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Discussion Starter #41
* when trying to match the "layens top bar dimensions" (1.5" width to be sure) be aware that bees will try to double-comb on you if running them foundation-less;
if/when I get around to do my next batch of the frames, I will build them with
a)pass-through top bars at 1 inch wide and will be using a cover cloth from burlap and/or plastic
b)will make them to self-space to 1.25" by default (they always go a tad wider due to propolis build-up/wax build-up anyway; yes, yes, one should scrape the frame sides and blah, blah... - well, practically speaking that does not get done often enough)
Exactly my plan!
I'm going with thinner top bars (anywhere from 1 1/4 inches to 3/4 inch wide) instead of the inch and a half.
Going to use cover cloths to form the ceiling (actually a lot like the guy in the video you recently shared: https://youtu.be/Rlq3n2cJKBk?t=91 ).
and I'm thinking about putting some sort of self-spacing block on them somewhere, either screws, bits of dowel, small piece of wood, etc.

The things you can do with top bars that don't touch definitely outweighed the perks of having touching top bars to me, especially since you can just roll the corner back on a cover cloth to do a quick check and still not disturb the rest of the hive.
 

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Exactly my plan!
I'm going with thinner top bars (anywhere from 1 1/4 inches to 3/4 inch wide) instead of the inch and a half.
Going to use cover cloths to form the ceiling (actually a lot like the guy in the video you recently shared: https://youtu.be/Rlq3n2cJKBk?t=91 ).
and I'm thinking about putting some sort of self-spacing block on them somewhere, either screws, bits of dowel, small piece of wood, etc.

The things you can do with top bars that don't touch definitely outweighed the perks of having touching top bars to me, especially since you can just roll the corner back on a cover cloth to do a quick check and still not disturb the rest of the hive.
Exactly, Nick.

And once you go with the "pass-through" top bars - you then also have an option to run mini-supers for honey above the main frames.
I say - this is a nice feature to have available.
I am wanting to try these if get around to it.

Another cool benefit - once you start running the cover cloth - you very quickly get those cloths very thickly propolised - those propolised cloths are excellent for the swarm traps baiting (about the best bait there is).
These are better than simply heating/melting propolise into the fabric for baiting - heating does destroy/alter some natural compounds - that in turn affects the smell/texture of the propolise (ideally it should be just 100% raw and unchanged).

Of course, the more propolis bees use around the nest - the better environment it is for the bees too.
Once they have fabric cover placed on them - they will propolise it shut so not to let any air pass through and so they have complete and very solid propolise coverage over the top.

Inspecting the fabric covered frames allows for controlled opening (just like in a surgery room) and so you can control hot bees (unlike in a typical Lang - one reason Lang keeper hate defensive bees - obviously why - the Lang design does not allows to control the bees at all).
So with fabric, you have the same control as if with the locked TBs (plus so many other benefits).

So a natural fiber cover cloth is a winner hands down from any angle.
It is highly under-rated now days for small-scale keepers.
Only place where it may not be so great - commercial large-scale (it slows you down in a fast, box-by-box/pallet-by-pallet big operation).
 

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Thanks for the offer Nick I'll look you up. Maybe PM me your email address.
I made 2 of the double deep Lang long hives from his book, Modified lots, :)
I sunk the frames down an extra 3/8 and made a double top lip , one for the frames and one wider for the top boards (1x6 cedar) In A long hive IMO Bees need to move sideways in the winter to survive, sealed top bars assume holes in combs would suffice. Did a Screened bottom and drawers. With 2x4 walls, it is a coffin but it seemed to work ok. based it all on deep lang frames which i had. set 10 frames of bees in it and they took off. Dead out from Mites this past winter. :( Package stock. My big hesitation for the layens frames is extracting the deep frames, so either you bite off the expense of the deep extractor or do crush and strain.

