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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I have kept bees for three years in Denver, Colorado. I currently have two Langstroth hives, but am interested in building a long hive that can house two separate colonies. Does anyone have any experience with that? I am comfortable building things, and am wanting to move to a system that won't be so hard on my back as I age. The best space on our property will only fit one long hive, thus the desire to build one that can hold two colonies. Any references, anecdotes, plans, etc. would be much appreciated!
Cheers,
Mary G.
 

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I've built two of them. 48" X Langstroth deep frames and entrances on the ends. Any shorter is a problem for dual colonies.
I used the Langstroth frame width to make them capatible to my other equipment. I made top bars 1 3/8 wide x 3/4 thick and 1/4 dowel rods for sides and a thin bottom bar. I use wire or fishing line to make 4 crossings to support the comb. Just drill dowel size holes in the top and bottom bars. A simple flat top off the frame / bar tops so the top is a couple of inches above the bars / frames (insulation or ventilation or both). I use the bars and frames interchangeably. They make great nuc type hives to grow resources. I put in a screened bottom board and plastic rails for oil pans (SHB management). They are heavy so plan where you are going to put it also how you are going to treat for mites. Keep it simple unless you do a lot of "what if" planning. Good luck, they are managed differently than Landstroths. Check out "The Layens Hive" or "Beekeeping with a Smile" for some ideas.
 

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How large of a hive are you planning to build for this dual colony? I have 45" topbar hives with multiple entrances along the long side and I've tried dividing them and housing two colonies (or more as a mating queen castle) and after 6 weeks, one side is always more robust than the other. I am running screened bottoms so it does allow the queen scent to filter over to the other side and I guess one queen is stronger than the other one, even when they are both the same age.

I've also built a double wide LL that allowed me to fit 8 frame supers on top of it. The first year I ran it with two queens in the bottom box. By mid summer, the same thing had happened where one colony was much stronger than the other. Again, screened bottom. So that's been my experience with them so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Interesting. Have you heard of others being successful with dual hives? I wonder how they get around that issue...
 

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If you build one with 48" sides, put the end boards on the outside and that will give you enough space for 33 Langstroth frame / bar spaces. I think that entrances on the ends help keep the bees better separated and using the oil pans in place year round helps keep the scent isolated. you will definitely need a tight fitting STOP board in the middle if you are housing 2 colonies but that can be pulled / moved if one colony is bigger say in the case of a full hive and a nuc at the same time. I've never tried 2 full blown colonies but I did do a colony (20 bars) and a 5 frame nuc at the same time. The plastic political signs work well to cover Langstroth frame tops while working the other colony. Lots of things you can try / do with Longhives. I saw a video of an 8 footer where the person could lay down for a nap and listen to the bee buzz for relaxation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dr.Leo has a book "Keeping bees with a smile" Worth the 40$ I would recommend it.
has plans in it

I did build one of the double deep lang long hives, it has 2x4 stud walls and 3.5 inch of insulation, so that would work for 2 hives, and you could add some supers as Laurie suggests.

GG
Dr.Leo has a book "Keeping bees with a smile" Worth the 40$ I would recommend it.
has plans in it

I did build one of the double deep lang long hives, it has 2x4 stud walls and 3.5 inch of insulation, so that would work for 2 hives, and you could add some supers as Laurie suggests.

GG

I'll order the book! Thanks...
 

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I have resource hives (2 queen system) from Dadant and they are indeed easier on your back. Mine are stacked with 3 boxes (4 frames each) vertically. Over wintering just fine in 6a. Shelf Furniture Chest of drawers Drawer Cabinetry
 

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I run double nucs supered in common in the denver metro, and they can get quite large even with the small brood chamber do the 2 queen effect
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in your plans remember you need to overwinter them as 2 single queen hives as they will often pick one side or other to cluster on leaving one queen stranded and dead.

By mid-summer, the same thing had happened where one colony was much stronger than the other.
I often see this with emergy queens, far less with grafted ones. The difference in queen performance really stands out in muti queen hive where all else is equal.
 
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I built one, 32 frames long, and able to take two med supers on top under the lid. Currently has a colony in one end and a nuc in the other. I don't think I'll let it go to two full colonies, but keep one end open for making a split. I used front entrances, seem to work just fine, and cut to fit excluders to keep the queen in 8 frames at one end. I much prefer this design, the space under the lid when the med supers are off is great for feeders, leaving tools, extra frames, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I built one, 32 frames long, and able to take two med supers on top under the lid. Currently has a colony in one end and a nuc in the other. I don't think I'll let it go to two full colonies, but keep one end open for making a split. I used front entrances, seem to work just fine, and cut to fit excluders to keep the queen in 8 frames at one end. I much prefer this design, the space under the lid when the med supers are off is great for feeders, leaving tools, extra frames, etc.
Nice! Did you design it yourself, or use plans?
 

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Nice! Did you design it yourself, or use plans?
I just figured it out on my own, its not that hard. I used 3/8" plywood inside and out, 1.5"x 1.75" (2x4 ripped in half) framing and 1.5" polystyrene insulation. I also have one that is a single deep, and 33 frames long. I certainly wouldn't try to run a dual queen or two colonies in it, not enough capacity. Even with one colony, I try to keep swapping in empty frames next to the brood once a week or so
 

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I have a 40 frame long lang that I have a follower board in it and run two colonies. It’s great!

This summer I put a shared super on in the middle as well. But I could still access the brood frames without having to lift off the super.
 

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Unless you are going to make it like 10 feet long (lol) no.
You can START 2 colonies in one LL but you will need to move one sooner rather then later.
Just make 2
 

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Unless you are going to make it like 10 feet long (lol) no.
You can START 2 colonies in one LL but you will need to move one sooner rather then later.
Just make 2
At some point I think the old adage about "not putting all your eggs in one basket" will start to apply.:p
 

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At some point I think the old adage about "not putting all your eggs in one basket" will start to apply.:p
Yes exactly that is why you should build 2 ;)
But I suppose you Could do a super LL where it is the size of a double long LL if you are NOT going to be moving it-ever. LOL So would that really be 1 basket ?

I have not built mine because I will be moving and there is no way in He-LL try to move that
 

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Yes exactly that is why you should build 2 ;)
But I suppose you Could do a super LL where it is the size of a double long LL if you are NOT going to be moving it-ever. LOL So would that really be 1 basket ?

I have not built mine because I will be moving and there is no way in He-LL try to move that
I am built rather close to the ground; I dont have the reach to easily work a hive from the ends of the frames. Find it tiring and not very precise when pulling or putting back frames without dragging adjacent frames or hive walls.
 
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