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Dadant Hive: The Sustainable Apiary

6081 Views 141 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  jtgoral
I am going to advocate the 6 frame Dadant nuc if using 12 equipment. 5 frame nuc if using 10 frame equipment. This site is in german, translate to english. Practical course colony multiplication in 4 steps (buckfast-belegstelle.org) Look at the chart and you can see they are using nucs in continuous production. If we add Palmer/ Webster method we can also use brood for cell builders and to strengthen hives. However we will winter in single units. None of this 5/5 or 6/6 stuff, at that point you have a full size colony. Have to go to work and will add more later. Thoughts?
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I am going to advocate the 6 frame Dadant nuc.....
Thoughts?
I have been using 6F Ukrainian nucs from the very start - these are compatible to the Dadant nucs, just more narrow-tall setup (vs. the bit lower and longer Dadant nucs - but the same exact volume).
Common Dadant nucs are indeed 6F hives.
I have never seen a 5F Dadant nuc - and for a good reason, to think of it - 5F is a sub-optimal size for most any job.

Very happy as I think the 6F was a good decision all along.
To be sure - I can squeeze 7 narrow frames into my 6F boxes if must.
By default, the boxes fit 6 frames and one follower board.
I need more of these as some of crappier ones are falling apart after 5-6 years in field.
Easily constructed from scraps.

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The 6F boxes make for good stand-alone size hives year around (!!!!)

With its correct size (40-50L) you don't need to scramble in fall for equipment - just winter the nucs as-is, in place (extra insulation can be easily done if needed).

A typical use-case:
  • you make 2F mating nuc into the 6F hive.
  • if the queen mates well and you don't need her elsewhere - you simply fill the box with frames to its capacity and go away for the rest of the summer
  • check back in fall to ensure they stored enough honey (fix that if needed)
  • insulate into winter if needed.
  • if wintering goes well - next year you will need to re-hive the colony into something larger
So, you see - how a single 6F box does excellent job saving you time and equipment hassle for a full calendar year.

This is exactly what is pictured here - this started as a 2F mating nuc - and it was ready for winter packed with bees and honey - I did some insulation because it is a thin-walled plywood box (by design - I want them as light as possible).
This is one of those hives I opened only 2-3 times over the entire summer (after the queen mated).
All in the same, single box - no dancing with 5x5 stuff.

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The 6F hives are very good multipurpose utility hives for just about anything I can think of.
(including swarm trapping feature - as it is indeed sized somewhere in 40-50L frame - this is where the proper bee ergonomics comes in).

Last summer I had an opportunity to work with 5F Lang nucs - very poor design IMO.
Of course, instead thinking this thru - it was deceivingly simple decision to just half the 10F box.

Bad thinking - the basic ergonomics and sizing of the bee colony should be considered
5F box never considered those.
It is simple 10/2 = 5 product.

5F is neither here nor there, just waste of lumber and time, IMO.
It is not big enough to start as a 2F unit and keep the colony as-is into the next season - which then creates all kinds of unnecessary work and equipment demand again.

I get it - Palmer came up with those double-nuc setup as he works with the 10F system.
But for a small-scale person, those double-nuc towers are more hassle than help, IMO.
Something akin to doing a full queen-grafting production setup - so you can produce 2-3 backyard queens.

Stand-alone 5F Lang box does not do any job well, yet people don't see that.
I was happy when people took those 5F nucs back with their bees - to never see them again for the season.


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I have never seen a 5F Dadant nuc - and for a good reason, to think of it - 5F is a sub-optimal size for most any job.
Stand-alone 5F Lang box does not do any job well, yet people don't see that.
WOW! that is a lot of negativity about items that have worked well for me and other folks. I have two four frame Jumbo frame nuc boxes that work well for bait hives, small swarms and divides.
Millions of five frame Lang boxes have been used for years by a lot of beekeepers.
 

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WOW! that is a lot of negativity ...................
Millions of five frame Lang boxes have been used for years by a lot of beekeepers.
I am speaking about the "Dadant space".
Why twist my words without understanding what I am even saying?

I am very clear - I am talking of the Dadant beekeeping space - which isn't the US (even though people on the forum are US-centric).

US is Lang space.
US is not Dadant space.
Go and look.

If we are honestly talking of the Dadant system - we better get used to learning from other countries where the Dadant system is the staple and everything largely rotates around the Dadant.

