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Author Topic: Which combination of different sized hive bodies?  (Read 1771 times)
TaoAndThen
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« on: June 27, 2006, 11:45:12 AM »

As with all beekeeping topics, I have read many opinions on using various sized hive bodies. Right now I have everything on the hive: 2 deeps and 3 shallows. But my original plan was for 1 deep with 2 shallows for their winter storage. This would make it easier for me to get into the hive by myself. (Although my husband is quite willing to help at any time.)

One main problem I keep reading about is stovepiping and the subsequent need to reverse hive bodies in the spring. This would defeat the purpose in using 2 shallows. I know some beekeppers use 1 deep with the Illinois (medium) super and they don't reverse. Walt Wright has indicated in one of the bee journals that drone frames on the outside of the brood nest prevent stovepiping. (Or maybe his whole system prevents it.) I believe he uses 2 shallows for winter stores, checkerboards the shallows, and does not use an excluder.

Have any of you experiemented with different sizes?

Amy
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Finsky
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2006, 01:09:11 PM »

You need lighter weigt to lift? Is that the reason to avoid deeps?

I do not know if stryfoam hive bodies help. They are really light. If you use them as brood boxes thay are not heavy. But full langstroth honey box is heavy.

I think that 1+2 medium for winter is too much. But it is easy to see if bees do not go in you give them a new box more.

Insulated walls help that bees need less food for winter. Uninsulated hive consumes 50% more winter food and spring build up is slow.
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TaoAndThen
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2006, 02:51:57 PM »

Yes, weight is the issue. I did not consider styrofoam. Do you know if the bees take to it well or how many years to expect from a styrofoam hive? A limited life span may be a fair trade for a healthy back.

I met one local beekeeper who insulates with scrap salvaged from home construction sites. Two others don't insulate at all. But it sounds reasonable to me to insulate.
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It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end." -Ursula K. LeGuin
amymcg
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2006, 07:30:29 PM »

I have one styrofoam hive. It's great, I wish I had more.  The bees that are in at are absolutely booming. It's packed with bees all the time.  It's light weight, but it's still heavy when it's full of honey.  I had to reverse twice this year, she just wasn't willing to move down.  BUT, once spring rolls around, one of those bodies is usually empty and the other one is usually not completely full.

I think you will be easier with two bodies, but it's your choice.
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Finsky
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2006, 09:40:52 PM »

Quote from: TaoAndThen
Do you know if the bees take to it well or how many years to expect from a styrofoam hive? .


I bought my first styrofoam boxes 1987. They were so good that I bought about 20 boxes netx year.  Box keeps warm hive in winter and speed up spring build up.

In picture you see different age styrofoam boxes. Wooden boxes I made 1966. My stryrofoams are 10-15 years old.
http://bees.freesuperhost.com/yabbfiles/Attachments/Kuva_049.jpg

You may repair boxes with polyuretane clue. It fix plastics and harden with water.

But still the most difficult is to handle a honey box on the level of head.

Styrofoam box itself weights 1 lbs but honey inside medium box will be about 40 -50 lbs.

Turning boxes is not critical point. Every time when you check the hive you must move honey boxes away.


To get hive lower may help you much.

.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2006, 10:00:41 PM »

I have used them all from Dadant deeps (11 5/8" boxes) to extra shallows (4 11/16" boxes) and everything from 33 frames down to 8 frames.  Most of my equipment is now eight frame.  All of it is mediums except a few odds and ends I haven't gotten the bees off of and a Dadant deep hive that I run as an ongoing experiment.

I recommend all the same sized frames:

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

I recommend lighter boxes:

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#lighterboxes
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Hi-Tech
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2006, 11:49:51 PM »

Like Michael, I am using all mediums and love it...
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