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Author Topic: Comparison of hive types  (Read 1546 times)
Paraplegic Racehorse
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« on: December 11, 2006, 07:22:51 AM »

New beekeeper, here. I am wanting, for obvious reasons, to standardize all my equipment across the yard(s). Would somebody please post a comparison or pro/con list of the following hive-types: D.E., Langstroth, British National, TBH? And materials: wood, plastic, foam? Would the moderator then make that sticky or put it in a separate article somewhere for newbies like myself? It really would be tremendously helpful.
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I'm Paraplegic Racehorse.
Member in good standing: International Discordance of Kilted Apiarists, Local #994

The World Beehive Project - I endeavor to build at least one of every beehive in common use today and document the entire process.
Finsky
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2006, 08:08:48 AM »

D.E., Langstroth, British National, TBH? And materials: wood, plastic, foam?

I live here on the level of Anchorage. I may say that take styrofoam Langstroth + medium supers. 

The reason is simple: if you do not like beekeeping for longer time scale  you get rid of them when you sell them. If you have TBH or something, they have no value when you try to sell them.
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Paraplegic Racehorse
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2006, 04:01:14 PM »

I live here on the level of Anchorage. I may say that take styrofoam Langstroth + medium supers. 
The reason is simple: if you do not like beekeeping for longer time scale  you get rid of them when you sell them.

Yes; one clear advantage of Langstroth equipment is the commonality and interchangeability with everyone else (in North America, anyway) and ready availability of commercially pre-cut parts. Since I have a source of very inexpensive wood from a local mill, the latter is less important to me than it would be otherwise.

The value of insulated hive bodies (except nucs) seems to be in debate almost everywhere I look, including amongst Alaskans and Canadians. Given my inexpensive source of wood, I wonder if an exterior false-body (like WBC "lift") would work as well as styro bodies, at least for wintering purposes. Opinions?
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I'm Paraplegic Racehorse.
Member in good standing: International Discordance of Kilted Apiarists, Local #994

The World Beehive Project - I endeavor to build at least one of every beehive in common use today and document the entire process.
Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2006, 07:31:27 PM »

Here's what I like about the DE hive:

o It has good ventilation (but you can use the Langstroth kit to provide this for your Langstroth hive)

o It has the frames running so you can stand behind it to work it. (but you can get this in a Langstroth by using the kit)

o It has a system that almost eliminates having to break frames loose. This keeps the bees calmer, especially when working the brood chamber. (this you cannot get by using the Langstroth kit)

o It is nice dimensions from the bee's perspective. It's a square box and has 11 frames that the queens fills out nicely. (this you cannot get from a standard Langstroth hive)

o The frame design is very light, very strong and very good at keeping the foundation straight in the frame. I wish I could get such well designed frames for a Langstroth.

o The DE frames are really light to handle.

o The DE frames are dimensions such that you almost never have to use a capping scratcher.

o The long end bars are really nice for handling the frames, especially when you're extracting but also when you're working a hive.


What I don't like about the DE hive:

o My biggest irritation is that it is not a standard size. This is no end of frustration when you see something really useful, but it won't work with them. Like a nice triangular bee escape or a top feeder or a bound queen excluder. I get around it a lot by building things that are universal. e.g. a bottom board with 1 1/2" edges instead of 3/4" that is sized long enough for a Lang. I can put either a Langstroth or a DE on it. I built several adapters and often mix the DE supers and Langstroths. Also since it's not standard I can't buy stuff already assembled when I'm short of supers or hives and don't have time to build them.

o There's this space around the ends of the top bars, that the bees can't get to when the hive is closed. The purpose is to keep the bees from popolizing the ends of the bars. My problem with them is the bees run into them when I have the hive open and I can't get them out. Shades of the Arizona, they get trapped in there when I put the covers back on or a super on.

o I did have to modify my extractor to fit them. Maybe some wouldn't but the top part of the rack was spaced too far, so I had to get three threaded rods and replace the ones that came with the extractor. Now it works for either DE's or Langstroths.

o The long end bars (which are so nice to handle) stick down more so you can't have as much honey in the tank before they hit the honey and bog down the motor.

o It takes practice to not knock off the little plastic spacers on the ends of the bars when you're uncapping. It's kind of frustrating to be looking through a bunch of cappings for missing ones.

As you can see there's more I like than don't, but the big problem is the non-standard size.

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Paraplegic Racehorse
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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2006, 01:41:52 AM »

Michael, thanks for those comments. When I looked at the DE, the very first thought that went through my head was: "Wow, a ventilated BS National! How unique." This, after pouring through Dave Cushman's site.  rolleyes

I am beginning to think I may wind up making my own 19 7/8-in square (12-frame Langstroth, essentially), all medium-depth, top-entrance, insulated migratory lid, skirted and screened bottom-board hives with custom false winter-exterior to provide dead-space insulation. Yikes, what a mouthful. That's enough buzz-words to choke a cat. It's also nearly 50 linear feet of 1x8 per hive even before accounting for honey supers, feeders and the like.
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I'm Paraplegic Racehorse.
Member in good standing: International Discordance of Kilted Apiarists, Local #994

The World Beehive Project - I endeavor to build at least one of every beehive in common use today and document the entire process.
Michael Bush
Universal Bee
*******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 13663


Location: Nehawka, NE


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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2006, 06:19:35 AM »

I've experimented with them all, pretty much.  I've gone to all eight frame mediums.  I still have a few experiments around, like 22 frame Dadant deeps, but I've seen no reason to convert to any of these other systems when the eight frame mediums seem to be just what I want.  All the same size boxes.  All light enough to lift.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Finsky
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2006, 02:31:43 PM »



Insulated hives are very important on Alaska levels. First I made uninsulated  3 cm wooden walls. They consumed 50% more food during winter than insulated.

The second important thing is faster spring build up in spring and early summer.  If you have gardens and dandelions on your area, bees are able to gather good yield in early summer. Normally here hives are not in that  age that they can forage surplus during  dendelion blooming.  Raspberry blooms early and gives huge yield if it is plenty.

Here willows start to bloom about first of May. When bees get pollen and nectar they start real brood raising. It takes 4 weeks and the amount of bees reaches the level what it has after winter. At same time wintered bees have died all.

It takes 3 weeks and new bees are able to work outside.  So it is 1,5 months and half of June. Of course bees gather nectar and pollen but all foraged food is consumed by enlarging brood area. An this hive is able to forage at the end of June. One box wintered hive takes more time and it is able to forafe fireweed yield.



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