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Greetings all,

This will be my first year beekeeping. I will be starting my beekeeping journey with a Layens, Lazutin, or Long Langstroth Hive. Hoping to find others on this forum familiar with horizontal and extra deep horizontal hives, and ideally folks who are familiar with their use in a northeastern climate. I am in upstate NY.

Because there are so many factors to consider, I want to simplify the way I am looking at this choice, and make an informed descision. What do I absolutely need to consider?

My question is this: Can I modify a Layens hive to have Lazutin frame dimensions? Or is it wiser to just build a Lazutin style hive and insulate it? What is the difference for the bees between a Layens (depth of 15 15/16) and a Lazutin (depth of 18 1/2)?

Can I get away with a 14 frame layens in a northeastern climate, or will I need a 19 frame? What added advantage would I have to use a 25 frame Lazutin instead?

Any advice sorting through this will be much appreciated.
 

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I'm in NC so the weather is different but I am familiar with the Layens Hive and the long hive. I have a long hive in service in my bee yard (48" deep). My long hive can use both Langstroth frames and top bars with side and bottom bars. Sometimes I put a couple of bars in Langstroth just to get comb started and I use the rear of my long hive as a nuc area to have a spare Queen going into winter (pic in my profile/album). Whichever hive you choose be sure you get the book on the Layens Hive. The frame manipulation for spring and winter prep is an absolute requirement to be successful with these hives. This forum is a lot of help if you run into problems but do some reading/studying/talking with a mentor before you buy anything. Good luck and Happy Beekeeping.
 

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Hi Alanna,

Welcome to BeeSource! I, too, am in upstate NY, north of Albany.

You may be dismayed to hear this, but I will pass on to you the very best tip I got as a new beginner: instead of trying one of the more esoteric, uncommon, designs for my bee boxes, go with plain, 10-frame Langstroth equipment. That's what I am still using today.

The various alternative designs seemed to imply some special, almost magical, advantage. This is simply not true. Your bees won't be healthier, or easier to work, or more "natural" in any way that's different. But you will be locking yourself out of all kinds of useful secondary equipment and tools. And you will be locking yourself in to a beekeeping practice that is less-common which, in turn, will limit your options for getting pertinent assistance and advice at the beginning.

Can you successfully keep bees in Layens, Lazutin and long Langs? Of course, it's just that it may be harder to do, especially in our cold climate. And there is no advantage to be gained from them.

Once you've gotten bees and kept them alive and healthy in "standard" equipment for 2 or 3 years, you will have the experience to be able to more-successfully switch over to some of the less-common styles of hives, just for fun. Don't worry about your Lang equipment becoming surplus. By then you will want to have more hives, so the new bees can go in the special equipment, keeping your original ones as safety resources for your experiments

There's a reason for the ubiquity of Lang stuff: it works very well, it's easy (well, sort of) to learn how to use and it suits the bees quite well. I always feel a little anxiety when a new beekeeper comes here and seems much taken with the fringe styles of hives. Beekeeping is complicated to do well, these days. There is no special benefit to be gained from box design, despite what you may have read.

Keep it simple - you life as first year beekeeper will be a challenging enough.

Nancy
 

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Can you successfully keep bees in Layens, Lazutin and long Langs? Of course, it's just that it may be harder to do, especially in our cold climate.

Nancy
Incorrect.
Layens/Lazutin ARE superior for colder climates.
That's what they are best for (at the expense of extra bulk).
Do realize - these hives are equivalent to Lang double-deep bodies by default (each frame at once is equivalent to two Lang deep frames OR deeper).
Long Lang - NOT so good for climate (doable, just less optimal).

Beekeeping is complicated to do well,
Speaking of simple...
If not colder climate here (zone 4/5) I would just run simple top bar boxes and be done.
Now that is simple. Already kind of drift to top bar haves in many ways...
I have not even done frames much lately. Not required.

