What is an ideal beehive?
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  1. #1

    Default What is an ideal beehive?

    Hello Beesource community,
    I am here because I know that on forum websites I will find the most experienced and active beekeepers around- I am 17 and starting a Design and Technology coursework project at college, and I'm planning on creating an interactive beehive! I plan to add sensors within the beehive to monitor temperature and humidity and other factors such as weight. I'd love to know your feedback on this and this will count as excellent primary research!
    Ive made a form on google forms which is completely anonymous as I'm just in the process of collecting data for my project. I hope you can spare the 5 minutes it will take to fill in

    https://forms.gle/LuSzUZy8mT1v8Hnm9

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Lexington County, SC USA
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    Default

    I think this sound like a great idea for a class project.

    Are you already familiar with beekeeping? I ask because I'm in my third season and I still don't have it really figured out.

    If you post your location you might get someone to volunteer to let you work with their bees. That would allow someone else to do the beekeeping thing and you could concentrate on your work.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
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    564

    Default Re: What is an ideal beehive?

    Quote Originally Posted by jg9753 View Post
    Hello Beesource community,
    I am here because I know that on forum websites I will find the most experienced and active beekeepers around- I am 17 and starting a Design and Technology coursework project at college, and I'm planning on creating an interactive beehive! I plan to add sensors within the beehive to monitor temperature and humidity and other factors such as weight. I'd love to know your feedback on this and this will count as excellent primary research!
    Ive made a form on google forms which is completely anonymous as I'm just in the process of collecting data for my project. I hope you can spare the 5 minutes it will take to fill in

    https://forms.gle/LuSzUZy8mT1v8Hnm9

    Thanks!
    The Ideal bee hive is the one that works best for "YOU" and that the bees can survive in "YOUR" location, using it.

    Short example if you are small say 5 foot 2 and cannot lift much a 5 frame hive may be best for you, However if you live in Canada the winter food needs must be a part of the design. As well in the south a "cool hive" is optimal, In New Hampshire, a cool hive may not allow the bees to winter.
    Must beekeeping is local so in every "place" the optimum hive will be slightly different.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    2,573

    Default Re: What is an ideal beehive?

    Not to oppose Gray Goose's point, but from the view of, "What is ideal for the bees?" it is clear that hive boxes larger than the standard U.S. "Langstroth" hive have distinct advantages when combined with 5.1mm or 4.9mm cell sized foundation mounted on narrow frames about 1.240 inches wide.

    The Spring bee night cluster can cover more babies on smaller cells and narrower frames, bringing the population up a few weeks faster than bees in standard 5.4mm foundation mounted on 1.375" wide frames. You get more bees earlier, just in time for almond pollination and take better advantage of the few weeks of the main Spring nectar / pollen flow.

    One such hive is the Modified Square Jumbo Dadant ("MSJD" for short) beehive. The inside dimensions are 18-3/8" x 18-3/8" x 11-11/16ths inches deep (Mine are actually 12.5 inches deep with 7/8-inch frame rebates so as to never crush a queen). It also has an advantage being square - you can place the honey frames at 90 degrees to the brood frames, giving the bees easy access to any honey frame. A fellow in Europe has been using similar hives for about 15 years and he reverses the honey boxes ("endo") every time he works the colony so that the honey fills out evenly.

    14 of the narrow 1.240"-wide frames fit inside the brood box (you can use 12 standard honey frames - Illinois, shallows, or comb frames - in the supers). I place a partition in the brood box in order to start the season with 2 colonies. At about 4 to 4-1/2 frames of bees. I move the smaller colony into it's own MSJD brood box and square super. You do need to make up some square queen excluders or mount a standard one on a board to fit the MSJD hive boxes. I also make partitioned screened bottom boards with 2 openings on opposite corners, and half & half inner candy board covers, a square Don the Fat Bee Man-type version of the Miller hive top feeder, and a square quilt box. Of course, I just had to make them into observer hives with double-pane windows!

    The 11-1/4" deep brood frames allow the best queens to develop an extremely healthy brood nest with pollen and honey right there on the frame where they need it.

    Admittedly, I am a bit larger 5'-2", and these 100 lbs brood boxes can be hefty, but I lift them onto my 2-wheeled, flatbed wheelbarrow by using my legs, not my bad back. My feet go out at 45 degrees from front (that's 90 degrees apart), I get my buttocks down to the ground, grab the cleat handles securely, lean back, look up in the sky, and heave-ho. Most people trying this the first time say, "Whoa! My legs!" I smile and say, "See? First time you ever lifted something heavy with your legs instead of your back! You really felt that, huh?" To which the usual reply is "Wow! yeah. OK, I get it." I'll leave this point on the note that I don't have to move the bees that often.

