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Discussion Starter #1
So why use touching top bars in the Layens hive. I know Leo Sharaskin states it helps retain heat and minimizes disturbance during inspections. When using open top bars and a cover cloth I see less disturbance during inspections. All you do is peel back the cloth and peek down in maybe a few bee come up to see what is going on. With the touching top bars you crack the propolis seal and the bees "go wild". The open top bars also give you many other options for you hive, like being able to emergency feed in the winter, or using in a vertical style hive. Even Layens himself used the open top bars in his hives.
 

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Exactly.

The issue with Leo Sharashkin is that he copied the modern version of the Layens practiced in very much sub-tropical Spain.
Watch the Spanish videos on the youtube - "colmena de layens".

What Leo fails to notice himself I think (and fails to explain to the others also) - Spain indeed is a pretty much subtropical country with non-existent winter.
They in Spain very likely don't even know what "feeding dry sugar in winter" is.
 

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Ya, I don't under stand it. He sells a copy of Layens book and he even talks about feeding over the frames in there. It is possible he is using the current Spain version but I wonder if he is trying to adapt Lazutins ideas to the Layens. However Lazutins frames are quit a bit beeper.
 

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Ya, I don't under stand it. He sells a copy of Layens book and he even talks about feeding over the frames in there. It is possible he is using the current Spain version but I wonder if he is trying to adapt Lazutins ideas to the Layens. However Lazutins frames are quit a bit beeper.
Well, actually - he is generally into horizontal hives.
No need to hang up on a specific hive here.
We are talking generally of large frame based horizontal hives - all it is.

What is illogical to me (Sharashkin being from Russia himself) he could as well be talking of horizontal Dadants and the long Ukrainians - THOSE are the authentic hives used very extensively where Sharashkin is from himself. Conveniently, the Dadants and the Ukrainian long hives use frames compatible to US Langstroth frames (unlike the Layens).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I was just thinking that the touching top bars in the Lazutin hive wouldn't be as much of a hinderance in winter with the depth of the frame. Do the long Ukrainian hives use touching top bars? I build my Layens hive like you talk about with deeper internal dimensions making it possible to use the 2 lang medium frames together. I however build the open top frames for the brood area.
 

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...Do the long Ukrainian hives use touching top bars? ....
No.
Now days everyone uses Hoffman style frames or something similar.
Cloth or plastic or wooden planks go over the frames.

Some very old hives (essentially antique hives) sometimes use the touching top bars.
I have seen few videos.
 

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Exactly.

The issue with Leo Sharashkin is that he copied the modern version of the Layens practiced in very much sub-tropical Spain.
Watch the Spanish videos on the youtube - "colmena de layens".

What Leo fails to notice himself I think (and fails to explain to the others also) - Spain indeed is a pretty much subtropical country with non-existent winter.
They in Spain very likely don't even know what "feeding dry sugar in winter" is.
Well maybe... but isn't he "Doing It!" in "Ozark, MO (Zone 6a)" which is hardly subtropical. "Smile" is based on Lazutin's apiary was Kaluga I think zone 4a or less. GdL was in France which only goes from 7-10. He does mention that so many milllion Layens hives are used in Spain, but why do you say that his stuff is based on assumptions based on Spain's environment?
 

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I have just finished "Smile" and working my way "Horizontal..." and I have read or listened to every thing I can find by Dr. Leo. Here is my take on what he is doing with his Layens design.
Not only is his focus on horizontal, but also on completely natural, or "treatment free" if you will, though I don't think he uses that term. So as far as feeding is concerned, he is probably against it, as least as far as sugar is concerned. The plans that he puts out for building your own stuff are not only based on the Layens dimensions, but his aim and focus in insulation concerns heat loss from the top. So having the frames sealed at the top with propolis would be just fine, as he is not really interested in seeing the inside of the brood nest except in spring inspection. As for Fall inspection, he is not really all that concerned with the broodnest, and merely wants to remove excess stores and close up the size of the nest. Remember, the goal is that you only go into the hive 2 times a year. He is not taking mite counts and doing sugar or ether rolls, or feeding sugar syrup or even actually doing much frame manipulation through out the year. It is a very laissez faire method of beekeeping.

The other thing I see, as a woodworker, is that his designs, especially for making frames are way far on the simple side. And as such the design makes for a much easier pieces to assemble.

