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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What follows is the story of a long-suffering piece of beekeeping equipment. It started-off life as what I now call the Mark 0 (zero) Hive: being the first bee-hive I ever built from scratch, and which was constructed from 2 sheets of 10mm plywood glued and screwed together to form 20mm walls. In those days it began it's life as a Top Bar Hive but, thanks to the influence of the gods no doubt, by good fortune I just happened to have built it with exactly the right width to accommodate our 14" wide (17" top bar) frames - and so after a season or two of Top Bar frustration, a couple of lengths of timber were attached to the outside in order to create rebates (rabbets), so that box then became the Mark 1 (framed) Long Hive.

At this point in the story that hive ought to have held twenty 14"x12" extra-deep frames - but I only possessed a few of those already drawn, and anyway at that time I wasn't totally convinced that such deep combs were such a good idea - after all, our standard brood frames were 8.5" deep, so why rock the boat ? Nevertheless I set about making enough 14x12 frames to fill the box.
Not realising the importance of reducing the box size when introducing a small-ish colony into such a huge cavity - especially with so many undrawn frames - the first occupants of that newly configured beehive promptly died. Convinced that the responsibility for this lay with the 12" box depth, I cut-off the offending top, reducing the height to a more manageable 9" in order to accommodate our 8'5" standard deep frames - after which, life settled down with several successful seasons to confirm the apparent logic of this decision.

But - the gods must have had a change of heart, for the colonies I was keeping here abruptly began to grow in size - and I mean they seriously grew: such that twenty 8.5" deep frames, although equal to two full-sized deep brood boxes - and although having proved adequate for several seasons - were suddenly no longer of sufficient size to house these enormous colonies. And so the Mark 1 Long Hive simply had to be restored to it's former depth.
Although the previously removed top section could simply have been re-attached, I decided to extend at the bottom instead, as the existing bottom board had an undesirable central strip-OMF.
This photograph shows that work in progress, with the OMF now positioned at one side, a position which facilitates the draining of condensate if the box is tilted. Also are revealed the variety of entrance holes which had been experimented with over the years (plus a couple more drilled directly through the bottom board as well), some of which were about to be sealed forever, leaving just four 22mm dia. holes at each end, and which were now positioned some 4" from the bottom.




One of the final experiments to be conducted with this hive, was to place it above a deep (9") skirt, in order that bottom ventilation could still be provided, but without any wind-generated draughts. Front view:




and rear view:




Over the last 2-3 years this hive has been more-or-less neglected, in the sense that no particular beekeeping effort has been expended upon it. It has functioned primarily as a 'stash' hive - somewhere to 'bread and breakfast' frames which have been pulled from queen-rearing stacks, and somewhere to deposit frames from dead-outs which have occurred during the season in order to clean-up their combs of remaining brood and stores. Apart from ensuring that the hive was queen-right, and had sufficient stores before the onset of winter - and was given it's dose of Vapourised Oxalic Acid along with the others, of course - no particular attention has been paid to it.

Over the winter some of my hives have been seen putting bees into the air during the occasional sunny day which warms the air for a few hours. But not this hive. At the beginning of Spring, a small cloud of bees could be seen playing in front of most of the hives. But not this one. All I've ever seen is a few bees coming and going, but never any bees playing in front of the hive. That must be happening of course, but I've just never observed it.

And so during Saturday's first inspection of the year for that hive, I fully expected to find the smallest of colonies - maybe one or two 'silver dollar'-sized clumps of brood being tended by a handful of bees ... But boy, was I in for a surprise: frame after frame after frame of wall-to-wall mostly capped brood were pulled - and these are 12" deep combs remember - which, when fully loaded with brood are an impressive sight at the best of times ... I lost count - there must have been a good dozen brood frames there - and it's only the second week of April ! There wasn't a single empty frame in that hive - those not containing brood had very respectable amounts of stores, when considering the time of year. Most unexpected and truly extraordinary ...

I really wish that this was a 'bragging' post - but it's not - because I don't understand the reasons why this colony's current status is so spectacular. And if I don't know the reasons, then I can't replicate it.

LJ
 

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Do you have any other colonies on anything close to similar frame size or configuration. I am thinking genetics? or hive mechanics?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good question. I have several colonies headed by sister-queens, but with one exception they're all either average or smaller-sized. Indeed, I'm thinking of pinching some of the Deep Long Hive brood frames to help them out.

