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  1. #1
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    Nov 2006
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    Default Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    I am interested in trying to design a horizontal beehive using deep Langstroth frames. Basically the idea would be a topbar hive design with straight walls, frame rests and deep frames.

    The reasons I want to do this are basically to get to benefits of using frames -- the comb would be reusable, extractable, and people could get nucs from Langstroth beekeepers. However, I see a lot of new beekeepers, esp. women, who simply do not do well lifting full boxes (even mediums are too much for some people I've mentored). Those people don't enjoy working hives and tend to give up because they don't like lifting and separating boxes.

    OTOH, I think topbar hives pose an extra set of problem, which are basically the opposites of the benefits from frames listed above (no reusable comb and not using the frames everybody else uses), plus some others (e.g., learning to prevent cross-comb).

    I have done some recent study of Russian horizontal hives, which use bigger frames and are set up sort of like a topbar hive. However, the problem with those is that the large frames are not available here, and the frames really don't fit in an extractor.

    However, I have learned that one problem I thought this design would have is not really a problem. Specifically, I thought the bees would create a mess in the gaps between the frames. (Unlike topbars, there will be gaps between the frames.) In the Russian hives, they cover the tops of the frames with a sheet of burlap to cover the gaps. The bees propolize it down, but it apparently can be removed. So I think that problem probably has a simple solution.

    The question I have is what the dimensions should be. Obviously, the width of the frames dictates one side. However, I'm not sure how long the hive should bee. Would a little less than 48" be okay, since that could use up a 8 foot long 1x12? Exactly how long would be best?

    Is there likely to be problems with the sides bowing out? If so, any thoughts on how to control that?

    Also, it seems to me this idea (a long horizontal hive consisting of deep frames) can't possibly be a new idea. Has somebody else tried this or have access to plans?

    Any suggestions welcomed,

    Neil

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Coopersville, Michigan
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    260

    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    Probably overkill, but here's mine... also check out Dartington hive for a supperable one. I didn't make plans on the computer but it's about 50 inches... and forget burlap... use multiple inner covers less mess.

    http://2people40acres.files.wordpres...offin-hive.jpg

    I'm sure I have better photos somewhere...

  3. #3
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    Dec 2011
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    Victoria, Australia
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    660

    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    Here's mine:






    The box is simply a standard 10 frame Langstroth hive, but the width of 3 boxes put together. So it could take 3 supers. It takes 32 frames. In the photo above I have 2 supers on it with a half width access of each end.

    The base and lids are made of marine grade plywood. I'm now also painting them with Decking oil before using the varnish to improve waterproofing.

    The base can be dropped down an inch and then slid out to clean it by removing two runners which hold the floor in place. They also slide out. I'm not sure that I am happy with this or not. Maybe two hinged floors attached on the outside edges and opening from the center would be easier to use.

    The floor is as per a standard hive with a height of 19mm (3/4") and entrances cut into it at each end and the center. So it could be made into 3 colonies if wanted.

    You can see sort of see the design of the lids in the photo above. They have a gap directly under the plywood top so that the top entrance can be reduced. These are what took the most time to make.
    It may be a lot easier to cut 2 pieces of 9mm (3/8") plywood to the same size (half the width of a standard box) and cut a wedge out of the end of one for an entrance and then glue the two together.

    I don't use an inner cover, but use a vinyl hive mat cut to half the width of a standard box. This stops comb from being built above the frames. The frames are also (mostly) foundationless with only a 1" strip of foundation used as a comb guide. Foundationless frames dramatically reduce the amount of burr comb in a hive as they have a lot more drone comb. So don't need to make more. They have only ever built in a lid if they ran out of space everywhere else in the hive first.

    The legs are cut to a height where it is comfortable for you to put your hands flat on top of the frames. They are attached 1/6 of the length of the box from the ends.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
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    577

    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    I'm out of state right now, so can't get pics, but i made one that holds 30 frames. To prevent bowing, i secured 2X4s to the top of the long sides. i have multiple inner covers so i can open it up a biyt at a time. i have a follower board so the hive can grow with the bees. Instead of a long telescoping cover, i have a gabled roof with hinges on one side. lift the roof open and then access whichever inner cover is appropriate. its a touch heavy, but i won;t have to move it as unit once it is in place, so NBD there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
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    375

    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    Below is a link to a site where the guy builds a mean long hive.
    http://www.beebehavior.com/modified_..._long_hive.php
    A Bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it rains.- Robert Frost

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    Neil, I've been running hives like you describe for a year now, and I like them very much. There was a thread in which I attempted to give some guidance to folks who'd inquired about the way I built the hives:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...kyard-hobbyist