The other side of this, both with Lazutin (may he rest in peace) and I am guessing Dr Leo is the focus on the local feral bee population. Lazutin's being the "European Dark Bee" and I have no idea what Dr Leo is keeping in the Ozarks, because bees are not native to USA, so whatever has escaped over the years and feralized and evolved to cope with the existing problems in Ozark, MO. But much of the philosophy involves these bees that know how to live and build nests in the wild for their respective environments. So the "natural" approach would be to provide them with a nesting environment that resembles a tree, and let them make all the decisions about how to build their nest. When they have abundance and fill frames outside of that area, you can take them away, otherwise, just leave them alone. That is the message I take away from him and his books. (not that he has written, or translated but of which he is an "editor").

Does this make any sense as an answer?
 

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Right in the preface to GdL's book he says that you should be able to read this and apply it to any beekeeping you choose, not just using the Layen's hives, but also Langstroth and so forth. GdL was a botanist and apiculturalist, and the book is strangely titled to have the Horizontal Hive thing in it. The actual book that was translated was one he co authored with a fellow named Gaston Eugène Marie Bonnier (a botanist and ecologist) was titled "Cours complet d'apiculture" which if your French is any good you can read for free here https://www.belin-editeur.com/cours-complet-dapiculture#anchor2 and a bunch of other places. (I do like the page turning sound effects.) I believe the intent was to teach Apiculture quite generally, and his hive design was just the icing. I assume that you would likely get a lot of overlap in reading LL Langstroth https://www.gutenberg.org/files/24583/24583-h/24583-h.htm which is also in the public domain, but in English.

The key takeaways from Dr Leo are to let the bees be bees and don't interfere. And make sure your hive is insulated well especially from the top, and either that ventilation is not that big of a deal, or the single open entrance is sufficient for winter ventilation.

A lot of what I see Dr. Leo do with the YouTubers focuses on Single Deep Long Langstroths. This may be an economic issue, as the few 'tubers I have seen are homesteaders (think Prepper-Lite). So lots of doing what you can with what you have sort of thing. In the Long Lang design you are using langstroth frames, and they are generally Hoffman design as a matter of course. So when he does that one, he enables a second course of bars, which are like chunks of 1x4 and they sit together making that closed ceiling above the open Langstroth bars much like an un-ventilated inner cover under a telescoping top would be.
 

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Ya, I don't under stand it. He sells a copy of Layens book and he even talks about feeding over the frames in there. It is possible he is using the current Spain version but I wonder if he is trying to adapt Lazutins ideas to the Layens. However Lazutins frames are quit a bit beeper.
As I understand the Layens hives that they use in spain have open slots in their topbars because they actually super them.
 

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Well, actually - he is generally into horizontal hives.
No need to hang up on a specific hive here.
We are talking generally of large frame based horizontal hives - all it is.

What is illogical to me (Sharashkin being from Russia himself) he could as well be talking of horizontal Dadants and the long Ukrainians - THOSE are the authentic hives used very extensively where Sharashkin is from himself. Conveniently, the Dadants and the Ukrainian long hives use frames compatible to US Langstroth frames (unlike the Layens).
Well, that is the Lazutin design isn't it? The frame is the size of 2 langstroth deeps. Or, he does offer the plans for the double deep langstroth, which has the framerest at the top, and the slot in the bottom, so you have to twist the frame a bit to get one of the bottom ones out. I am not sure how much beekeeping he did in Russia. But his apiary in MO has been going since 2008.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You talk about insulation. If you look at Leo's plans he doesn't have any insulation in his covers. That is why I changed his cover design to include insulation. He places insulation over the top bars in the winter haowever insulation is just as important in the summer. If you look at the Layens book that Leo edited Layens used open top frames however not of the Hoffman design and states you can make sugar patties from a mix of water honey and sugar for feeding when conditions aren't good for liquid feed. Leo lives in southern Missouri. His winters aren't anything like what I see in north central Minnesota. It is nice to have the option to feed if needed.

I took Dr. Leo's class and he does talk about feeding in some situation. I don't know if he personally does. And he does sell feeders for the purpose.
 

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I think the touching topbars are just a simplification to make it easier to build. No tricky cuts, just 2 rabbets and some staples, and bob's your uncle, Fannie's your auntie! you got a frame. :) If you are putting a blanket or canvas over the top of the frames, there is little need for beespace for the bees to come up between the top bars. As well, with the tops touching you don't need the over covering, you don't need the dado cuts and you get to make the top bar the same width as the un-relived portion of the side bar. The opening at the top is definitely a heat loss area, and since you are not supering the hive, there is really no need for them to come up there :) They can still come out through the sides where it is relieved. or the bottom between the frames for what it's worth. And they will cut holes through the comb to actually travel between frames as necessary. It does seem that he has staples or screw heads on the lazutin frames to do some sort of spacing, but I haven't dug into those plans well enough to remember exactly, just know seeing the screw heads kind of threw me.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Also in his class he was selling Mel Disselkoen's book on OTS queen rearing and tells you how to preform it. He took us out to his apiary and was planning in preforming a split but decided to wait. He sells a new book on his site about queen rearing and in it he states that he used it to expand his apiary. He talked about grafting larva for queen production. So he isn't totally hands off but he seems to be treatment free.
 

