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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Easthampton, Massachusetts, USA
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    23

    Default Golden Mean Hive size envy

    I am getting into tbh keeping after a long layoff from langstroth hives. A friend and I are going in together and he had his heart set on the Golden Mean hive, which I have to admit has a great sales pitch. Another plus for me going into Golden Means as my new hive style is that the students at his Tech High School are using the plans as a project, so they benifit from the experience and we get a greatly reduced cost on the hives...win win.

    However I received a text today about there being a problem with the fit of the top bars. My friend said it was hard to explain and that I would have to see. The parts should match the designs exactly as the plans were entered into a cnc machine and checked by the shop instructor...so after doing a little digging on our forum here I found that this issue has come up for other and if you know woodworking its an easy fix...

    BUT...that thread lead me somewhere I didnt want to go.

    It seems predestined that instead of a pair of nice tbh's I expected, what I am actually going to geat a set of really sweet top bar SWARM machines, for the main reason being the length! Which is approx. 26.5" through the interior. I have watched about 100 youtube videos and several books etc, but somehow allowed myself to fall victim to flowery bee hive prose...shame on me.

    The big question I guess is, as I am in Massachusetts, where it occasionally (like Nov-March) gets cold, and since the bees wont be arriving until the end of April, should I chop the back off both of these hives and make them simease twins? Then just bangout another four footer for the second group?

    Here is the pdf of the plans... http://www.preparednessfair2011.org/booth09b.pdf ...sorry for the long story, but wanted to express how much effort went into making these hives (I mean oversized nucs?) a reality. Maybe I don't need to be worried about it, but better to ask know istead of two days before the packages arrive.

    As always, thanks!

    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    572

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    i didn't follow your link, but that length sounds rather small to me. I'm not a TBH guy, but i did make a long lang, which has similar principles. If I were you, I'd make it longer than you think you'll need. you can always use a follower board to reduce effective cavity size. and if it's "extra long enough" you could run a colony on each end.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    524

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    If those are plans that you paid for I don't think you should be posting them on the net. The golden mean plans I have seen are "for sale".

    And you are correct, there seems to be a concensus that the TBH should be between four and five feet in length.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Victoria, Texas, USA
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    Why not just save them to use as swarm traps and/or nucs and just bang out two Michael Bush "nail the bottom and bend out the sides" tb hives. Just keep your eyes out for scrap lumber. All my hives are from recycled barn wood, and scrap wood left on the curb for the trash.

    But on a side note, my future hives are only going to be as long as I can comfortably grab both ends and pick one up without dislodging top bars with my belly. I haven't determined exactly how long that is yet, but i know its not 48".

    TxBeek

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    Those two TBH nucs will come in very handy for sustainable beekeeping. I would leave them alone and hive the packages in them.

    Meanwhile, make two more around 4' LG (I think mine are 46.5"). When the colonies get big enough move them to the longer hives and set the small ones out as swarm traps or make splits into them. Your colonies might not fill the small ones this season but next year you will probably want to move them into the longer hives. The small ones will then smell all homey and therefore be more attractive to swarms.

    Right now I have two full size hives, a nice size hybrid nuc, a 10 bar nuc and little 8 bar swarm trap. In a pinch I used the 8 bar as a nuc but they outgrew it really fast.
    3rd yr - 1 KTBH & 4 KTBH nucs - TF - USDA Zn 6b

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Easthampton, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    Thanks Everyone, appreciate the fast feedback. I will hold on to them, probably as starters for my packages, then as nucs/swarm traps.


    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    If those are plans that you paid for I don't think you should be posting them on the net. The golden mean plans I have seen are "for sale".

    And you are correct, there seems to be a concensus that the TBH should be between four and five feet in length.
    as far as the plans, we paid cash for the hardcopies. I found these after we had paid by simply typing in 'Golden Mean Hive Plans' into the google, lol. We were a little miffed at ourselves as they were out there for free, but buyer beware. That, and since the person made the effort to do all that work putting those together, whether we built them or not we don't begrudge him the money for the plans, just that if the size is known to to throw multiple swarms a season, then overwintering them would seem to be more difficult for northern owners and should be declared before selling the product. Once we really started studying the TBH's we realized how simple they were and inexpensive too (though preassembled, these golden mean hives go for $350 - what happened to bee equipment prices in the last 10 years?)

    Thanks again everyone, off to the workshop!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    Anything under 48" long is too small, in my opinion. If you get the bars from Backyard hive and the plans and then make them 48" long, I think you'll like them well enough. Corwin likes them to swarm. I don't.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Chester, PA, USA
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    I still have two 3' hives of Golden Mean design and while I don't consider them honey production hives I think they are very useful. One is a pretty bait hive which sits in my front yard (I transfer swarms to a larger hive after they draw out combs and have brood) and the other is my splits hive.

    Even though I don't consider the full 3' hive one a honey production hive, I still get 20-30 lbs of honey from it a year, but the honey comb wax gets used for brood. The honey is fine, but it's hardly suited for comb or chunk honey.

