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  1. #41

    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Quote Originally Posted by Cristian View Post
    Bernhard, please describe the whole management with this box for full seson ( production hives , nucs ).
    Phew, in a nutshell:

    (1) In February on a sunny day you shrink the broodnest down to the number of brood combs, that have bees and brood on it. Usually that is 3,5 or 7 frames. Depending on the queen and cluster size. Brood combs, follower board (insulated). Hang the combs with food only behind the follower board. Even if it has bees on it. (But no brood.) Bees will go behind the follower board and transfers the food into the broodnest. This way you create some sort of 'inhive nectar flow' plus you restrict the queen. Also bees are more crowded in the restricted broodnest, which means more warmth and combs get more brood from side to side, bottom to top.

    Hint: You can best rate the queen during wintertime after they started brooding again. Do notes on how the queen do. It is my prime selection criteria for breeding queens. They have to winter with lots of bees, stores. Half of our honey is made during the early Spring. Mark the weaker and the stronger hives.

    Hint: Keep an eye on winter stores. Once all the stores are eaten up, add more combs with winter stores on it. Some do variations on this. I for example, remove all combs except the brood+bee combs. I throw on the queen excluder right away, and install a package of fondant right above the winter cluster. This way, the bees are getting used to the upward direction, rather than the sideway direction. Also checks on winter stores are easier: pop up the lid, bag empty = new bag of fondant. Done.

    (2) Mid to end March all the hives are equalized. The weaker hives receive capped brood combs from the strong hives. The strong hives receive open brood combs from the weaker hives. This way you push the weaker hives by adding capped brood that will emerge soon and does not need to be nursed. Nursing larvae is costly. The strong hives are not weakened by donating the brood, because they get open brood as replacement. The strong hives are strong enough to nurse the open brood.

    I do a lot of requeening at that time, as Brother Adams advised. All duds get a new queen. I winter many replacement queens in Warré hives. The good queens are taken to the wintering yard, the weak queens are taken out, good queen in cage and candy plug is inserted straight away. The weak queen is taken home to the hive that donated the strong queen. Weak queens still are useful to produce some brood for further use.

    It is important to equalize the production hives, so all following manipulations are the same for all hives. You better have a raised average instead of few good ones, and many weak hives. So much easier to manage the yards if the hives are all the same.

    Give more combs. In case you have a weak hive, no more combs are given. Is it strong and running low on winter stores, add a comb of winter food. Is it strong and able to build new combs, cut off the half of the last comb before the follower board. Bees will draw drone comb on the lower half of that cut comb. The strongest hives get a drone frame. Frame with starter strip. Right before the follower board. Repeat with every inspection: if all combs have eggs: add another frame+foundation between drone comb and broodnest. Repeat until 7 combs in total are reached. Do not add no more. Add one more, you get swarm fever. You find a full pollen comb: chuck it out. Reduce number of combs.

    Rule of thumb: rather than expanding the broodnest, better expand the honey supers!

    (3) Add honey supers as the nectar flow hits. Not too early, not too late. As said I have the fondant bag in that super. Once I see nectar coming in, I throw out the fondant, and add drawn honey combs. First super has no foundation. Just drawn honey combs. (Before wintering you can let some of the honey combs be drawn in the brood chamber, behind the follower board. In summer. Remove before winter feeding.)

    All the young bees want to draw fresh comb. Give enough foundation in the supers to let them do their thing. In the supers! Fresh combs really satisfies them. Much less swarming. Also Buckfast bees are known to love to store honey in fresh combs (unlike the Carnica bees). Thus the foundation at the top will draw the honey up into the supers, preventing the backflooding of the broodnest with nectar very sufficiently.

    (4) Start your queen production very early in the season. Produce young queens! Replace 70-80 % of all your hives with young queens as soon as possible = no swarming tendency anymore. By doing this, you can skip swarm controls.

    (5) Before a particular flow starts, I go through all the hives. Open the lid, remove the one super that I leave on after extracting, push combs apart in the middle of the nest: take out one center comb. I find a dud, I will place a split right in the middle of that hive. Bees, brood and a young queen will solve almost all problems. Troubleshooting is the most time consuming thing in beekeeping, so I completely stopped fixing things. If there is an issue, I take a split and push it into the trouble maker. Fixed.

    For this I move the combs to the left and right, leaving a gap in between for three to five combs of the split. Old queen removed. Split inserted, done. Of course you need a special yard that is designated for split production only. Always have enough splits and heaps of queens at hand. I run 60 hives for split production all the time. Hives have 12 combs. Take out three to five combs and the queen for a rescue split. Replace with foundation and a young queen from a mating nuc. Feed!