Why rehash things again?
Read the discussion here:
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?341887-Horizontal-deep-hives&highlight=horizontal
 

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... be sure you get the book on the Layens Hive. The frame manipulation for spring and winter prep is an absolute requirement to be successful with these hives. ..
This sounds overly complicated.
Actually, you may do totally nothing and nothing bad will happen.
Just fill the hive with frames and go away. Come back when have time, month or two or three later.

Traditional horizontal, large hives are simple and the maintenance is simple and pretty much an autopilot.
That is the intent.
Remember - horizontal hives are peasant hives.
Traditionally, peasants kept tens and hundreds of such hives all over.
They checked them once in spring (added frames) and once in fall (removed frames).
That all the time the peasants had for the beekeeping just as a side-business.
 

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@Greg:

Thanks for the link, I remember your posts on the subject, and the amazing pictures. But you are clearly an experienced beekeeper who is working on the outer edges of novelty hives using that experience to help you manage/invent/workaround any problems that may come up.

The OP, by her own statement has never had bees before. If the Layens or Lazutin style of hive is as good as a Lang double deep, then why not just start with double deeps, particularly with your first bees? I run triple deeps specifically because I want the verticality of them in my long cold winters. But I can achieve that with standard equipment, that comes apart into easily moveable, interchangeable, standard pieces and runs pretty much like everybody else's bee boxes. Without trying tricky things like rotating my frames on end and cleating them together.

So, to the OP, here's a guy who successfully uses Layens/Lazutin equipment in a climate that's much colder than either of ours. And he says, and I have absolutely no reason to disbelieve him, that they do fine in cold weather. Note his small caveat re long Langs and cold winters, which is what I see, as well, here when I have beginning students using long Langs. Bees like, and may be need, to move upwards more than sideways during the winter as they work through their winter stores, so long Langs which are only 9 5/8 high don't give much chance of that.

I would still recommend starting with standard equipment while you build your experience and skills. But Greg V is a useful, practical, resource for you if you choose to go that route.

Either way, I hope you have lots of fun with your bees (otherwise, what's the point?)

Nancy
 

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In TODAY'S bee world , at least in the South, if you walk away for a couple of months and don't check them the mites and SHB will have a feast. If I didn't have some hive intervention every 2 weeks I would not have bees very long. I run double deep Landstroths and a deep 48" long hive because I believe in large hives, large frames so the girls have resources to fight off invaders, but I also enjoy interacting/handling my bees. New beeks need to learn the basics first, the KISS principle works, and every bee keeper needs an experienced mentor.
 

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Welcome,

I can't help you decide what to do, but I can steer you towards more information and give some of my own thoughts. The three hives designs you mentioned all would be considered "horizontal" hives. The Lazutin and the Layens would be considered a deep horizontal hive, whereas the long long would not generally be considered the same.

You'll find a lot of information on the Lazutin's and other Eastern European and Russian deep hives, but it's helpful to understand Russian as there are few translations out there. Dr. Leo Sharashkin translated Fyodor Lazutin's book into English and is also a proponent of the deep horizontal type hive (you can find free Lazutin's book in original Russian online). The deep horizontal hives as used Russia are designed for severe cold weather and long winters. They have thick insulation, and the large deep frames are intended to provide plenty of stores for the bees during the winter. The principle is that bees like to move vertically over the frames rather than horizontally across frames so a deep hive winters better. The same can accomplished by stacking conventional Langstroth boxes, with the one difference being the gap between the top of one frame and the bottom of the next. Theory is that the bees don't like to cross that gap, so a single deep frame is better. I can say that I personally have not seen evidence of that and I successfully winter colonies using 4 shallows stacked up. (BTW, I am even further north than Enj and routinely see 25-30 below zero in the winter.

In my opinion, the use of insulation and moisture control are the most significant non-biological factors impacting successful wintering in cold climates. You'll notice that all the deep hives used in Russia have thick insulated walls and use insulating quilts over the frames. I've seen pillows, dry wood shavings, polystyrene, and others as well. I myself use thick lumber construction and then in the winter add additional insulation to the walls of my hives, and then I add a foot thick layer of dry wood shavings on the top. You can accomplish the same thing no matter what type of hive you decide on.

