SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments
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  1. #1
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    Post SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Hi everyone.

    I'm Nick, I live in Southwest Michigan, and I am a recovering package-buying beekeeper.
    Three years of doing that, three years of Georgia bees dying for various reasons. PSM, SHB, mice, condensation, and bad beekeeping too I'm sure.
    I'm ready to try something different this time.

    I have 8 swarm traps built, and ready to be baited and set out in various places throughout my property and other spots I drive past frequently.
    Four are KTBH nucleus boxes, four are Layens-style swarm traps.
    Currently I have 3 KTBH built, and I am nearly finished building 2 Layens hives (19 and 14 frame).
    Planning on insulating the heck out of all the hives for more consistent temperatures within the hive bodies.
    I've read OTS Queen Rearing a few times now and am planning on putting some of Mel's techniques into play, but I also don't plan on doing forced brood-breaks.
    Reading everything else I can get my hands on about beekeeping and bees, especially treatment free beekeeping: Les Crowder's book, Fedor Lazutin's book, Tom Seeley, etc.

    As of right now, I have no bees. I don't plan on buying bees to get them.
    I know some of the orchards near me will bring in commercial hives for pollination. I know these bees will swarm.
    I also live very close to state forest land. I hope there are bees living in those trees that will swarm.
    So, hopefully I'll have things to update this thread with. I'll post when things happen.

    -Nick

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  3. #2
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    many thanks for starting the thread nick.

    we are looking forward to hearing about the trapping and beyond.

    here's wishing you a successful 2019!
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #3
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Quote Originally Posted by nickhefferan View Post
    ...
    I am a recovering package-buying beekeeper.
    Three years of doing that, three years of Georgia bees dying for various reasons. PSM, SHB, mice, condensation, and bad beekeeping too I'm sure.
    I'm ready to try something different this time.

    I have 8 swarm traps built......
    -Nick
    Nick,

    Sounds like you should have some used equipment on hand due to die outs.
    Maybe even old, black combs - great if so (use them in traps).

    If you want to maximize your trapping returns, set out the used boxes.
    Convert them into traps (even if temporarily).
    Set the entire empty hives out - should work just as well.
    The most used boxes will make the best traps.

    OK, you already built spunky, brand-new traps - I get that.
    Might as well keep at least some at home and use for nucs/splits for a season (this is called - "priming").
    It will be a mistake to put newly built trap boxes out while keeping used boxes at home.

    I wish I had used boxes the first year I went out swarm trapping.
    0% success using the new boxes (did not matter how well I baited them with LGO).

    Today all of my traps are well used and well propolized - much better success.
    All of them are now well primed as I held bees in them, even if few weeks only.

    Good luck and have fun!

    PS: ah yes, if still keep some used equipment at home, might as well set them up as traps right there;
    (backyard corner, under the porch, on the porch, whatever - might get a nice surprise on a muggy Sunday afternoon);
    DSCN2828.jpg
    Last edited by GregV; 12-28-2018 at 11:20 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #4
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    Oswego County, New York, USA
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Nick
    As GregV said, used equipment works the best for swarm traps.
    If you need to use brand new traps I read of a trick to make them more appealing to the bees, rub all the interior walls with beeswax until they are covered with a thin layer of wax, the author claimed that bees don't like the smell of new lumber.
    Good Luck v

  6. #5
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Quote Originally Posted by JustMutts View Post
    Nick
    ..... rub all the interior walls with beeswax until they are covered with a thin layer of wax.......
    If have any slum gum around, just use that for rubbing inside.
    Heat gun works great for rubbing in wax (from odfrank).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JustMutts View Post
    Nick
    ..... rub all the interior walls with beeswax until they are covered with a thin layer of wax.......
    If have any slum gum around, just use that for rubbing inside.
    Heat gun works great for rubbing in wax (from odfrank).
    Yup! I'm planning on hanging some older used comb in each of the traps, rubbing them with propolis and wax, and sticking in a baggie with LGO on a cloth in it.
    I also have plans to do that same baiting to each of the hives themselves.