Fundamentally speaking - 6F Dadant box is the unit in that you can use stand alone (I described just above) OR use it as a box in full production colony in N-tiers due to its sizing - it works either way.

Here is a full truck load of material how 6F Dadant boxes work in commercial world
Each box is either a convenient single nucleus OR a part of multi-body setup.
(954) пчеловод дальнобойщик - YouTube

Here is truck full of 6F Dadant "nucs" working on honey crop.

Tire Wheel Shelf Shelving Mass production



5F Lang box is not really meant that way (side-by-side usage is an after-thought) and lacks the power and flexibility of the 6F Dadant box.
 

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Wish I could get some Buckfast from Europe sent to me in the US 😁 I need a nice Bavarian one that fits our New England weather 😉
I bought an inseminated Buckfast breeder from NewRiverHoneybees in 2021. My understanding is that his stock came from Ferguson in Canada and they get them from the Buckfast group in Europe. Not sure how close they are to the European Buckfast but Jason continues his line with I.I. I sell the F1 daughters in spring and summer and I do ship. www.vaqueenbees.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Greg, I personally like the six frame nuc better. However if someone already has many 5 frame langstroth nucs and is adding a rim nailed to the bottom. Using what you already have and not wasting materials make sense to me. One of the major reasons I think switching to Dadant hive is: Wood/ lumber. A real honey farmer cannot buy boxes from the supply companies any longer. It sucks the profit out of beekeeping. Now look at Langstroth. It takes twice as much wood to accomplish what can be done in the 12 frame Dadant box. Whether I were to switch to Dadant or stick with Langstroth I must build it to stay profitable. In my mind Dadant is better hive in general and requires much less resources. I will use 12 dadant with shallow depth supers. I had shoulder surgery and cannot sling 100 lbs deep lang supers anymore.

Now the six frame nuc can also have a divider slide down the center to mate two queens per unit. Of course mini nucs are an option for larger queen needs.

I went out to my equipment stacks and easily counted 80-90 deep lang boxes not in use. What to do with all these? Well I'm thinking I will cut them down to 6 frame dadant nucs boxes and add a rim to the bottom. That will be what I need for nucs. Using free scrap lumber. They wont be pretty, but I am about function. This will make for a very cheap conversion. What about all those deep frames? Haha cut them all down to shallow depth honey frames. I will continue my thoughts later.
 

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I bought an inseminated Buckfast breeder from NewRiverHoneybees in 2021. My understanding is that his stock came from Ferguson in Canada and they get them from the Buckfast group in Europe. Not sure how close they are to the European Buckfast but Jason continues his line with I.I. I sell the F1 daughters in spring and summer and I do ship. www.vaqueenbees.com

Their website is down at the moment. I bought some queens from them two years ago and am very pleased. Certainly a pleasure to work with. Fergusons have excellent communications. I am thinking about driving down to pick up ripe cells this coming summer but it is a 10 hour drive one way!
 

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I went out to my equipment stacks and easily counted 80-90 deep lang boxes not in use. What to do with all these? Well I'm thinking I will cut them down to 6 frame dadant nucs boxes and add a rim to the bottom. That will be what I need for nucs. Using free scrap lumber. They wont be pretty, but I am about function. This will make for a very cheap conversion.
Clayton,
jut use 2 boxes, give you 40 hives.
make a divider to go from 3 frame to 10 frame.
put slatts in at 12.5 inch for the 12 inch frame, or what ever height works. then have slatted rack and under space.
9 5/8 + 3 for the frame + 2 for 1x2 slats is 14 5/8 2 deeps is 19 1/4 so at one end cut out 4 inches from the bottom, and make a drawer to pull out debris, and drill a couple 1.5 inch holes in the slat area, then snow or dead bees cannot block the entrance. tip make the drawer in the back, been there.
solid fixed bottom or not fixed, viola 40 Dadants adjustable from 3 to 10 frame.
I have about 10 extra deeps, so I am not thinking of taking advantage of your idea and making 5.
(y)

GG
 

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any one know a US based supplier of the foundation for the Dadant frames?GG
Dadant had it in 25lb. boxes a few years ago. You might have to special order and wait for them to cut it.
I need some also but am way too old to use up 25lbs. My attempts at grafting pieces together works OK. But you have to use it at exactly the right time so they don't chew on the graft line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
any one know a US based supplier of the foundation for the Dadant frames?
Thankfully none I know of. The frames would be $2 each. I costed them out when lumber prices spiked @ .52 per frame. It will be less now. If you own a tablesaw you are free from over priced junk. Exhaust free scrape lumber. Then buy. If you see my design everything can be done with a tablesaw. Using Hoffman frames makes production complicated.
 

