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Author Topic: Med vs Deep Long Hives  (Read 5524 times)
BlueBee
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« on: October 19, 2011, 11:11:30 AM »

Iíve been reading Frameshifts posts about his long hives.  They sound interesting.  I think itís time for me to build a long hive or two this winter to add to my collection and bee experience.

Iíve seen some users on here post theyíre using medium frames in long hives.  Iím wondering if I could get some pros and cons of using medium frames vs deep frames in a long hive configuration.  Do medium frames work as well as deeps in long hives?  

If your long hive is using deep frames, then why did you choose to go with deeps?
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caticind
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2011, 01:36:47 PM »

I use deep frames, because I wanted to be sure of having enough room for colony buildup in a hive 4' long.  That was about the maximum hive length that I could easily transport by myself when empty to set them up as I add to my yards.  Longer ones are heavier and more awkward if you are not tall.   Smiley

It takes 33 frames and is basically equivalent in volume to a 3-deep Lang.  I can overwinter (or start from split) two hives (one in each end of the box) and add new hives as needed.  A strong hive will grow to fill the entire space by June, at which point I am harvesting a few frames of honey most inspections.  I have been splitting aggressively this year, so most of my hives are smallish (5-7 frames of brood, at least the same of stores, 1-3 of pollen) but have one last large round of brood being laid before shutdown in November.

With medium frames, you might need to be somewhere where a smaller colony would still do well.  If you are way up north and ordinarily need 4-6 medium boxes of stores to winter....hard to fit in a long.  You could super the long hive in fall but that defeats the point of not lifting boxes a little bit.  I am not dogmatic though.  One thing I love about the long hive is how flexible it is in terms of how much space you have and when.

(For example I am going to try a two-queen system next year for fun with a colony in each end of the long hive working a common stack of supers in the middle.  Will see if it works.)

My frames are foundationless, and I have never had any trouble with collapses in the hive (even with open screened bottoms and daytime temps in excess of 102F).  Sometimes honeycomb has collapsed when I am bringing deep frames home in the car for harvest.  It can take several months for the bees to attach comb on all sides in a deep frame, but it is plenty strong nonetheless.
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The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest
windfall
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2011, 05:56:03 PM »

It seems like the predominant argument for mediums is reduced weight per box...a darn good argument too, but not applicable to long hives.

It would seem mediums in a long would only be of benefit if all or many your other hives are mediums to keep frames interchangeable.
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nella
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2011, 06:19:46 PM »

It seems like the predominant argument for mediums is reduced weight per box...a darn good argument too, but not applicable to long hives.

It would seem mediums in a long would only be of benefit if all or many your other hives are mediums to keep frames interchangeable.


 You would need an extractor that can extract deep frames if you extract your honey.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2011, 12:42:04 AM »

Thanks for the feedback everybody, you all made some great points.  Keep the feedback coming! 

My interest in a medium long hive is because Iím thinking of dividing up a long hive to winter medium nucs.  Multiple medium colonies in a single long box sharing heat to make it through winter. 

You may re-call from my other posts that Iím a bit foam crazy when it comes to bee keeping.  Iíve been making and using various 5 to 8 frame foam nucs the last couple of years.  Theyíve work well in my cold climate, but theyíre a real pain in the butt to make. 

Iím thinking a single foam long hive using dividers inside for 5 or 6 colonies would be much simpler to build than making 5 or 6 separate foam nuc boxes.  Less material costs and way less labor.
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windfall
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 08:18:36 AM »

I have heard that transferring the halves of a split 10 frame into new homes is a bit of a pain depending how many bees are left in box rather than on frames....hard to shake out 1/2 only....seems like it would get worse with a long hive and a whole bunch of compartments. I would think it better to have them in light individual boxes and pack them together just for winter.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2011, 01:00:15 PM »

Good points Windfall, getting all the bees out of each compartment would be a problem! 

Any ideas how I might accomplish that without turning into Superman and shaking a 48Ē long hive upside down?  Sometimes when I split a hive, or move frames, there arenít too many bees left in the box, other times there are.

As for wintering individual nucs, I have no problem with the idea of packing individual boxes together.  Iím just looking for a good way to share heat without a lot of construction labor. 

I also want to run a deep long hive as a normal long hive (not a nuc apartment building).

I havenít worked with a long hive yet so I donít know what all will go wrongÖ..just that something will  Smiley Sad
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caticind
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2011, 01:45:38 PM »

If you are using removable partitions (foam or whatever) between nuc-sized spaces in your long to overwinter, then when you remove the partitions after pulling frames out, the house bees remaining behind should integrate into whatever colony(ies) are left.  Unless you are shaking frames and leaving behind multiple framesworth of bees, they should just join up peacefully with their neighbors.
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The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest
windfall
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 01:59:37 PM »

I am sure the leftovers would join in.

But depending how big the nuc is, and how many bees are "off the frames"  I would think I might be reluctant to give up a portion of it's population?
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caticind
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2011, 02:36:50 PM »

I suppose it depends when you do this, but I can't see losing more than a few hundred bees per hive this way...a deficit that, in the spring at least, is negligible.