    Hopefully I can get some bees early enough to really get a good jump on the season. I know of a few TF beekeepers in my area (within a couple hours drive) that I should be able to buy queens from in case I end up with nothing but almond bees.
    - Nick - SW Michigan, Zone 6b (Lake Effect, ya know?). Extra Deep Horizontal Hives.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Forty liters. One frame of drawn comb, in the back. The rest foundationless. Four or five drops of lemon grass oil, no more. Hung arm reach height. Used or new box doesn’t make a noticeable difference to me. I use cedar.
    David Matlock

  9. #8
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Here's what I'll be working with for the upcoming season:
    IMG_20190101_155145.jpg
    3 4-foot long Top Bar Hives

    41667397_1339765076159166_4418520306671419392_o.jpg
    IMG_20181103_183802_691.jpg
    Two Layens Hives (making them look pretty)

    IMG_20181014_112907.jpg
    IMG_20181014_180730.jpg
    and my swarm boxes.
    going to paint them more muted colors so they aren't as loudly on display.


  10. #9
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Thanks for the pics!

    Comments:

    1)minor - those cool house-like gable roofs with asphalt are not very functional and have unnecessary weight built into them;
    you will likely find it for yourself if not already - but be aware, if not already
    (unless you already know the stuff and still really, really want those roofs - yes, they are cute);
    I grew around the gable roofs and never made one for myself having a choice (my roofs double as ad-hoc work tables and ad-hoc containers)

    2)major - since you decided to run two incompatible hive systems side-by-side, you designed in compatibility issues in your apiary
    the up-front incompatibility between your hives (TB vs. Layens) will give you some grief sooner or later;
    there is no easy way between your two systems to move the bees and the combs back and forth - not good;
    what about catching a swarm into your Layen's trap and putting it into a TBH (because you got no empty Layens handy)?
    sooner or later you will really, really want to be able to move resources between your hives easily, quickly, and for any good reason
    (moving a trivial comb/frame from hive A to hive B should be just that - a trivial move; not a major cut-out operation)

    3)major, major - have fun, regardless of the details!
    Last edited by GregV; 01-02-2019 at 10:22 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    1)minor - those cool house-like gable roofs with asphalt are not very functional and have unnecessary weight built into them;
    you will likely find it for yourself if not already - but be aware, if not already
    (unless you already know the stuff and still really, really want those roofs - yes, they are cute);
    I grew around the gable roofs and never made one for myself having a choice (my roofs double as ad-hoc work tables and ad-hoc containers)
    I have them on hinges now, which is much nicer than when I originally had to lift off the gabled roof on the top bar hive. But yeah, they're heavy.
    My wife thinks they look nice though little bee houses.
    Definitely heavy, makes moving the boxes a chore.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    2)major - since you decided to run two incompatible hive systems side-by-side, you designed in compatibility issues in your apiary
    the up-front incompatibility between your hives (TB vs. Layens) will give you some grief sooner or later;
    there is no easy way between your two systems to move the bees and the combs back and forth - not good;
    what about catching a swarm into your Layen's trap and putting it into a TBH (because you got no empty Layens handy)?
    sooner or later you will really, really want to be able to move resources between your hives easily, quickly, and for any good reason
    (moving a trivial comb/frame from hive A to hive B should be just that - a trivial move; not a major cut-out operation)
    I know this will be a sticking point, I really wanted to try out the extra-deep frames because of the winters here, already had built the top bar hives, but thought it was worth trying.
    Hopefully I'll be able to expand in one direction over the other and convert fully to one style depending on how they perform.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    3)major, major - have fun, regardless of the details!
    Thanks! I'm planning on enjoying the experience

  12. #11
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Or you could re-work your TBH to be able to take the Layen's frames. Would make a big TBH, but with a follower board, it would be manageable.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Quote Originally Posted by r2t2 View Post
    Or you could re-work your TBH to be able to take the Layen's frames. Would make a big TBH, but with a follower board, it would be manageable.
    You know... I might need to look into doing that.
    The adjustment wouldn't be too ridiculous, and I think it would solve several headaches I could run into down the road.
    I'd need to lengthen the sides and the faces, and cut the bars down a bit and add some supports, but it could work..

