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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In a recent discussion about Warm-Way vs. Cold-Way entrances, I had something of a minor 'light-bulb' moment - you know, when something obvious suddenly occurs to you ...

But to make sense of this for others, I first need to re-trace some old ground. This being the current state of play regarding Layens Hives:

With regard to the Original format, the author of the 'Au Bon Miel' website (Ruche Layens | Au Bon Miel) writes:

" ... when the bees have begun filling the frame adjacent to the brood chamber with honey, some beekeepers have noticed that they cannot pass over this frame to carry the honey into the following frames. We must therefore watch this frame because when it is half filled with honey, it must be removed and an empty frame put in its place. Otherwise the bees will swarm for lack of usable space."

And so it would appear that the problem some of us call 'the honey barrier' (which occurs in ALL horizontal hives, unless steps are taken to circumvent it(*), and which frequently constrains the size of the brood nest and impinges upon the efficiency of honey storage is thus being described.

(*) circumventing this 'honey barrier' was the fundamental basis of D.L.Adair's 'New Idea', initially proposed in 1867.

In the 1940's Jean Turpin developed the Layens 'Granary' or 'Loft' format:


Now whether this solved the 'honey barrier' problem or not, I really couldn't say - but there are two aspects of this particular format which I really like. The first is the removable floor beneath the central brood combs, which appears to simply slide out (or at least, it could ...). It would be simplicity itself to make a replacement sliding 'floor' in the form of an open-topped box containing an Oxalic Acid Vapouriser. The second feature I like about this design is rather more general - in that it's very similar indeed to Doolittle's uber-successful version of the Gallup Hive, with a centralised brood nest and storage to either side.

And so - finally onto the 'light-bulb' moment ...
If the space-filling cavities labelled 'coffre isolant' [literally, insulated box or chest], were instead in the form of Slatted Racks, each with their own entrance to the outside world - and if the first short frame on either side was substituted by a short partition board, then bees entering those Slatted Rack areas would be approaching stores combs from below - thus the honey barrier would never be created, just as with vertical hives.
It would be necessary of course to provide access to the brood chamber (the main entrance being closed during the main flow) - this could easily be achieved by a pair of 3/4-inch holes in the top corners of the partition board, and a similar pair of holes near floor level.

Such a modification would need to pass 'the bee-test', of course. :)
LJ
 

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Interesting idea. It occurs to me that a follower board (that is with a gap underneath) may produce a similar effect. Bees could pass under it and find additional frames available for storage. Lazutin (and others) have mentioned that bees will pass under these boards and will use the space although it was in the context of keeping vacant frames in the main nest to prevent this happening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Very pleased that someone else can see some potential in this ...
It occurs to me that a follower board (that is with a gap underneath) may produce a similar effect. Bees could pass under it and find additional frames available for storage.
Absolutely. I've recently started construction of a 'Gallup-Adair' Long Hive within which exactly what you suggest is a key component:

There are two movable division boards (with gaps :) ) creating a centralised brood area, with stores areas to either side. There are three entrance holes in the base: a central entrance - coloured Magenta - intended for Winter use (as we often have short warm spells in Winter, useful for clearances) which will be sealed during the season. The two end entrances - coloured red - will be used during the season, which lead underneath fixed-position Slatted Racks (coloured Blue). When the bees pass upwards through these Slatted Racks they will then encounter comb arrays at their bottoms, in exactly the same way as in vertical beehives, thus eliminating the 'honey barrier' which plagues conventional horizontal beehives.

The central Slatted Rack (coloured Green) is removable via the rear, allowing that space to then be used by an Oxalic Acid vapouriser.

The basic method is already being trialled (A Temporary Horizontal Warre ...) with two entrances and two partitions, and the bees have adjusted to this system without any difficulty whatsoever.

