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  1. #1
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    Default Combination of Langstroth & TBH - reality for possible future hives, or a disaster?

    Hello all.
    I don't have as much experience as everybody else out here so if this question seems ridiculous - let me know why. The other day I was 'trolling' the posting trying to enlarge my knowledge and stumbled across this post, and even commented on it. The post is here - http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ean-Long-Hives
    It seems that in this modified design, the user has potentially created a perfect hive consisting of a 'normal hive', starter/finisher and nuc builder - all within the same hive body. It would seem that you might have created a TBH, using a combination of Langston building materials and created a possibly great hive. With some modifications (additional entrances, a screened bottom, and multiple dividers you could create a single place to make splits for sale and also gather some honey. Here's what I'm proposing - and (be kind) but let me know why this wouldn't work -

    1. unsure of the size, as 32 frames seems rather large, but might work in the long run depending on how many frames you want to manage in the initial hive + nucs or double-hive in the same box - besides I could grow as needed. I live in SC so the cold isn't really too much of a factor for me by needing all the extra insulation in the sides, but would need adequate top ventilation to keep all the humidity out during the summer time.
    2. i like the ability to use Langston frames for several reasons - similar frames, easy nuc packages, a pre-formed foundation for the bees to build off of - which means less potential 'slop' from erratic comb building, and easy transfer ability later for nucs or into other hives. I could supplement other hives if needed also.
    3. solid bottom - got to go as even with TBH's there is a screened bottom for SHB, mite checks, etc. Why couldn't I just use a full screening across the bottom? less space for SHB to hide, and anything that drops, wasn't needed anyway. I could build a 'tray' to slide mite/cardboard onto for mite checks simply enough.
    4. by pre-drilling multiple holes in the sides I could create additional hives, or nucs by giving them their own entrances to use. I can use 'full' frames to section them easly enough with this design. If I need to reduce their size in the fall, I just slide the frames around and 'cork up' the extra holes.
    5. I can easily move queen cells/brood/honey stores around either within this environment, or from other hives as needed to create nucs.
    6. less hardware - over all as I have every thing "in 1 place". with starter/finisher hives I have to have multiple boxes and keep moving from place to place to accomplish this.
    7. using pre-made screened sections I'd be able to provide some 'top based' ventilation to keep the sections cooler in the summer.
    8. utilizing 'section covers' would allow me to only work in specific area's of the hive that needed manipulation and therefor reduced 'stress' on the whole hive or to the other area's that I'm not interested in. This would be a 'key' idea as I don't know what/how a 32-frame hive would react if you snatched their roof off all at 1 time. LOL


    obviously I'm interested in this solution to make a few nucs, expand my known good stock and then later migrate/move them into their own hives and not interested in massive honey production.

    that being said, what am i missing, or why wouldn't this work?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Combination of Lanstrum and TBH - a reality for possible future hives, or a disas

    >Combination of Lanstrum and TBH - a reality for possible future hives, or a disaster?

    Langstroth. No such thing as “Langstrum”

    > It seems that in this modified design, the user has potentially created a perfect hive consisting of a 'normal hive', starter/finisher and nuc builder - all within the same hive body.

    I wouldn’t call it “perfect”, but it has most of the advantages of a top bar hive (a little more woodworking skills to build) and some of the advantages of a Langstroth (you can’t just pile the supers on and leave during the flow).

    > It would seem that you might have created a TBH, using a combination of Langston building materials and created a possibly great hive.

    Langstroth. No such thing as “Langston”. You do get a lot of the advantages of both, especially if you go with foundationless frames.

    > With some modifications (additional entrances, a screened bottom, and multiple dividers you could create a single place to make splits for sale and also gather some honey.

    There are people who use them that way. But having some smaller boxes may be easier to deal with. A divider seems simple until you attempt it and find out that bees only need a crack 1/6” wide and they will squeeze through it.

    >1. unsure of the size, as 32 frames seems rather large, but might work in the long run depending on how many frames you want to manage in the initial hive + nucs or double-hive in the same box - besides I could grow as needed.

    32 frames is actually about right (48”).

    > 2. i like the ability to use Langston frames for several reasons - similar frames, easy nuc packages

    Yes.

    >, a pre-formed foundation for the bees to build off of - which means less potential 'slop' from erratic comb building

    I think that is a down side. Foundation is the cause of more problems than solutions.

    > and easy transfer ability later for nucs or into other hives. I could supplement other hives if needed also.

