What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?
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  1. #1
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    Default What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    I am intrigued (SP?) with the horizontal hive, but am not sold on whether that is the more efficient than the standard Langstroth.

    Have there been any side-by-side studies comparing the standard Langstroth hives productivity vs. horizontal with Langstroth frames? Have studies determined whether one produce more honey, and/or more bees than the other?

    Phil

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    There are many variables involved in Honey yield, not just the shape of the boxes - location, weather, availability of forage, bee-type, colony strength and timing, beekeeper skill, and so on ...

    My guess is that most people would view the standard vertical Langstroth hive as being the most productive - which is presumably why most commerical beekeepers favour that hive. But - in 1874, Doolittle experimented with two 32-frame Long Hives, which returned 566 and 400 lbs of honey, in contrast to the average yield from his 69 other non-Long Hives, which was 166.6 lbs. He also found that the amount of brood which resulted in the Long Hives was approx. double that of the other hives.

    Make of that what you will. Doolittle was an exceptional beekeeper - that may have had something to do with it.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #3
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    There are many variables involved in Honey yield, not just the shape of the boxes - location, weather, availability of forage, bee-type, colony strength and timing, beekeeper skill, and so on ...

    My guess is that most people would view the standard vertical Langstroth hive as being the most productive - which is presumably why most commerical beekeepers favour that hive. But - in 1874, Doolittle experimented with two 32-frame Long Hives, which returned 566 and 400 lbs of honey, in contrast to the average yield from his 69 other non-Long Hives, which was 166.6 lbs. He also found that the amount of brood which resulted in the Long Hives was approx. double that of the other hives.

    Make of that what you will. Doolittle was an exceptional beekeeper - that may have had something to do with it.
    LJ
    Thank you, Little_John!

    I am a bit surprised that a controlled study starting with equal resources, i.e. bees and queen(s) had not been conducted; I would think the results would be of particular interest to commercial honey producers. Given a standard modular design of a horizontal configuration, the use of 10-frame Langstoths might not make sense.

    Phil

  5. #4
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    Doolittle earned his living width his bees. If he had thought the horizontal configuration was the most productive, and it had continued to prove it's self so, he would have continued to use it. He did not, but used the Langstroth style hive until he died. I think that shows what his opinion of the two styles of hive was.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  6. #5
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    Doolittle earned his living width his bees. If he had thought the horizontal configuration was the most productive, and it had continued to prove it's self so, he would have continued to use it. He did not, but used the Langstroth style hive until he died. I think that shows what his opinion of the two styles of hive was.
    That simply isn't true - he was gifted a number of Langstroth hives which he then continued to use - but his favourite hive, right throughout his life, was what he called his "6-frame hive". This was actually a 15-frame box which housed the square Gallup frame in the central 9-frame section. The two remaining 3-frame sections were usually configured for comb-honey production. He called this hive his '6-frame hive' because that was the number of combs the bees overwintered on. He wrote about this hive extensively in 'Gleanings in Bee Culture' and the ABJ. I think it's generally accepted that the Gallup frame owes much of it's popularity at that time to Doolittle's preference for it, rather than any other.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  7. #6
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    In areas with a heavy nectar flow in summer, like the Midwest, you really want an arrangement where you can add supers as needed. On the east coast, I don't feel that we have that kind of potential, even with cotton honey, which is close by me in Smithfield, VA. I made a "double-wide" Langstroth box last year that holds 17 deep frames and allows 2 eight frame honey supers to go on the top, which can be stacked as tall as needed. I'm really liking this design for any frame hives that I run. I still LOVE my topbar hives, but the kit that I use doesn't allow for supers, and my experience has been the fabulous queens run the entire 28 bars laying brood in all of them, so I can't just set-them-and-forget-them like some do with a Lang hive. However, I really dislike the stacked brood boxes on a Lang and find myself not inspecting them as I should, so hence the double-wide.

    IMG_6394.jpg

  8. #7
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    Most honey per hive? my guess would be 6 queen coffin hives 3b1469552c12226d3194627ebca6bc49748bfa95.jpg
    doolittle's management of extracting every 4 days isn't practical for most people, and his claim that the queens in the long hives were laying at 5,000 eggs per day rate and living 4 years would seem...... "inflated" at best, calling his other numbers like his yields to be a bit, suspect witch many in his day pointed out.

    one must rember the old weekly bee journals were the social media of old and were a platform for soap boxing and the same sort of banter we see today

    Miller writes "Somewhat startling is the statement made by Mr Doolittle p 925 that 9 Gallup frames the equivalent of 6 Langstroths are enough to entertain the best queen to her full capacity as to egg laying Allowing of a frame for pollen and honey and counting that the remaining six frames will be entirely occupied by the queen that figures up only a little more than 2000 eggs as the queen's daily stint Yet isn t it Mr Doolittle who tells us that a queen goes as high as 5000 eggs in a day"

    Doolittle responds " can Dr Miller say that nine Gallup frames or 6 Langstroth frames will not entertain the best queen to her full capacity in this locality Perhaps my locality is quite different from that of others but I am more inclined to think that if any close experimenting is done what is applicable to my locality will come very near the truth in other localities along this line of the capacity of queens when the colony is worked for comb honey "

