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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For what it's worth I am in Zone 7B North Carolina about 30 miles from Charlotte.

I am taking a season off to prepare, so I have no colonies at present.
I am abandoning vertical hives. But still have boxes, supers, and frames for Langstroth deep, medium and shallow. And I have a 2 frame extractor.
I am not opposed to selling off stuff, including the extractor. Nothing is "precious".
I plan on trapping and catching bees as opposed to buying nuc's and such.
I build all my own equipment, at least the woodenware.

I have just read through the two books that Dr. Leo pushes, but I have never gotten an email response to my questions from him so I have no access to an "expert." :)

So my thoughts are on depth vs breadth. I seem to see that in colder climates probably above my zone by a significant distance, the Lazutin or Double Deep Langstroth do well at a 14-20 frame width. I like the idea of the Layens in that width as well. But a single height deep at 25-40 seems possible. Initially I was concerned with lateral movement of the cluster during wintering.

So what's going to be my best bet? I realize that there should be opinions involved. I accept that and realize there is no definitive answer, except for someone with motivation to sell books or speaking engagements or equipment. But I am interested in hearing those opinions an don't need disclaimers to go with them :)
 

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Abs, I'm not sure I'm qualified to give anyone direction on any type of hive, but I have built two horizontal hives recently and both colonies seem to be doing well. The hives consist of a double deep Langstroth and a modified Layens.

You can read about them here: DD Langstroth and Layens

Let me know if I can answer any questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Abs, I'm not sure I'm qualified to give anyone direction on any type of hive, but I have built two horizontal hives recently and both colonies seem to be doing well. The hives consist of a double deep Langstroth and a modified Layens.

You can read about them here: DD Langstroth and Layens

Let me know if I can answer any questions.
Thanks! I have read through your stuff already. I am looking at everything I can find.

How have your frames come apart? How did they winter. How well did they fill the frames top to bottom side to side. Those kinds of things would be the questions, but I suppose it is early to ask such things. :)
 

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The frames can be taken apart or at least they are designed that way. The bees may prove me wrong in the end. They have generally filled the frames top to bottom and done it quite well. Hives have not gone through a winter yet so I can't provide any feedback on that question. I have several other standard Langstroth hives so these are just a hobby within a hobby for me. They are very easy to inspect and easy on the back. Hopefully GregV will see your thread and chime in. He can provide a lot more experience based info.
 

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Everyone has their own individual reasons for keeping bees, and it would be useful to know what your own objectives will now be: whether this is to be a hobby, mainly for fun and curiosity etc., or whether at minimum your bees need to 'pay their way' with a reasonable honey-crop.

One other consideration is whether by specifying 'horizontal' you are firmly wedded to the idea of a single-story hive, or whether a dual-story hive would be acceptable.

Not being from your side of the pond, I had to look-up on a map of The United States where North Carolina was located ... :)
FWIW, any suggestions I may post would mostly be based on historical accounts of successful horizontal-hive beekeepers such as Poppleton and Gallup from Iowa, Adair from Kentucky, and of course Doolittle from New York State. All of these guys lived further North than yourself, of course - but their hive formats and practices may be relevant.

For myself - I have no idea at all how our climates compare, but I have a number of horizontal hives: most have around twenty 14" x 8.5" deep frames which over-winter perfectly ok, a few with sixteen to twenty 14" x 12" extra-deep frames which perform exceptionally well.
Although I'm currently trialling a set of eleven 14" by 17" extra-extra-deep frames, I more-or-less know already that such a depth will be overkill for this location - but this was a format I've been wanting to try-out for some time as that depth of frame fits comfortably into two of our standard brood boxes (so - there was nothing to make, except the frames themselves).

Right now I'm in the early stages of trialling some 'Gallup-style' frames (11 1/4" inches long by 8" & 11" depths) which I'm hoping will become a 'universal' format within this apiary - being a drop-in replacement for the Top Bars of the Warre vertical hive, as well as being suitable for the Gallup & Doolittle 18" 'short' Long Hive (both single-story and 'tiered-up' formats), and the Gallup-Adair single-story Long Hive within the range 36-48". But - I've only just started these trials so it's still early days ...
'best
LJ
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Absinthe, you might want to PM Ruth Meredith (ruthiesbees) here on Beesource. Her climate is similar to yours and she is almost strictly TBH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Absinthe, you might want to PM Ruth Meredith (ruthiesbees) here on Beesource. Her climate is similar to yours and she is almost strictly TBH.
I see that horizontal and TBH are grouped together here. Do you use the TBH to refer to all horizontal?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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No, TBH's and horizontals are different, but to my understanding, they are managed in a very similar fashion, and are thus grouped together. One of these days I may do a long Lang or a Layens myself to fully appreciate the diffences over the traditional Langs I use now.
 