    That is one of the upsides of a long Langstroth, you can move frames between your other standard Langstroth hives.

    >3. solid bottom - got to go as even with TBH's there is a screened bottom for SHB, mite checks, etc. Why couldn't I just use a full screening across the bottom? less space for SHB to hide, and anything that drops, wasn't needed anyway. I could build a 'tray' to slide mite/cardboard onto for mite checks simply enough.

    Many people do this. I will recommend you don’t. I don’t see any advantage to a screened bottom. I have not seen any difference in Varroa. You would HAVE to have the tray in or they will abscond and they will not be able to cool the hive in the summer nor heat it well enough in the winter. If you have the tray in, then you create a place the bees can’t guard where wax falls through and SHB and wax moths can live without being bothered by the bees…

    >4. by pre-drilling multiple holes in the sides I could create additional hives, or nucs by giving them their own entrances to use. I can use 'full' frames to section them easly enough with this design. If I need to reduce their size in the fall, I just slide the frames around and 'cork up' the extra holes.

    There are people who do this.

    >5. I can easily move queen cells/brood/honey stores around either within this environment, or from other hives as needed to create nucs.

    Yes.

    >6. less hardware - over all as I have every thing "in 1 place". with starter/finisher hives I have to have multiple boxes and keep moving from place to place to accomplish this.

    It has its advantages and disadvantages.

    >7. using pre-made screened sections I'd be able to provide some 'top based' ventilation to keep the sections cooler in the summer.

    You are assuming that ventilation is cooling. When the bees are cooling the hive, more ventilation can make it impossible for them…

    >8. utilizing 'section covers' would allow me to only work in specific area's of the hive that needed manipulation and therefor reduced 'stress' on the whole hive or to the other area's that I'm not interested in.

    A slight advantage, yes. More so with hot bees.

    > This would be a 'key' idea as I don't know what/how a 32-frame hive would react if you snatched their roof off all at 1 time. LOL

    I have always made mine with at least three covers so I don’t do that.

    >that being said, what am i missing, or why wouldn't this work?

    People have been doing this for more than 100 years. Yes, it can work.

    http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/longhive.html
    www.bushfarms.com/beeshorizontalhives
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Combination of Lanstrum and TBH - a reality for possible future hives, or a disas

    Quote Originally Posted by seapro220 View Post
    Hello all.

    3. solid bottom - got to go as even with TBH's there is a screened bottom for SHB, mite checks, etc. Why couldn't I just use a full screening across the bottom? less space for SHB to hide, and anything that drops, wasn't needed anyway. I could build a 'tray' to slide mite/cardboard onto for mite checks simply enough.
    4. by pre-drilling multiple holes in the sides I could create additional hives, or nucs by giving them their own entrances to use. I can use 'full' frames to section them easly enough with this design. If I need to reduce their size in the fall, I just slide the frames around and 'cork up' the extra holes.
    One thing I can tell you is that a fully screened bottom doesn't work very well in a long hive, because the use of follower boards to close off part of the hive causes the screen to sag, and allows bees to get into the unused portion of the hive. My first hive was like this, but I had to clamp a board under the screen to keep the screen against the follower.

    I think you can do better than drilling multiple holes. If you rout slots out of your cover boards, you can use them for entrances when facing down, or close them up by flipping them over.

    topenter1.jpg

    That's how I made my entrance/cover boards. They're sized to fit an 8 frame super, in case 32 frames is not enough room.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Combination of Lanstrum and TBH - a reality for possible future hives, or a disas

    Wow, and please play nice. Actually I enjoy the critizism and realize the context in which the information is pass along.

    Thanks MB for responding to each item individually as it makes it easier to review for me, and others if they follow this posting. Apparantly the spell check and I weren't on the same 'page' at the same time, but perhaps in the future I'll just use "Lang" to reference Lanstroth to keep things evenly worded.

    Thanks for the PM info I got also, as I'd suspected as much - but do welcome the information.

