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What are the reason's for not using a horizontal hive? I see the vast majority of keepers using the vertical hives, but would a horizontal hive perform just as well? Who out there are using long langs?
 

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I built 2 to try out this year . It should work fairly well I think . TBH 's around here seem to do well . I like the fact that I will be able to swap resources between all my hives , should the need arise.
 

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What are the reason's for not using a horizontal hive? I see the vast majority of keepers using the vertical hives, but would a horizontal hive perform just as well? Who out there are using long langs?
Generally those are referred to as top bar hives, and there are plenty of people that use them.

They aren't as easy to harvest honey from though as you don't have nice convenient boxes you can swap in and out.
 

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by the bees nature they work up and down. working sideways is against what is normal for them. they will do it but prefer vertical.
 

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Generally those are referred to as top bar hives, and there are plenty of people that use them.

They aren't as easy to harvest honey from though as you don't have nice convenient boxes you can swap in and out.
I believe they are referring to framed horizontal hives. Its possible to add boxes too them just like a vertical lang. From what I understand that style is somewhat popular in europe and russia. Great for folks who like the working height and accessibility of top bars but dislike the fragility of free hanging comb, fixing warped/crossed combs and destoying comb during extraction with tbh.

I would try a framed horizontal before trying a tbh. My preference is vertical langs with deeps.
 

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I think you may need to try them for yourself, everyone is different and each location is different, I use horizontal and vertical, I find I can produce more bees with horizontal hives and manipulate splits easier with them, but if producing honey is my goal I go to the vertical every time.
 

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I have both too, and as a hobbyist, I like the horizontal hives a lot better. All your brood frames are completely accessible without moving any boxes, the bees seem much less disrupted by inspection, and the convenient height is easy on my back, so I tend to do a better job of inspections.

Stan, could you explain why the vertical hives are better at making honey?
 

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Let me restate my thoughts, I didn't do a very good job in the last post. I am able to make honey easier with a vertical lang, and more honey with minor manipulations, than I can with minor manipulation of the top bar or horizontal lang. But with intense manipulations such as frequent checker boarding, keeping the brood nest open, and harvesting honey comb one or two bars or frames at a time I can match and sometimes surpass the vertical langs' honey production. You asked me to explain why, sorry I can't, it's just what I've found true for my operation, yours' may be different. As I've accumulated more bees I don't do the intense manipulations anymore, I have reverted to being a minimalist. ( a fancy word for lazy)
 

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That makes good sense. As a beginner, I'm always ready to hassle my bees, so I don't mind the manipulations.

If I only had a couple of hives, as many backyard beekeepers do, I'd definitely want them to be long hives, just for the convenience and the ability to harvest by the frame.
 

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>What are the reason's for not using a horizontal hive?

It's easier to manage the space in a hive when you can just stack supers on to make it larger and pull them off to make it smaller. With a horizontal you have a fairly fixed space and have to manage it more carefully.

> I see the vast majority of keepers using the vertical hives, but would a horizontal hive perform just as well?

It works fine, if you are willing to work them more often.

> Who out there are using long langs?

I usually have a couple of them going.
 

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Dr Seeley's work in his book Social Democracy indicates bees prefer a vertical orientation for the hive.

There is a reason bees like to store most of their reserves above the brood nest in the wild and in langs. Vertical orientation is energetically and biologically favorable for honeybees.
 

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Dr Seeley's work in his book Social Democracy indicates bees prefer a vertical orientation for the hive.

There is a reason bees like to store most of their reserves above the brood nest in the wild and in langs. Vertical orientation is energetically and biologically favorable for honeybees.
John, I think you're referring to Honeybee Democracy. "Social Democracy" is going to be a dogwhistle for a certain segment of forum members.

You're right, I believe, but consider Fedor Lazutin's view. He keeps bees in the very harsh climate of central Russia, and uses horizontal hives. The interesting twist here is that his frames are equivalent to two deep frames stacked on one another. His bees are able to have a big honeydome overhead, and he gets the convenience of a horizontal hive. He limits the horizontal dimension of the hive in winter with follower boards, so in essence he's wintering in double deeps, but without the break between boxes.
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Mine are only one deep frame deep, so here in Florida I'm wintering in the equivalent of single deeps.
I don't think horizontal hives would be good for someone with more than a few hives, or someone who was trying to make a lot of honey with the least effort, but for hobbyists, and especially beginners like me, the horizontal hives are hard to beat. Everything is easily accessible, no backstrain from lifting boxes, and the convenient height of the hives encourages you to be slow and deliberate in your movements. The bees stay calmer, because you need only expose a portion of the colony during inspection (no breaking boxes loose and separating one part of the hive from another.)

Again, I'm sure you're right that the vertical arrangement is optimal. Bees evolved to make hives in hollow trees, and those spaces are mostly vertical. Also, I imagine that if you're going to treat with vaporized Oxalic acid, a vertical hive works better But I had both kinds of hives my first season, and I found the horizontal hives to be a lot more fun to care for.
 

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I have 2 long hives in my back yard plus assist some friends who have them. They are good for people who do not want to lift a box off a hive, and just harvest honey in small amounts. Other than that they are good for people who want to do more work, get less honey, and have the bees swarm more.
 

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So far I am happy with my horizontal Langs plastic barrel hive. It makes hive inspection easy one section at a time. Easy
on my back too without lifting heavy hive boxes. Honey can still be extracted with Langs frames and put back for
another round.

Langs frames +
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I have 2 long hives in my back yard plus assist some friends who have them. They are good for people who do not want to lift a box off a hive, and just harvest honey in small amounts. Other than that they are good for people who want to do more work, get less honey, and have the bees swarm more.
What is the reason they swarm more?
 

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Im sure old timer will answer but the beekeeper is making the bees work against their nature. bees want to work vertical rather than horizontal.
 

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Yes, the shape they really like for their cluster is that of an egg. With the thick end at the top.

A good example of how long hives make them swarm would be a top bar hive that I set up for someone around 6 weeks ago. I dumped a package & queen into it & gave them instructions how to feed it as we are in fall dearth now, I just want it set up with a cycle or 2 of brood & enough stored feed before winter.

Last Sunday I drove past their place & called in for a look. They had followed my instructions exactly & the hive was looking good. Plenty stored feed lots of brood including drone brood & the cluster had expanded around 1/2 way along the hive.

But, as I went through it the bees were making swarm preparations. Because they do not want to expand way out sideways at this time of year if anything they will be wanting to contract, but they have all this feed, seems to them like everything is pumping, so they decide to send out a swarm even though the hive is 1/2 empty. I had to kill queen cells, spread out the brood nest, and tell them to stop feeding.

If the bees could have expanded upwards & kept something resembling the egg shape, it's unlikely they would have tried to swarm, as verified by the couple hundred or so splits I've made lately with similar or more bee numbers but a more natural shape including room overhead for those that need it, that are not trying to swarm.
 
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