In response to specific questions; what do I need to consider? You need to decide what you want out of beekeeping. Do you want to make honey? Pollinate the garden? Grow additional colonies? Do you have physical limitations lifting heavy boxes? Do you want to move your hives around? I can say this, the deep horizontals are heavy and you won't move them by yourself, whereas Langs and other conventional types can be moved one box at a time.
Can I modify a Layens hive to have Lazutin frame dimensions? Yes.

Or is it wiser to just build a Lazutin style hive and insulate it? You can do that too. But no matter what kind of hive you decide to build I would recommend insulating it.

What is the difference for the bees between a Layens (depth of 15 15/16) and a Lazutin (depth of 18 1/2)? There is none. They will take advantage of what's available. Frame sizes have more to do with construction than what the bees want. In answer to your next question, I don't think that matters much either where you live. 14 Layens frames packed with stores should get you through winter just fine, especially if you add good insulation and moisture control.

good luck!

This site has some nice information .. http://www.mellifera.de/einraumbeute (if you use Chrome you can translate. Also, if you turn on transcripts or auto-translate in Youtube you can get rough translations to English in videos.

Layens hives are popular in Spain and Portugal so google local beekeeping sites there.
 

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Long langs work great and are easy to use and maintain. Beekeeping is the management of bees for the betterment of both beekeepers and honeybee. Leaving your hives alone for months (except during winter) is not beekeeping it is bee having.
 

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Leaving your hives alone for months (except during winter) is not beekeeping it is bee having.
And what is wrong exactly with "bee having"?

Nothing.
Even though some use this term ("bee having") as a sort of "put down".

Here is a use case for you - try long distance "bee having" using standard Langs.
How about trying this with your bees 300-400 miles away.
You are going to drive there every weekend? Maybe not?

Well, people are doing exactly this long-distance "bee having" using large horizontal hives and doing it well.
Multi-body Langs (or Dadants) are not looking pretty at all at such setup.
Most every one watched that video by Sol Parker what happens when multi-body hives are left alone with cows around.
You can keep a large chest hive and cows together - not a problem. It does not tip over.
 

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I agree with GregV. One of my goals is to build a method (and equipment) that let's me minimize visits and manipulations. Deep horizontal and/or chest hives can go a long way towards meeting the goals. Common sense tells me that frequent hive manipulations create stress for the bees, so I improve their well being by minimizing my intrusions.

That's not to say that I'm negligent in taking care of them, only that I do what is necessary.
 

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Alanna, I am going into my third year and am still finding my way. I agree with Enjambres. Keep it simple until you are comfortable with managing bees in a hive that every beekeeper can help you with. I have seen so many people on this site fail because they reach for their ultimate goal before they know the basics. I have to ask why you have decided that a standard Langstroth isn't a good choice for you? J
 

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....I have to ask why you have decided that a standard Langstroth isn't a good choice for you? J
My standard answers:

- ergonomics (enough said to re-re-repeat...)
- easy and direct access to ENTIRE colony (not only top X frames) while doing it GRADUALLY and have control of how large is the exposure (especially important with hot bees)
- (my favorite) you can actually keep hot bees with minimal hassle (if you want to be TF, you want be able to keep hot bees if that what it takes)
- mobile and long distance model of "bee having"; you pre-set the large horizontal hive once with frames and bees will autonomously run it for long stretches at a time (talking of months if needs to be);
you CAN visit them as often as desired/feasible, but this is NOT required;
with vertical multi-body hive this is not possible because bees can not lift/move the hive bodies all by themselves;
you must be there and you must move the bee furniture for them (bees kinda need your help to move the furniture);
not to mention the propensity of tall hives to flip when no one is around
 

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I like the Modified Square Jumbo Dadant ("MSJD" for short) with 1.240 inch wide frames and 5.1 mm cell size. It brings the population up earlier in the year, which is very beneficial for almond pollination. If I could get them to do this on drawn combs instead of foundation, I'd likely be splitting colonies twice a year on good years.

