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Author Topic: Severe criticism on my wood hive design, please  (Read 836 times)
ugcheleuce
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« on: December 31, 2013, 06:57:08 AM »

Hello everyone

As a 2nd-year hobbyist beekeeper, in 2014 I would like to have three types of hives, namely a simple styrofoam hive (just to see what happens, you know, for the experience) and two wooden hives, namely a long-deep hive (Dartington style) and a short-deep (Dadant/Langstroth style).  As I'm on a tight budget, I've decided to build these hives myself.

I've written a document about the *wooden hives* (mostly for my own reference, and to get my thoughts in a row) and I would appreciate it if you could have a quick look at it and tell me if anything jumps at you as being dramatically wrong.  The file is 13 pages long -- don't read all of it, just skim it and look at the pictures mostly.

http://wikisend.com/download/475944/ugchelhaus_small.pdf (2.4 MB)

Thanks
Samuel

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Samuel Murray, Ugchelen, Netherlands
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Robo
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2013, 09:25:30 AM »

I have not experience with the Darington set-up,  but I can give feedback on some other things.

1.  My polystyrene hives use about 1/3 less in the winter than wooden hives.
2.  I find brood to build up much faster vertically than horizontally.  Perhaps due to the fact that heat rises.  Example,  two stacked 5 frame nuc boxes build up much quicker than one ten frame hive body.

I like when folks try things on their own instead of just following the acceptable/expected methods.  Best of luck and look forward to hear about your experiences.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2014, 04:46:20 AM »

+1 what Robo said.

Notes about your file:

I think you have a typo in the 3rd paragraph when you describe building a Styrofoam hive out of 40cm thick sheets!  That would be massively thick.  Guessing you meant 40mm.  I like 40mm for hive thickness too. 

50cm are pretty deep brood boxes indeed!  My jumbos are about 38cm deep and have a brood box cell capacity of 120,000 cells.  That is a LOT of capacity, probably more than most queens can lay.  A little math suggests there isnít much purpose in going beyond 120,000 cells for a brood area.

For example, say youíve got a design with 120,000 cells you hope the queen will use for brood.  First she wonít use the outer 2 frames unless sheís really cramped.  So that takes your 120K cells down to 100K cells.  Next a queen doesnít lay in 100% of the cells.  Letís assume 70% in this example.  70% of 100,000 cells takes you down to 70,000 cells for brood. 

A worker brood cycle takes 21 days to complete and then the cells are ready for the next generation of brood.  So if you have 70,000 cells dedicated for brood, that means your queen can lay up to 70,000/21 days = 3333 eggs per day without running out of space.  Thatís 1 egg every 25 seconds without stop!  Conservation of Mass tells us a queen cannot lay at infinite speed and in my bee yard 3000 per day is about max.

It does not take many brood cycles of 70,000 until you have a massive amount of bees; more than you might really want to deal with.

Bottom line; I donít think youíre going to need two brood boxes when each brood box is a whooping 50cm deep.

You also mention going with bottom bee space because it is easier to build.  I agree itís easier to build and Iíve done itÖ..and regretted it. 

I figure one of the reasons the Dadant style Jumbos died out in America is because American beeks are reluctant to give up their wood; for some strange reason.  That is a problem for the Jumbo designs because wide planks are very expensive, even here.  The real answer to this cost problem is simple; use foam.  Cheap and it comes in large sizes.

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ugcheleuce
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2014, 07:48:42 AM »

I think you have a typo in the 3rd paragraph when you describe building a Styrofoam hive out of 40cm thick sheets!  That would be massively thick.  Guessing you meant 40mm. 

Yes, I spotted that typo after uploading it.

Quote
50cm are pretty deep brood boxes indeed!  My jumbos are about 38cm deep and have a brood box cell capacity of 120,000 cells.  That is a LOT of capacity, probably more than most queens can lay.  A little math suggests there isnít much purpose in going beyond 120,000 cells for a brood area.

* Are they 50 cm deep?  They're supposed to be 37 cm deep (and the short-deep has two of them, totalling 70 cm).
* Also don't forget that these are Dutch simplex frames (same as British National frames), of which the comb is only 33.5 cm wide.  A Langstroth frame is 43 cm wide, isn't it?
* Are you sure your jumbos are 38 cm deep?  Aren't they 28 cm deep?  I'm just asking -- I have no idea what kind of a hive you have.

Hmm, if your brood box is 120 000 cells large, then that means 7 of my large frames will have the same capacity as your brood box. [We use 5.2 mm cells, i.e. 55 cells per sq in, i.e. 85000 cells per m2.]  Well, there's no need for me to use 12 frames per box -- local beekeepers often use 9 frames in a 10-frame box (the 10th "frame" is a spacer that you take out when you do hive inspections, so after each full inspection the spacer is on the other side of the box).

Quote
Bottom line; I donít think youíre going to need two brood boxes when each brood box is a whooping 50cm deep.

That sounds like good news.

Quote
You also mention going with bottom bee space because it is easier to build.  I agree itís easier to build and Iíve done itÖ..and regretted it.

Well, yes, it is easier to build, but local beekeepers also use bottom bee space on most of their hives, so if I want my hive bodies to be interchangeable with theirs, then bottom bee space would make additional sense.  What did you not like about bottom bee space?
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Samuel Murray, Ugchelen, Netherlands
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2014, 02:08:39 PM »

The problem with bottom bee space is the frames tend to stick to the box above.  When you go to remove a box above, youíre more likely to also be pulling out a frame from below.  It can get real ugly. 

From my observations, I believe the problem is the bees will use propolis to fill any small gaps (couple of mm) and since the gap between the top of a frame and the bottom of the next box is just going to be a couple of mm, they glue the tops of the frames to the bottom of the box above.  They will also glue the frames to the frame rests as you expect them too.  So when you go to remove the top box, itís a battle of which propolis surface is strongest.  If the bottom wins out, then the frames stay put (as you would like).  If the top propolis wins out, then you have a real mess.

If you go with traditional (at least traditional in the USA), there will be no propolis bridging between the top of the frame and the box above.  I donít recall ever having a frame from below sticking to the box above when using a traditional bee space.   But Iíve had that problem happen numerous times using a bottom bee space.   
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ugcheleuce
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2014, 02:23:18 PM »

The problem with bottom bee space is the frames tend to stick to the box above.

Yes, I've seen that happen.

Quote
...since the gap between the top of a frame and the bottom of the next box is just going to be a couple of mm, they glue the tops of the frames to the bottom of the box above.

Theoretically this would only happen if the frame rests in the boxes don't have any space underneath them (e.g. if a beekeeper takes a hive that was originally designed for top bee space and then tries to convert it to bottom bee space by simply raising the frames a bit).

You'll notice in my drawings that there is a 1 cm gap underneath the frame rest (i.e. the frame rest doesn't go all the way to the bottom of the hive box, as is usual in boxes that were originally designed for top bee space).  In hives that are designed for bottom bee space, the gap between the top of a frame and the box above it should be more than just "a couple of mm" -- it should be either 1 x beespace (7 mm) or 1.5 x beespace (10 mm).

But I hear what you're saying, thanks.
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Samuel Murray, Ugchelen, Netherlands
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2014, 02:41:56 PM »

OK, I probably just glossed over that point in your file.  You are right.  If you design in a gap above the frames, you should be fine.
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