    I do also run standard hives and frames because I have to sell the bees to other beekeepers. It just gives me a base line to compare these supercharged hives to. And there are other brood box designs larger than standard, I just have not seen any with as many advantages as with the MSJD beehive. You get about 80% to 100% more bees, and half again to twice as much honey, more bees to sell as nuc's, and from which to breed queens.

    ************************************************** ***

    On your experiment, do be advised that some beekeepers have already made iPhone apps that analyze the sounds in side the hives, telling if they have Africanized Honey Bees, if the bees are considering swarming, and numerous other data that the bees make in sound. Thermal images are done with infrared rifle bore scopes probed into the hives in Winter. They've even invented a torque wrench fitting to test the weight of beehives instead of a hive scale. One beekeeper can check all the hives in a drop faster than 6 beekeepers can move about with 3 scales. You can search all these old topics here on Beesource using the search box. There is still a lot of room for improvement and experimentation yet.

  6. #5
    Join Date
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    564

    Default Re: What is an ideal beehive?

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    Not to oppose Gray Goose's point, but from the view of, "What is ideal for the bees?" it is clear that hive boxes larger than the standard U.S. "Langstroth" hive have distinct advantages when combined with 5.1mm or 4.9mm cell sized foundation mounted on narrow frames about 1.240 inches wide.

    The Spring bee night cluster can cover more babies on smaller cells and narrower frames, bringing the population up a few weeks faster than bees in standard 5.4mm foundation mounted on 1.375" wide frames. You get more bees earlier, just in time for almond pollination and take better advantage of the few weeks of the main Spring nectar / pollen flow.

    One such hive is the Modified Square Jumbo Dadant ("MSJD" for short) beehive. The inside dimensions are 18-3/8" x 18-3/8" x 11-11/16ths inches deep (Mine are actually 12.5 inches deep with 7/8-inch frame rebates so as to never crush a queen). It also has an advantage being square - you can place the honey frames at 90 degrees to the brood frames, giving the bees easy access to any honey frame. A fellow in Europe has been using similar hives for about 15 years and he reverses the honey boxes ("endo") every time he works the colony so that the honey fills out evenly.

    14 of the narrow 1.240"-wide frames fit inside the brood box (you can use 12 standard honey frames - Illinois, shallows, or comb frames - in the supers). I place a partition in the brood box in order to start the season with 2 colonies. At about 4 to 4-1/2 frames of bees. I move the smaller colony into it's own MSJD brood box and square super. You do need to make up some square queen excluders or mount a standard one on a board to fit the MSJD hive boxes. I also make partitioned screened bottom boards with 2 openings on opposite corners, and half & half inner candy board covers, a square Don the Fat Bee Man-type version of the Miller hive top feeder, and a square quilt box. Of course, I just had to make them into observer hives with double-pane windows!

    The 11-1/4" deep brood frames allow the best queens to develop an extremely healthy brood nest with pollen and honey right there on the frame where they need it.
    Hi kilocharlie, I have been considering making a Lang box that would be square as I like the idea of crossing the combs for better bee flow inside the hive.
    Is there a good source for the narrow frames and foundation (4.9 -5.1)? for the MSJD hive. I am good with making the boxes and tops and bottoms but the frames are a bit too time consuming for me. I am US based BTW
    GG

  7. #6
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    Default Re: What is an ideal beehive?

    The only source for the oversize 5.1 mm foundation wax is Dadant and Sons. You'll have to contact them early and plan ahead for the following year. We could combine an order and make it feasible for them to run one large batch. Please PM me if you want to do that.

    You could definitely make one for standard frame depth - I'd make one for 9-11/16 standard brood into a square - use the long side length (18-3/8 inches inside, 19-7/8 inches outside using 3/4 inch wood) on all sides. Remember that 2 sides have the frame shelves and the other 2 do not, and of course their finger box joint fingers and notches are opposite. It will use either 12 standard brood frames or 14 narrow frames (side bars are 1.240" wide in the narrow frames).

    You could buy standard frames and plane them down on both sides if you have a vise and a hand plane. I'd make up a template that was the correct width and trace it with a pencil onto the standard width frames, then shave them down to 1.240" width with the hand plane.

    While this is not necessarily perfect down to the last detail, it would be one [email protected]$$ beehive even with standard foundation. The 5.1 mm size brood foundation is readily available for that, so you would indeed be able to take advantage of the earlier population increase. I'd strongly encourage you to pursue this course. That is a very simple modification to standard tackle and it has many of the advantages. Very doable, with lots of benefits.

    On the good news end for me personally, I was just given a table saw and am currently reconditioning it up to beehive building status. I may be able to make the frame side bars for you soon.

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