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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks for the accepting me as a new member of the community . Really appreciate it.

Born in Sardinia, I lived in Switzerland for 24 years, worked there in IT and, among other free time activities, I helped a friend with his 37 hives in a semi-commercial setting. Got hooked.
Now I moved back to Sardinia (La Maddalena National Parc) and I am planning to build a TBH/HH tailored to the local climate and environment which is radically different than Switzerland. Here winter is not really winter and temperatures never goes below 5c. We also have all year round flowers of many sorts due to diversity and the sweet climate we live in. From early spring to late fall nature provides everything bees needs for being happy. Lots of wind though, but it seems not to bother the bees so much.
Two months ago the colonies of my neighbor started swarming, as in every spring, so we captured 4 swarms which we placed in old Dadant hives (those mostly used hives around here). I took one for me and placed it in my garden and they seem to be very happy. Because the hive I used is VERY old I am not planning to add any super at any time and keep it as is, grow the colony until I will have built a new TBH at the end of the season to move them in.
Digging on the net I saw very many hive designs, some of them very smart, others not really, and very many similar to each other with no real interest nor advantages. Sometimes even more complex and intrusive than necessary.
I find the idea of TBH/Horizontal hives to be the best design for an environment like mine where winter is gentle, flora is prolific and bees are nasty ! Yes they are. All colonies I have seen until now are mostly unwilling to be manipulated as you guys can, as I see in your videos. Very jealous I am. :)
We have very little Varroa mites but quite some moths, and for the rest not much threatening situations for the bees to be in danger. No hornets, asian wasps or other exotic predators. Mice sometimes. No pesticides, as there is no agricultural business, nor industries within the 200km range. Good place for real BIO comb honey.
For those reasons and because not only I feel a kind of moral obligation in protecting bees, but also because I am not planning on over-producing and only be “gifted” with the excess honey, I think the TBH/HH is the most indicated for my needs. Also, because we are at the “end of the world”, an island off an island, supplies such as wax foundations are quite complex to obtain.

For me one of the most significant aspect/problematic in hive designing and building is now “vital space dimensions”, and what I have learned until today is “whatever the shape of the hive, they all respect the same vital dimension rules”. All the rest is for the beekeeper. I looked at all the design plans I have found all around but unfortunately most dimensions are expressed in imperial units which is quite difficult to translate in metric.
Correct me if I am wrong: less than 7mm they seal, more than 9mm they bridge.
And that’s what I am working on, designing my hive keeping in mind those rules. I want to address feeding issues and add security measures to the hive and also be able to split it at any time to host two families, should I need to house a new swarm.

I am currently working on a 3d model for me to derive the basic measurements for the cuts and the knowledge shared by this community will be of great help, I am certain . Once I feel comfortable to show it I will be more than happy to share it as a discussion topic.

Bee Safe
Best regards.
 

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First of all, welcome aboard - you've chosen to join what is - imo - the best of the English-speaking beekeeping forums on the Internet.

Ok - regarding your 'problem'. What I'd strongly suggest is that you make an early and carefully considered decision of whether you want to run a Top Bar OR a Framed Long Hive - as they are very different beasts - but either would be suitable for your location.

With a Horizontal Top Bar Hive there is no need whatsoever to cater for the clearances known as 'bee-spaces'. The only requirement is that your Bars are spaced appropriately: 32-35mm between bar centres is typical in the brood-nest area, with 38mm or greater spacing in the stores area. 'Standard' Top Bar Hives have touching Bars, which makes feeding something of a challenge, and you must expect comb adhesions to the hive walls, which then need to be physically cut before pulling combs. But - Top Bar Hives are cheap, easy, and quick to make.

Seeing as you already have a Dadant Hive - why not just pull one of those frames and construct a framed Long Hive using that as a template ? There's really no need to 'design' a Long Hive - they are simply rectangular boxes with rebates (rabbets) cut, or otherwise provided, at the wall tops - think along the lines of your Dadant box, only with twice the length.(*) :)
Suggest you take a tour around the Top Bar/Horizontal Hive sub-forum and see what already exists - a person is very unlikely these days to come up with any original ideas - most permutations have been tried and tested by many thousands of beekeepers over the last 150 years.

Personally, I run both Vertical and Horizontal foundationless framed Hives, and much prefer the former for queen-rearing, but the Deep Long Hives are my favourite hives for all other beekeeping practices.

Re: the bee-space - in my experience the importance of this varies around the frame. Between the frame top-bar and anything hard above it (such as another frame's bottom bar, or a hard Crown Board/ inner cover) the distance does indeed need to be close to 3/8", or in the range 7-9mm., but at the sides of a frame it can be anywhere from 5-12mm - I've never EVER seen the bees be creative in that area. Between the bottom bar and the hive floor - anywhere between 12 and 40mm. With really deep frames (300mm plus) they really don't care at all.
'best
LJ

(*) Two Dadant brood boxes bolted together end-to-end, with a few large inter-connecting holes = instant Long Hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Little_John, thanks for the reply.


I believe I will follow the path to a framed long hive, as it provides more “structure” for handling frames. I will have to redesign my 3d model based on the Dadant hive as you suggested, but it’s a fun part too. Thanks for the advice.


I will keep this post to date as soon as I make any progress.


Cheers
 

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I feel a kind of moral obligation in protecting bees, but also because I am not planning on over-producing and only be “gifted” with the excess honey, I think the TBH/HH is the most indicated for my needs. Also, because we are at the “end of the world”, an island off an island, supplies such as wax foundations are quite complex to obtain.
+1 to what LJ already stated.

I simply want to re-iterate that TBH hive have no particular advantage at all in terms of being MORE eco-friendly.
At all.
That is simply a myth.
THB is a very simple hive to construct, but this inherently does not make it somehow more eco-friendly.

Any framed hive can be just as eco-friendly - all you have to do is to mimic the true TBH and run the framed hive without foundation. This is entirely possible and you still get the convenience of a full frame while handling the bees.

And now IF you already have Dadant equipment available to you - this becomes very simple decision to stay with the Dadant framework.

Here is a good example where a guy runs long Dadants without using foundation.
He switched to foundation-less methods last year to test the idea out and was pleased.
Start watching at 18:00 to avoid just the talk part:
 
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