In 2014 I would like to keep bees using cheap, self-made bee hives. I previously considered plastic, but my mind is pretty much set on wood now. I would like to hear your opinions about the hive dimensions, specifically with regard to whether a wide box is better or a tall box is better.
I've pretty much decided to use the Dutch simplex honey frame, but I could also use the Dutch simplex brood frame. These are essentially the same as British National frames.
A. It would seem like a good idea to use a single size frame for all boxes, and if I have to choose between the simplex honey and the simplex brood frame, it makes more sense to standardise on the honey frame.
Question 1. Which option do you think would be best for the brood nest -- wide boxes (e.g. 14 x single honey frames, i.e. 15 cm tall) or tall boxes (e.g. 7 x doubled honey frames, i.e. 29 cm tall)?
Question 2. Or, which would be best for a brood nest -- a box with 11 brood-sized frames (i.e. 23 cm tall) or a box with 6 frames that are the same size as three honey frames (i.e. 43 cm tall)? (in terms of comb surface they are the same) What I mean with the 6-framed box is that suppose I create frames that consist of three honey frames each, joined into a single frame.
B. I have a slight preference for square boxes, although I recognise that non-square boxes have advantages also. Hence my next question...
Question 3. If you had to use a single sized box for all your needs (both brood and super), which would you prefer -- a box with 12 honey frames (i.e. 495 mm x 495 mm, square) or a box with 14 honey frames (i.e. 495 mm x 555 mm, not square)?
C. One option that I'm considering is a long, deep hive, such as the Dartington or the Golden Hive. A hive like that, of my own design, would have a brood box of 100 cm x 50 cm (outside dimensions). One could then put four honeysupers of 25 cm wide or two honey supers of 50 cm wide on top of that. But is such a long hive better than a tall hive?
Question 4. Which is better for a brood nest -- a single box with 22 brood-sized frames (i.e. 100 cm wide) or three boxes stacked, with 12 honey-sized frames in each (i.e. 36 frames in total) (i.e. 50 cm wide)? (in terms of comb surface they are the same)
[I also posted this question in other forums]