You could always bring a bee vac along, suck up the stragglers, and then divvy them according to your wants.
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The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest
windfall
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2011, 03:03:13 PM »

I did not mean to imply it was an insurmountable obstacle...I don't even know if it is an obstacle...I am way to new for that. And we don't all have a bee-vac handy Wink

I just imagine coming out of winter in the north with a 4-5 frame nuc that has lost a large portion of it's population over the winter....I would think even those hundreds become a bit more significant to bouncing back. I suppose if you waited till things got going again their value is far less?

It would seem pretty easy to have some sort of light duty simple box...masonite perhaps? that allows individual units to come and go quick and easy if packing down and sharing heat is the purpose of the larger container.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2011, 04:11:37 PM »

Glad to have more than one brain thinking about this, it helps me discover my design flaws before physically making the things!

With regards to a normal long hive using deep frames, is it worth installing a open bottom screen or not?
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caticind
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2011, 04:23:40 PM »

I think so, but I am in the balmy South (as I mentioned in another thread, temps never dropped below 10F last winter), and your mileage may vary greatly. 

I wanted something simple, so did not bother building "bottom boards" at all.  I just pulled taut and stapled #8 screen to the bottom of the boxes.  Exit is through drilled holes (top entrances would be even easier).  They sit around 18" off the ground on concrete blocks.  I think the screen makes ventilation simple and aids natural mite drop.

But, I have no idea how much of that will transfer to the north, especially if you get deep snow or high winds.
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The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest
windfall
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« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2011, 06:48:16 PM »

 I built my long hive out of 8/4 cedar, because I had the scrap from a boat project and wanted to mimic the insulation and thermal mass of a tree.

But I made a screened panel about the size of a standard 10 frame that could be swapped for a portion of the solid bottom with a few screws.

My Long hive was the only hive of 6 that bearded this summer. That stopped immediately when I swapped in the panel, even with a top and bottom entrance open before.

I put the solid sections back in in fall.

I also built it to have a middle ground with the screen panel and a tray....mostly because I wanted flexibility and thought I might try mite counts.....

I don't think I would want the whole bottom screened. Even in summer we can get pretty big temp swings day and night at our elevation. But as we have all read in other threads SBB "contentious" at the least with folks taking every possible position on them.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2011, 07:08:47 PM »

Hey BlueBee.  I like having all the same size frames so if you are already running medium Langs, you might want to stick with that.  If you can overwinter successfully in 4 eight-frame medium Langs (are you using eight frame?) that would be 32 frames which would be fine for a 4 ft. Long hive.  

There are some members here who use medium frame Longs in the north.  Michael Bush and Tbeek have had success with medium Longs in Nebraska and Wisconsin.  Windfall is in Vermont.  I think you will want to listen to northern beeks and not us folks in the warm south with short winters.   grin

Long hives take more careful management in the spring and summer.  You can easily exceed the capacity of the hive as the honey starts coming in.  You might have to pull honey frames more frequently than you would if you just stack up Lang boxes.   Using medium frames rather than deeps reduces the volume by about a third.  That makes management even more important.

I don't know if you are using foundation or foundationless.  If you go without foundation, the deep frames may not get fully drawn anyway... at least not the first season.  In that case, using mediums is not so different from using deeps.

Long hives are lots of fun.  It's nice to be able to take a quick look at your brood nests without having to lift a bunch of heavy boxes.  I'm a very lazy beekeeper.  grin
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« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2011, 11:19:53 AM »

My first ones were deeps as I was trying to get to all deeps at the time.  When I went to all mediums I built some mediums.  I expected the deeps to be better, but, although the difference may be slight, I think the mediums work better.  The bees tend to have no decision issues going in one direction (in the case of mediums, sideways) while with deeps they may have to also work up and down.  When I did Dadant deeps (11 1/4" frames) there was even more up and down mixed with sideways.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2011, 12:10:51 AM »

I wish Henry Ford had invented the bee and bee hive.  Bee keeping would have been so much simpler Smiley  Instead we are faced with a bewildering array of options any time we want to do something Sad 

I was leaning toward using deeps for my foray in to long hives, but after what Michael said and after watching Schawee remove a long medium like hive in this cutout (http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,35043.0.html), Iím reconsidering my options AGAIN.

Canít anything just be simple with bees?
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caticind
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« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2011, 10:30:07 AM »

Canít anything just be simple with bees?

But what would be the fun in that?   grin
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The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest
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« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2011, 07:22:14 PM »

Another great topic with equally great responses! Thank you! I have a similar post going 'super-size tbh", I was thinking that a hive closer to a cube would shed less heat, because of the surface area to volume ratio. I guess it's back to the drawing board for me too. All this knowledge, sure can be confusing. grin
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 10:47:36 PM by ray » Logged

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rail
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« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2012, 06:39:53 PM »

After trying 10 frame deep, 8 frame deep, 8 frame medium and 10 frame Western (7 5/8"), I like the 10 frame Western hive.

I want to experiment with a Western Long hive for section honey. Supering it like the Dartington hive and the ability for ease of cut-down splits.

Should I make the hive 36" or 48"?
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Sirach
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