    Same old story https://books.google.com/books?id=N2...0hives&f=false
    Last edited by msl; 02-19-2020 at 06:18 PM.
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  9. #8
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    FWIW - this is how Doolittle came to own Langstroth hives:

    Some eight or ten years ago I was persuaded, through the urgency of a farmer bee-keeper living five miles from me, to purchase his bees, as he did not wish to bother with them any longer, so offered them to me for almost a song, and gave me the privilege of keeping them where they were as long as I wished, for 25 sections of honey a year. These bees were in ten-frame L. hives, and I have kept them in those hives, and at the same place, ever since I bought them, and thus I have had a chance to know about the workings of these hives as compared with the nine-frame Gallup hives of my home yard. The result has been that I can, by giving plenty of section room, hold these colonies at the out-yard back from swarming about a week later, on an average, than where the nine Gallup frames are used; but this out-apiary is no nearer being a non-swarming apiary than my home yard; and, in fact, I often consider them more determined to swarm than those are here; but the swarming comes a little later in the season.
    Doolittle expressed his reasons for not continuing to use the two experimental Long Hives which had produced such bumper harvests - these reasons included his needing to stoop to work them (it seems never to have occurred to him to mount the hives on stands), and that both colonies had died the following winter. Indeed it would appear that Doolittle wasn't prepared to change his style of beekeeping in order to accommodate this new format.
    And so, in due course, a series of exchanges with, and posts by a guy named Poppelton - a beekeeper with expertise in the use of Long Hives - were published, and I've collated those threads into text files and posted links to them at: http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/beekxx.htm
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  10. #9
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    Reminds me of all the OA fogging threads and youtubes, all these people claiming great results, and all of a sudden it ends with people not able to replicate it and the OG poster now (if there still around) no longer uses the method for some "reason" or another
    next up someone finds a old FGMO thread the post up on why are we not using this great "forgotten" method
    beekeepers have changed little

    The standard ways are the standard for a good reason. There are forgotten gems out there, but be ware the "alternative ways" path, there are more dragons then gems and many get burned
    Last edited by msl; 02-19-2020 at 06:59 PM.
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  11. #10
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    I think location and wx rule the amount of honey/bees any hive will produce. A 100 yard trip to 50 acres of cotton will give you more more nectar than a 1 mile trip no matter the hive type.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    Little John; What about his book written in 1905 describing his use of 10 frame Langstroth hives to produce an average of 105 pounds per hive? I have read all the issues of ABJ and Gleanings in Bee Culture and I can't remember his advocating any other style of hive other than the Langstroth after the 1890s.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  13. #12
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    The standard ways are the standard for a good reason.
    The original question is slightly flawed, in that it ought to contain a qualifier such as: "which produces the most honey/bees in a given location ?".

    So - if we take the hilly regions of Spain for example, where the Layens Hive is considered 'standard' - it is such Long Deep Hives which produce the most honey and bees. And it's not just Spanish beekeepers being bloody-minded or uber-patriotic (De Layens being French) - it's because those styles of hive have been found to work better than any other in that locale, where the Langstroth Hive is considered to be an 'alternative hive type'.

    Do bear in mind that 'standards' only remain so until something better (unqualified) comes along. The long bow used to be standard military equipment in Britain, until somebody started using gunpowder - then the flintlock musket became the standard - and so on ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    The long bow used to be standard military equipment in Britain, until somebody started using gunpowder - then the flintlock musket became the standard - and so on ..
    sure, but still waiting for something to show up to replace the lang in the CUS, the flow hive shure didn't

    but your correct location and management stye matters, those Aussie coffin hives have some major down sides.. like wise we know 2 queen hives make more honey, but are not commonly used
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  15. #14
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    I've been wondering the same, standard Lang vs Long Lang. Interesting to hear that the Long Lang may produce more honey.
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through the restraints.

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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    In areas with a heavy nectar flow in summer, like the Midwest, you really want an arrangement where you can add supers as needed. On the east coast, I don't feel that we have that kind of potential, even with cotton honey, which is close by me in Smithfield, VA. I made a "double-wide" Langstroth box last year that holds 17 deep frames and allows 2 eight frame honey supers to go on the top, which can be stacked as tall as needed. I'm really liking this design for any frame hives that I run. I still LOVE my topbar hives, but the kit that I use doesn't allow for supers, and my experience has been the fabulous queens run the entire 28 bars laying brood in all of them, so I can't just set-them-and-forget-them like some do with a Lang hive. However, I really dislike the stacked brood boxes on a Lang and find myself not inspecting them as I should, so hence the double-wide.

    IMG_6394.jpg
    I LOVE it! What a gorgeous hive, and what a great idea. I'm the same, it's a PAIN inspecting, having to take off the top brood box to inspect the bottom one. Do you have plans for that box you made? I've a carpenter friend, and I'm sure he'd love to make me a couple.
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through the restraints.

