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Horizontal Hive w/ Modified Frames

2598 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  1sttimekeeper
After 3 very unsuccessful years of trying to keep bees, I have decided to try something new. I attached two existing deep hive bodies and will add medium supers on top to create a deep, horizontal hive that holds 20 frames. The frames will be 16" long. I'm trying to use all the equipment I already have, so my plan is to attach existing frames together to form one 16" frame. Does anyone have any ideas of the best way to attach frames to each other? I will glue them, but would like to screw them together or staple them. I don't know if the wood will break if I use screws and I don't know what type of staples to use. Poultry staples? My plan is to have foundation-less frames with only a piece of wood in the top and 30 lb fishing line strung through vertically.

This is a photo of what I have so far. I could also use suggestions about what to build for the bottom and top of the hive.

Thanks! Laura

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Do you mean frames or hive bodies? When I Had trouble getting started I tried 8 frames instead of 20.
I think she's looking for 16 inch deep frames...
Yes, I mean 16 inch deep frames.
I question the stability if and when you have to move such a hive. I am not really sure why you are reinventing the wheel, when such a wheel has taken us so far. If I were to try something new I don't think I would start where you are. What is your rational for this "idea"? Please share.
In a normal horizontal hive the standard frames can be run in either direction; in one example the frames sit side by side and in the other example frames rest on a bridge in middle of box to allow the frames to sit end to end. I have two Long Langs set up with side by side configuration and plan on building another this season that allows for end to end frames. I am curious if having frames running like natural comb will work better? I build my Long Langs to standard dimensions so the equipment is compatible with the rest of the Apiary.
I make my own frame components, so if I were to do this I would just make longer end bars to make 16"+- frames.

But if you don't want to manufacture custom end bars from scratch, you could 'splice' two deep frames with the aid of a wood 'patch'. An easy way to do that is to buy individual frame components, such as these frame end bars:

Cut the bottom off one end bar, the top off a second end bar and splice them together by gluing a wood 'patch' over the joint. Put the patch so that it will be inside the frame when assembled. Use plenty of Titebond glue on all contact surfaces.

The easiest way to add mechanical fasteners would be staples from a pneumatic gun, but if you don't have one, brads or small wood screws could be used as an alternative. I'd predrill if you use screws.

The above is offered as advice on one option as to how to get suitable frames, not an endorsement of the size chosen. :) My suggestion would be to first try a horizontal hive with standard deep frames before you switch to custom oversized frames. There is a lot to be said for the ability to move resources back and forth between standard hives and the horizontal hive.
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Thanks all, I appreciate your feedback.

I attended a lecture this spring by Dr. Leonid Sharashkin who is working with bees in a horizontal hive,
with 18" frames. He is from Russia where he keeps bees and he has a small farm in Southern Missouri where he has bees. He has also translated a book ("Keeping Bees With A Smile" by Fedor Lazutin) about natural beekeeping in horizontal hives. The theory is that bees thrive more in horizontal hives when the middle frames are untouched and only the side frames are moved around. Also, with this type of hive, there is no moving heavy supers around, because the only place with frames is the main (long) horizontal hive. Since I no longer have any bees because they have all died over the past 3 years, I decided I wanted to give something else a try.

I have 2 new packages of bees that will arrive next week. Since I have procrastinated building a hive from scratch, I decided to use the equipment I already have to make a horizontal hive with deep frames. If I were building them from scratch, I would make the dimensions more "normal". Instead I am cutting and gluing what I have.

The photo I provided in my original post is of 2 deep hives that each had one side removed. I used dowel pins and glue to put them together and I will use a metal mending plate to add more support. Tonight I did a little work on my frames. I glued a medium frame to a deep frame, nailed them together (hammered the nails into the groove) cut off the bottom tabs and it fits perfectly. When I'm finished, I'll post more pictures.

Of course, the real test will be having the bees settle in and see how productive they are. Then see how they survive winter.
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Yes, I mean 16 inch deep frames.
Just a thought on using 16 inch deep frames. will they fit into your extractor?

I've never really gotten any honey, so I don't have an extractor. A couple of years ago, I took some honey from a hive that had died. It wasn't much, so I just did the crush and strain method. I guess I'm not planning ahead too well for much honey.
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