There are 2 other hives with the same frame size. One is very average, and the other - although fairly strong on 16 frames, has recently turned drone-layer. If that hadn't happened, then it might possibly have been the same story - it's difficult to judge.

I do have 2 other colonies which are streets ahead of the others - one is in a triple 5-frame nuc stack which is headed by a sister-queen, but that colony is displaying 'running on the combs'. Not good.
The other - also a 20-frame Long Hive, but with standard 8.5" deep frames - is also bursting at the seams, but is somewhere on the 'hot' side. I know it's supposed to be an urban legend that powerful hives and bad temper go together, but it's certainly true with that one.

However it isn't true with the colony in the uber-powerful 14x12 Deep Long Hive, as I inspected that one without smoke, and pulled frames without the bees appearing to mind one bit. It's a lovely hive to work - well, on the strength of just that one inspection ...

So - it looks like it must be a fluke ? I'll select that queen for the first run of queen-rearing, and I'll also be donating a frame of it's open brood to the drone-laying colony in a day or two - so hopefully there'll be a virgin emerging in it during the first week of May - there should be mature drones flying by then.
'best,
LJ
 

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I have one colony too that showed so little activity that I was worried but they were doing very well when I investigated. This is her second winter. Her bees are quite dark. Her daughter hive is beside her. Very gentle. I dont mind a colony that is not an early starter as we can have a long spring with false starts. The ones that breed late and then freeze out in the spring dont suit here.

Runny bees are something else, arent they. I only had one experience with them at my sons place. Running all over the frames, and dripping off onto the ground, impossible to find the queen. Nah!
 

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Little John,
I was going to go to a "seminar/workshop" for the Dr Leo Hives. The cost + the hotel, travel etc, made me reconsider. I did buy 3 of his books for <10% of the cost of the trip, and feel they were worth the cost.
I ended up building a couple of the Double deep long hives.
https://horizontalhive.com/how-to-build/hive-frame-swarm-trap.shtml
Scroll down to the "DOUBLE-DEEP HORIZONTAL HIVE"

I have had a very similar experience, this spring based on activity, I was sure I would find a softball size cluster, and bee poop all over. I opened the hive to my surprise there were 12 frames over 12 frames of bees. Last fall I placed a 6 frame split into the hive, in mid August. Same story, my extra frames with some stores went into this box, as a "holding place. In the fall I did one peek and seen maybe 9 over 9 and was surprised at the progress they made. I made a divider/follower, loose fit and placed a bunch of wet frames off to the side they did clean them well. That was the only feed they got.
To be fair I did toss into the bottom layer several frames quite full of pollen , thinking the moths would be less likely to get into them prior to fall.

Now the interesting part, :) I did modify the plans to the point of basically using the "Idea" I did a screen bottom with 2-- 6 inch drawers for "extra space" under the bees. Also made the walls out of store bought 2x4 IE 2.75x3.5 with 3/4 inch pine on the inside R13 insulation and 1/2 inch exterior on the outside. the bees have 3/4 inch cedar boards across the top with bees space under that, (this space was to do lateral movement , which I felt was imperative up where I am in Mich) the lid has 3 inches of foam (2x 1.5 pieces) I almost always see less activity there and it has the most bees of any in my yard today. IMO the only thing I can point to is perhaps the less need for heat has less bees flying, I have a second one I am going to fill this year and hope to see how a second winter goes. these if it matters are Russians, I ordered Queens in july made the NUCs in late july and put them in there somewhat to test and I was low on Wooden ware.
so your observations are similar to mine.
GG
 

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....
I ended up building a couple of the Double deep long hives.
https://horizontalhive.com/how-to-build/hive-frame-swarm-trap.shtml
Scroll down to the "DOUBLE-DEEP HORIZONTAL HIVE"
......
GG
I was never convinced in suitable ergonomy of the double-deep horizontal hive, as presented on L. Sharashkin site.
Getting to the lower row of the frames seems a PITA to me (even though - this is a traditional design used in heirloom double-deep longs).