    I've designed a couple of multihull sailboats. The most inexpensive way to build a one-off multi is with plywood stiffened by solid timber stringers. Built this way my long hives are quite sturdy, and much lighter than a long hive built of solid boards. The sides will not bow out, because the frame rests are formed by the overlap between the upper side stringer and the plywood sides-- plywood is extremely stiff in that plane. There is no issue with the bees sticking the frames in place, or at least no more than in a conventional hive. Mine have 45" sides, which allows the covering boards to be cut from a 2' by 4' piece of 3/4" ply. They hold 32 frames. I just built a couple more, insulated with foam board, for northern NY, where we have a few acres.

    colorfulyard.jpg openlonghive.jpg

    I'm actually writing a small booklet for Kindles and other e-readers that will have the exact dimensions of the latest version of the long hive, as well as a bit about the slightly different techniques I've found useful in working them. I'll post a link when it's done. if Barry doesn't mind.

    I use foundationless deep frames in these hives, and they have worked very well.

    You may have read the same book (by Fedor Lazutin) that I did, and I'm also intrigued by his theories. I'm first going to try the same single-deep long hives that have worked so well here in FL, but if they do not work out in the North Country, I think I may give his extra-deep hives a shot. The way my long hives are made, I can stack two of the long hive bodies to get a similar depth. (Though I'll have to shorten the legs.) As to his extra-deep frames, there are two ways available that make sense to me. Walter Kelley has made end bars available that make frames that will fit 2 deeps. But they are pricey, at $1.25 each-- that's per end bar, each. And they do have the disadvantage that they can't be extracted in a normal extractor. The other way to go, and this is probably what I will do, is to cut the ears off a deep frame and use 2 metal mending straps and screws to fasten it to the bottom of a regular deep frame. The advantage to this is that they can still be separated and extracted. Additionally, with the right sort of jig to hold the upper frame while it's being fastened to the lower frame, you could use regular deep nucs to populate the extra-deep Russian hives.

    Anyway, I don't understand why these hives are not vastly more popular than top bars. They really have all the advantages, and none of the disadvantages.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Tulsa, OK
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    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    All those hives are really impressive. I don't think I have the skill to build most of them.

    Ray, I have the book by Lazutin. I've also made plans to have the editor of that book, Leo Sharaskin, come talk at out beekeeping seminar in Tulsa next year. I heard him speak at the Arkansas State Beekeepers Association meeting last month, and that is what got me to thinking along these lines.

    If you want somebody to review or make suggestions for your ebook, I'd be happy to help. At the minimum, send me a PM when its ready -- I'll be your first customer.

    I agree with the idea that mixing deep frames with a topbar setup makes sense. I see over and over again that the lifting of boxes is a real impediment to some people who might otherwise stick with beekeeping. Also, I think the horizontal hive setup will make it easier to get kids involved in beekeeping.

    If anybody else has photos, plans, or ideas, please share.

    Neil

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    5,938

    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    MB has a page on horizontal hives, with photos:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeshorizontalhives.htm
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  9. #9
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    Dec 2011
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    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    It's really not difficult. No special carpentry skills or joints needed. Just break the parts down into: box, base, legs and lids.

    Other than the frame rest you could do everything else with a hand saw and a drill. It really is just a box that has been gluded and screwed together. Just do the frame rests as Ray does if you don't have a table top saw.

    The legs on mine are two capital 'H' shapes. The bottom half has two pieces of wood on each of the legs so that the hive walls are resting on an upside down 'U' shape. Have a look at the photo.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Boulder, Colorado
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    Matthew, I've looked at your 3x design with lust and am thinking of flattering you by copying what you have done. I wonder about your covers, do they simply butt one another? Do you have any issues with water leaking in? How well do the seal in terms of ventilation?
    I have a couple of top bars that made it through their first winter, albeit with some mold due to total lack of ventilation other than a reduced entrance.
    Thanks in advance,
    Fabian

  11. #11
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    Dec 2011
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    Victoria, Australia
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    660

    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    Here's another photo showing the lids:



    Yes they just butt up against each other and yes they let water through. So it does need a cover.

    On one of my long hives I just have a sheet of plywood over the whole top of the hive, which is strapped down. So it doesn't look that much different.

    On the other I have a sheet of PVC plastic and this allows supers to be added on top. So the sheet moulds to the shape. I only use bricks to stop it being blown off in strong wind. This is the one thing that I'm trying to work out if it can be done better.

  12. #12
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    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilV View Post
    If you want somebody to review or make suggestions for your ebook, I'd be happy to help. At the minimum, send me a PM when its ready -- I'll be your first customer.

