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So I have been declared the "official" BK for an order of religeous nuns. They have been trying to keep bees but lack management skills. The plan is for me to learn as much as possible, and when I keep them alive year to year, then teach them how.

So right away I realize that they are small people. Not going to lift a lot of weight, so I made a long hive using regular deep frames. The idea was that honey harvest involves removing frames one at a time.

I did try to hand BK over to them previously, but they didn't understand varroa management and lost all 7 hives this past Winter.

The original swarm I had caught seemed to have Carniolan traits.

I am wondering about brood nest size in a horizontal hive. That horizontal hive swarmed even though it had plenty of space to expand. The sisters caught all 3, but I wasn't there to see them climb trees.

Question: Are brood nests in horizontal hives generally smaller because the bees like the nest in a vertical orientation?

Would adding extra entrances down the side of the hive encourage bees to expand horizontally?

I understand some of the ideas about frame location manipulation but didn't explain that to them very well.
 

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In a vertical hive if you brood in 2 deep boxes that is 16-20 frames depending on whether you are an 8 or 10 guy. You build a horizontal hive with some number of deep frames. How does that compare? A good healthy queen can lay 2000 eggs a day. On a deep frame in a perfect world with no honey or pollen stores you can have about 9000 cells. So that's 1 frames worth of laying every 2 days, 21 days for a worker to give up a cell more for a drone, less for a queen. So that sounds like 10 frame brood nest. If they are not storing resources on the frames... But they are. Maybe 20 - 30 % so let's say 13 frames. If they get a full frame of resources right up against the brood nest, they will tend not to want to advance past that, at the very least they don't want to expand the brood nest past it, like a queen excluder. There are plenty of pieces to the puzzle but I am not in the position to be much help.

There are strategies to get them to move, one way or the other, they tend to want to lay near the entrance. I will let someone smarter than me take over from here, I am just learning the ins and outs of horizontal hives, and this is mostly bookwork for me.
 

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So I have been declared the "official" BK for an order of religeous nuns. They have been trying to keep bees but lack management skills. The plan is for me to learn as much as possible, and when I keep them alive year to year, then teach them how.

So right away I realize that they are small people. Not going to lift a lot of weight, so I made a long hive using regular deep frames. The idea was that honey harvest involves removing frames one at a time.

I did try to hand BK over to them previously, but they didn't understand varroa management and lost all 7 hives this past Winter.

The original swarm I had caught seemed to have Carniolan traits.

I am wondering about brood nest size in a horizontal hive. That horizontal hive swarmed even though it had plenty of space to expand. The sisters caught all 3, but I wasn't there to see them climb trees.

Question: Are brood nests in horizontal hives generally smaller because the bees like the nest in a vertical orientation?

Would adding extra entrances down the side of the hive encourage bees to expand horizontally?

I understand some of the ideas about frame location manipulation but didn't explain that to them very well.
So why do the Nuns want the bees?
Small people?? not sue the idea here. Lots of "smaller" folks tend bees
Where is the Place the Nuns have in WestPhalia?
Do any of the Nuns want to be the bee keeper?
They caught 3 swarms so ??some skill level is there.
So how do you keep yours alive, will the same way work for them?

Question: Are brood nests in horizontal hives generally smaller because the bees like the nest in a vertical orientation? I would think the nest is the same size, how big did the nest get? how big is the hive?

Sorry trying to figure out your question, or questions.

BTW IMO a single deep long hive is not suited for Michigan, Others I am sure will disagree.
 

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The nuns want to eventually use beekeeping as a funding source for and at several of their monasteries. The monastery in Michigan is North of Lowell. The order originated in Mexico and many of the Hispanic nuns are very small in stature. It was a concern for safety. They really do want to take over BK. Multiple failures have been discouraging. I have been passing on video's and articles.

I will manage a few apiaries/yards cooperatively with them. So some yards will be exclusively my domain but they will be used for their benefit.

