Winter Lang Hive - size reduction idea(!?)
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  1. #1
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    Default Winter Lang Hive - size reduction idea(!?)

    Hi, I have an idea bit haven’t been able to find anything online to confirm it would make sense. I have some Langstroth double deeps that are short only a few frames of winter stores, and I was wondering, can I make solid wooden frame inserts for each side of each box to reduce empty air space and act as insulation (Basically converting them to a 8 frame box). Or even insert hard foam cut to the size of frames.. do people ever do this? It would compact my bees into a smaller double deep vertical space, but I’m wondering about moisture and or mold in cracks... thanks!

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Winter Lang Hive - size reduction idea(!?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Windpath View Post
    ... do people ever do this?
    Yes. What you're describing is the use of 'dummy frames', and indeed some beekeepers - particularly in Scotland - do exactly this to reduce an 11-frame box (a standard UK size) to 8-frame.
    Myself, I use dummy frames mainly to reduce 5-frame nuc boxes to 3, in order to make a size more appropriate to queen mating - but dummies are very versatile - dunno why they're not used more.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Winter Lang Hive - size reduction idea(!?)

    There is a piece in the Sept. 2019 Betterbee newsletter (written by Enjambres I think) that addresses this.

    https://www.betterbee.com/instructio...ering-bees.asp

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Winter Lang Hive - size reduction idea(!?)

    You could insulate the hive instead. there were several studies presented at apimondia this year about the benefits of insulated hives. less store use, less time forced to cluster, lower metabolic stress

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Winter Lang Hive - size reduction idea(!?)

    Quote Originally Posted by kuhdoktor View Post
    There is a piece in the Sept. 2019 Betterbee newsletter (written by Enjambres I think) that addresses this.

    https://www.betterbee.com/instructio...ering-bees.asp
    A useful article, but I'd just point out that you don't need to use any form of foam. Trapped air is the most excellent insulator, costs nothing, and can very easily be incorporated.
    For many years I've been making dummy frames from a simple rectangle of thin (10-15mm) battens - the width of which can be varied (typically 20-28mm) to suit individual needs - which are then covered by two thin (3-4mm) sheets of plywood.



    The above are a sample of those I've removed within the last few weeks whilst combining those mating nucs which didn't make it. As you can see, despite being in position over several months, there's very little in the way of wax adhesions to those which have been painted. The unpainted example - centre bottom - is over 10 years old and covered in 'battle scars'. Wish now that I'd given it a lick of paint.

    There are a couple of pages on the Dave Cushman site devoted to the making and use of dummies:
    http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/dummyframe.html
    http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/largedummy.html
    But I'd be wary of making anything other than a simple single dummy, as unique items of woodenware have a habit of not being exactly what you require when it comes time to use them ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Winter Lang Hive - size reduction idea(!?)

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    For many years I've been making dummy frames from a simple rectangle of thin (10-15mm) battens - the width of which can be varied (typically 20-28mm) to suit individual needs - which are then covered by two thin (3-4mm) sheets of plywood.
    All this info from everyone is great! John when you say battens you simply mean you use some batten fiberglass insulation?

    Thanks again everyone!

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Winter Lang Hive - size reduction idea(!?)

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    For many years I've been making dummy frames from a simple rectangle of thin (10-15mm) battens - the width of which can be varied (typically 20-28mm) to suit individual needs - which are then covered by two thin (3-4mm) sheets of plywood.
    All this info from everyone is great! John when you say battens you simply mean you use some batten fiberglass insulation?

    Thanks again everyone!

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Winter Lang Hive - size reduction idea(!?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Windpath View Post
    All this info from everyone is great! John when you say battens you simply mean you use some batten fiberglass insulation?
    You could do, certainly - but I don't use any insulation - just the air itself.

    Batten ? - it's that language thing again ... We usually use the term 'batten' to refer to wood of a certain size range - much smaller than a plank, yet thicker than thin plywood and not a sheet material either. A bit like a 'cleat' - but for us, a cleat is a batten which has been fixed to something. I think it's just easier to give you a link to a webpage which has a few photographs showing what I mean: http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/firewood08.htm and also http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/firewood06.htm - there's a couple of pics of dummies towards the bottom.

    But - in the immortal words of Michael Palmer: "Use what you have."
    'best
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Winter Lang Hive - size reduction idea(!?)

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    A useful article, but I'd just point out that you don't need to use any form of foam. Trapped air is the most excellent insulator, costs nothing...LJ
    Unless the foam is free.
    Which is the only way with me.
    Might as well keep it out of the land-fill and reuse (China does not want it anymore either).
    Our locals here produce limitless supplies of free foam - much to my dismay, because I can only use so much of it.


    Otherwise - agreed!
    Usage of dummy frames/follower boards is such a trivial, cheap, and yet useful technique - unsure why it is not more common.
    I guess it is well forgotten.
    20190815_194407.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Winter Lang Hive - size reduction idea(!?)

    Last winter I used XPS foam inside the hive to convert an 8 frame double deep to a 5 over 5 for a small colony. They came through and exploded in the spring, becoming my largest hive.
    Zone 6B

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Winter Lang Hive - size reduction idea(!?)

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Wish now that I'd given it a lick of paint.
    I should think that it is inadvisable to lick paint.


    Zone 6B

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Winter Lang Hive - size reduction idea(!?)

    Quote Originally Posted by JConnolly View Post
    I should think that it is inadvisable to lick paint.
    A lick of paint - yup - don't know why we say that. No wonder foreigners have such difficulty learning English.

    Anyway - I've just found some photos I've been looking for ...

    One year - long before I started making dummy frames - I ran out of 5-frame nuc boxes (of which I'd normally have used two side by side for the following job, with one occupied and one empty), and so I resorted to the following kludge:







    Which is simply a cardboard box cut-down to size and wrapped in thick plastic to prevent the little darlings from destroying it. As you can see it does get a tad propolised onto whatever it rests upon, but it did get me out of that jam. I've still got it somewhere collecting dust, but these days I've a bigger stock of 5-frame nuc boxes, as well as dozens of dummy frames.

    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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