  14. #13
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Just ran through a quick mock up of how I might do a conversion from top bar to Layens, numbers aren't final but I think it could be done somewhat easily.

    reworking top bar to layens.jpg
    Last edited by nickhefferan; 01-07-2019 at 07:58 AM. Reason: edited the image

  15. #14
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Try this search on google:
    michigan treatment free nucs
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  16. #15
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Quote Originally Posted by nickhefferan View Post
    You know... I might need to look into doing that. ..
    If looking for work, just go Layens and be done, and don't bother the TBH mish-mash then...
    Convert those TBHs into temp hives that are compatible to your Layens, but are very low tech.
    Essentially, keep them as simple boxes and nothing fancy - just functional enough to temporarily park a swarm or a split or a nuc.

    You see, you do NOT have to run full frames in Layens (on any single level, long hive, for that matter).
    You can totally run only the top bars in the Layens (regardless of what purists will say).
    Just the same typical TBH procedures apply (keeping the combs straight, etc, etc).

    I run just top bars in my horizontals all the time (because that is what I get from my swarm traps).
    More often I run hybrid-style top bars with some ad-hoc end bar stapled in (since the wooden scraps pile up anyway and better find some use).
    Layens-type hives take both full frames/simple top bars/anything in between; take then in any mix as needed.
    In addition, you can (and should anyway) have a top cover cloth and then do NOT need to have you bars touching either.

    Any simple, straight stick will do when in the pinch and bees will build off of it (anything can be fixed later when have time and full frames handy).
    Any Lang/Dadant frames laying around can be easily repurposed and used as well in your long hives.
    Flexibility and forgiveness is the beauty of a long hive.
    20180802_190131.jpg
    20180708_162102.jpg
    20180708_162955.jpg
    Attachment 45403
    20170513_105502_Small.jpg
    DSCN2476.jpg
    Last edited by GregV; 01-07-2019 at 08:53 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  17. #16
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    Default

    Nick:

    Just finished reading this thread, and I look forward to hearing how your swarm traps do this year. It will be swarm season before we know it...

    Have a great week.

    Russ

  18. #17
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Nick,

    I'm pulling for you. I started with GA packages, then local nucs, now swarms exclusively. The swarms are the only ones to make it through winter.

    For trapping, if you can, try placing a couple of traps near water. Streams, gullies, ponds, whatever you have.

    I'll be helping a newbee set up a Layens hive this spring, so I'll be very interested in hearing your experience.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    Nick:

    Just finished reading this thread, and I look forward to hearing how your swarm traps do this year. It will be swarm season before we know it...

    Have a great week.

    Russ

    Quote Originally Posted by clong View Post
    Nick,

    I'm pulling for you. I started with GA packages, then local nucs, now swarms exclusively. The swarms are the only ones to make it through winter.

    For trapping, if you can, try placing a couple of traps near water. Streams, gullies, ponds, whatever you have.

    I'll be helping a newbee set up a Layens hive this spring, so I'll be very interested in hearing your experience.

    Thanks for the well wishes, folks.

    I have a laundry list of things I want to finish up before Spring really... springs, but haven't worked up the gusto to go out to the pole barn and do some cutting.
    Definitely planning to retool the top bar hives into Layens/deeper Layens hives similar to what GregV uses and Matt on YouTube.
    I like the idea of being able to convert from Langstroth to Layens(ish), and potentially back again (for other keepers that don't do Extra-deep hives).

    I absolutely will update again as I finish building hives/traps, when I set out the traps, and (hopefully) when they attract new tenants!

    -Nick

  20. #19
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Hey, I found another brand new Youtube channel - by Bee Boy Bill.
    He is all about Layens and is posting good vids.
    Leave him a positive comment for his sharing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK4t...re=em-comments
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: SW Michigan Horizontal Hives - Sans Treatments

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Hey, I found another brand new Youtube channel - by Bee Boy Bill.
    He is all about Layens and is posting good vids.
    Leave him a positive comment for his sharing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK4t...re=em-comments
    Yes! I've really enjoyed his videos as well, they've both (Bill and Matt) produced some great content that has been enjoyable to follow along.
    I'm glad they're both so open about their building process also, it helped me already, and I'm sure it will help others in the future.

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