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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Memphis, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    I'm a second year beek, living in in the 'burbs. I have one TBH that I built. For several reasons, I am looking at switching to a Long Box Hive. Has anyone else done this? Any ideas/advice on how the switch could be accomplished?
    I think I get how to move the comb - I'd would cut the comb off of the bars and wire them onto the frames (I'd be using foundationless frames.) I just don't know how move the bees...

    Also, I will be moving the hive itself, I don't know where as of yet, but it will be out of my neighborhood more than likely. Would I switch the hive out before or after the move?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Bunker Hill, IL
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    This goes just like any other cut out other than its really easy to get to the existing comb.

    you take empty deep frames, take the TBH cut them off the top bars and place the comb in new deep frames. tie in place with string or rubberbands.

    brood goes in the middle, pollen next then honey at the edges.

    shake the rest of the bees into the new box and place the new long box in the same spot as the TBH. queen scent does the rest.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Memphis, Tennessee, USA
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    4

    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    Thanks, Schmism!

    Beekeeping is a whole new world - I'm excited to be a part of it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    I saw on you tube video the beekeeper use black plastic zip tie to tie the combs
    onto his top bar. I would say use the same process to tie the combs onto the lang
    frame also. 3-4 of them will do until they attached the combs to the frame. Then you
    can cut off the ties and they will fix the holes again. Forgot which vid that was.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    San Francisco, California
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    15

    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    I would find the queen first and transfer her majesty with a queen catcher to the new hive. It will make the cutout so much easier; no need to worry about where she's about. Release her when you are done and ready to close the cover.

  6. #6
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    Dec 2012
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    Australia
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    I saw on you tube video the beekeeper use black plastic zip tie to tie the combs
    onto his top bar. I would say use the same process to tie the combs onto the lang
    frame also. 3-4 of them will do until they attached the combs to the frame. Then you
    can cut off the ties and they will fix the holes again. Forgot which vid that was.
    I wouldn't, I tried it and they create gaps and places for things to hide, even if only for a short while it's still a pain, and removing them causes damage. Yes the bees will fix some but near all the comb that had them and I removed them from still, months later, have holes in them.

    I'd go with 1 1/2" long trim nails (the kind used for door trim etc), knock them in off center and bend to form a L and just hang the comb of them, use lots as the weight will be an issue. It's quick and no need to change anything later.

    Option two is big rubber bands to hold the comb in place for a week then cut to remove.

    Cheers, Thomas

    PS Zip ties in use: http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/...ps38417bfb.jpg never again!

  7. #7
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    Oct 2011
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    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    I made a long hive with Lang's dimensions. I just moved my bars into new hive and shake the bees. Could your long hive accommodate existing bars or may be you could do some alterations for this? As for how to support comb - I am using hair clips attached to the frame/bar - I saw it on youtube. It worked amusingly well - very minimal damage to the comb. I love my long hive! God luck with your project.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  8. #8
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    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    All of my long hives fit lang or top bars. I have also devised a way to support comb from top bars in which a piece of larger hardware cloth is stapled to the edge of the bar, trimmed, and bent in the manner of a hook, so you can hook the comb onto it.

    I have about 1/2 standard langs, and 1/2 long langs. I gave up on the top bars as the bees drew too much comb and the collapsed in the heat with no bottom support. It might work better with a medium sized box, but deeps are too big for unsupported comb in my opinion. These days, I just fill them with foundationless lang frames.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McCarty View Post
    ...
    I have about 1/2 standard langs, and 1/2 long langs..
    Paul, could you estimate average honey productivity in both types? Something like how much extracted honey per box of same size/yr horizontal vs Lang... we had a discussion on this and it is controversial - some reported lover productivity for the long hives, some - 70 kilos per hive/yr.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  10. #10
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    Feb 2009
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    Bunker Hill, IL
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    the reason why string or rubberbands is prefered is because the bees will chew through both and remove them from the hive on there own. eg no need to go back and mess with them.

  11. #11
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    I don't know. It seems to be variable based on the bees run in them and the location. That being said, my long hives always seem to be jammed with honey. I maintain a 12 frame broodnest for overwintering, and everything else is harvested. Last season that was about 20 deep frames of extra honey when the season was over - and the hive had swarmed at least once. I did not get nearly the same from my standard langs. Not sure why. I was lucky to get an 8 frame medium from each.

    My theory is that the horizontal langs build up and carry a larger population when managed right. Some of mine built up a terrifying large population of bees last season. I have 19 hives - 8 of which are long langs. I use them for comb honey mostly.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  12. #12
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McCarty View Post
    My theory is that the horizontal langs build up and carry a larger population when managed right. Some of mine built up a terrifying large population of bees last season. I have 19 hives - 8 of which are long langs. I use them for comb honey mostly.
    Paul, that's very interesting. A lot of beekeepers insist that a horizontal hive can't be a good honey producer, for various reasons-- bees want to move vertically, long hives are swarm machines, etc. Can you give us an indication of how you manage your hives to get high populations without excessive swarming?

    (By the way, I stole some of your ideas for the two long hives I built. So far I love them. The one I started from a nuc a month ago is booming; the one I started from a package last week is building lots of comb.)

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    Basically, I keep adding empty frames and making splits during the course of the season th keep the broodnest open. It is very similar to checkerboarding. I break up the brood frames by adding an empty every two frames, and break up the "honey cap" by adding empties in the same manner. The bees normally stop to fill the frames before moving on and it delays their swarm. I have not seen my bees really care whether it is vertical or not. I am not perfect about stopping swarms, but they usually have so many bees it doesn' seem to hurt them much if they do.

