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Author Topic: MED vs DEEP, Foundationless, "organic" which works better in COLD climate?  (Read 3884 times)
out4trout
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« on: March 23, 2008, 07:48:08 AM »

I am starting out this year and I wanted to go with foundationless hives.  I am receiving 4 nucs end of April and am trying to decide which setup is going to be the best for the bees and best to winter them.  We have HARSH winters up here as I am almost in Canada.  Real cold and real long.
Would the bees prefer 2 deep brood box or 3 medium?  If they are foundationless, which would they prefer to draw out?  Which will help them winter “better”?
How many frames would they prefer 8 frame mediums?  10 frame med?  8 frame deep? 10 frame?
What is the general consensus?
I am buying/building all new boxes starting this week, and wanted to get some feedback so I can set these bees up for success.  Any insight would be helpful!!!
Scott
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dlmarti
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2008, 09:00:52 AM »

I've totally converted over to med (except for two boxes).
I don't think the bees care either way, med or deep.

I would think that the med foundationless frame would be stronger, but I don't have the experience either way.  I'm not running foundationless yes.
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JP
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2008, 10:52:22 AM »

I am starting out this year and I wanted to go with foundationless hives.  I am receiving 4 nucs end of April and am trying to decide which setup is going to be the best for the bees and best to winter them.  We have HARSH winters up here as I am almost in Canada.  Real cold and real long.
Would the bees prefer 2 deep brood box or 3 medium?  If they are foundationless, which would they prefer to draw out?  Which will help them winter “better”?
How many frames would they prefer 8 frame mediums?  10 frame med?  8 frame deep? 10 frame?
What is the general consensus?
I am buying/building all new boxes starting this week, and wanted to get some feedback so I can set these bees up for success.  Any insight would be helpful!!!
Scott



This will answer a lot of your questions: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnewbees.htm

The bees don't care one way or the other what you pick, within reason. Small cell, natural cell, all mediums are good choices and less work for you, all the way around.

...JP
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2008, 11:06:59 AM »

>Would the bees prefer 2 deep brood box or 3 medium?  If they are foundationless, which would they prefer to draw out?  Which will help them winter “better”?

They winter better in the mediums, but that's a pretty fine distinctions.  They winter fine in the deeps.  There is better communication with the mediums as they can get from one comb to the next more easily.  But the difference is pretty negligible.

Another issue is going to be that the nucs will come in deeps, probably.  Then you have to get from deeps to mediums.

The other advantage to mediums with foundationless is there is more wood to support the comb as they only go 5 1/4" or so and they get to a bottom bar.

>How many frames would they prefer 8 frame mediums?  10 frame med?  8 frame deep? 10 frame?

They winter better in the 8 frame in really cold climates.  They leave less honey behind them because the cluster is closer to the size of the width of the box.  With a ten frame they will leave a lot of honey behind as they move up and you will lift the box to judge stores and be misled by the heavy weight when actually that is all down below the bees.  But again, the difference is minor and more a question of just leaving them extra stores or not being mislead by the weight of the hive.  But I hear beekeepers around here often complain about how the bees work their way to the top with all that food behind them and starve.  With four eight frame mediums instead of two ten frame deeps, they don't leave it behind.

>What is the general consensus?

The general consensus has always been two ten frame deeps, judging by what's printed in the books.  Smiley

But the biggest reason to go with the eight frame mediums is lifting 45 pounds instead of 90 pounds.  Smiley
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Michael Bush
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out4trout
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2008, 12:33:12 PM »

i have the option to get either med or deep frame nucs...my choice from the supplier.
so if you were starting from scratch, you would look to get all med. stuff.
so i would need (per hive):
4 med 8 frame (brood)
2 or 3 med 8 frame for honey (might not need all in the first year i realize)
inner/outer covers
screen bottom boards
other misc items.
winter comes around, i should look to make sure they have all three of their brood boxes full and wrap up the boxes to protect from the elements and close em up...i know there is a little more to it than this...just looking for the broad strokes right now)
saw someting somewhere else about "square" boxes being good for cold climate as it is easier for the bees to stick to the middle...but i couldnt find the info again when i went back to read it!  dont remember what search i used!  any thoughts on that?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2008, 01:53:39 PM »

>so if you were starting from scratch, you would look to get all med. stuff.