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Well maybe... but isn't he "Doing It!" in "Ozark, MO (Zone 6a)" which is hardly subtropical. "Smile" is based on Lazutin's apiary was Kaluga I think zone 4a or less. GdL was in France which only goes from 7-10. He does mention that so many milllion Layens hives are used in Spain, but why do you say that his stuff is based on assumptions based on Spain's environment?
I was based on KS for many years and the Ozarks were south of me - there is not winter to speak of.
You see snow 1-2 weeks per a year if that much (just long enough to snap pictures and brag about it).

I am saying he must make it absolutely clear that Spain in USDA zones 7-11 and this is where the Layen's hives are used conventionally in the presented design.
So that when you attempt using this hive in Montana you very well may have different needs (the pass-through top bars one obvious example).

Did you see such clarification anywhere on horizontalhive.com or in the books sold?
I did not.
 

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Well, that is the Lazutin design isn't it? The frame is the size of 2 langstroth deeps. Or, he does offer the plans for the double deep langstroth, which has the framerest at the top, and the slot in the bottom, so you have to twist the frame a bit to get one of the bottom ones out. I am not sure how much beekeeping he did in Russia. But his apiary in MO has been going since 2008.
I don't follow - "Well, that is the Lazutin design isn't it? "

Lazutin frame == 1 deep Dadant frame + 1 shallow Dadant frame (about the same as 2 deep Lang frames).
Dadant frame == 1 deep Dadant frame
Ukrainian frame == 1 deep Dadant frame (oriented the tall way).
 

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First, take a look at his plans for the gabled roof. That one seems pretty well insulated. I do need to go back and look at "Smile" and see what Fedor is doing in the appendix where he shows how he makes a hive. But I fully agree that both in terms of heat in the summer (My Major Concern) and cold in the winter, that top needs to be seriously insulated. This also raises the concern of using 2x10 flat with an R value of about 1 is barely better than a regular single thickness langstroth box, especially if you wrapped it in a layer of the the thin green foam board you would get R4 and if you used the thicker stuff even more so. Hey, someone was recently talking about insulating the bottom from the stand. Not sure if that was here or one of the other places.

I have some concerns and serious misgivings about some things from Dr Leo. Unfortunately, he doesn't return my emails so they go unanswered. I can forgive both GdL and Fedor L. because they are dead. :) Dr. Leo, should reply to an email. But that is just my opinion. That said, GdL was an apiculturalist. He believed and taught and wrote about the latest cutting edge scientific breakthroughs of which were known in the late 19th century. So I would certainly expect to see him writing about feedings and every other treatment and breakthrough and aspect of animal husbandry and farming that was known. Dr Leo is more of a "hippy". His PhD is in forestry. Here is his CV.

University of Missouri
PhD (Forestry)
Indiana University
Master’s (Natural Resources)
HEC Business School, Paris
Business Management Program
MGIMO University, Moscow
Bachelor (International Economics)

So his agenda is the "natural" or what we are all calling "treatment free" beekeeping. No feeding sugar, no chemicals, no medicines, no homeopathic treatments. Basically, let them do what they want, and catch a lot of swarms.

Don't get me wrong. I love GdL,and Fedor Lazutin, and LL Langstroth. These are the giants upon whose shoulders we rise. But we also have the people of our time like Palmer, and Seely and a whole bunch more that I just associate with YouTube. The jury is still out for me on Dr Leo. I am not sure he isn't just a person with books and speaking engagements, and now equipment to sell. He is selling the sizzle, but is there any steak there? I would love to simply follow the steps in GdL's book and Fl's book and walk away from the hive and come back in the fall and take my rent honey and not look at them again until the spring. And have them be there year to year and not have to do any intervention. That is a wonderful pipe dream. I am not really naive enough to believe it, but wouldn't it be nice. The bee population is way down. I can walk barefoot through clover any time I choose and no one is there to sting me. Certainly not something I could do as a kid. There are microplastics in everything including all our food and our bodies. The idea that hormone affecting chemicals can be GAAS and have no effect whatsoever on bees is amazing that we accept such things.