    Thanks also to rhaldridge for the info concerning the fully screened bottom board as I hadn't thought of that - but it makes perfect sense. It also is food for thought during the construction phase and it's better to pre-plan, then have to back up afterwards and be creative.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Combination of Lanstrum and TBH - a reality for possible future hives, or a disas

    Ray , how do you go about providing for ventilation , if needed , with a solid bottom ? I had thought about drilling some 4 inch holes on the bottoms of the ones I am in the process of building , then just put #8 cloth and an adjustable cover over the hole. Thanks.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Combination of Lanstrum and TBH - a reality for possible future hives, or a disas

    Quote Originally Posted by jim81147 View Post
    Ray , how do you go about providing for ventilation , if needed , with a solid bottom ? I had thought about drilling some 4 inch holes on the bottoms of the ones I am in the process of building , then just put #8 cloth and an adjustable cover over the hole. Thanks.
    I built 3 long hives last spring. The first had a fully screened bottom, the second had a few 2 and 3/4 inch holes with #8 screen, and the third had a solid bottom. I got worried about ventilation in the third, so cut a hole in the follower and screened it, and left a crack open between cover boards in the unused portion of the hive. The idea was cross ventilation.

    I had foundationless frames in all three, and no comb collapse, even during our ferocious Gulf Coast summer. I couldn't tell a lot of difference in how the hives behaved. I'm thinking I'll build some more this spring with a narrow screened slot in the broodnest area (close to the top entrance) and make provision for a board to close it off in cold weather.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Combination of Lanstrum and TBH - a reality for possible future hives, or a disas

    >how do you go about providing for ventilation , if needed , with a solid bottom ?

    Bees manage the ventilation of a hive, if they can, and by doing so they can cool a hive to 93 F or so inside when it's 110 F or so outside. If they have too much ventilation they cannot do this. The manage quite well with only one opening. They seen to manage it better in a horizontal configuration as the weight of the air is less of an issue. With only a bottom entrance in a vertical hive, the bees have to manage it like you breath, forcing air in and then letting it fall out. Wet air is lighter than dry air. Warm air is lighter than cool air. Bee cool the hive with evaporation.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Combination of Lanstrum and TBH - a reality for possible future hives, or a disas

    So do you think something like a 2 inch hole at the opposite end from the top entrance would be adequate? Ray , is your bottom board fastened permanently ? MB do you think it is important to have "cross ventilation " or just another source for air to get into the box somewhere ?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Combination of Lanstrum and TBH - a reality for possible future hives, or a disas

    Quote Originally Posted by jim81147 View Post
    So do you think something like a 2 inch hole at the opposite end from the top entrance would be adequate? Ray , is your bottom board fastened permanently ? MB do you think it is important to have "cross ventilation " or just another source for air to get into the box somewhere ?
    I believe that would be adequate, but one problem is that I think these hives work better if you can restrict the size of the cavity, so you'd need a screened hole in your follower board to get that cross draft. My bottoms are not hinged, because I'm lazy, and to keep the bottoms from warping, I would have had to add stringers to the light ply bottoms. I think a healthy colony can keep the bottom adequately clean without the beekeepers help, but maybe I'm wrong.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Combination of Langstroth & TBH - reality for possible future hives, or a disaste

    I'll query the other beeks at out monthly meeting next week, but if I recollect from previous discussion I'd have to say that about 80% of us here in SC run only screened bottom boards all year long, including the commercial folks. I rber being told that this was a food practice both for SHB and mite control, as well as for ventilation. I'm still new to this environment, but have been running open or screened bottom boards on over 1/2 of my hives without any issues.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Combination of Langstroth & TBH - reality for possible future hives, or a disaste

    I have a long Lang that I am going to start in March or so. I ordered it with a screened bottom board. My plan is to start two hives on the ends then combine them later. Also, a super can be added at one end or the other as the top is made in three parts. It's three deep hive bodies long. Now, are the bees going to have a problem with this huge screened bottom board? I live in South Florida. Can bees have to much ventilation in here? Now I'm nervous about using it now after reading this post....

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Combination of Langstroth & TBH - reality for possible future hives, or a disaste

    > Can bees have to much ventilation in here?

    Yes, they could. See Michael Bush's comments in post #7. You could consider having several boards that either slide under the screen or are hinged below it to close off the screen at will.

    I built a screen bottom into my TBHs, but after installing the bees decided it did not need to be there after all. I have never used it for ventilation. My hives have a single full width top entrance.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Combination of Langstroth & TBH - reality for possible future hives, or a disaste

    >Can bees have to much ventilation in here?

    Thank you for your response. Yes, I saw Michael Bush's post. What I meant to say, "Can bees have too much ventilation here in South Florida?" As you all know, it stays hot here. We just turned the air conditioning back on this morning (not happy about it), but it rarely gets into the 90's and may get into the 40's a couple of times for lows. We can go years without it touching the thirties. Since reading this thread, I have been thinking of ways to close off part of the screen, but being where I live, is it really necessary?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Combination of Langstroth & TBH - reality for possible future hives, or a disaste

    When the weather is hot bees manage their hive temperatures in a process similar to a "swamp cooler" in a house (no mechanical air conditioning) in a hot climate. That process involves evaporative cooling with water the bees haul into the hive. If you have a trailer/house with a swamp cooler, having all the doors and windows open defeats the purpose of the cooler.

