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Still first year beek. Late last fall we picked up a colony which was under the eaves of a cabin. We transferred them to a complete hive box, with their comb and as many as we could get. At last check (one week ago) they were still doing good. All the colony in one box.
My question is this. I didn't have blocks or 4x4's to put the box on, so I opted for saw horses with 2x4s across them. So the box is rather elevated. With this alignment I noticed I was able (this is back in warm weather as I have a board slid into the SBB now) to kneel down under the hive, and shine a flashlight through the SBB and check their progress and do kind of a wellness spot check. This also made me think that with this setup a beek could look at frame bottoms for swarm cells in Spring months. What are the reasons for NOT elevating a hive body say 24" or more off the ground? Certainly there would be tree hollows out in the wild at this height and higher so the bees don't care. Makes for an easy quick inspection through a SBB, and this height could work for two boxes height perhaps. Supering might be an issue or require one to build a "staircase" to get to the top. I haven't had to deal with those sorts of things so maybe that's why my thinking is flawed.
 

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I think you identified the "why not" in your last sentence. That comfortable height is nice, until you get 5 honey supers stacked on top of it. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think you identified the "why not" in your last sentence. That comfortable height is nice, until you get 5 honey supers stacked on top of it. :D
Thanks. Well maybe some day we'll have that issue to deal with. That's hard to imagine that many supers stacked on.
 

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You could do horizontal hives like I am moving too. That way you alleviate the lifting and height problem. Some people say the bees will not move sideways but others say is no problem. I am going to find out this year. Good idea about looking for swarm cells.
 

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I am 5' 8" of pure muscle. Well, this is the internet...

Anyway, after 2 deeps and 3 supers it starts to get too tall for me. I get around that by extracting more frequently. Another benefit of extracting frequently is that you need fewer boxes than someone who does it all in one shot at the end of the season.
 

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I am switching to 8 frame deeps only. It will make hives alittle taller but being able to have only one size box and frame will be worth it to me.

I could have stayed with 10's but I am dropping to 8's for the sake of a little weight.

healthy bees is what makes any hive system work good
 

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I set my stands around 18", bending over gets to me more than having to lift a 4th or 5th box off, but having to put those back on sometimes makes me rethink that strategy or wish I was taller.
 

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You guys are such complainers! Try coping with the hives on these platforms. (At least by this point in my bee-adventure the hives were no longer suspended by ropes from ladders.)

38Positionsdayslater.jpg


Lest you think I didn't work on these ridiculously placed hives: IMG_0957.jpg

Enj.
 

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I am 5' 8" of pure muscle. Well, this is the internet...

Anyway, after 2 deeps and 3 supers it starts to get too tall for me. I get around that by extracting more frequently. Another benefit of extracting frequently is that you need fewer boxes than someone who does it all in one shot at the end of the season.
An interesting point. Why do US Americans generally only harvest honey at the end of the season? We harvest numerous times throughout the year and I would never have to deal with huge stacks.
Are they for show or is there a real reason?
 

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Max2,
I suppose there could always be a few who might stack for show however there is usually a good reason why people stack hives and harvest at the end of the season.

In my location we usually have 2 - 2 1/2 months of good honey flow in the spring, a long hot dry summer, then a 1 month fall flow which usually doesn't amount to anything more than to somewhat top off the hives winter food supply. Since my spring flow is so short I run three deep brood chambers on my hives in order to build up a larger work force in early spring, then the maximum of nectar can be collected during spring flow while attempting to keep swarming to a minimum, and I run 1 medium and 2 shallow supers on top of each hive to cut down on the weight that I have to lift from that height.

I have a choice of extracting the supers in July when the spring flow ends or wait till fall, it all depends on how good the spring flow is or the customer demand, and how busy I am with other things at the time.
 

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I guess it's because we can get it all done in one shot and clean up all the equipment only once?
Makes sense all around to me.

What doesn't make sense is to me is to extract multiple times during the season. lol

To the OP.. depending on how tall you are, you may need a ladder to fully inspect your hive if you start 2' from grade. I run mine 16" from grade and run all mediums. Quite comfy to work at that height.
 

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I have to be careful of wind gusts up to 60mph with frequent thunderstorms and gusts up to 30 mph from Jan to April.....I tie them down and it has paid off more than once. :)
 

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>What are the reasons for NOT elevating a hive body say 24" or more off the ground?

o wind
o putting supers on with a step ladder
o even worse, taking full supers OFF with a step ladder (harder than you think)

Mine are all 3 1/2" off the ground...
 

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I see wind finally got mentioned. This is just anecdotal information, but I had my hives survive a tornado without toppling. They (each was two deeps and a shallow super) sat on cement blocks and had rocks that weighed about 12 pounds on top of telescoping covers. Fifty feet away a small shed was blown over, and we had a lot of trees uprooted. I think having them a little off the ground so that a vacuum isn't created under them, but not so high as to present more of a target, is an ideal height if wind is a concern.
 

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Last season, mine were 12" off the ground. Great for handling single deeps, good for handling double deeps, but even if I'm tall, it was a pain for handling anything higher than that, and those not as tall as myself did not find it comfortable to work on second deeps.

Unless you plan on preventing your hives from growing tall, it's probably best to have them pretty low.
 

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lowering all of mine this year from 16-20" to 6-10" because the fifth and sixth supers (above a single deep) were too high. i'm also reducing the amount of 'lean' for water drainage to a minimum.
 
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