    I agree with the idea that mixing deep frames with a topbar setup makes sense. I see over and over again that the lifting of boxes is a real impediment to some people who might otherwise stick with beekeeping. Also, I think the horizontal hive setup will make it easier to get kids involved in beekeeping.

    If anybody else has photos, plans, or ideas, please share.

    Neil
    Neil, I will let you know-- should be soon. I've really drawn inspiration from several folks here on beesource. D. Coates' very clever plywood nuc idea showed me that you could build these hives without having to cut rabbets, for example. Paul McCarty gave me the idea for the galvanized roofing, which works very well, and so on.

    My basic motivation for the booklet, beyond the compulsion that writers have to write, was to simplify the construction to the point that anyone could make a hive like this, without much in the way of special skills or equipment, (though a table saw is very helpful to rip the stringers.) Matt's hives are beautiful, but intimidating-- he's obviously a gifted woodworker. I built our kitchen table back when our kids were little, and it isn't nearly as pretty as Matt's hives. The German hives referenced in another post are also beautiful, but my general aim was utility, convenience, low cost, and simplicity.

    I think these hives are great for beginners. As a beginner myself, I believe I learned a lot more in my first year using these hives than I would have had all my hives been Langstroth. Everything is there at waist level, perfectly accessible, and you can selectively expose the part of the hive you want to inspect, and leave the other parts alone. Another boon to beginners is that until the hive is packed full, handling frames is easier. You can pry out a frame well away from the brood nest, and then use the space to move the remaining frames apart enough that you're less likely to roll the queen.

    I haven't attempted to teach about beekeeping basics in the booklet. (For one thing, I'm not qualified.) But I have tried to recount my observations on how things may work in a slightly different way when using long hives. Anyway, it's been an interesting project, Over the last several days I've built a couple more to take up to the North Country, and also to be sure my directions and measurements were accurate. Here's one of them:



    I packed it full of frames just to be sure I was telling the truth when I said it would hold 32 frames. I glued foam board insulation into the side panels between the stringers and beneath the bottom, and in winter, I'll add a sheet of 2" foam on top, between cover board and galvanized roofing. I use a top entrance at one end, and screened vent holes in the covering boards.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  13. #13
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    Apr 2014
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    Serbia Belgrade
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    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    in serbia almoust all beek abandon horizontal hive because they are against bee instinct to go upp instead side to side

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    Quote Originally Posted by peca777 View Post
    in serbia almoust all beek abandon horizontal hive because they are against bee instinct to go upp instead side to side
    Back before I had any bees, that's what everyone here told me too. I haven't seen much sign that it's a big problem. I will say that I do encourage the broodnest to expand sideways by constantly adding empty frames during spring buildup. What most folks who have experience with these hives will tell you is that long hives do require more frequent attention. But that's okay for hobbyists like me. We're always looking for an excuse to get into the hives. A great advantage of the long hive is that it's so easy to inspect, even when the hive has grown to the equivalent of three deeps. No lifting boxes, no breaking up the hive into separate parts, which I feel must stress the bees.

    Of course, I would cheerfully admit that these hives are impractical if you're trying to make a living from honey.

    I'm not.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Hallsville, Missouri, USA
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    44

    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    Wow! I'm so glad I found this thread. I've lost 5 hives over the past 3 winters with my Langstroth hives (btw, I know it's not the fault of the hives). I went to a workshop a few weeks ago which was presented by a man named Leo Sharashkin. He has been lecturing around the state this winter/spring about the benefits of horizontal deep body hives. I'm going to give it a try. I'm getting two new packages of bees in a couple of weeks. I'm going to start by taking two of my deep hives, cut off one side of each, and connect them. I'll probably build another one from scratch.

    Dr. Sharashkin edited a book about horizontal beekeeping, written by a Russian beekeeper named Fedor Lazutin. The name of the book is Keeping Bees With a Smile. It has beehive plans in it. There is also a website: horizontalhives.com with free plans and photo tutorials: http://horizontalhive.com/how-to-bui...ekeeping.shtml. There is a tutorial for deep frames, as well.

    Good luck with your hives this year!
    Laura P

  16. #16
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    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Plans for horizontal hive using deep frames

    I enjoyed Lazutin's book too. My hives are just the usual Langstroth deep depth, and they've worked really well here in FL. I don't yet know how they'll work in upstate NY, but I've made a couple of insulated versions to take up there in a week or so. If they turn out to not winter very well, I'm going to try the Lazutin double deep hives. One of the most intriguing things about the Lazutin book is that Thomas Seeley endorsed it in very strong terms.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

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