    These hives are not all fun and games though - they take a lot more effort to work them, as you work with each individual frame, and doing it by box is out of the question. Also, if you don't have your roof split into sections, you have to face ALL the bees at once. I use two manipulations cloths or feedbag inner covers so I don't have to constantly fight bees.

    I just worked my oldest one yesterday - (3 yrs) and it has about 20 brood frames currently. It has a huge amount of bees. We just got flying drones this week, so I went ahead and split them and added more empty frames.

    Adding empties is the key. I also add them prior to Winter so they go into spring with a few gaps to fill. It's all about rotating empties and keeping them busy giving the queen space to lay so they can't shut her down. Definitely a hands on type affair. I have found I can't leave them more than two weeks (and that is pushing it) or they will swarm.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    Thanks, Paul.

    My research seems to confirm what you say, in that the horizontal hives take more frequent attention than vertical hives. The folks who say they aren't usable are mostly beekeepers who have larger numbers of hives, so maybe that kind of attention is not practical for them.

    But as a beginner, I see that as a feature rather than a bug. I'm using this first year to learn as much about bees as I can. I have to restrain myself from poking around in the hives too often. I've been feeding in foundationless frames at a rate of one or two a week. I do have top boards that are the same width as 8 frame supers, covered by galvanized roofing like yours. The legs are taller than yours-- bad back-- which I guess might make them harder to move if that becomes necessary. However, the legs are attached by a single bolt, so if I have to, I can jack up the boxes with a floor jack and take the legs off.

    http://slidercat.com/blog/wordpress/...4/twohives.jpg

  15. #15
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    Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    I've finished my splits with vertical Langs and I'm now ready to build my first horizontal Lang. Keep posting the pros and cons because so far I see the cons as a means to better management overall.
    Jack Moore ~ Sticky Bear Apiary
    Zone 7a ~ Elev: 4840ft. ~ https://www.facebook.com/StickyBearApiary

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    The horizontal hives work for me in the desert pretty well. They don't blow over and can be moved fairly well by two people. They don't look like a beehive. They make a lot of honey when managed right.

    Just have to check them diligently.

    The large commercial guys have no use for them because of the time involved. Where I live it doesn't matter, because most beekeepers are not running thousands of hives. The land will not support it. If they are, they are migratory. For a mostly stationary naturalistic operation, horizontal hives work just fine.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sticky Bear View Post
    ... I see the cons as a means to better management overall.
    I really do not see this way - "management by the box" with already drawn comb - yes, of coarse it is easier than foundationless deep frames in the long hive. But, if we compare vertical and horizontal hives, both foundationless, than, I am not sure, which one is requiring less (easy) management? From "moving deep boxes" prospective, long hive is much better!

    I built mine, so it can accept standard deep frames or/and top bars. It based on Lang standards. I hate it, but it makes life easier. The dimensions are exactly 2x Lang single box external in length- so, I am using two standard inner covers and two pieces of corrugated sheet metal as a roof (and two bricks at the top ), which are overlapping. When I add a standard Lang super (vertical expansion) - I use normal roof for Lang boxes and corrugated sheet metal for the horizontal part. For SoCal, bottom is a sandwich, screen-gap-solid bottom. In the gap I could put oil tray or sticky board. Somewhere I got it - the entrance is at 1/3 height, not at the bottom. It is approximately 8 frames-long slit with nice landing deck.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Серёжа, Sergey

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    That's a beautiful garden Sergey, and the hives seem to fit it perfectly.

    I found Michael Bush's ideas about top entrances plausible. Also, I realized fairly early on that I would enjoy producing bees more than honey, so I was thinking about ways to make a long hive into a nuc battery. Anyway, my entrances are just 3/8" high slots about 7 inches wide (a little more than Tom Seeley's observation that bees tend to choose entrances that are about 2 square inches) routed into the 3/4" covering board. The nice thing about these entrances is that they can be flipped over to close them, so they make a very flexible system-- you can put a small entrance on one side and a large on the other, and to change, you just flip the board over. When I get to the point of making nucs, a long hive with top boards sized to 5 frame size would allow a lot of flexibility in arranging the space.

    Here's a shot of my entrance, without the galvanized roofing panel that waterproofs the hive:

    topentrance.jpg

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    Long hives are a nuc factory. Can't beat them for making splits and nucs out of. Much easier than a normal lang.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Converting a TBH into a Long Box Hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McCarty View Post
    Long hives are a nuc factory. Can't beat them for making splits and nucs out of. Much easier than a normal lang.
    Paul, that's what I'm hoping. I can't see any reason it wouldn't be a good idea to start a nuc in the far end of a long hive, especially if bees rather than honey are my main interest.

    The guy I got my first bees from had a sideyard full of nuc boxes on posts. I can't see many advantages to doing that over a long hive with a half-dozen divisions. One that has occurred to me is if you set up a long hive as a mating nuc battery, is there a danger of queens getting lost on their way back? I guess you could paint each division a different color. I've seen Russian long hives with a colony in each end painted that way, and wondered if it was to make it easier for bees to find their own hive.

    I apologize to the original poster for dragging the thread off-track, but this stuff is interesting to me, and might be helpful to someone contemplating changing over to a long hive. I actually built a top bar hive over the winter, but the long hives have been working so well so far that I haven't gotten any bees for it yet. I was going to put some Wolf Creek small cell bees in the top bar hive, but then my wife talked me into another long hive; she really likes them. I had to obey, because I have to go away for extensive periods this summer, and she'll be caring for the hives while I'm gone.

    I guess I have the opposite problem-- how to split a long hive into a TBH. I've thought about wiring the top bars to the top bars of the frames, and letting the bees build comb until they have covered the bar, before making a split. The bees might build out past the top bars, which are shorter than the Lang frames, but even if the comb had to be carved down a bit, it would still be easier than chopping up frames.

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