Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?
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  1. #1
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    Mar 2012
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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
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    Default Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    Although I'm planning on building an either 8 or 10 frame permanent observation hive this winter I'd like pick up an Ulster style observation hive for the time being so I can do a few beekeeping demos at my daughter's school. Both the Mann Lake and Brushy Mountain versions appear to be very similar. Does anybody here know how/if they differ or could you recommend one over another?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Island county, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    I wanted to get the Ulster so I was really happy to see that Mann Lake is finally selling them------for the same price as Brushy Mt (ML= $145.95, BM=145.00) but Mann Lake has free shipping! (The shipping price is a killer!)

    I called Mann Lake before ordering, and I'm so glad I did. The Mann Lake hive doesn't have a queen excluder built in, Brushy Mt does. Brushy Mt also includes a feeder which Mann Lake doesn't. The BIG issue for me was that the Mann Lake has a solid bottom board permanently attached. Brushy Mt has a screened bottom board with a slider board if you want to close it off.

    I bought the Brushy Mt one. And I'm glad I did.

    I had it at the County Fair last week for 3 days. The weather was hot and there was no AC in the building. I put a frame feeder with water in the hive. (the frames had bees, brood, pollen and honey). With the screened bottom, vents on top, and water in the hive, the bees kept it at the right temp and did excellently the whole three days.

    No way would I have done that without a screened bottom. I don't think they would have survived closed up for 3 days in the solid bottomed Mann Lake hive. I'd just rather be safe than sorry.

    But, that's just my opinion. Maybe someone else has experience with the Mann Lake Ulster.

    (Also, I bought mine to use at the Fair where it would be used for days (as well as just short presentations at schools etc). If you are only going to have the bees in it a few hours the solid bottom is probably okay).

  4. #3
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    Mar 2012
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    Thanks for the first hand info. Sounds like an no-brainer with the extra ventilation. I think I remember reading on Michael Bush's site something about the bee space being too tight for brood to hatch with modding the hive. Do you know if this is a still a problem?

  5. #4
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    Jan 2014
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    Manassas, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    My wife and I ordered the Brushy Mountain observation hive today, and you're making me glad we did.

    When we picked up our nucs a few weeks back, we were warned that that cardboard nuc boxes they came in had essentially no ventilation once the plastic plug went in the entrance. Best I can tell, they're Mann Lakes. Apart from the entrance, the only ventilation is a few pinholes in either end. They also apparently developed a load of condensation on the top covers. We've cut out holes and installed screens in the ends so we can use them for swarms, etc. Sounds like Mann Lakes doesn't appreciate ventilation.
    Last edited by Phoebee; 05-28-2014 at 02:47 PM.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Washington County, Maine
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    3,796

    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    I have a Brushy Mountain OH and used it yesterday for a presentation at a fair. We had no issues except I wish I had marked the queen! Kids love to hunt her down and unless you have incredible patience or a queen who stays put, you'll have nightmares of queen hunting. If you are not in a hurry BM usually offers free shipping (at least east of the Mississippi) around Thanksgiving.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Spencer, MA, USA
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    I bought the Brushy Mt one. And I'm glad I did.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Lexington, South Carolina, USA
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    Mann Lake recently ran a sale on their observation hive, and being pleased with the quality of the items I have received from them in the past, I jumped on it.

    All I can say is it's quality top to bottom.

    Regarding the above comments regarding construction, perhaps they took some hints from the Brushy Mtn. model because this mann Lake model has a ventilated bottom board with a closure board, plastic capped ventilation holes on the top, and a metal queen excluder between the observation area and the nuc box.

    The wood is dried pine and absolutely clear with no blemishes or knots anywhere. It also has removable shutters which I understand the Brushy Mtn. may not have.

    I really couldn't be more pleased with the quality of the materials or construction.
    "The more I studied beekeeping, the less I knew, until, finally, I knew nothing." ~Charles Martin Simon

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Concord, CA
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    The BM one has a couple features that aren't included with the ManLake one.
    Don't remember exactly what the differences where, so if the price is the same go with BM

    I see Ziva above mentioned the differences I saw when comparing them.
    Dan

  10. #9
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    Jul 2013
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    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    My Ulster style hive is home-made, but has two features I like --

    1). The top fits on any random wood nuc box. This means that any and every nuc can be strategically appointed "observation hive" for a day. This reduces the pressure on the observation colony, and the substantial effort required to keep the nuc-sized colony from going swarmy.

