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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Not sure if this is the right subforum for my questions, but here goes....

Given some medical issues (and my helper developing an allergy), I'm thinking top bar hives might be more appropriate; I'd like to try one out for a season. The problem is it doesn't seem like the two hive management styles (TBH, Lang) are compatible. Unfortunately, it's beyond my capabilities to build custom hives. Are there any off-the-shelf solutions for exchanging frames/bars between hive types? Either a TBH that takes Lang top bars or a pre-made long Lang would be ideal.

I figure it's a long shot, but worth checking!

**Edit: the title should read "Trying out a TBH IN a Lang apiary". Sheesh, I suck at typing.**
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A horizontal/long hive would be ideal. Do you know anyone, especially locally, who makes those?

The frames and bars don't have to be compatible, but it should would make for easier management
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Depending on time of day, probably 3.5 - 4 hours. But it's only 90 minutes if I'm already in Richmond. Anyone down there that can craft this stuff?
 

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I don't know of anyone who builds them locally to sell. A few guys in the Colonial Bee Club of the Yorktown area of Virginia are running a couple. I think some people just put 2 Langs side by side and either remove a side so the bees can move freely between or maybe it's just some holes between them. Have you tried to Google it? Michael Bush talks about it some on his website.
 

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It is pretty easy to make a long hive. If you can make a lang hive you can make a long hive, just lengthen the dimensions to suit the hive size. You could probably look in the yellow pages for someone that does woodwork in your area, but it may be expensive to commission something like this from a someone in a cabinet or woodworking business. You may want to see if there is a bee club in your area. If so my guess is that there is someone there that makes their woodenware and would be the best candidate to get this done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Part of me wants to abandon common sense and go "all in" with this deluxe hive from Aunt Bea's Bees. But I'd be stuck w/ one hive that isn't compatible with the rest.

I was hoping for a commercial solution, but it sounds like there isn't one.

If that's the case, Based on Ruthiesbees' and Shannonswyatt's posts, it sounds like the simplest solution is to join two Lang boxes. Maybe have someone modify the DCoates nuc design as an alternative?
 

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Why don't you write out the internal dimensions you need to fit your frames, then take the plans to your local highschool woodshop teacher and find a kid who could use a few bucks to make it for you. Or offer to introduce them to beekeeping if they will make you some long hives. Win- Win;)
 

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Urbanoutlaw, from your original post, I thought you were wanting to keep your frames and resources from your Lang hive. That's why I recommended the long hive that you could build from your existing woodenware. But if you are wanting to go "natural" and "foundationless" (and in my opinion, less maintenance, just for the fun of bees, garden pollination,etc), why don't you look at the kit from Beeline apiaries? $165 (which includes shipping) for a top bar kit that comes with a metal roof. My only modification was an observation window so I could peak at them everyday. I believe the ones from Aunt Bea's and Golden Meanie are much shorter than the recommended 4 to 5ft, and then you are constantly watching for the urge to swarm. Beeline is still working on getting their own website, as they mostly work through local distributors, but you can call/email them directly at 269-496-7001 or at [email protected].
 

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If you want to just keep all your current lang kit Ruthie is right. By far the easiest, cheapest, most sensible way to go is join two langs together. You just need to cut a big hole in the walls of two lang boxes (it doesn't even have to be pretty and then attach them together.
 

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I liked the suggestion to contact a shop class, unfortunately, I don't think they exist anymore. I wouldn't start hacking at existing woodenware, since you can still use that for splits and what not. But that is just me.
 

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"hacking" .. no. The best bet would be to use a router and you could put a skirt around the piece removed and have it as a replaceable side.
If that is too high end woodwork, after attaching the lang boxes together (a hive strap around would do) just drill some 1 inch holes through the walls near the top. These holes can easily be plugged with champagne corks. This would enable you to use the langs as langs still but also as a long hive. The hardest part is drinking all the champagne!
 

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Here's some of my long hives:



The building style is a sort of hybrid between D. Coates' clever nuc design and stringer and plywood boatbuilding.

You can see a thread here, where I tried to give some simple dimensions and directions. I've since developed the design so the hives can be transported in a knocked down state, but the essence is the same.

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?286625-Best-hive-for-backyard-hobbyist

I really like these hives. I decided to build the first when I found a local guy to sell me a nuc well before package bees were available, and wanted to local bees and the early start, but not the comb hassles of top bars. I can exchange frames between my Lang hives and my long hives without difficulty, but I like the long hives so well that I'm expanding that part of the yard, and only using Lang equipment for oversized nucs, until I can move them to the long hives.

Here in FL I can get away with sides and bottoms of 3/8" ply, but the ones I'm taking north to NY this spring have foamboard insulation all around.
 

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Wood shop class do still exist in many high schools. I know many schools still have 4H clubs, which is another possibility.

An alternative would be to contact local boy scout troops who want to earn a beekeeping merit badge. Just put an ad on craigslist, american classifieds, or the local paper. If the problem is just having the physical strength to build a hive, and given the simple nature of the build with straight cut joints, this would be a great supervised project for local kids. They could be made out of recycled barn wood or fence pickets. The kids might have almost as much fun scrounging for supplies - I know I do:)

Just my thoughts.
 

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A few years ago and I checked, it looks like the beekeeping merit badge is no more. We are going to see if we can get an eagle scout to build an apiary for our club though, which would be cool. Bear fence, etc.
 
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