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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hogback Honey View Post
    I LOVE it! Do you have plans for that box you made? I've a carpenter friend, and I'm sure he'd love to make me a couple.
    Unfortunately, I am not a carpenter and my husband just wanted to get rid of some old wood. The dark blue brood box is actually tongue and groove siding and then cut down to 10.5". (I have mending plates in the inside corners and along the inside to provide stability. You will note there is not a standard "bottom board". The winter entrance is the "oops" in each corner where my husband ran the router all the way to the edge. I have screened the bottom. My spring entrances are 3 one inch holes in the first light blue honey super. To get my length dimension, I put the 2 eight frame supers together (each supplier can differ by 1/4 inch) and got the final number, which was 27 3/4". The width is 19 5/8" but some of the frames fall in, so it really should be 19 1/4" or so.

    I actually ran 2 colonies in this one the first year just to get the foundationless comb built out, and got a respectable harvest too. But by the time fall came around, the bees had formed one big colony on one side and one queen was gone, but I think if I was able to keep 2 queens in this system for spring build up (divided by 1" foam core"), it could be a honey making machine. And the design allows for multiple supers.

    The lid for all year is the reflectex silver bubble wrap stuff that Sam Comfort likes to use on his small hives. I top that off with some type of rain proof board and weight it down. The winter configuration is to remove the honey supers and some of the empty deep brood frames and replace those with enough honey stores from the mediums to get them through our mild Virginia winters. This year, they got 6 medium honey frames and did fine. I just put the supers back on this week due to our extra warm winter and spring broke early.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    The original question is slightly flawed, in that it ought to contain a qualifier such as: "which produces the most honey/bees in a given location ?".

    So - if we take the hilly regions of Spain for example, where the Layens Hive is considered 'standard' - it is such Long Deep Hives which produce the most honey and bees. And it's not just Spanish beekeepers being bloody-minded or uber-patriotic (De Layens being French) - it's because those styles of hive have been found to work better than any other in that locale, where the Langstroth Hive is considered to be an 'alternative hive type'.

    LJ
    Isn't the choice of Layens also influenced by the ease of moving them? The apiaries I've seen in Spain (generally Southern, always hilly) are often seasonal, with bees being moved about to to take advantage of nectar flow. The Layens one box and hinged lid style is easy to move. No reason a Langstroth shouldn't be equally good in terms of honey production.

    Horses for courses I guess ...
    The Apiarist - beekeeping in Fife, Scotland

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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    Thanks Ruthie!
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through the restraints.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    Little John; What about his book written in 1905 describing his use of 10 frame Langstroth hives to produce an average of 105 pounds per hive? I have read all the issues of ABJ and Gleanings in Bee Culture and I can't remember his advocating any other style of hive other than the Langstroth after the 1890s.
    I first became aware of the tremendous power a publisher wields over a writer when at one time in my life I dated a lady author. This was before the days of personal computers and so unlike today, her masterpieces were created on a manual typewriter. At regular intervals her manuscripts were returned, festooned with blue pencil often requiring some chapters to be re-written, new ones inserted, and sometimes whole chapters simply struck out - with plenty of instructions in the margins about the need to built up tension, or themes being repeated ... and so on. For me this was an education for I had always assumed that whatever a writer produced was printed 'as submitted' - but not so. Publishers wield enormous power, as they hold the whip hand as to what gets to be published, when, and how. Publishing a book costs a substantial amount of money, and so the principle judgment made is whether or not a book will sell in sufficient numbers to make a profit, and quite often a publisher will even suggest subject matter to an already established author with this in mind.

    The hive which has come to be known as "the Langstroth Hive' ought perhaps to be more properly termed "the Root Hive" for, as explained by Frank Pellett in The History of American Beekeeping, that particular form of Langstroth's invention owes it's existence to the A.I.Root Company's commercial negotiations with Heddon, and the aggressive marketing which was then to follow.

    But - not only was the A.I.Root Company the foremost manufacturer of Langstroth Beehives, they were also publishers - of both the 'Gleanings in Bee Culture' periodical and, if you check the first few pages of 'A Year's Work in an Out-Apiary' (I have the 1908 2nd Edition), of that book also.

    In the ABJ of 1913 Doolittle reveals that he is paid more for the articles he writes in beekeeping journals than he received for the whole manuscript of his book 'Scientific Queen-Rearing' (which was NOT published by A.I.Root). And so there does appear to be a somewhat 'cosy' commercial relationship in existence between Doolittle - and other writers (let's not forget about them) - and the A.I.Root Company ... who of course are the manufacturers of Root-Langstroth Beehives !

    And so, whenever the Langstroth hive is being (to use your word) 'advocated' - I think one really does need to bear this commercial relationship in mind and, to phrase this as diplomatically as possible - to make appropriate allowances for the possible existence of bias.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  21. #20
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    Default Re: What hive design yields the most honey? Which yields the most bees?

    Ruth, If I were to make a long Lang similar to yours, would it be feasible to just use two SBB, custom hive body, two standard inner covers, and a custom top? I would use a moving block to close the entrance on one of the bottom boards, but have the option of switching them around if the cluster moves to the opposite end. Also, should I make provisions for a division board or is it not that important?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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