    2). The upper frame can be insulated with mylar bubble and closed off with solid wood board. This means that bees will maintain brood temperature in that portion. I had real issues with chilled and abandoned brood before getting serious about warming up the upper frame.

    The design where the bottom board (with a screen insert), and the top frame assembly are independent and simply are strapped to a standard nuc gives a lot of flexibility in terms of colony assignment -- the top can be replaced with standard nuc-migratory cover, and the hive reverts. Not near as pretty as varnished wood wonders -- but you know the straps give folks a sense of security.


  11. #10
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    Feb 2013
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    Montgomery Twp, PA
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    Does anyone have suggestions on using the Ulster as a permanent inside observation hive? That's my plan. I ordered one from Brushy Mountain on Cyber Monday, and the girl I spoke with said they have one in their office. I am thinking, I can always a super or another deep to give them more space if I need to. With another deep, it would be a full 10 frame hive. I also bought the Ulster mainly for presentations at my kdis school and to use during fairs when I'm selling lip balm and honey. Having it in the house year round is just an added bonus.
    Christy
    Beekeeping, working mom of 2 little future beekeepers in Pennsylvania.

  12. #11
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    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    I purchased the MannLake version but there is about 1-1/2" space between the face of the comb and the inside of the glass which is way over bee space limits. I installed the bees late one afternoon for an event the next day. By the morning of the event, bees were festooning on both sides and had started new comb on each side. The festooning bees totally obscured the comb which made the whole thing almost useless as an observation hive. -james

  13. #12
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    Aug 2002
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    >Does anyone have suggestions on using the Ulster as a permanent inside observation hive?

    I thought about it, but too much of what is happening is hidden. I don't know if they are well populated in the honey portion. I don't know if wax moths or SHB are taking over in that part of the hive. I need to see more of a hive when it's an observation hive, not only to observe, but because I don't want to haul it outside to inspect every few days. I want to minimize my interaction to times when they need an intervention.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #13
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    Jun 2014
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    Palos Verdes, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    I've been asked to present some bees to a classroom in about 6 weeks, which sounds like fun! But I don't have an OH. Yet.

    So, this was the situation as of 2.5 years ago. Has anything changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziva View Post
    The Mann Lake hive doesn't have a queen excluder built in, Brushy Mt does. Brushy Mt also includes a feeder which Mann Lake doesn't. The BIG issue for me was that the Mann Lake has a solid bottom board permanently attached. Brushy Mt has a screened bottom board with a slider board if you want to close it off.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreySquirrel View Post
    Regarding the above comments regarding construction, perhaps they took some hints from the Brushy Mtn. model because this mann Lake model has a ventilated bottom board with a closure board, plastic capped ventilation holes on the top, and a metal queen excluder between the observation area and the nuc box.

    The wood is dried pine and absolutely clear with no blemishes or knots anywhere. It also has removable shutters which I understand the Brushy Mtn. may not have.
    Quote Originally Posted by dixiebooks View Post
    I purchased the MannLake version but there is about 1-1/2" space between the face of the comb and the inside of the glass which is way over bee space limits. I installed the bees late one afternoon for an event the next day. By the morning of the event, bees were festooning on both sides and had started new comb on each side. The festooning bees totally obscured the comb which made the whole thing almost useless as an observation hive. -james
    Brushy Mountain's is $165. (Feeder included, frames not.), plus free shipping and no tax (but you have to go 75% of the way through the checkout process before you can see that shipping is free!).

    Mann Lake's is $156 with free shipping and $11 tax.

    And now Dadant has one for $160, but with few details on what's included and what's not. But they offer free shipping, and charge $15 tax.

    So they're all about the same price, $10, which is far less important to me than functionality. I'm in California, so we're more likely to get too hot than too cold. I'll likely make up a nuc this week or next anyway, so it would be easy to just transfer it into one of these OHs the night before, then take it to work the next morning and then take it to the school in the afternoon.