But when the double-frames just fused together and managed as one (single double-deep), there could be a hole different story.
1.5DadantFrame.jpg

Or at least don't follow the L. Sharashkin's design and modify it to this - using clits instead (so to facilitate better access to the lower frame level).
AlternativeDoubleDeep.jpg

I am not too concerned of the burr combs caused by the usage of the clits either.
Am yet to see it in my hives where I use the clits (few minor cases).
20191208_135816.jpg
20191208_135755.jpg
 

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I was never convinced in suitable ergonomy of the double-deep horizontal hive, as presented on L. Sharashkin site.
Getting to the lower row of the frames seems a PITA to me (even though - this is a traditional design used in heirloom double-deep longs).

But when the double-frames just fused together and managed as one (single double-deep), there could be a hole different story.
View attachment 54537

Or at least don't follow the L. Sharashkin's design and modify it to this - using clits instead (so to facilitate better access to the lower frame level).
View attachment 54539

I am not too concerned of the burr combs caused the by the usage of the clits either.
Am yet to see it in my hives where I use the clits (few minor cases).
View attachment 54541
View attachment 54543
due to the extractor I have, I stayed with the standard deep frame. If you twist the frame Clock wise or counter clockwise you only need 6-8 inches to turn and remove the bottom frames. I have never been that full so not really an issue I have had. I did router out a 1/2 X 1 inch grove down 1 side from center to top to allow, centered straight up bottom frame removal. this slot was if I had a coloney in each end and ended up tight in the middle.

For me fuzzing the 2 deep frames would be a PITA, I have not seen the wood barrier be a show stopper for winter, In Fact IMO the side to side ability of bees to migrate seems to be a value in a long hive. As well I may only need to extract the top 1/2 as I have not yet seen a bottom frame filled with honey.
Also seems the top frame gets built to the bottom bar and the bottom frame does not. those frames needing completion when placed in the top position get filled nicely.

My intent is to do a 4 way split from this big hive, clean it out and give it a look over then , put the 4 splits into each end of the 2 long hives I have.
I already know I need better dividers looking into brushes or maybe a Poly bag layered 3 or 4 times. So I will likely empty the hive into NUCs this late May and then when the queen are laying put it all back. Therefore the fact that I can go back and forth so far appeals to me. I also stole a few deep frames of honey last fall to add to a weak hive, lifted them out added some older comb from a recovered Trap, done in 15 min.
Oddly there is no honey dome as it is not tall enough, so Far I have seen no swarming preps from mine, I'll certainly offer more data in the 2021 spring.
at this point they are play hives. not sure I want 50 of them but who knows.....
GG
 

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OK; as long as your design allows to twist the lower row out - should be OK.
Having the frame-supporting clits should make this even easier.

Speaking of this issue:
....
Also seems the top frame gets built to the bottom bar and the bottom frame does not. ....
GG
You want to use the follower boards and keep the nest tight.
In the restricted nest they will hit the follower board and then they will build down.

IF they are allowed to just keep building the upper row, they will do so - this usually means they are not restricted enough.
They simply stay in the most favorable micro-climate (upper quarters) for as long as they can.
 

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OK; as long as your design allows to twist the lower row out - should be OK.
Having the frame-supporting clits should make this even easier.

Speaking of this issue:


You want to use the follower boards and keep the nest tight.
In the restricted nest they will hit the follower board and then they will build down.

IF they are allowed to just keep building the upper row, they will do so - this usually means they are not restricted enough.
They simply stay in the most favorable micro-climate (upper quarters) for as long as they can.
Greg, that is exactually what happened, they started comb from the lid out side of the follower board, even though there were a couple foundation frames in the outer edge of the bottom row. My fix was to swap the outer 3 frames top to bottom, then they worked on them and then winter came , so it was a bandaid, looks like something I will need to do soon or they will start again out side of the boundary I set. there is a bees space around the follower board. They did prime the whole box which At the time i thought was odd.
Was a crude 10 min creation from scrap, and definitely needs re work.
 

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I have made really cheap horizontal hives out of big blue plastic barrels. 21 deep frames fit in them....Compared to all of my vertical Langstroth colonies, these horizontals are almost like magic. They are quiet and busy and I barely need smoke to work them, and talk about comb building and brood producing machines....it's insane. The main thing is trying to keep them from blowing up and swarming....I can go in once a week to pull frames of resources for other hives/splits, etc, and replace those frames with empty frames, and a week later everything is drawn and getting filled with food or brood...

I think if you want to replicate your experience, make a few more horizontals and observe.
 