    Then there are the modified Golden Mean Hives. I've been doing 4' because I need to re-design the roof and couldn't lift a 5' roof. I just buy three 4' long, 12" wide boards. Cut the 18 angle on 2 of them for sides, screw them to the 3rd for the bottom and use squared lumber scraps for the ends. It doesn't stress my poor woodworking skills and locally the 4' boards are 25% cheaper than the 6' boards.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Easthampton, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Anything under 48" long is too small, in my opinion. If you get the bars from Backyard hive and the plans and then make them 48" long, I think you'll like them well enough. Corwin likes them to swarm. I don't.
    I understand that a swarming hive is a healthy hive, and I've been seriously lamenting all those squished queens from my youth - that is a rant for another time. Even though I have some experience I still consider myself somewhat of a noob, but is it wrong to think that in colder climates that sometimes, depending on timing, even one swarm, nevermind two or three, can leave a hive too weak to overwinter? I'm all for a system that helps repopulate the wilds with bees, but it seems counter intuitive...maybe I still have too much old school thoughts in my system.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Leon County, Florida, USA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    Shouldn't the total volume of the hive be taken into consideration? I have 24-1 1/2 inch top bars in my TBH. But they are also 19 inches long. And the hive is somewhat deep as well I would say at least 8 inches. So even though it's only 36+ inches long (1 follower board) there's a good amount of comb that can be built. There's a lot of math in all that and I don't care to do it-especially since there are trapezoids to be considered.

    I have the luxury of keeping my TBH in my backyard, so frequent harvesting of honey will not be a problem for me. Realistically, how many of the comb would be devoted to brood? When will they start to feel cramped?

    I think less than 36 inches would be too small, but can 36 inches be long enough?

    I always forget to add that I don't have bees in this hive yet.
    Kate - since 2013, 4 colonies, 3 8-frame Langs, 1 TBH, mostly TF, zone 8b

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    Since you can't add anything later (at least not easily) you want as much room as you can get up to what a booming hive will occupy. I have trouble getting them expand beyond four feet, although five seems doable with some extra manipulations. Anything shorter is less than I could have had. Sure volume counts, but anything less than about the volume of four ten frame deeps is pretty cramped.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    If anyone cares to calculate the volume of their hive this is a great tool to do that.
    http://www.onlineconversion.com/obje..._trapezoid.htm
    For Partial Height (h1) enter total height.

    To convert too litres go to this converter.
    http://convertvalues.com/Volume.html


    I built my hives so that the volume for my 34.5" interior measurement to be 77 litres and my 44.5" to have 99 litres. Comb size was modeled after the amount of comb a deep frame holds only trapezoid.
    Last edited by Delta Bay; 03-27-2014 at 06:55 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    524

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    This cranks out to 1.9 cubic feet for the plans the OP posted. 28" long

    For Les Crowder's plans I get 2.6 cubic feet. 4 feet long

    For Michael Bush's plan on his website I get right a 3 cubic feet. 4 feet long

    If you did Les Crowder's plans with 1x12s and kept the same bottom board I think it cranks out to right around 4 cubic feet. 4 feet long

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    You need to use the internal measurements. The golden mean by original poster is closer to 1.8 cubic feet

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
    Posts
    778

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    .

    I did a cut-out once using my Golden Mean.

    That hive is still BOOMING in Groveland, FL, right at this very moment, on a farm:

    www.savebeesflorida.com (Honeybee removals and top bar hives)

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
    Posts
    778

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    .

    www.savebeesflorida.com (Honeybee removals and top bar hives)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
    Posts
    778

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    .
    sorry, double post
    www.savebeesflorida.com (Honeybee removals and top bar hives)

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    The shorter golden mean hives volume is a little too small for my liking but I believe that management strategy can match the hive volume. More manipulation compared to a larger volume.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Josephine County,Oregon,USA
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post
    The shorter golden mean hives volume is a little too small for my liking but I believe that management strategy can match the hive volume. More manipulation compared to a larger volume.
    This is absolutely true and very hard on a new First Year beek .I read 5 books-3 specifying Top Bars- before I ever got My package that said "don't worry about a swarm your first year".

    One year ago I had my husband build me a Golden Mean as per the blueprint. My APRIL 2013 package of bees swarmed in JUNE and the hive was Full to the back with comb and bees when it happened.
    Carniolans build up FAST. I simply was not Ready with a second hive, nor was I Ready to learn to do a Split so soon, when I was experiencing Everything for the first time. To keep up with Carniolans in a GM I would have had to put a new blank bar IN the middle or front of the broodnest Every week(or a couple of blanks every two weeks). I wanted a more "hands off" approach and that meant(and will always mean) 2 swarms a season in my zone 7-8 environment. The good side of this is that despite all my flubbing around (it was over-educated flubbing) with the hive insulated and a mouse guard, my bees Overwintered!

    I have great hope that this wild bred granddaughter queen is laying true "Survivors" now. The colony was down to a couple of Handfulls this winter...I had no hope. But then I read that local "survivors" only inhabit ONE comb in a lang around here and make it! And MY bees made it in my GM too!!!! A month ago I couldn't see any in my window. Then each week another full comb of busy bees came into view. I harvested a half gallon of honey and still left 10 partials from last Fall for them to eat and expand into. I made some space and they've already built comb into it.

    I was rather disgusted with my Golden Mean for awhile last year,but my "losses" I DO believe got me Better "mutt" and local genetics. I got a longer 2nd hive and Now I'm thinking I'll only give my new package half of it The First Year (hahahahaha), so I can let 'em swarm and have 2 genetically diverse but wild bred queens. I'll also split this first gangbusters colony for my first "split" experience,into a nuc and see how my education progresses as soon as they refill the GM which looks like it's gonna be by May. PS I LOVE topbar beekeeping ! PS2 Perhaps Italians would "stay put" and be easier to manage, but they aren't recommened by any bee keeper within 100 miles of my particular "crazy and extreme 10 to 107 degree weather" area..............

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Easthampton, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Golden Mean Hive size envy

    Sorry for the length between posts...a lot of family illness...Pat, loved the bee rescue vid. Still excited to give it a shot here in Mass...I did go ahead and combine my two hives into a four footer and planning weekly inspections, even if just through the observation windows. Thanks for all the feed back everyone!

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