I wasn't starting from scratch and I cut all my boxes and frames down to mediums and then cut all the ten frame boxes down to eight frames.  It was well worth the work, but it would have been SO much easier to buy eight frame mediums in the first place.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeseightframemedium.htm

>so i would need (per hive):
>4 med 8 frame (brood)
>2 or 3 med 8 frame for honey (might not need all in the first year i realize)
>inner/outer covers
>screen bottom boards
>other misc items.

I'm fond of just home made tops with top entrances and blocking off the bottom.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#topentrance

Of course the number of boxes will vary, but the nice thing about all the same size boxes is they are all interchangeable.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#uniformframesize

>winter comes around, i should look to make sure they have all three of their brood boxes full

Four wouldn't hurt with Italians.

> and wrap up the boxes to protect from the elements and close em up...

I wouldn't.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#stopwrapping

>saw someting somewhere else about "square" boxes being good for cold climate as it is easier for the bees to stick to the middle...but i couldnt find the info again when i went back to read it!  dont remember what search i used!  any thoughts on that?

Typically those are Dadant deeps (11 1/4" frames).  The good thing is although the brood box is FAR too heavy to lift, you don't need to lift one of them to get to the bottom one because they are always run with just the one box for brood and the rest are supers, usually shallow supers.  But even a shallow square super weighs a lot.  I haven't seen Dadant deeps winter any better and I have a few.
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Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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reinbeau
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2008, 05:45:20 PM »

i have the option to get either med or deep frame nucs...my choice from the supplier.
so if you were starting from scratch, you would look to get all med. stuff.
so i would need (per hive):
4 med 8 frame (brood)
2 or 3 med 8 frame for honey (might not need all in the first year i realize)
inner/outer covers
screen bottom boards
other misc items.
winter comes around, i should look to make sure they have all three of their brood boxes full and wrap up the boxes to protect from the elements and close em up...i know there is a little more to it than this...just looking for the broad strokes right now)
saw someting somewhere else about "square" boxes being good for cold climate as it is easier for the bees to stick to the middle...but i couldnt find the info again when i went back to read it!  dont remember what search i used!  any thoughts on that?

One point - you need three mediums for the brood nest - three mediums roughly equal two deeps, in the frozen north  Wink
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2008, 09:27:49 PM »

>three mediums roughly equal two deeps, in the frozen north

Or four eight frame mediums...
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Michael Bush
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out4trout
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2008, 09:30:29 AM »

When I say cold I mean temps that hit -20 F or -30 F (before you add in the wind chill) for a 3-7 day span.  sometimes longer...depends upon the winter.  and when I say snow, I mean it!  We have snow pack over 5 feet deep TODAY (mar 25, 2008).  Granted this has been a SNOWY winter, but this is not that uncommon.  I am going to go out and trim the tops of my fruit trees with my snowshoes on, as I can reach the tops of the 12 foot trees with great ease right now without a ladder.
I am just leery of getting too much air into the hive at those temps.  I am worried about not enough food for the bees; I am worried about not enough warmth from the cluster.
Mike you have great info on you site!  It is top notch!  What temps do you get down to where you are?
I found one of the links you referred me to  www.beeworks.com/d_e_details.html
Does anyone have experience with these hives?  Are they as great as sliced bread?  Maybe this is the best solution for my climate?  I am really leaning towards the al med 8 frame set up mike was outlining...now I guess I am comparing the DE Hive with the all med. set up.  Thoughts?
« Last Edit: March 25, 2008, 10:27:40 PM by buzzbee » Logged
dlmarti
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« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2008, 10:45:46 AM »

From what I understand wind chill doesn't have the effect one cold blooded creatures as it does on warm blooded ones.

Also the hives should be sheltered from the wind, so I doubt that is an issue.

I've read stories about people in Maine using screen bottoms year round, so that is probably a good sign.

If I were you, I tackle each issue with a counter measure.

1. run 4-5 mediums when entering into winter (food stores).
2. try top entrances (snow and drifts)
3. tar wrapping the outside (drafts)
4. non-italian bees for better wintering

etc
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2008, 10:58:27 AM »

>I am just leery of getting too much air into the hive at those temps.

I always put the trays in.  We sometimes get bitter cold and high wind.  Meaning -20 F and 50 to 60 mph.