    I don't do any swarm controls anymore. Just before the next flow starts one short inspection. It has brood, eggs, queen and all combs have brood: supers are given. I find a hive that somehow struggles: swarm cells, no queen, not all combs having brood, lots of pollen and so on: split inserted. Supers given. Done. You get a lot of honey of those hives that have splits inserted. Just do it right before the next flow hits.

    Transporting splits.


    Lots of brood, nectar, pollen and a young queen.


    Hive in trouble: make a gap


    Insert split.


    Three combs of capped brood: 15,000 bees emerging soon. 3-6,000 adult bees already on the combs. That boosts the hive and no honey is lost. Productivity is secured.

    (6) End of season I remove all brood from the production hives except one comb of brood. Rest is filled up with foundation. (12 combs.) Feed and treat. Old queen thus has one comb of open brood and all foragers. All failing old queens are replaced with splits. (I know it starts to get boring to have only one answer to all the problems in beekeeping. )

    Brood combs are distributed to other apiaries to make new splits with young queens, making a lot of spare hives. Three combs per split. Fill with foundation, feed and treat. Alternatively, if you don't want to increase or sell splits, you can pool the brood, add queen pheromones, let it emerge, treating during hatching, make package bees, or add the treated bees back to strengthen weaker wintering hives.

    (7) End of summer, when you break up all your mating nucs, you remove 2 brood combs and 2 honey combs from each hive, making one new hive from two hives. Add the spare queens. All hives are wintered on 8 combs then. Feed the last time of the year after that. So all bees can settle for winter. Winter strong hives only.


    To reduce the material used, I use divider boards to make 2 splits per hive/brood chamber. More or less this is the very first step into 2 queen hives. Winter two colonies in one brood chamber. In Spring you use the good queens/colonies in one brood chamber only. Run the weaker queens as 2 queen colonies. This is easy, just put two colonies divided in one brood chamber, let them settle for some weeks. Add a queen excluder and a honey super, preferably wet with honey, to start the 2 queen colony. It produces at least the same amount of honey as your strongest single queen hive. Extra queens can be pulled to start mating nucs or for starting new splits. (I start all hives, including mating nuts and splits with mated and laying queens. Once the broodnest is stabilized, queen is pulled and ripe queen cell given.)

    Do run 2 queen hives with four combs per queen, no more. You add more combs, you get swarm fever. I fill the rest of the space with double frame feeders.

    Making a two queen hive from weaker colonies at Springtime.


    Hive body and floor is divided by a divider board.


    It makes two chambers of one brood chamber.




    Notice the divider board extends above the top of the box. Thus the inner lid will be closed tight enough to keep the queens separately.


    There is one slat in the bottom, with a groove that holds the divider board in place. It also keeps the 2 queens away from each other, which would pass through the bottom to fight the other queen. Note that the slat extends out of the entrance. Queens do run a little outside to reach the other broodnest.


    Frame feeders, double frame size.


    One could make three compartments out of one brood box (four frames x 3 = 12 frames) – but I found it a bit fiddly to prevent the queens from running over to the other broodnest. The feeders keep them apart very well. Also you have some space to move frames a little.

    Ready to receive splits. One food comb, one frame+foundation per compartment. Now insert two brood combs and a queen.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cristian View Post
    The thing that intrigued me is that they aren't building wild comb after the follower board.
    They sometimes do. But that is a good thing (add on list by Fusion). Because that buffers the wild emotion the bees have at that time. You don't get burr comb, if you keep ahead adding supers with some foundation. But if you come too late, they build burr comb behind the follower board. Way better than shutting down broodnest and swarm. Burr comb next to the follower board is a sign of a strong flow. You get a bit mad on removing all the burr comb when you start keeping bees in Dadant hives, but once you get, when to add more supers, this phenomena will be reduced to almost zero. Just keep on learning. The hive buffers beekeeper's mistakes well enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cristian View Post
    The second thought that I've had is how are you proceeding with their food reserve for hard times when no flow is present ( just 100-200 g/day if not ZERO FLOW ). What is left for them if if you take the supers to extract honey? Just what is left in brood chamber?
    Usually there is enough nectar and pollen in the brood chamber until you get to the next honey flow. I move my hives from flow to flow, as soon as possible. Also they get out all the rest of the extracted but still wet honey supers, that I give back very soon. If you want to be very sure, you can add a new super under the ready to harvest supers at the end of the flow. They partly fill this super then and can live from it for a while.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    suppliers in Europe as the "Brother Adam" hive and sometimes listed as a "12 frame Dadant". They also sell Dadant Blatt which is the Modified Dadant hive
    Well, at least in Germany the "Dadant modified" means the Brother Adam hive. Dadant Blatt is Dadant Blatt, as far as I know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    ...but then the Dadant is kind of a Langstroth hive... just deeper frames and a wider box.
    Better read what Dadant himself wrote on frame spacing.