    Mr Bush in post #7 was pointing out that if there enough hive openings that lots of ambient air is moving through the hive, then the bees efforts at evaporative cooling will be in vain, and the hive temperature is likely to be higher than ambient temperature, not lower.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Combination of Langstroth & TBH - reality for possible future hives, or a disaste

    Cooling is actually removing heat from the air. if your hive is to open then new heated air is able to enter the hive to quickly and the bees are never able to remove enough heat form it. if the hive is more closed up the air they are removing the heat from remains in the hive where it is needed. it is like asking the bees to cool the entire atmosphere rather than just the space of their hive. It is not a matter of just cooling the air but keeping it in the hive once they do.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Combination of Langstroth & TBH - reality for possible future hives, or a disaste

    Thanks for your patience. Of course, it makes total sense. I am bummed because I actually paid a lot more for the screened board than a solid would have been. Live and learn. Now to see if I have some luan......I think I will make a board in thirds so I can take out as needed. Could I use sheet metal or is that a bad idea?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Combination of Langstroth & TBH - reality for possible future hives, or a disaste

    >What I meant to say, "Can bees have too much ventilation here in South Florida?"

    Yes.

    >Now I'm nervous about using it now after reading this post....

    Don't be nervous. Just cut a piece of some political sign (plastic cardboard or coroplast) and slide it under the hive to block the air. If you need space, add a one by two on each side to raise it 3/4" off the plastic.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Combination of Langstroth & TBH - reality for possible future hives, or a disaste

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Don't be nervous. Just cut a piece of some political sign (plastic cardboard or coroplast) and slide it under the hive to block the air.
    Geez, duh! I've gotta start thinking outside the box, literally! I have sign material already. Seems like an easy peasy solution. Thanks!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Combination of Langstroth & TBH - reality for possible future hives, or a disaste

    Stick around and keep reading. you will see a lot of different ways to do things. the more ways you know about the better you will be at seeing both problems and solutions for yourself.

    Wanted to add a bit on the idea of how a hive cools their air even though there is not huge air flow. The bees use water and their wings to crate something like a swamp cooler. they hold the water on their tongue and use their wings to move air past that water. the water evaporates. now anyone that has gotten out of water on a hot day knows that evaporating water will cool you off. what it is actually doing is as the water evaporates it is taking heat with it.

    As this water evaporates and absorbs heat inside the hive. the humidity level is also rising. Now I have hatched chicken eggs in the past and to do so you have to keep the humidity level higher than it is here naturally. if even a small pencil size hole is in the incubator ti becomes impossible to keep the humidity level elevated. So as the bees create a humid condition. that moisture quickly and readily leaves the hive even through a tiny entrance. but it does not take the cooled air with it. The same woudl be true about oxygen and carbon monoxide. they are both gases and will dissipate on their own without any need for air movement. IF you have ever put your head under the covers in an attempt to get warm. then sooner or later it is harder to breath. if you make even a slight gap in that cover you can feel the fresh air rush in. it is the same thing. you still stay warmer and get the fresh air. If you make to big of a gap you loose to much heat and do not stay warm. well cooling for the bees is pretty much the same thing only they are loosing cool air not warm.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Combination of Langstroth & TBH - reality for possible future hives, or a disaste

    Here is my 3x (standard 10 frame boxes) long hive.



    I made half width (of a standard 10 frame box) lids to allow for various configurations for supers.

    The only problem is it needs a cover. You can use a sheet of marine plywood. When I have supers on it I use a sheet of clear PVC with a few bricks on it to keep it from getting blown off.

    The bottom entrances should be smaller. 1/2 an inch is enough. In hot weather there is only a few bees fanning at the bottom entrances during the day. With forgers coming and going from the top entrance. Even in very hot weather. Around sunset the fanners start at the larger top entrance and they rippen the nectar.

    I can also slide out the plywood bottom of this hive to get rid of the rubbish that accumulates there. It drops down an inch, so then it can be slid out. The bottom entrance does seem to help reduce the amount of rubbish build up.

    I'm putting two partitions in it soon, as I have raised a few queens in this hive.

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