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Greg, that is exactually what happened, ...
GG,
Let me guess and assume you made the entrance very similar to the pictured:
https://horizontalhive.com/how-to-build/double-deep-long-hive.shtml

If so, then the entrance size is a potential issue - it really is too big - that maybe pushing the bees up.
Such entrance should really be largely closed per the Lazutin methodology, as pictured here (pretty double-deep hive pic shows well how most of the entrance is closed as it should be):
https://www.motherearthgardener.com...horizontal-hives-for-less-stress-zm0z18uzsphe

Here are the diagram and photos of the entrance usage too (largely closed):
http://www.deepsnowpress.com/keeping-bees-with-a-smile.htm


One possibility, anyway.
They are trying to stay away as far as possible from the entrance IF the entrance is too large (in this case staying high).
 

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I have made really cheap horizontal hives out of big blue plastic barrels. 21 deep frames fit in them....Compared to all of my vertical Langstroth colonies, these horizontals are almost like magic. They are quiet and busy and I barely need smoke to work them, and talk about comb building and brood producing machines....it's insane. The main thing is trying to keep them from blowing up and swarming....I can go in once a week to pull frames of resources for other hives/splits, etc, and replace those frames with empty frames, and a week later everything is drawn and getting filled with food or brood...

I think if you want to replicate your experience, make a few more horizontals and observe.
do you have Pics?
Be interesting to see how you did it, Barrels are around,, may need to try a few.
GG
 

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Is the double deep frame really needed it seems like it ruins the whole idea of easy frame removal with a long lang , I can't imagine digging top frames out to get to the bottom frames
 

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Here's how I did my double deep frames.

Langstroth4.jpg

The top frame is a standard deep Lang, the bottom has a modified top bar and side bars and then zip tied to the top. Can be worked as a single frame, separated to extract or use in another hive. This is not my original idea, got it from GregV, but I did modify the bottom top bar to my specifications.
 

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Here's how I did my double deep frames.

View attachment 54557

The top frame is a standard deep Lang, the bottom has a modified top bar and side bars and then zip tied to the top. Can be worked as a single frame, separated to extract or use in another hive. This is not my original idea, got it from GregV, but I did modify the bottom top bar to my specifications.
Hey, cool.
Let us know how it works for the extraction and overall.
If I get enough bees going this season, will try a test unit on the same idea too.
Got empty hives that should fit this exact size.
 

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Is the double deep frame really needed it seems like it ruins the whole idea of easy frame removal with a long lang , I can't imagine digging top frames out to get to the bottom frames
laketrout, if the single deep frame works in your location then no you do not need it. Here for me 9 inch comb is not sufficient to winter on. So really it is up to the locale you keep in. Second, one really does not go thru the whole hive often, Actually I never have, so you keep different in a double deep hive.
Lastly if needed, I "can" remove the lower frames so for me that is all that is necessary. It is a trade off, Warre or Skeps did not have the bottom frame issue , but they had other issues. I find it interesting that in Europe / Old Russian Block, this was the standard way so IMO it must have value. It is not useful for pollinators. However for backyard beeks in a cold climate it does have merit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I think if you want to replicate your experience, make a few more horizontals and observe.
A few more - are you kidding ? I've already got more Long Hives than I can shake a stick at. I think Greg's on the money by saying make another ONE the same, and see what happens. :)

Gray Goose - thanks for the suggestion - but I don't rate that Leo bloke very highly, likewise his double-decker idea. There are much better ways of achieving the same format. But most of all I don't think very much of anyone who makes money from someone-else's work(*), especially a person who thinks that Georges de Layens invented the hive which has become associated with his name. 'Cause he didn't invent it - he made a point of saying so.

(*) Larry Connor does the same with his Wicwas Press. Bad form, in my view.

While I'm hammering on the keyboard - I'm currently in the process of commissioning the first of (hopefully) several Gallup-framed Hives. This one is 24" long - which is not a size that either Gallup or Doolittle used - so that if it doesn't work out, the box can simply be cut in half to form a couple of Warre boxes.
The one issue which has held me up on this build is deciding on the method of ventilation. I really wanted to try something different, so I'm going for a solid floor this time, and adopting Greg's rather neat concept:


Mine will be almost identical:


I've had a colony drawing out and using the Gallup frames in 'adapter boxes' since last year, so it'll just be case of transferring them over to this new box, as soon as the paint's dry.
LJ
 
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