The only reservation I have concerns what might happen should the colony decide to supersede their Queen ? I'm confident the Virgin would be able to find her way out of the hive and then return to it ok - but return to where ? Would she make her way back into the brood nest area, or set-up home in the first comb she came to - which of course would be a stores comb. That's something I'll need to keep a weather-eye out for.
'best
LJ
 

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when returning she would "try to get to the nest" as long as there would be no barriers she would end up there as that would be where the polished cells would be. long or lang I tend to see a polished space in the center of the "old nest", almost always there is brood there first. Only when there is an excluder or some obstacle do I find her elsewhere.
should work fine, some testing would be necessary before making a crap load of them.

GG
 

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Absolutely. I've recently started construction of a 'Gallup-Adair' Long Hive within which exactly what you suggest is a key component
Nice to see my ruminations are not completely off beam. A couple of questions if I may.

Do you think the additional entrances are an essential part of the setup? I can see where you get them when combining smaller boxes but, if using boards in a long hive, what are the chances that the bees would find and utilise the space by passing under the boards from the "main" entrance?

Second, do the slatted racks have a particular purpose in this configuration or more part of what you see as a well dresed hive?

Sel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nice to see my ruminations are not completely off beam. A couple of questions if I may.
Sure

Do you think the additional entrances are an essential part of the setup?
To create a non-swarming beehive - yes. (But see my comment right at the end)

I can see where you get them when combining smaller boxes but, if using boards in a long hive, what are the chances that the bees would find and utilise the space by passing under the boards from the "main" entrance?

Second, do the slatted racks have a particular purpose in this configuration or more part of what you see as a well dresed hive?
I'll try to answer these questions ... at some length. LOL :)

As some here already know, one of my main interests is to revive what I consider to have been promising beehive designs from the mid to late 19th Century which were effectively eclipsed by the aggressive marketing and financial incentives which ensured that the Langstroth Hive (or more correctly the Root version of Langstroth's beehive) achieved world-wide dominance - the hope being that one or more of these designs will turn out to be of more than just passing interest to 'alternative beehive' aficionados.

I must stress that my current version of the Gallup-Adair 'Non-Swarming' Long Hive is an untested work in progress and there are very few aspects of it which are 100% 'cast in stone'. Having said that, I'm great believer in learning from the first-hand experiences of others, and so I'll briefly outline a few of these which have seemed to me to be of particular relevance.

The first is the so-called 'Warm-way vs Cold-way' entrance issue - perhaps better expressed as 'End-on vs Side-on' (to remove the obvious association with draughts). Now as bees work in galleries between combs, an 'End-on' approach to the combs provides a far greater choice of destination for the loaded forager bee than being met by the solid wall of comb of a 'Side-on' entrance which then requires bees to circumnavigate each comb in order for them to proceed further into the comb array. 'End-on' (or 'Cold-Way') has thus far been the preferred entrance style of nearly ALL efficient beehives.

In contrast, D.L.Adair was adamant that the end (or 'Side-on'/'Warm-way') entrance of his beehive design was essential to it's enhanced performance. He writes (concerning his initial design which was a complicated section-based 'box within a box' affair and not the much simpler hanging-frame-based beehive which resulted from his collaboration with Elisha Gallup):

The position of the entrance of the hive in one end and broadside the comb-sheets, will be objected to by many who have no experience with hives so constructed, but it is the most important point in the construction of the hive. In my first efforts at controlling swarming, I placed the entrance-holes in the middle of the hive on the side, and although I gave abundant room in the same shape as at present, swarming was retarded but little, from the fact that the brooding of the queen near or at the middle of the hive soon pushed a part of the cluster out at the entrance.

At an initial reading you may conclude that Adair is saying that a centralised brood nest is problematic - but read on ...

When I ascertained the true cause of swarming (as I think I have), as given here, but more fully in a paper read before the North American Beekeepers' Society, at Cleveland, I was not long in correcting this only defect in the hive, by changing the entrance to one end. A thorough trial of the hive thus arranged has resulted in no instance in swarming. Having entrances in both ends has not been so satisfactory, besides which it makes it inconvenient to manipulate the hive.