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Greg, I personally like the six frame nuc better. However if someone already has many 5 frame langstroth nucs and is adding a rim nailed to the bottom
You (re)use what you got - goes without saying.
This is not an argument and no need to even go there.
Done.

BUT if you are to invest the time and resources (materials are about free for me) - it is a good time to make some good design choices. 6F design choice is for me - as I have been very clear.

I have done my homework already - many big commercial guys in the "Dadant space" (see above the Dadant space) - have made this choice and demonstrated by now how solid this decision is.

Now that I have plenty of Dadant frames (not the true Dadant-Blatt, but close enough; the true Dadant-Blatts are easy too)
- a fleet of 6F foam Dadant-Blatt hives - is one no-brainer way to get into serious local bee selling.

This is a good possible business plan (for the retirement and maybe before then).
 

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Now that I have plenty of Dadant frames (not the true Dadant-Blatt, but close enough) - a fleet of 6F foam hives - is one no-brainer way to get into serious local bee selling.
This is a good possible business plan (for the retirement and maybe before then).
Greg
would you be selling shook swarms?
the frame size would not be something NUC byers normally want.
Or make the lang deep frame NUCs that seem to be standard marketing platform.

GG
 

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Greg
would you be selling shook swarms?
the frame size would not be something NUC byers normally want.
Or make the lang deep frame NUCs that seem to be standard marketing platform.

GG
Hey GG,
So granted this winter goes well for me (!!!) - I am thinking of more bee propagation (which I will do via the shook swarms).

At which rate then I am thinking of generating all bunch of colonies on the near conventional spec (if you saw me boasting about those beautiful foam coolers, I snapped up recently).

I want to start up all bunch of 6F units on the Dadant-Blatt sizing (exact equivalent to the double Lang mediums - full compatibility to the Lang!).

The process is trivial and starts on 2-3 Dadant-Blatt sized frames and progresses thru the summer with limited oversight from me - in the 6F Dadant-Blatt format.

I just don't see this to be a show-stopping deal when a buyer must get his/her bees into double-medium setup (most anyone can do that). Just because everyone has been conditioned to only know about the conventional Lang 5F setup - does not make it the only possibility.

BUT - this 6F deep setup truly streamlines my own process setup around the 6F deep nucs (right - the deep nucs).
And it is also about meeting half-way between the buyer and the seller (where I only ask the seller to be on the double-medium setup - this is not much to ask of them even if they are rotten spoiled).

AND - then I can just run the project on my own schedule and sell at any time when someone calls me (vs. when I get the custom order and only then start building the nuc for them).

IF the 6F unit does not sell, it can be used for minor honey harvest and later goes directly into the winter as-is (with another option of selling it as a wintered nuc - in early spring and as-is).

Commercial people have been wintering hundreds of 6F nucs in the conditions similar to mine and don't lose sleep over it. This is where the deep 6F Dadant-Blatt nuc shines over the conventional 5F Lang nuc - just being a little bit deeper and wider - which critically matters for the Northerners

I can see the Southerners don't give a hoot and may argue otherwise about these 6F rants - I get that and already went beyond that point - I live up North and I want to do what is best for me :).
The point there is, again, that most all nucs are of the Southern origin - and then we get what the Sourthern vendors get to dictate up here (as if this is optimal for us - which is not).

I think the Northern vendors ought to think for themselves if we are to compete. :)

(Title of this video - "Wintering and Ventilation of the 6-frame hives". By one of the commercial bee dealers).
Biome Font Asphalt Gas Tree



Added the actual link:
(960) Зимовка, вентиляция в 6-рамочных ульях - YouTube

IF comes to it - I can still repeat exactly what I had done last summer - make a shook swarm directly onto the user equipment.
I have done that onto the Lang deep setups and onto the Layens setups - did both.
I could as well could have done the same on to the TBH setup - but the potential client dropped out.
This approach works great.

The real issue is NOT even the equipment per se.
The real issue is - convincing the locals to buy local (later and more expensive) - that is where the real PITA is.
One way to fight this - have our own local wintered queens and local wintered nucs handy in spring.

We locally have this exact discussion again as I write this!
Some local package resellers are, in fact, pushing back against the local bee competitors like myself - for obvious reasons too.
We got them concerned. LOL
 
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