I was more proactive managing for varroa, and other problems. I am still green but have access to knowledgeable resources including several phd entomologist BK. One of which does commercial BK.

I think the original long hive had 40ish frames. The brood nest stayed on about 5-7 frames. So this raised the question in my mind. It could be that it was an issue of timing. I could not possibly drive an hour to their location to inspect the hives with any regularity last year because I was in the launch phase for a new business and working 12 plus hours/day 7 days per week. I think my longest "day" was 32 hours straight. So they failed to do mite checks and the hives got decimated. They did some treatments but I think the timing was off. I also don't think they did any frame position management in the horizontal hive. (moving honey out and putting in empty foundation near the brood, etc.)

I have now given 50% of the business over to my son. Sort of. He runs nearly all of that business. We started a new company where my duties are to build equipment for the first business. This means I have a lot more time and can work at my own pace. I expect that as I grow the second business I can phase myself out and go back to retirement. I am building prototype machines that when patented can be farmed out for construction.

So I will have time to mess with bees. The number of hives should increase as I manage properly, and my time to do the work should increase over the next few years. I might even take a vacation.

As I learn more it has occurred to me that I could use conventional hives and use bee escapes to simplify honey harvest. The sisters could then just pop the lid and pull frames out rather than try to lift a whole box. Our equipment is in 10 frame boxes, they do have a number of shallows with drawn comb. However several of them are about 4 ft. nothing tall so I wanted to steer away from tall stacks of honey supers.

Then you begin to wonder about Langstroth vs horizontal and honey lbs./hive. The economics might not work that well. Don't know yet............
 

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I think there some conflicts here. I have always been under the impression that horizontal hives were sub par in the honey production department, which you stated was a primary goal. Ruthie's long lang with medium supers sounds like a good plan in this case. And a hive does not need to be very high off the ground, so no need for the sisters to use a step ladder to harvest the crop.
 

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Question: Are brood nests in horizontal hives generally smaller because the bees like the nest in a vertical orientation?

Would adding extra entrances down the side of the hive encourage bees to expand horizontally?
First - define your horizontal hive.

Speaking of my Layen's modified - the brood nest can be anywhere 8 to 12 frame (depending on a specific colony traits).
You dont want to be adding the entrances.
A single sufficient entrance is all is needed.

That horizontal hive swarmed even though it had plenty of space to expand.
What is often overlooked when there is supposedly "plenty of space to expand" - small cross-section of a single-row horizontal Lang hive (assuming the Lang).
That cross-section is not large enough.
Think of the Warre hive laying on it's side - that's what you have with your single-row Lang horizontal.

Layens/Ukrainian/Lazutin/Dadant horizontals have much thicker girth and less of of swarming pressure.
 

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I think there some conflicts here. I have always been under the impression that horizontal hives were sub par in the honey production department, which you stated was a primary goal. Ruthie's long lang with medium supers sounds like a good plan in this case. And a hive does not need to be very high off the ground, so no need for the sisters to use a step ladder to harvest the crop.
In general, I agree with this statement.
With undersized horizontals, the bees feel it up too quickly and often don't have temp storage for honey processing - to make 1 lb of honey, it takes lots of temp storage to hold 4-5 of nectar.
So, the horizontals must be made large to make good honey crop - Lasutin is just about the size you need; or picture the Layens hive sized to 20-24-28 frames.
If the yard is static and large hives are not a problem - them make them large enough and get good crop of honey.

The real issue with the horizontals is that the honey is splattered all over the hive.
Most of the frames are of mixed use - honey/pollen/brood.
So, you maybe having lots of honey in there - however, harvesting it is the problem.
Late season harvest is easier.
But early honey harvest is impossible.

This issue is mitigated by hive configuration where you create a brood sections and a honey section and allow for supering.
 

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......BTW IMO a single deep long hive is not suited for Michigan.....
+1.

By the same token, classic TBHs in my locale do not do well.
Warre hive types, on the other hand, do well.
 

