like 8 frame deeps. I'm older than most of you and have an unjured back from flying helicopters in the 1970's. If I can handle the 8 frame deep, most anyone can.

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

Originally Posted by Lburou
It seems like all the options here can cause indecision as we overanalyze these choices. I think you should flip a coin to decide between 8 frame or 10. Then, flip again to decide between deep or mediums. Done.

I like 8 frame deeps. I'm older than most of you and have an unjured back from flying helicopters in the 1970's. If I can handle the 8 frame deep, most anyone can.
One of the newbee items to know is fhat if you are buying a NUC to start a hive it is almost exclusivly deep frames (can go to 8 or 10 frame Langs.), so if you want to go to medium only hives you will probably need to buy package bees or catch a swarm.

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

My nuc supplier, Broke-T, will supply my two ordered nucs for next spring on medium frames, so it never hurts to ask!

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

Originally Posted by TooFarGone
My nuc supplier, Broke-T, will supply my two ordered nucs for next spring on medium frames, so it never hurts to ask!
OUTSTANDING! First I have heard of this level of support.

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

I have 10 frame langs and a top bar. I prefer the lang, it is more intuitive for me and information regarding the management is far more common. I have never tried a Warre and don't know that I ever plan to. For now the main reason for this is the following issue surrounding adequate brood space. I also use the 10 frame lang rather than an 8 frame due to these same issues. I can't really say I am right. All I can say is I have looked at the issue and made my choice.

I have been aware that a single deep 10 frame lang is not large enough for a queen to make a brood nest in a single box since I first started looking into keeping bees. This at first did not make much since to me. We make a box to keep bees in. Shouldn't that box be designed to be adequate for the bees? Looking further I found that the actual size of the box has more to do with consistency in equipment and portability than function. SO much so that it actually causes the size to come into question as to functionality. The simple answer is ad another box. Which of course is the standard answer. This of course causes the queen to have to move upward to find new places to lay. This moving up thing has some issues of it's own.

With 8 frame equipment this upward direction of the brood nest is increased. Th 13 frame lang is actually a good complete answer that allows a queen to lay in a single brood box. The Dadant hive design is also an answer and they actually went a long way in promoting it just for that reason. Btu when you roll it all together. the 10 frame lang is my favorite compromise between what others use, standard size equipment, it can still be handled and the queen has plenty of room without going to a third level. I have also witnessed at least to date that the queen will move back down as honey fills the upper box in a 10 frame. The 10 frame has some conservation of materials and labor. I can put 10 frames in a box for just a few more inches of wood and the exact same cutting and assembly time as I can an 8 frame. And it reduces the number of boxes needed overall. I woudl have to actually use 8 frame equipment side by side with 10 frame to really know if there is really that much difference though. All I can say is that for now I looked at the issue as I understand it and made my choice.

16. ## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

This of course causes the queen to have to move upward to find new places to lay. This moving up thing has some issues of it's own.
What are the issues?

It's my understanding that mediums enable the cluster to move through the hive more easily in the winter.

I have been tempted to try a couple of 8 frame deeps but I would regret doing so the first time I wanted to move a frame with queen cells to a "queen castle" or nuc box.

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

What are the issues?

Most of this comes from "The Dadant Method of Beekeeping" And the entire issue is rather complicated. So for the entire explanation I would direct you to that book.

As far as the moving up. when the queen runs out of room in the second frame she again tends to look upward for more empty space rather than going back down. The entire issue is somewhat just a portion of the overall progression of events as the queen moves from cell to cell laying eggs.

It's my understanding that mediums enable the cluster to move through the hive more easily in the winter.

I have heard this mentioned before but don't understand just what is supposed to be making such a difference. I imagine that on the shorter frames the cluster may always be bridging from one frame to the next rather than avoiding the gap as I have seen people comment can be a problem.

I have been tempted to try a couple of 8 frame deeps but I would regret doing so the first time I wanted to move a frame with queen cells to a "queen castle" or nuc box.

I started with both deeps and med but I tend to be drifting toward all deeps after one summer. Mainly my brood boxes are deeps. so my nucs also tend to be deeps. this makes any med frames I have useless for anything but honey. This at times is a problem such as the last couple of weeks when I needed My big hive to fill frames of honey for two 5 frame nucs. I only had med frames. So a deep nuc box got cut down to a med. I have not yet gotten the whole deep or med issue settled with myself. I know for a fact I don't like lifting deeps of honey. I am probably going to a deep brood box and everything else med everything else at the very least. I may end up on the all med side of the fence. [/QUOTE]

18. ## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

Daniel Y,

I believe you meant "The Dadant System of Beekeeping".

Originally Posted by Daniel Y
I may end up on the all med side of the fence.
There's a lot of people who like having one size of box.

I had a discussion about "all mediums" with Dewey Caron several years ago and while he didn't have any objections to using all 8-frame mediums, he did say that the swirled brood pattern on a deep frame has a nice, natural look to it. I agree.

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

If you measure the distance between the bottom of the frames and bottom of the box on mediums and shallows, it is not as great as deeps. That is how my equipment has measured from vendors. Could explain the ease of movement of the cluster.

Queens do different things; some queens will move between boxes of deeps or mediums and some will not. I have tried the unlimited brood nest of mediums and it is not for my keeping practice.

My main reason for switching to 8 frame "Jumbos" is the singular brood chamber, it has the same area as the 10 frame deep. Also keeping control of those nasty "small hive beetles", I cannot stand to chase those pest between chambers!!!

I still use 10 frame shallows for comb honey, the brood chamber is a shallow with 9 frames. This compresses the bees to work the supers. There are many different ways bees will provide what you want, so try it and make your own decisions.

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## Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

Originally Posted by Daniel Y
Th 13 frame lang is actually a good complete answer that allows a queen to lay in a single brood box.
13 Frame Lang. for raising "drones"!

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