>Mike you have great info on you site!  It is top notch!

Thank you.

> What temps do you get down to where you are?

When I was in Western Nebraska, and in Laramie Wyoming (I'm now in Eastern Nebraska), I've seen it at -40 F every night for a month one year and one time in another year.  I worked construction at the time there and when it was -10 F during the daytime, we went home.  We went home a few times every winter because it was more.  Here -10 during the day is not unheard of but more rare.  The coldest I've seen here is -20 F.

>I found one of the links you referred me to www dot beeworks.com/d_e_details.html
Does anyone have experience with these hives?

I do.

> Are they as great as sliced bread?

They have a lot of nice features.  Here's my synopsis:

Here's what I like about the DE hive:

o It has good ventilation (but you can use the Langstroth kit to provide this for your Langstroth hive)

o It has the frames running so you can stand behind it to work it. (but you can get this in a Langstroth by using the kit or by making your own top and bottom and turning the hive)

o It has a system that almost eliminates having to break frames loose. This keeps the bees calmer, especially when working the brood chamber. (this you cannot get by using the Langstroth kit)

o It is nice dimensions from the bee's perspective. It's a square box and has 11 frames that the queens fills out nicely. (this you cannot get from a standard Langstroth hive)

o The frame design is very light, very strong and very good at keeping the foundation straight in the frame. I wish I could get such well designed frames for a Langstroth. There is a slot in the sides to hold the edge of the foundation.

o The DE frames are really light to handle.

o The DE frames are dimensions such that you almost never have to use a capping scratcher.

o The long end bars are really nice for handling the frames, especially when you're extracting but also when you're working a hive.


What I don't like about the DE hive:

o My biggest irritation is that it is not a standard size. This is no end of frustration when you see something really useful, but it won't work with them. Like a nice triangular bee escape or a top feeder or a bound queen excluder. I get around it a lot by building things that are universal. e.g. a bottom board with 1 1/2" edges instead of 3/4" that is sized long enough for a Lang. I can put either a Langstroth or a DE on it. I built several adapters and often mix the DE supers and Langstroths. Also since it's not standard I can't buy stuff already assembled when I'm short of supers or hives and don't have time to build them.

o There's this space around the ends of the top bars, that the bees can't get to when the hive is closed. The purpose is to keep the bees from propolizing the ends of the bars. My problem with them is the bees run into them when I have the hive open and I can't get them out. Shades of the Arizona, they get trapped in there when I put the covers back on or a super on.

o I did have to modify my extractor to fit them. Maybe some wouldn't but the top part of the rack was spaced too far, so I had to get three threaded rods and replace the ones that came with the extractor. Now it works for either DE's or Langstroths.

o The long end bars (which are so nice to handle) stick down more so you can't have as much honey in the tank before they hit the honey and bog down the motor.

o It takes practice to not knock off the little plastic spacers on the ends of the bars when you're uncapping. It's kind of frustrating to be looking through a bunch of cappings for missing ones.

As you can see there's more I like than don't, but the big problem is the non-standard size. I had four and some spare parts and sold them all.

> Maybe this is the best solution for my climate?

You can get most (but not all) of the features with a standard hive by using a top entrance and a SBB with a tray.

>  I am really leaning towards the al med 8 frame set up mike was outlining...now I guess I am comparing the DE Hive with the all med. set up.  Thoughts?

Well, I sold all my DE's and cut down all my deep ten frame Langstroths and at great cost and effort converted to eight frame mediums.  I thought it was well worth the effort.  It would have been SO much easier to start off that way.  I've done much experimenting, and that was my conclusion.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Vetch
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2008, 08:42:33 AM »

From what I understand wind chill doesn't have the effect one cold blooded creatures as it does on warm blooded ones.


Yes and no.  If a cold blooded individual bee is out and the temperature is 75 degrees, then their body temp will go down to 75 degrees. The wind won't bring their temperature below 75, but wind will make the temperature drop faster (as if it were cooler).

A hive that is trying to maintain a constant temperature of 93-95 degrees does function somewhat like a warm blooded entity - if it is 30 degrees outside with a strong wind, the bees will have to work harder than if it is 30 degrees and calm.

Came across some interesting infrared pics of hives: Infrared Images of Hives
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