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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In summary, I am considering a screened bottom with plastic bottom trays (standard Freeman Beetle trays). The tray frame will have two slots that will allow about one inch of ventilation on the entire length on one side of the hive. I am in north central Oklahoma so additional ventilation in the summer is probably needed. I think an entire open screened bottom about two feet off the ground makes it difficult for the bees to control the temperature and the humidity. The second top slot will close the bottom completely for the winter time.

Below is the cross section of one side of the tray frame that will allow the tray to slide into place. Please note the bottom screen and hive are directly about the image. It will take three trays to completely cover the bottom. I am also considering using two trays with a solid bottom (no screen) in the middle. This will allow for a more stable tray frame.

Picture1.png

Thoughts or suggestions? Is a 7/8" opening a reasonable amount? More? Less? Is a full length (45", three tray design) opening better than two 15" openings (two tray design)?

Please note I am new to beekeeping and thus I am still pouring over all the posts here, on YouTube, reading books, etc., so please let me know if this issue has already been discussed. I built a modified version of Dr. Leo's horizontal Langstroth hive on horizontalhive.com and installed a colony of 20 frames that a friend gave me about 3 weeks ago. They are doing well so far. The current hive has plywood bottom inserts, FYI. When I get my design finalized, I will be happy to share my technical drawings.

Please let me know if additional drawings are needed to understand my proposed design. Thanks!
 

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In summary, I am considering a screened bottom with plastic bottom trays (standard Freeman Beetle trays). The tray frame will have two slots that will allow about one inch of ventilation on the entire length on one side of the hive. I am in north central Oklahoma so additional ventilation in the summer is probably needed. I think an entire open screened bottom about two feet off the ground makes it difficult for the bees to control the temperature and the humidity. The second top slot will close the bottom completely for the winter time.

Below is the cross section of one side of the tray frame that will allow the tray to slide into place. Please note the bottom screen and hive are directly about the image. It will take three trays to completely cover the bottom. I am also considering using two trays with a solid bottom (no screen) in the middle. This will allow for a more stable tray frame.

View attachment 57471

Thoughts or suggestions? Is a 7/8" opening a reasonable amount? More? Less? Is a full length (45", three tray design) opening better than two 15" openings (two tray design)?

Please note I am new to beekeeping and thus I am still pouring over all the posts here, on YouTube, reading books, etc., so please let me know if this issue has already been discussed. I built a modified version of Dr. Leo's horizontal Langstroth hive on horizontalhive.com and installed a colony of 20 frames that a friend gave me about 3 weeks ago. They are doing well so far. The current hive has plywood bottom inserts, FYI. When I get my design finalized, I will be happy to share my technical drawings.
Welcome to the dance Thunderbolt,

I built a double deep hive starting with the plans from the Dr Leo book. set up for the Lang frame which is what I have.
I used a 2x6 on edge for the base with 4.5 inch drawers, drawers are plenty deep for the Drawer function, I also wanted some space under the cluster for wintering reasons.

2 Of 3 solid trays sound fine, I would put the solid under the cluster in winter and the screened one off to the side if wind is an issue.

moisture can be an issue, do have the top insulation much thicker than the sides, to prevent condensation dripping on the bees.
side condensation will just run down the wall.

the 7/8 seems to small, but you need to give it a try to confirm. Your locale is different.I would make the adaption something you screw on and do not glue. if you wish to try a 3 inch tray next year just unscrew and re attach the different one. I only back my self in a corner when I "glue" stuff, else I use screws and can easily modify stuff as needed or perceived needed.

Let me know if you want some Pics of my hive I can PM them to you.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter #5
2 Of 3 solid trays sound fine, I would put the solid under the cluster in winter and the screened one off to the side if wind is an issue.
GG
I plan on putting the trays to the top in the winter and thus there will not be any bottom venting, other than the bottom entrance.

moisture can be an issue, do have the top insulation much thicker than the sides, to prevent condensation dripping on the bees. side condensation will just run down the wall.
GG
I currently do not have any insulation. The question is if the condensation will form on the roof or the top horizontal slats. If it forms on the top, would if follow the slope and drip at the sides?

the 7/8 seems to small, but you need to give it a try to confirm. Your locale is different.I would make the adaption something you screw on and do not glue. if you wish to try a 3 inch tray next year just unscrew and re attach the different one. I only back my self in a corner when I "glue" stuff, else I use screws and can easily modify stuff as needed or perceived needed.
GG
Definitely use screws! Thank you for your input.
 

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I currently do not have any insulation. The question is if the condensation will form on the roof or the top horizontal slats. If it forms on the top, would if follow the slope and drip at the sides?
.
Your condensation will occur where-ever the dew point surface will be (which is a dynamic thing).
You will initially see it on the bottom side of your roof and probably not a concern (it will soak into your unpainted plywood roof underside, be aware).
Later in winter (colder) it will occur on or under your horizontal slats.
If you just put some XPS slabs on top of your slats (under the roof), that should take care of most all issues for you, in OK.
Should still have some cracks left to allow the moisture escape around the XPS slab.

