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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    231

    Default What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    Having Fusion done on lower back at age 50 and since this is my first year I wondered if I could find out what will be best size hive boxes to use from this day forward. I Have 1 2-deep ready for honey super and 2 single deeps ready for second deeps. I'm not so far into this that I can't change directions on equipment size. Any input would be thoughtful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Andover, Ohio
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    Sorry I dont have an answer to your question but the bad back topic caught my attention. I lifted both of my 2 deep 10 frame hives yesterday on to a hive stand that I made and they were HEAVY It was too cold to take them apart thats why I lifted them together. My back is a little sore today.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Kingsville, OH
    Posts
    959

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sticky Bear View Post
    Having Fusion done on lower back at age 50 and since this is my first year I wondered if I could find out what will be best size hive boxes to use from this day forward. I Have 1 2-deep ready for honey super and 2 single deeps ready for second deeps. I'm not so far into this that I can't change directions on equipment size. Any input would be thoughtful.

    I too have had back surgery and fussions, matter of fact five surgeries. I use two brood chambers (deeps) and the rest medium to thin (shallow) suppers. I may end up useing the bigger suppers, not the brood chamber, as brood chambers to reduce the weight. I use five frame nucs for captured hives. They are lighter and I can carry them across a yard it I have to.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,659

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    I have back issues. I use 8 frame deep boxes for brood and supers. I'm changing now to a single deep on the bottom with mediums from there up. This is in the process of changing to all 8 frame medium boxes exclusively for both brood and supers. I already have over 80 - 8 frame deeps so will probably be cutting them all down, but if I had it to do all over again, I'd use medium depth 7 frame boxes, boxes that are 12 1/2" wide outside edge to outside edge. I think it would be a better size for both me and the bees.

    I have a theory that bees prefer odd number of frames vs even numbers in a box. I've also noticed that once they have 5 to 7 frames drawn, they like to start moving upwards as much or more than they want to move sideways. So, I've got my little pet theory that I may start having some boxes made that are 7 frame mediums. Mannlake will custom make the boxes for me no problem, it's just that I already have all of these 8 frame deeps... and my back is such that I don't use power tools, especially saws anymore, so what to do with all these boxes? I may try to fill them with bees and sell them off, and repalcing them as time goes on.

    Best of luck to you, and TAKE CARE OF THAT BACK, I hope you continue to recover.
    When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. John Muir

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,111

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    Michael Bush has a page about converting to all medium 8 frame equipment. Here's the beginning:
    My first step in the direction of lighter beekeeping equipment was trying horizontal hives, which I like a lot. But I still had a lot of old equipment around, so I started cutting the deeps down to mediums and quit using deeps and shallows. Then I cut the ten frame boxes to eight frames. If you want to understand why, a ten frame deep full of honey weighs 90 pounds. A ten frame medium weighs 60 pounds. An eight frame medium weighs 48 pounds.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeseightframemedium.htm

    And this page lists common box sizes and their weights:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#lighterboxes

    Its not so much an issue of what can you comfortably lift now, a better question is what can you comfortably lift 10 years from now?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,349

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    I don't have a bad back (hopefully I never will), I have been proactive about caring for my back. When I was about fourteen years old I switched from 10-frame deeps, to all 10-frame mediums, and about ten-fifteen years ago I changed again, to all 8-frame mediums. I'm a fairly strong man and 8-frame medium supers, full of honey are quite hefty. Even 5-frame mediums full of honey have a nice weight to them.

    I have concern for those who run deeps, and I hope they can continue avoiding back or other injuries, indefinitely -- but it may be safer for them to switch to all medium supers, or even 8-frame medium supers. It may be financially more economical to run deeps, even 10-frame deeps, but once someone has an irreversible injury that causes limitations, all they can do about it is have regret.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,824

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    I also have back issues. I have begun to take a couple of 5 frame nucs [full of drawn comb] with me to my production hives and pull honey and put it in the 5 framers. Then I replace the frames with drawn comb. Working very well and much easier on the back.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cupertino, CA, USA
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    I'm switching to 8 frame, one deep for brood, the rest mediums for more brood and honey. I now never lift a 10 frame medium super full of honey, I just pull out capped frames of honey for extraction and use a large feather to brush off the bees. Feathers work far better than bee brushes for me. When the supers are only partly full, I will lift them off. So far my back is doing just fine.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    Im with camero7 on this. Work smarter. It isnt about the size of the frames or the number of them in the box.its how you handle them. I take extra empty boxes into the beeyards. I dont feel like I have to move an entire box full of honey in one swoop. And, if Id had fusion surgery Id be even more cautious. Even a full shallow super can be relatively heavy. I've injured my back before...to the point that I couldn't walk. It scared me. I'm not taking unnecessary chances.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,482

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    I have a theory that bees prefer odd number of frames vs even numbers in a box.
    There is not much weight difference in the box it is in the number of full frames so just put less frames in the box and use a blank to close up the space. Put the bigger boxes on the bottom and narrower ones towards the top (more stable). I don't see the point in reworking them.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Limestone Co, Alabama
    Posts
    1,674

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    ... I have a theory that bees prefer odd number of frames vs even numbers in a box. I've also noticed that once they have 5 to 7 frames drawn, they like to start moving upwards as much or more than they want to move sideways...
    You may be on to something Ray. Go back and find the old skep beekeeping videos filmed in Germany and see now many combs or how big these skep colonies are. Most were only 8 combs wide with the 7th and 8th (out side) combs tiny. Yes I know that bees are like humans in so far as our work ethic is concerned and that over time the amount of worked wax increases to fill the available space. Just saying.