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Here is how the long honey hive should look like - 23 frames I counted - they harvested 13 frames (the video says 24-frame hive).
So absolutely you can harvest tons of honey, but the hive must be like a good sized chest.
Set it - forget it - come back in fall with your wheelbarrow.
Not a worry if a cow decides to scratch a leg or something - that is the beauty of the real chest hives (not the toy TBH things).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9rqtzUp1lM&t=250s
 

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For more real-deal Layens videos on youtube - "colmena de layens".
I wish I knew Spanish; hopefully the captions help some.
 

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This is the double wide Long Lang that JW was referring to. It has 17 deep brood frames in the bottom box and the ability to have 2 side by side 8 frame honey supers stacked as tall as you want them. Here in VA, it overwinters as just the single box, and I image if you do things properly, it can be done the same in MI. (we can overwinter single 5 frame boxes). It could certainly be adapted to hold the 3" shims at the top for candy boards.

doublewide.jpg

The key to swarm management in any horizontal, whether it be a topbar hive or framed horizontal one is to continually open up the brood nest so it is not plugged up with honey. That means you take one of the empty frames on the end and slide it into the brood nest for them to draw new comb on and shift the others down a space.
 

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The nuns want to eventually use beekeeping as a funding source for and at several of their monasteries. The monastery in Michigan is North of Lowell. The order originated in Mexico and many of the Hispanic nuns are very small in stature. It was a concern for safety. They really do want to take over BK. Multiple failures have been discouraging. I have been passing on video's and articles.

I will manage a few apiaries/yards cooperatively with them. So some yards will be exclusively my domain but they will be used for their benefit.

I was more proactive managing for varroa, and other problems. I am still green but have access to knowledgeable resources including several phd entomologist BK. One of which does commercial BK.

I think the original long hive had 40ish frames. The brood nest stayed on about 5-7 frames. So this raised the question in my mind. It could be that it was an issue of timing. I could not possibly drive an hour to their location to inspect the hives with any regularity last year because I was in the launch phase for a new business and working 12 plus hours/day 7 days per week. I think my longest "day" was 32 hours straight. So they failed to do mite checks and the hives got decimated. They did some treatments but I think the timing was off. I also don't think they did any frame position management in the horizontal hive. (moving honey out and putting in empty foundation near the brood, etc.)

I have now given 50% of the business over to my son. Sort of. He runs nearly all of that business. We started a new company where my duties are to build equipment for the first business. This means I have a lot more time and can work at my own pace. I expect that as I grow the second business I can phase myself out and go back to retirement. I am building prototype machines that when patented can be farmed out for construction.

So I will have time to mess with bees. The number of hives should increase as I manage properly, and my time to do the work should increase over the next few years. I might even take a vacation.

As I learn more it has occurred to me that I could use conventional hives and use bee escapes to simplify honey harvest. The sisters could then just pop the lid and pull frames out rather than try to lift a whole box. Our equipment is in 10 frame boxes, they do have a number of shallows with drawn comb. However several of them are about 4 ft. nothing tall so I wanted to steer away from tall stacks of honey supers.

Then you begin to wonder about Langstroth vs horizontal and honey lbs./hive. The economics might not work that well. Don't know yet............
Thanks for fleshing that out a bit more.
Honey is weight, if honey is the goal, the Nuns may need to find a big strong helper.
pulling the supers and placing the trap , then going back to get the honey is really the big work days, 1 or 2 guys in a weekend could get a lot done.

Also consider the 8 frame hive, 20 % lighter, and avoid the deep honey super frames. heavier and more blowouts.

Also Maybe have a look at Palmers double NUCs one "could" use that for honey, I see Ian up in Canada has modified that to 6 frame next to 6 frame NUCs that could also have merit. Would be more management but if they want to be keepers then tada it will be.

Any of the Nuns able to be wood workers? Making is cheaper than buying, only challange is time which they may have.

Good project to ponder
GG
 
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