    Dadant System of Beekeeping
    C. P. Dadant => Son of Charles Dadant
    http://www.three-peaks.net/PDF/Dadan...ing%201920.pdf

    You will find interesting hints there. What you can do with a Brother Adam hive (12 frame Dadant) you can't really do with any other hive. Of course you can improvise here and there, but that never will lead to the results, the Dadant hive delivers: Least work, best results.
    Last edited by BernhardHeuvel; 06-29-2016 at 05:22 PM.

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  3. #42
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    fascinating thread, many thanks to all for contributing.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #43
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Quote Originally Posted by aunt betty View Post
    Something that has been tried and true since 1852 ...
    Do you count varroa, commercial pollination, migratory beekeeping, pesticides, chemical treatments, forbidden export of queens in US, crop monoculture and GMOs?
    Last edited by cerezha; 06-29-2016 at 06:15 PM.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  5. #44
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Just curious why you would blame all those on the design of a particular beehive?

  6. #45
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Yeah it is a cool thread, different modes of thinking for sure. I'd like to give a go, the hangup is the frames which I am not building. Everything else I feel I can handle pretty easy. Fusion if you ever get to where you can sell frames/parts I'll jump for at least a couple brood boxes worth.

  7. #46
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    dar, there's a guy somewhere around decatur (i think) who build frames out of poplar wood and sells them for a reasonable price. i don't have his name but i could get it. perhaps you know of him. i wonder if he might be willing to crank out a bunch of those deep frames?
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #47
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Bernhard, I don't see a few things that are important.

    1. Ventilation is critical here in the deep south. Your hive setup appears to be designed for an area with relatively cool summers. Have you considered using a deep bottom board similar to the Slatted Rack?

    2. I don't see anything about mite management, would I be correct you treat in the fall? If so, how do you time it?

    3. You didn't mention running them as 2 queen over winter, have you thought about trying this with 6 combs on each side? My thoughts are that it should be perfect to bring two medium size colonies through winter though this may be better in my climate than in yours.

    4. Do you raise queens in the Warre hives? If so, could you give a high level description of the way you produce queens.

    5. It appears you need 3 sizes of equipment to manage, Warre hives to raise queens, 3 or 4 frame nuc boxes to provide backup queens and brood, and the square deep 12 frame hives to produce honey. Are there any other pieces of woodenware you consider indispensable?

    6. You mention producing queens as soon as possible, have you considered the way Brother Adam raised queens in the summer and overwintered in nucs then requeened the next spring?

    7. In all he trialed and tested, Dadant still missed one very important thing about frame spacing. He was 100% correct that 1 3/8 spacing is not optimum. But he did not realize that either 1 1/2 or 1 1/4 will achieve the same goal which is to get the broodnest filled with brood. I can gain 2 or 3 weeks earlier buildup with 1 1/4 which is a decided advantage for early spring flows.

    8. I would also like to verify, are the boxes you are using the dimensions I previously posted?
    Length 18 5/16 (465 mm)
    Width 18 5/16 (465 mm)
    Height 11 5/8 (295 mm)

    Thank you for posting the detailed manipulations, you saved me at least a year of experimenting to figure out how to manage these hives!
    Last edited by Fusion_power; 06-29-2016 at 08:50 PM.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  9. #48
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Just curious why you would blame all those on the design of a particular beehive?
    Since I825, many things have been changed. What was good in 1852 is not necessary good in 2016. Different situation may require different solution.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  10. #49
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    So all those things listed are the fault of one particular hive design? Wouldn't GMO crops, for example, have happened anyway?

    The world has changed since 1852 but bees and their requirements for a hive to live in are still pretty much the same. They are long term survivors and the last few years are a mere blip in the time they have been on earth.

  11. #50
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    ... bees and their requirements for a hive to live in are still pretty much the same....
    The entire point of this thread was that bees need a "cavity" of particular volume and the rest is for beekeeper convenience - therefore there are hundreds of bee-hive designs and all of them work pretty well (according people who keep bees in THAT particular kind). For million of years, bees were living in clean environment. The entire "human era" is a blip in bees history. But this "blip" is killing species on the Earth with fantastic speed (search Google). Annual 50% loss of the bees in US is not a "blip", it is serious in my opinion. We do not need to start this discussion again. The thread is about square boxes, let's keep it this way. My original post was intended merely to point out that bee-condition has been changed after 1852...
    Серёжа, Sergey

  12. #51
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Bernhard, I'm going to describe how I think something works and ask that you see if I am correct.