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I see that horizontal and TBH are grouped together here. Do you use the TBH to refer to all horizontal?
grouping these two together was a mistake, in my opinion. I find them to function a bit differently, but many Lang beekeepers seem to think horizontal with frames and topbar hives sans frames are the same. I find there to be quite a bit of difference in how the colony behaves whether or not the topbars have a gap (with frames) or with no gap (true TBH)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, what if you are doing Layens, (not Colmena Layens) where the frame top bars and side bars are of equal width so presumably, there is no top gap between bars? And now I am seeing no gaps on some side bars.

So which do do you do, TB or Horizontal?
 

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Depending on your reasoning for abandoning deep Langstroth boxes (age, injury, just not fun anymore)… you might consider the "double wide" horizontal that I run for honey production. I can't lift much weight so I started with true topbar hives (and they are still my Love in beekeeping) but we do sell the honey I produce at the garden center where I work so I took two 8 frame mediums and placed them side by side to get a measurement for a bottom brood box. It came out to be 27 3/4inches as the outside dimension. That fits 17 frames in the bottom. Then I can super it up with as many mediums as needed for the season.

Currently, that is 4 medium honey supers in coastal VA. They also have about 4-6 frames in the bottom box full of honey since I pulled the queen a month ago. The bottom of the box is screened off, and due to an oops when my husband was cutting the groove for the frames to sit on, there is an opening at each corner. The main entrance is in the first honey super, but the small entrances are used for the winter.

The top has no inner cover, just a sheet of foil faced bubble wrap called Reflextec available at Lowes. Something heavy sits on top of that (like 2 queen excluders or propolis mats just to weight the foil down) and then a waffle aluminum piece on top of that to shed the water, followed by a brick or two. Now that the new queen is in the hive and laying, I put the queen excluders between the brood box and the honey supers. The nectar laden bees don't have to go through the excluder to offload their stash and the 4 bottom entrances are still open so pollen bearing bees can use them without going through the excluder.

Overall, I'm really happy with this design and people in the local bee club that are done lifting double brood boxes are looking into converting over to something similar so they can still utilize all of their drawn frames and extractors.

Bee Apiary Beehive Insect Membrane-winged insect
 

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No, TBH's and horizontals are different, but to my understanding, they are managed in a very similar fashion, and are thus grouped together. One of these days I may do a long Lang or a Layens myself to fully appreciate the diffences over the traditional Langs I use now.
Only some TBH's. The classic Warre Hive is a Top Bar Hive, isn't a horizontal hive, and is managed in a unique way ... :)
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So you remove all the supers to winter them? Those are all deeps on the bottom and solely as brood boxes? Am I understanding that correctly?

You are using QE's to keep the queen from laying in the supers? Am I getting this right?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Only some TBH's. The classic Warre Hive is a Top Bar Hive, isn't a horizontal hive, and is managed in a unique way ... :)
LJ
Thanks for keeping me honest. I view the Warre have as a vertical TBH and failed to include it. I am glad Ruth joined this discussion as she is far more knowlegable about these hives than I am.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I just re-viewed that image, you have 4 medium supers on there? Okay, you are definitely my hero! It certainly spreads out the supers some, because I can't imagine 4 mediums stacked. I definitely, want to hear more about this. I do like the idea of true separation between the brood nest and the honey crop.
 

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Thanks for keeping me honest. I view the Warre have as a vertical TBH and failed to include it. I am glad Ruth joined this discussion as she is far more knowlegable about these hives than I am.
I think one of the main issues with Top Bar Hives of any kind is that they are limited in the depth of removable combs they can safely support - unless some means of comb reinforcement is provided. The easiest way of providing this is to use a simple framework such as skewers inserted into the Top Bar itself (which would still allow side-adhesions, should these be considered desirable) - or to avoid adhesions, either fully-framed or half-framed Top Bars could be used.
LJ
 

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.....I am abandoning vertical hives. But still have boxes, supers, and frames for Langstroth deep, medium and shallow. ........
I am going to say a heresy now, but being a long-hive advocate, I am now looking to experiment with the verticals.
Not the Lang stuff. No way.
The compact verticals.
There is plenty of materials posted under "Warre and other Compact Vertical Hives Forum".
Main reason for this - portability.
Long hives really are not great in terms of portability.
If the portability is a non-issue, then long hives are great.

Speaking of the Lang stuff - whatever Lang stuff I got on hand will get retro-fitted into the compact vertical setting.
So if the self-made equipment is an option and going non-standard is OK, the compact vertical hives are a valid alternative.
Handily, the 10-frame Lang boxes are easily cut, trimmed into smaller sizes, and reassembled into compact hives.

In short, vertical hives <> Lang hives.
Vertical hive world is vast.
You probably should investigate it a bit for the possibilities for you personally, before abandoning the "vertical hives" for good.

Speaking of NC, it is very mild I understand.
You should not be probably concerned about the lateral moves or depth of your hives.
 

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what about the funny looking one... "cathedral" I think?
A good project for showing off your woodworking and joinery skills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
A good project for showing off your woodworking and joinery skills.
Looks like a lot of 60° angles.. I do assume it is there to solve the comb falling off problem of flat top bars? I don't quite understand the whole top bar thing, perhaps I need to dig into a few of the TB specific threads. Maybe that's an option too.
 
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