Unsure if XPS (or similar) insulation is even necessary in OK.
Old polyester blankets could be sufficient and maybe even better (they are also good at absorbing moisture and then quickly drying).
Try either.
 

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"makes it difficult for the bees to control the temperature and the humidity."

You are perceptive. Temperature and humidity are intimately related inside a hive when the bees are given a chance to control it. "Given a chance" is a direct resultant of the hive design. I just took my insulation, a sleeve design, off my hives today so I could paint them. No, I do live above the arctic circle. I am experimenting and have adopted a bunch of contrarian methods and approaches to Langstroth hive design. It changes their behavior - less stressful I hope.

During simple conceptual insulation design testing and modifications, testing with simple dial thermometers, and remote temp & RH sensors, occasional thermocouple installed, I was stunned by wind effects oni nternal hive temperature. Specifically tidal or breathing effects via any opening. Do not put an aperture(s) on more than one side of hive - you will create a wind tunnel affect - differential pressure due to air flow / wind. My second suggestion is remember that bees need moisture for themselves during the winter and for brood rearing which is most of the time. I have no top vents, a restricted southerly entrance and have yet to drown a single bee. But a word of caution - I have no experience with horizontal hives and I do not have to live with deep snow falls very often ( CO2 management issue) . But the physics applies to any enclosed container or hive. The bees principle control method is heat generation and they have sensors to determine temperature accurately and apparently RH. It does not take a large aperture for moisture diffusion to occur, day and night. You 7/8" gap is more than adequate you will likely want a method to close down the vent path. BTW, if you OAV and use a sticky board to count Varroa, you need to be able to close the gap and stop critters from taking the dead Varroa.

I weigh my hives now to help understand consumption and moisture control- not an easy thing to do in winter. Surprise - hive weight can go up and /or not decrease, noticeably in the dead of winter and it's not the snow on the roof. White pine is a great moisture buffer.

Enjoy and Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Your condensation will occur where-ever the dew point surface will be (which is a dynamic thing).
You will initially see it on the bottom side of your roof and probably not a concern (it will soak into your unpainted plywood roof underside, be aware).
Later in winter (colder) it will occur on or under your horizontal slats.
If you just put some XPS slabs on top of your slats (under the roof), that should take care of most all issues for you, in OK.
Should still have some cracks left to allow the moisture escape around the XPS slab.

Unsure if XPS (or similar) insulation is even necessary in OK.
Old polyester blankets could be sufficient and maybe even better (they are also good at absorbing moisture and then quickly drying).
Try either.
GregV, thank you very much for your response. I think your suggesting of adding XPS insulation (one inch?) in the winter on top of my slats is a good idea. I am thinking about covering the center part from left to right and cover about 80 percent of the surface. Also, because of the shadows in the photograph you cannot tell that the underside of the cover is painted, but with primer only.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
"makes it difficult for the bees to control the temperature and the humidity."
During simple conceptual insulation design testing and modifications, testing with simple dial thermometers, and remote temp & RH sensors, occasional thermocouple installed, I was stunned by wind effects oni nternal hive temperature. Specifically tidal or breathing effects via any opening. Do not put an aperture(s) on more than one side of hive - you will create a wind tunnel affect - differential pressure due to air flow / wind. My second suggestion is remember that bees need moisture for themselves during the winter and for brood rearing which is most of the time. I have no top vents, a restricted southerly entrance and have yet to drown a single bee. But a word of caution - I have no experience with horizontal hives and I do not have to live with deep snow falls very often ( CO2 management issue) . But the physics applies to any enclosed container or hive. The bees principle control method is heat generation and they have sensors to determine temperature accurately and apparently RH. It does not take a large aperture for moisture diffusion to occur, day and night. You 7/8" gap is more than adequate you will likely want a method to close down the vent path. BTW, if you OAV and use a sticky board to count Varroa, you need to be able to close the gap and stop critters from taking the dead Varroa.
Robert, great information. Thank you very much, I really appreciate it.

1. To date, I am thinking about going with two 3/4" high by 15" wide openings using two trays. Again, these openings will only be on the one side (entrance side).

Picture1.png

2. From what you are suggesting, it sounds like I should plug up my four 1.5" diameter vent holes on my top slats. To date the bees have not sealed them up, but I could wait and see if they seal them after I install the new tray system.

3. I can close the 3/4" opening to zero by moving the tray to the top position. In the future, I can easily reduce the opening by plugging it with plastic or some other material.

4. What did you mean by "....you need to be able to close the gap and stop critters from taking the dead Varroa."? I plan on using mineral oil in the bottom of the pans.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
For the winter, I am considering glueing a 1-inch XPS piece of insulation to an 1/8" PVC sheet, the same dimensions as the tray, to slide in the top slot. Should I drill a small hole, say 3/8", in the bottom and centered through the insulation to allow condensation drainage?
 
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