I do not claim that this hive will of itself prevent swarming, but by a little attention and care it will be found to accomplish that long desired object. If a natural swarm be put into a No.15 hive, it will be found that they will most generally cluster at the end over the entrance, and consequently the broods nest will be established there, the result of which will be a swarm almost, if not quite, as soon as from an ordinary hive of 2,000 cubic inches. For that reason, when a swarm is hived in it, the chamber should have both ends taken off, and should be contracted to nine or ten sections, with the ends closed with the glazed end sections. When the contracted chamber is one-half or two-thirds filled with comb, which may be easily known by looking through the glass, additions of a part or the whole of the removed sections should be made to each end. The brood-nest will thus be established in the center, and will continue there during the season, unless interfered with by the bee-keeper, and the ends will be filled out with the purest of comb-honey, and no swarm will issue so long as the bees have room to work in the ends, and the hive is managed as indicated hereinbefore.


So how does one reconcile what appear to be two conflicting statements: that a centralised brood chamber is ultimately desirable, but also causes swarming in - what is, after all - intended to be a non-swarming beehive ?
I would suggest that it is the "part of the cluster being pushed out at the entrance" which is the underlying problem - and that can very easily be cured by the presence of a Slatted Rack. After all, the prevention of bearding due to excessive heat and/or over-crowding was the initial purpose of that invention by C.C.Miller.

Now on the one hand I cannot ignore such a strongly worded claim about an end-entrance, and yet I consider that he must be wrong in the conclusion he reached (as there's no obvious logic underpinning his idea) - so what best to do ? For now, what I've done is to retain the end entrance (as per Adair) which will be sealed-up pro tempore, and I've adopted a entrance style - which although appearing to be from the side - when seen from the bees' perspective when approaching the hive proper, is actually from below the comb array. Thus the function of the Slatted Racks is to change the bees direction of access into the hive, and the function of the two 'red' entrances is to ensure that the bees can access the stores areas without needing to proceed through the centralised brood area (the central entrance itself being closed during the season).

What else ? Well, bearing in mind that Georges De Layens didn't invent the beehive which carries his name, but rather he popularised an existing design by the writing of a book in which it featured - a fairly elementary book of beekeeping, by the way - could it just be that he himself didn't fully appreciate some of the finer points of the design ?
Now this is 100% conjecture - but could the reason behind the original hive's design having two side entrances towards either end of the box, has little to do with the possible housing of two colonies, but more to do with the brood nest location of one ?
You see, if a colony sets-up it's brood nest adjacent to one entrance, then the other entrance automatically becomes free for direct forager access into the stores area without the inconvenience of needing to pass through the brood area first - which is precisely the principle underpinning Adair's 'New Idea' which proved to be so uber-efficient. But I must repeat that this can only ever be considered as conjecture.

If it's of interest, here's a 24" Doolittle Hive in which I made modified entrances - the same triple-hole system, but with entrances higher up the box.



Also present is a 'sump' fixed below the bottom board which houses an Oxalic Acid vapouriser - but - just as soon as I'd modified that box, the obvious then occurred to me - that detritus falling from the combs would simply collect in that sump, rather than be ejected from the hive as would be the case if the bees were to use that sump as an entrance foyer.

But - even if I relocated the middle entrance from the hive wall down to the sump face, it still isn't a very elegant engineering solution, with that sump hanging down and the need for supporting legs to provide clearance for it. A much neater solution would be to extend the 'sump' outwards to either side - i.e. make it the full length of the box which then eliminates the need for legs - and then create entrances within what has by then become a full-length entrance shim.

... and so that's how it came to be. :)
'best
LJ

BTW - it IS always possible that the basic proposition of Adair's non-swarming beehive is fraudulent, in that (as he writes above) he starts-off his methodology with a Swarm, which presumably would have got swarming 'out of it's system' for that season. So - what I now need to do is over-winter a colony in one of these beehives, and see if I can produce a swarm from it (or not) during the following season.
 