We are not in the 19th century with GdL. But FL just died about 6 years ago. So we aren't far from his world, except for the location.

When I was first on the internet back in the late 1980's there were forums, but we called them news groups and the feedback time was not nearly as snappy as what we have here. But one of my interests was woodworking and I found the woodworking forum called "rec.woodworking". There were two camps of people back then that would get into flame wars over whether what you were doing was really woodworking if you used power tools. The were not-so-lovingly referred to as Neanderthals and their hero was Roy Underhill who had a TV show called the Woodwright Shop. Whom I love! His writing and way of speaking is amazingly comforting and as a historian he is brilliant. (His daughter is quite the accomplished musician as well, but I digress). The other side of the fight were the power tool users and always seemed to believe if you can get a better tool you could be a better woodworker. And they all seemed to love Norm Abrams and were referred to as Normites, by the Neanderthals. the flamewars, though entertaining to watch accomplished nothing. There was a term for the rest of us and that was hybrid woodworkers. We use the tools we have, or the tools we prefer to do the project that makes us happy and it is still woodworking no matter what any one else says. So some days you pull out the hand saw or the chisel, and other days you grab the kreg pocket hole jig and reach for your festool whatever and so on and so forth. Ultimately we all are walking our paths, and hopefully we can get something good from each of these folks that went before, and are going now. So I want to be that same kind of beekeeper as I am a woodworker. When I do cabinetry, I use every power tool I have. And when I am making cigar box guitars I spend hours hand sanding and hand cutting frets. Same with the bees, if they need something to eat, I think I am going to have to give it to them. If they are being murdered by some kind of parasite, I may just have to fight back with some kind of treatment. Somewhere between hands off and all hands on deck should be a happy medium. That's where I want to be.
 

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Is that the "Jumbo" I keep seeing reference to extra deep dadant, and jumbo langstroth something like an 11-1/2" deep frame.
 

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I was based on KS for many years and the Ozarks were south of me - there is not winter to speak of.
You see snow 1-2 weeks per a year if that much (just long enough to snap pictures and brag about it).

I am saying he must make it absolutely clear that Spain in USDA zones 7-11 and this is where the Layen's hives are used conventionally in the presented design.
So that when you attempt using this hive in Montana you very well may have different needs (the pass-through top bars one obvious example).

Did you see such clarification anywhere on horizontalhive.com or in the books sold?
I did not.
I just started reading the GdL book. "Beekeeping in Horizontal Hives", which GdL was certainly in France. And the design must have been based on that area, Certainly no Russian winters in France. I think they are 7-10 so I guess that matches pretty close with Spain. Certainly the "Smile" book was based in Russia Zone 4, so I would think with Montana in the 3a-5a that should be a fair parallel.

As for the designs on the HH website and those in the two books, I doubt Dr Leo came up with any of them either. Especially since he talks about not knowing which end of the tool to use when he got started and all the sudden he loves his table saw etc. I am assuming that he cribbed the designs from FL's appendix, So looking back at the apendixes it looks like there were 4 designs for the Lazutin hive. The first three were based solely on FL's hives that he used, and progressively got refined until #3 which is not in the book because it was too complicated and expensive, there is a #4 which seems to be credited to the Editor and designed by Evgeny Sharashkin. This is what think is the "insulated" hive on the website. Though I haven't compared them side by side. There is reference to having learned some stuff in the creation of these and the Layens hives. So this seems like a culmination of work and at least someone that probably understands construction and woodworking a bit.

As for the zones and different designs, that is where my initial questions started. Why give us 4 different hive designs? It is fairly obvious that FL used what he had access to conveniently. Because the size of the russian dadant frames were what they were, he used them, not because there was some magical property to the standard Dadant width. Definitely wanted it deeper, but that is where the actual changes came in. His design seemed like a house that a person might live in. Stud walls, with insulation between weatherboard and plywood.

Other than finding Layens' book as something to hitch his cart to, I am not sure where any jump from the Lazutin design to the Layens actually makes any logical sense. At least as far as the book and his philosophies go. I like the aspect ratio of the Layens, or even the modified Layens that we spoke of. And I know, but am not sure where I read it that there is some benefit to the narrower frame perhaps even down to 11-1/2" or 12" . But I can't find that document anywhere.

But no, I didn't see such reference. But I swear somewhere there was justification for the wider frames in colder climates. But can't find that now either.
 
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