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Author Topic: Empty space in homemade Lang hive  (Read 708 times)
kari
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« on: July 24, 2012, 08:26:43 AM »

My husband built me a Langstroth type hive. He made an awesome bottom board with a pullout drawer under a screen. The way he designed it there will be about 3 1/2" of space between the screen and the bottom of the frames.(In case you wonder why, it's because he's neither a beekeeper or a carpenter, just a great husband.) Will the bees try to fill this with comb, or am I OK? I'm thinking about when they build in a hollow space like a tree, there's empty space beneath, right? So I'm thinking I can try it?

I am planning to run 3 mediums as brood chamber with narrow foundationless frames, there is a standard size entrance just above the screen. I plan to drill 3/4" holes in the chamber sides for ventilation and entrances. I plan to either do a split this fall or put a package in in the spring, with some drawn comb down in the chamber to get them started. I'm a firstyear Beek in GA.

Thanks for any feedback!
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David McLeod
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2012, 09:02:01 AM »

Yes, they will draw comb in that space. Not immediately as they should draw out the frames first but when the frame is drawn they will continue the comb from the bottom bars to within about 3/4" of the screen.
In a natural cavity bees attach comb at the top and draw comb down and out. The attachments are solid across the top and if the comb extends to the sides attachment will begin at the top and extend down a short distance. With time as they build more comb it will extend all the way to bottom stopping somewhere around 3/4" from the floor of the cavity. Attachments on the sides vary with attachment at the upper portions almost always with some being attached the entire length.
Comb drawn in frames mimic this which is why a standard bottom board has 7/8" side rails. If you ever do foundation less frames you will see them treat the bottom bars as a floor and leave a gap between the comb and frame.
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rbinhood
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2012, 04:20:36 PM »

No they will not if it is below the screen and they have no way of gaining access to the space.
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Sour Kraut
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2012, 04:26:14 PM »

"about 3 1/2" of space between the screen and the bottom of the frames."

yes they will

you need to slip a 'regular' bottom board under it and have him cut his creation down so the side / back rails project only about 5/8"-3/4" above the screen.
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Joe D
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2012, 05:50:46 PM »

Yeap they will draw comb down close to the bottom board or sceen. 
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duck
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2012, 06:16:28 PM »

my bottoms are 3/4" from the screen to landing board, then 3/4" from the landing board to the bottom plane of the hive body.  my bees put comb on the bottoms of frames down to the screen but dont attach.  its all drone comb.  I just leave it there cuz thats what they want.
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S.M.N.Bee
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2012, 07:27:35 PM »

Another option would be to build a slatted rack to correct the bee space below the frames.

John
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G3farms
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2012, 07:31:10 PM »

Also I would remove the "drawer", as the trash accumulates below the screen the bees have no way to access it and keep it cleaned out, the wax moth and small hive beetle will have a party place and make a mess!!
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AllenF
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« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2012, 08:01:35 PM »

Move the screen up and put an oil they there.   
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kari
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2012, 07:43:58 PM »

Thank you for your input everyone.
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2012, 09:39:16 AM »

As SMNBee mentioned, it would be a good area to create a slatted bottom board.  There's several plans on the internet to get ideas from.  There's two schools of thought on which way to run the slats...parallel with the comb makes it a little easier for the bees to enter the comb and is more efficient in terms of mites and other critters falling completely through to the screen bottom.  Running the slats at 90 degrees to the comb helps to create a slight windbreak in front of the comb, possibly encouraging the queen to lay lower down on the comb.  I lean toward placing the slats parallel to the comb.  Slats can be either pvc pipe or wooden slats...since the bottom board is already built I would go with wooden slats.  A slatted bottom board will probably work good in Georgia.  I've got a couple that once I feel more froggy I'm going to insert between my screened bottom boards and hive boxes.

Definitely an oil tray in the drawer.  Is the very bottom (bottom of drawer?) solid or screened?

Ed
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kari
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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2012, 05:08:50 PM »

Ed, thanks! There is a solid bottom in the drawer - he built it so I can put an oil tray for beetles or a piece of oiled plastic down there to count mites. A slatted bottom board sounds like just the ticket. I like your suggestion of parallel to the comb. I'll get on it. Sure appreciate it : )

Kari
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