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You see, if a colony sets-up it's brood nest adjacent to one entrance, then the other entrance automatically becomes free for direct forager access into the stores area without the inconvenience of needing to pass through the brood area first
Based on my practical per-annual observations now - opening up the alternative entrance during the flow only caused this alternative entrance to be used by and large for the ventilation purposes only.

The "main" entrance that directs the foraging inflow thru the brood-nest remained to be the main foraging entrance (however inconvenient and illogical it may seem to the human reasoning).

In the pictured example, the "blue" entrance would be the main.
The "white" entrance would be opened later in the season for the potential direct access to the storage area. Well, the direct access idea hardly worked for me as theorized.
However, the ventilation benefit is clearly there still during the hot summer weeks.
Whatever the true case is, this is what I have been observing.

Now, keep in mind, my observations only apply to the horizontally setup entrances exactly as I have been practicing.
For the vertically setup entrances, the "direct" access idea seems to be working indeed (when the additional upper entrances are opened - they become very quickly and heavily used and even favored).
 

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Thank you both, great reading. Now, in the interest of furter enlightenment:
other entrance automatically becomes free for direct forager access into the stores area without the inconvenience of needing to pass through the brood area first -
LJ, My (shaky) understanding is that foragers pass their produce to house bees for processing and storage, perhaps perform their little hula circles then head out for another load. Do we know where in the hive these transfer and communication processes take place? Might this have something to do with them preferring to continue to use the brood nest entrance where it is available.
For the vertically setup entrances, the "direct" access idea seems to be working indeed
Greg, not sure I am understanding this correctly, let me say where I am confused and you can correct me. You have two entrances, blue and white, each consisting of a short horizontal row of holes. Are you then saying that, if you orient those short rows of holes vertically, then both the blue and the white set are used.

Sel.
 

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Greg, not sure I am understanding this correctly, let me say where I am confused and you can correct me. You have two entrances, blue and white, each consisting of a short horizontal row of holes. Are you then saying that, if you orient those short rows of holes vertically, then both the blue and the white set are used.
This is the "vertically setup entrances" (see pics).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
LJ, My (shaky) understanding is that foragers pass their produce to house bees for processing and storage, perhaps perform their little hula circles then head out for another load. Do we know where in the hive these transfer and communication processes take place? Might this have something to do with them preferring to continue to use the brood nest entrance where it is available.
'Morning ...
Generally speaking, communication between bees takes place on the combs themselves - the 'Waggle Dance' can routinely be seen taking place there. Sometimes bee-to-bee interactions can also be observed at or near the entrance - especially between guards and any bee which is being subjected to interrogation.

With regard to the choice of entrance - I think it's fair to assume that bees take their first flight from the nearest available entrance to where they happen to be immediately prior to that event, and so in time will no doubt become conditioned towards using that entrance. That could easily explain a continued preference to use one of several entrances.
Then there's the matter of brood odour/smell. If a bee is uncertain which entrance to use, then I'd say the entrance which smells the strongest will be selected.

Bees often return exhausted, and mistakes are known to occur - even to entering completely the wrong beehive. :)
LJ
 

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Then there's the matter of brood odour/smell. If a bee is uncertain which entrance to use, then I'd say the entrance which smells the strongest will be selected.
Right.

This is how the vertically oriented series of entries are benefiting from the natural hive exhaust - the exhaust is most usually relatively hot and very moist and, thus, raises up by default (creating invisible vertical plume).
The hive exhaust, basically, highlights very well any entry holes vertically aligned with the brood nest.

Unlike so, horizontally spaced out entrances are not highlighted by the natural exhaust as much (save some for the forced ventilation done by bees if they do any).
It maybe this is what I have been observing (auxilary horizontal entrances not being used for foraging).
 

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Oh dear, I fear I'm started down a slippery slope here. Every time I read one of these ideas I start thinking about how one could develop some numbers to clarify the questions, it just needs "a few hives" to make the comparisons and its not long before a sharp tug on the reins is required. What a way to go, years of entertainment ahead!
 
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