    But when you watch this video notice the amount of lifting and toting that goes along with keeping bees in cow dung hives.
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    sabinsville,pa,usa
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    I am going to all shallow hive bodies......brood and honey.
    Do more for others than they do for you. That way you owe no one anything other than respect.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,025

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    We had a discussion on this in my local bee club last month. We have one older gent who uses all shallows. We have one woman who likes deeps, but never lifts an entire deep - she always takes an empty box and transfers frames.

  14. #14

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    I started with 10-frame medium supers. Lifted a full one and decided I needed 8-frame mediums. I may end up with 8-frame shallows before it's over with. None of them are heavy when it's just frames, but honey is heavy!
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,977

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    I have to deep 10 frame bodies and 3 10 frame medium supers. I chose that to start with due to all I have read on this issue on this site. It is a start and I expect to discover what I like best from there. I see a good chance I may end up with 8 frame boxes before it is over but I don't see me giving up the deep box for brood chambers easily. My first hive so far is two deeps. one for brood one fore the bees stores. I will add mediums above that. That I expect will be my honey.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN., USA
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    Heve you all considered the Horizontal Lang?? I just saw Micheal Bush here in Nashville yesterday. He's currently touring you know? Interesting class and learned a lot at. He spoke of the Horizontal Lang. I had heard of that, but I just never gave it any thought til yesterday. It is Lang hive of whatever size box you choose between either deep or medium. It is one box deep and no need to stack because that one box is long. He said the ideal length is 4 ft but no longer than 5ft. The thing is that far as I know, just like a top bar hive, there is not really any standardization to them as far as length goes, so you have to make them. With the same specs as Lang (except for the length), you have to make a long bottom board, long box, long inner cover and lid. Of course you can purchase frames. For someone that has the wood working equipment, it's a good idea I think.
    Last edited by LampBurner; 06-04-2012 at 06:44 AM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,435

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    My first hive so far is two deeps. one for brood one fore the bees stores.
    Are you purposely restricting the queen to a single deep?
    Regards, Barry

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    231

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    Thanks for all the advice; I'm waiting for the Doctors to determine how many lumbar vertebrae to fuse 1, 2 or 3. So I should have surgery in the next month with a 4-6 month recovery time. Family is going to help during that time and I want it to be easy for them too.

    Should I be concentrating on making more bees and split my 2 deeps into to hives and take my two single deeps and create another hive from them? Allowing the splits without queens to raise their own queen? We have nectar flow until October.

    I sure wanted some honey just for us this year. But would rather have more bees at this point. I can see where using an empty deep to lighten the load could work, going smaller is an option for me since I build my own boxes.


    Once again thanks for the input. Being new to this I can use all the advice offered.

    Regards, Jack
    Last edited by Sticky Bear; 06-04-2012 at 08:29 AM.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    827

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    I'm an old guy, 73 years and counting. I started last year with three hives of 10 frame deeps with mediums above them. This year I am adding hives. My new hives are all eight frame mediums. I can handle them fine, but I am very cautious about lifting. Remember to lift correctly, by using your legs, keeping the load close to your body, and not rotating your back. You can hurt your back quite easily using poor lifting methods. I would bet that the internet is full of vidioes showing correct lifting procedures. Be careful boys and girls.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: What size hive boxes are those with bad backs using?

    I'm 40 and have degenerative disc disease which has become more and more problematic in the past year. I started beekeeping this spring, as it is something I've wanted to do since I was a kid and it is something I can do at home that is not incredibly strenuous much of the time.

    I started with two nuc's, and since they were made from deep frames, I have a single deep box on each of my two hives. Above the deep, I'm using mediums, and plan next year to split my hives using frames from the medium boxes so I can move to using all mediums. The need for this became apparent when I replaced my solid bottom boards with screened bottom boards a couple weeks ago, and I'm glad I don't have a second deep on top of the first one, as I'd like to lift them as rarely as possible.

    I can lift a full medium if I am careful, but when/if I harvest honey, I am probably going to move individual frames from the supers into an empty box sitting on my garden cart.

    Although it seems like I am in the minority here, I am not completely disassembling the hives during each inspection in order to find the queen. I just look for a frame that has some eggs or uncapped larvae and I'm happy enough to know that the queen is there from that information without having to do much unnecessary lifting.

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