GG
 

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Thanks for the offer Nick I'll look you up. Maybe PM me your email address.
I made 2 of the double deep Lang long hives from his book, Modified lots, :)
I sunk the frames down an extra 3/8 and made a double top lip , one for the frames and one wider for the top boards (1x6 cedar) In A long hive IMO Bees need to move sideways in the winter to survive, sealed top bars assume holes in combs would suffice. Did a Screened bottom and drawers. With 2x4 walls, it is a coffin but it seemed to work ok. based it all on deep lang frames which i had. set 10 frames of bees in it and they took off. Dead out from Mites this past winter. :( Package stock. My big hesitation for the layens frames is extracting the deep frames, so either you bite off the expense of the deep extractor or do crush and strain.

GG
This is why I am gravitating towards Dartington hive design, GG.

The nest stays - Layens and never gets extracted. Then we have a non-issue. Periodically you C&S anyway to recycle the brood combs.
According to the reading/videos, queen never comes up from the deep Layens-type frame - no QE is needed.
But mini-super idea as in Dartington - I like; for extraction of the mini-batches.

Here on the picture, they have full length honey super frames at 90 degree turn.
I want to make short honey super frames and keep them aligned with the deep frames (for few reasons).
UkrainianBroodnestStandardSupers.jpg
Running full length honey frames is still an option too (just as pictured).
Both ways are fine as needed/feasible.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Update: Painted my Layens+ swarm traps this weekend:
(decided to call them Layens+ because they're Layens dimensions plus 3" deeper)





Looked online at stencils of tree bark, made a couple out of paper, and painted it on. Stencils started getting a bit soggy, so I finished the shadows by hand.
Supposed to be Oak bark. Just need to load up with frames and get these hung on trees!
Each bait hive will hold 5-8 frames.
 

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Just need to load up with frames and get these hung on trees!
Each bait hive will hold 5-8 frames.
Nick: Your bait hives are looking good- should blend right into the landscape.

Best of success to you in your swarm trapping efforts this season.

Russ
 

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Wow those look good. I was in a couple hives and seen cups and lots of drone brood so your timing may be perfect.
Let us know how they work. Are you using Layens hive then to put then into?
GG
 

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Wow! Nice.
My originals were "spotted cows" - considering I am from WI.
20161127_132538.jpg

I did no really try hiding them; instead I am looking of safe locations so not to worry of theft.
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Traps have been hung!



Three of them are just off of my normal commutes to and from work.
The other two are accessible, but not where I'm always driving.
 

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Traps have been hung!



Three of them are just off of my normal commutes to and from work.
The other two are accessible, but not where I'm always driving.
Nice work!

When you catch a swarm, I'll be interested in how long it takes the bees to draw out a frame.
 

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Fingers crossed! I'll let you all know how things turn out. Bullet holes, bees, or bust!
If i get over that way some day I'll let you know and show you where there are a couple of bee trees down along the river, assuming they are still standing. in the old days you could drive back in there but last time i checked most of that country was now blocked off
 

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Discussion Starter #57
You catch anything yet Nick?
I currently have two swarms hived from a friends cherry orchard.
As far as my swarm traps, nothing that I know of yet, but I haven't checked them for a few days.
So I have bees! But they were from California almonds and then down in Florida before coming up here for cherries.

I need to check my traps to see if I lured any in.
I know there have been swarms from more commercial bees, and I've heard from other beekeepers that they've had plenty of queen cells being made in their hives.
Fingers crossed.
 

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I currently have two swarms hived from a friends cherry orchard.
As far as my swarm traps, nothing that I know of yet, but I haven't checked them for a few days.
So I have bees! But they were from California almonds and then down in Florida before coming up here for cherries.

I need to check my traps to see if I lured any in.
I know there have been swarms from more commercial bees, and I've heard from other beekeepers that they've had plenty of queen cells being made in their hives.
Fingers crossed.
just get yourself some queen cells from more local bees and go ahead and requeen those early swarms
 

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Discussion Starter #59
Checked swarm traps yesterday, noticed one of them getting some heavy scout activity.


Worker standing in the entrance fanning Nasonov pheromone.
Hopefully there will be a swarm moving in the next few days!

Darker phenotype than I have seen around my house, this one is located in the forest close to a major river and some marshland/nature preserve. Maybe feral bees? If they move in I'll replace the box with another swarm trap to see if other swarms move in.

The two commercial swarms I have from earlier are building up alright, I have some cross-combing to deal with next time we have some warmer weather.
 

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