These are big hives and very heavy, requiring a strong body, well designed hive moving equipment (I'm using a beekeeper's wheelbarrow and a long wooden truck ramp) and honey boxes and queen excluders made square. I'm going with a 2-queen system up to 4 frames, then moving them to single colony. My boxes are 12 inches deep and the frames are 11-1/4 inch deep overall.

These result in very strong colonies.
 

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I like the Modified Square Jumbo Dadant ("MSJD" for short) with 1.240 inch wide frames and 5.1 mm cell size. It brings the population up earlier in the year, which is very beneficial for almond pollination. If I could get them to do this on drawn combs instead of foundation, I'd likely be splitting colonies twice a year on good years.

These are big hives and very heavy, requiring a strong body, well designed hive moving equipment (I'm using a beekeeper's wheelbarrow and a long wooden truck ramp) and honey boxes and queen excluders made square. I'm going with a 2-queen system up to 4 frames, then moving them to single colony. My boxes are 12 inches deep and the frames are 11-1/4 inch deep overall.

These result in very strong colonies.
What do you mean wit this? "I'm going with a 2-queen system up to 4 frames, then moving them to single colony."
 

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The MSJD frame is a large square, and the deep frames (deeper than deeps) provide large brood space. What KiloCharlie is saying (as I understand it) is that he runs a divider in the square box and treats it as two colonies with a QE above to adapt to a square super. When a colony below builds population to four frames, he transfers it to a full box of its own. One might equivalently transfer the smaller colony to a different box. That's what his statement seems to mean to me. I'm thinking to make such a setup myself, so the concepts aren't foreign to me. Just not something I've yet done.

Michael
 

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DerTiefster is right on the money.

Fusion-power started us onto this fantastic system. Someone on that thread posted a link to a historical reference that told of the Dadants' (Charles' and Camille Pierre's) difficulty in getting these large hives accepted. Their results should have spoken for themselves ... 50% to 100% more honey than "standard" hives. Fusion_power's use of small cell and narrow frames bring the populations up much quicker - up to 2 weeks earlier in the season.

www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?327565-Hive-designs-and-their-advantages-and-disadvantages

There was a previous discussion in which a fellow in Germany gave us his 13 years experience with the big hives. I'll try to find it and post a link.
 

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I suspect the "fellow in Germany" was Bernhard Heuvel. Here is one thread with lots of his input on the deep square box management. Thread number at this writing is 306234:

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?306234-Running-two-queen-colonies

This is nonstandard. To some this means "Here Be Dragons." In my experience, it can mean, "Oh, gosh, the bees survive here, too. Who knew?" Looks like fun to me, and if you pay attention to the recommendations on management, it can be pretty simple management compared to three mediums and "who knows where the queen is?" But this only peripherally addresses what style of horizontal hive to consider. Maybe not even peripherally.

And odfrank has been using such colonies in California since the '70s. Look up his input for more interesting information and opinions. We all have opinions, even those of us who don't deserve them.

Michael
 

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Michael - Thank you! I do not recall having read that thread. There is another involving FP and BernardHuevel. BH mentiions he has used Brother Adam hives (some slight modifications to the original Dadant Jumbo hive) for 13 years and he gives us his annual routine in it. I'll try to find it. But again Thank you, this one you just gave the link to is great.
 

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Still trying to be of use to our O.P. on horizontal hives, but also to KiloCharlie, thread 336718 from dtrooster:
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?336718-Project-X-another-square-deep-thread

Bernhard's input is mentioned by skyscraper in thread 330701:
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?330701-Compact-Brood-Nest

But it may be that the thread KC searches for is his aforementioned "advantages and disadvantages" thread, somewhere around page 9. I'd forgotten where to find the material KC describes, and spent the past hour searching for it. I believed it was in some other thread than this one, but may have been wrong. The timing is correct for skyscraper's 9/2016 mention of Bernhard's descriptions still to have been read from the adv&disadv thread.

Hope this is useful to someone. I think it's all fascinating.

Michael
 
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