    You state to never give a single queen more than 7 combs. Are you using 5.3 mm foundation? if so, each comb has 9000 available cells. A prolific queen can lay an average of about 3000 eggs per day giving a total of 63,000 total eggs in the brood cycle where 3000 X 21 = 63,000. 7 combs would give 7 X 9000 = 63,000 cells. In other words, you are matching the queens laying ability precisely to the number of combs she can fill with eggs.

    Now analyze this in terms of Walt Wright's nectar management. Walt describes breaking the honey dome to prevent swarming. With 7 frames in a SD hive, you would inherently be preventing the bees from forming a honey dome in the brood chamber. This means you are pushing honey storage into the supers where it is less likely to trigger swarming. Ideally, at the start of the flow, all of the brood frames will be filled with brood, pollen, and a little honey at the top of the frames. There is no honey dome in this configuration. If you add an 8th comb, voila, now there is more room than the queen can fill so the bees form a honey dome and initiate swarming.

    This requires more analysis in the case of the 2 queen hive. You state that a max of 4 frames per side can be managed without triggering swarming. This is artificially limiting the queen's laying capacity to fewer frames than she can fill. This infers that the bees form a honey dome in the first super above the brood chamber which - combined with the much larger population of bees - is enough to trigger swarming. So try something. Put 2 young queens in a brood chamber with 6 combs each and always ensure the frames immediately above the brood chamber are only partially filled. This could be done by continually rotating 3 or 4 combs from the bottom super to an upper super and putting empty combs in the bottom. If I am correct, this would prevent formation of a honey dome and the bees should not initiate swarming.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  13. #52
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    My original post was intended merely to point out that bee-condition has been changed after 1852...
    Oh, my apologies. I thought that since you referenced 1852, the year the langstroth hive was patented, you were making veiled reference to the langstroth hive, and saying that all the problems you mentioned were caused by that.

    Now I understand your explanation that you were really talking about environmental issues such as GMO, pesticides etc, and your reference to 1852 was just a crazy coincidence.

  14. #53
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    ... talking about environmental issues such as GMO, pesticides etc...
    my point was that bee-conditon has been changed since 1852. This thread is talking about Dadan's modification of the bee-hive if I understood correctly.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  15. #54
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    The thread is talking about hive designs.

  16. #55
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Wow! I haven't visited this thread since right when it started. I'm glad I came back. There is a lot of interesting info here. Thanks to all the contributors.

  17. #56
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Shouldn't all these hive designs be bigger all the way around by whatever factor cell size has supposedly increased? Since bees have magically grown since the beginning of the 1900's, should the boxes have expanded since these sizes have all been established for the "original small cell bees"?

  18. #57
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Bernhard :

    Amazing post ! Thank's for all .

    To compare your season and my season timing :

    1 . When is your first flow starting and which one it is ? ( the one that makes you to ad supers )

    2 . When is end of the summer for you ?

    3. When is end of the season ?

    4. When are being introduced for the first time the drone comb in the hive and how much time pass between inspections ( to give them more comb or foundation ) ?

  19. #58
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Cerezha, as far as I am concerned 50% loss of bees in the USA is pure unadulterated BS. It might be true of the minority of squeaky wheels which are garnering the most attention, But wait if I cannot sell the eighty percent or so of my increases this year I might have a 40% loss because I will have to destroy many hives because I just cannot handle any more.
    Johno

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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Quote Originally Posted by johno View Post
    ... 50% loss of bees in the USA is pure unadulterated BS. ...
    Johno
    It depends how you count. If you have 100 hives going into winter in September and have 50 hives in April or March - than it is 50% loss, does not matter how many new splits you will do over the Summer. It is like, if your family lost a member and you are saying that it is "pure unadulterated BS" because you will made more children, who compensated the loss!Or if you loss 50% of crop - you can not tell that it's "pure unadulterated BS" because next year you will produce more crop and therefore compensate loses...
    Серёжа, Sergey

  21. #60
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    Default Re: Hive designs and their advantages and disadvantages

    Cerezha, perhaps you can help me count my losses, 50 hives into winter, 48 hives surviving 50% loss I don't think so. then during the summer so far as swarm control around 45 nuc's created and I may have to split some of my booming hives later. Now comes the problem, I can really only handle 50 hives so I have to move the excess in some way or another otherwise I must let them die and thereby I could get to this amazing figure of a 40% loss. I keep my bees in Virginia which has a very low amount of honey production per colony so my biggest danger to the colonies are varoa and starvation. So what are we talking about beekeepers or beehavers.
    Johno

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