    Anyone have opinions on any of these 3 brands, recently?
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  15. #14
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    Jun 2014
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    Fargo, North Dakota
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    I bought the Mann Lake product three (3) years ago - it has a queen excluder, screened bottom with sliding plastic board that is removable, and multiple ventilation holes (plus removable covers). I have used it for three (3) years during a six (6) day July fair without a problem. My exhibit area is adjacent to a open door, and I had a fan for additional air circulation. The temperature might reach 80-82F in the shade. Excellent product, and I too thought there was too much space between the frame and window, but no significant burr comb was ever created during the fair. I usually change frames mid-week; very easily changed. I suggest you buy six (6) small suitcase locks to prevent mischievous fingers doing stupid things.

  16. #15
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    Feb 2012
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    Athens, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    I just handled the Mann Lake Ulster a couple of weeks ago for a presentation and it is full featured with excluder, vented bottom, etc. I didn't have a full frame with bees in the top but the dimensions looked right. It had clips to hold the latches closed but I like JTGs idea of some tiny locks instead.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    Quote Originally Posted by JTGaraas View Post
    I bought the Mann Lake product three (3) years ago.... Excellent product, and I too thought there was too much space between the frame and window, but no significant burr comb was ever created during the fair.
    So the Mann Lake one has a bit too much space, and Michael Bush says of the Brushy Mountain version:
    The Brushy Mt. hives have 1 1/2" between the glass and when I put in frames of brood from a hive it was too tight a fit and the brood could not emerge and the bees absconded. I reworked the Brushy Mt. hives by adding a screen molding (available at the hardware store) which is 1/4" thick. I put it behind the hinges on the hinge side and behind the door as a stop on the opposite side and added one next to the door just to match the other side. This has worked perfectly and it is my most thriving hive now.
    Is this still true of the Brushy Mtn version? Which error is easier to fix?
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    Quote Originally Posted by JTGaraas View Post
    I bought the Mann Lake product three (3) years ago - it has a queen excluder, screened bottom with sliding plastic board that is removable, and multiple ventilation holes (plus removable covers).
    Does ML include a feeder?
    I suggest you buy six (6) small suitcase locks to prevent mischievous fingers doing stupid things.


    They'd probably only do it once!
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    Each year I try to do a walk-a-way split that is a perfect size to move to the observation hive for those 6-7 days of the Fair. They have had adequate honey stores, but you could easily put a frame feeder in the bottom (avoid spillage when moving it around). I also forgot to suggest that you put tape (or screen) on the inside of the hive’s opening hole to prevent someone opening up the hive entrance (which is latched, but not lockable). That way, even if they unlatch it, no bees escape. The problem has not occurred, but I also face that side of the hive away from view of the public as another precaution.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    Quote Originally Posted by IAmTheWaterbug View Post
    So the Mann Lake one has a bit too much space, and Michael Bush says of the Brushy Mountain version:

    The Brushy Mt. hives have 1 1/2" between the glass and when I put in frames of brood from a hive it was too tight a fit and the brood could not emerge and the bees absconded. I reworked the Brushy Mt. hives by adding a screen molding (available at the hardware store) which is 1/4" thick. I put it behind the hinges on the hinge side and behind the door as a stop on the opposite side and added one next to the door just to match the other side. This has worked perfectly and it is my most thriving hive now.
    Is this still true of the Brushy Mtn version? Which error is easier to fix?
    It's my birthday , so I bought myself the Brushy Mountain OH. It arrived today.

    The good news it that it comes with two frame feeders. One from Arne and one from Mother Lode.

    The bad news is that I've never seen so much shipping damage on one product before. Despite the shipping box looking intact, the product has at least 7 distinct defects that appear to be caused by rough handling. I won't fault BM or the product yet; I've just sent them photos, and I'll give them a chance to make it right.

    But the other issue is that the glass-to-glass spacing is now 2-1/4", which I think is wayyy too large. I've read that 1-3/4" is good, and 1-7/8" is acceptable.

    But 2-1/4" just looks too big:



    and there doesn't seem to be a good way to shrink the space. Should I just return it and get the Mann Lake one? Does anyone know the spacing on that? Does it come with a frame feeder?
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Athens, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: Ulster Hive - Mann Lake or Brushy Mountain?

    I'd email Mann Lake and ask. They also have nice frame feeders that are relatively inexpensive.

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