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Author Topic: Long Langstroth hive design questions  (Read 852 times)

Offline Coach v

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Long Langstroth hive design questions
« on: March 15, 2017, 02:15:17 PM »
Hi all!

I am a sophomore beekeeper and 4H bee keeping project leader. I have a 4h family who is new to bee keeping and has lifting considerations, so we have to decided to build a long Langstroth hive using deep frames. I will also be building myself one. We are in the mountains of rural NE California, at about 3500' elevation.

I have several design questions :

1) screened bottom or no? 

2) Entrance location,  top or bottom? Round holes or rectangular slot?

3) overall length? Number of frames?

4) space between bottom of frames and bottom of box (or screen)?

5) Treatment considerations?

Thanks,
Michael

Offline Jim 134

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2017, 04:49:41 PM »
    Glad to see someone new here. Welcome to Beemaster. I know I kept honeybees in High School (1968) for and FFA project. Hope you had a great time learning about honeybees. I will try to answer some of your questions. My bees are in Vermont at about the 600-foot range. Never seen any difference with or without screen bottom boards. Screen Bottom boards in my opinion make it too hard for the bees to control the temperature. I have both top and bottom entrances. Especially good in the springtime if the bees get blocked in by dead bees on the bottom board. Or for cleansing flights when the snow is deep.
        For me New England I always had better results in standard ten frame equipment. Hope this help you out.

         BEE HAPPY Jim 134 :)
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 05:02:25 PM by Jim 134 »
"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
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Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

Offline Jim 134

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 04:59:10 PM »
You may find a place here to help you out and local conditions.

ANTELOPE VALLEY BEEKEEPERS
Lancaster, CA
http://www.avbeekeepers.com/

BEEKEEPERS ASSOC OF SOUTHERN CA
La Mirada, CA
http://bascbees.org/

BEEKEEPERS GUILD OF SAN MATEO COUNTY
San Carlos, CA
http://www.sanmateobee.org

CALIFORNIA STATE BKPRS ASSOC
http://www.californiastatebeekeepers.com

CENTRAL VALLEY BKPRS ASSOC
Fresno, CA
http://www.cvbeekeepers.org/

DELTA BEE CLUB
Ceres, CA
http://www.deltabeeclub.com./

LOS ANGELES COUNTY BKPRS ASSOC
LaCrescenta, CA
www.losangelescountybeekeepers.com

MARIN COUNTY BKPRS ASSOC
San Anselmo, CA
http://www.marincountybeekeepers.org

MOUNT DIABLO BKPRS ASSOC
Lafayette, CA
http://www.diablobees.org

SACRAMENTO AREA BKPRS ASSOC
Sacramento, CA
www.sacbeekeepers.org

SAN DIEGO BEEKEEPING SOCIETY
San Diego, CA
http://www.sandiegobeekeepingsociety.com/
You may find a place he to help you out with a local conditions.
SANTA BARBARA BKPRS ASSOC
Santa Barbara, CA
http://www.sbba.org/

SONOMA COUNTY BKPRS ASSOC
Santa Rosa, CA
http://www.sonomabees.org


     BEE HAPPY Jim 134  :smile:
"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

Offline cao

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2017, 10:24:23 PM »
Welcome  :happy:
I built a long hive last year too late to add bees.  Will be putting bees in it this spring.   
1.  No screen bottom. 
2.  Bottom slotted entrance about 3 inches long. 
3.  I made mine 4 ft long.
4.  About 3/4 inches space under frames. 
5.  I don't treat my bees so I can't help there.

I can't say how well it will work yet.  Only time will tell.

Offline little john

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2017, 06:10:46 AM »
I'm from another part of the planet, so this may not be relevant to your project, but for what it's worth ...

I've been running Long Hives for quite a few years alongside vertical hives - the ratio being roughly 50/50.

1.  Not critical.  I've been fitting strip screens, 3-4" wide, along one side of the bottom.  Hives can then be tilted during winter, allowing excess moisture to exit.  Helps with ventilation at all times of the year, but am currently trialling solid bottoms to compare.
 
2.  Not critical.  All mine have 4x 22mm (wine cork size) holes at one end of the box near the bottom. All open during a flow, reduced to one during the robbing season, and in winter. 

3.  Again, not critical. I chose 32" - the only reason being that I can get my arms around that length in order to carry the hive ... when empty ! The longer the better - 4ft would be good.  You can always (indeed should) reduce the internal length as required with a partition/ follower board.  Such a board, with a 2" or so gap at the bottom (only) also makes a very good queen excluder. 

4.  Yet again, not critical. Anywhere between 3/8" and 1".  When building, I aim for 1/2-3/4"  In contrast, the beespaces between frame sides and box walls, and between top bars and crown boards/ inner covers ARE important, especially the top bee-space.  Alternatively - use a 'soft' inner cover (plastic sheet/ canvas/ feed bag etc) to eliminate the top bee space issue completely.
 
5.  Treatment/ non-treatment is unrelated to hive type.  Very much depends on personal philosophy.

Hope at least something from the above is of use or interest.
LJ
A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping - http://heretics-guide.site90.com

Offline Coach v

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2017, 02:14:47 PM »
Thanks for all the responses!

I have a few more questions.

1) I would like the option to treat with Oxalic Acid in the future. Is there any design considerations needed to make treating easy in the future (ie. holes that would be covered or plugged when not in use)?

2) I have thought of using standard type inner covers. Using three to four of them. I also have thought about burlap or feed sacks and also smaller width boards. What do you like to use for an inner cover and why?

3) I do plan on using a follower board. I assumed I wanted it tight to the sides, top, and bottom so bees cannot pass. Is this not the case?

4)  I used an entrance feeder last year and it worked well for me. Can I build a slot just for the purpose of using an entrance feeder and cover it when not in use?



Offline little john

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2017, 07:13:01 PM »
1. Oxalic Acid - as you mention holes to be plugged, I'm assuming you're thinking of Vapourised Oxalic Acid ?  If so, then - if you fit an OMF (full or partial) - then you'll need some means of blanking it off during the treatment.  A plank of wood strapped underneath would be adequate as it would only need to be in position for 15 minutes or so.  If no OMF, then simply block-off the entrances.  BUT - you'll also need some means of actually getting the VOA into the hive, and that will depend on what kind of applicator you intend to use.

2. Inner Covers - very much a personal choice.  For example, Michael Bush swears by 'soft' covers, I happen to prefer hard ones.  My reasons are outlined in: http://heretics-guide.site90.com/beek02.htm  which, although a page concerned with a vertical hive, my reasoning (rightly or wrongly) applies equally to my horizontal hives.  I would stress though, that many beekeepers use soft inner covers successfully - I have in mind Michael Palmer, who simply cuts a flap into the material, folds it back and places the feeder over the hole thus created.  Maybe I'm just being over-cautious ... ?

3.  Follower Boards.  Much depends on what they're being used for.  If you have more than one colony in the box, then clearly you need the follower board (acting here as a partition board) to be bee-tight all round.  This is fairly easy to achieve with (say) a Kenyan Top Bar Hive, due to it's wedge shape. 
With a parallel-sided hive it's much more difficult.  Personally, I'd never keep more than one colony in a parallel-sided hive with a movable divider, precisely because of this difficulty. ( I DO have several Long Hives in multiple occupation - but these have either permanently fixed dividers, or dividers which slide into fixed-position slots to achieve 'bee-tightness')
So - with just the one colony, all that's needed is to create a 'thermal curtain', with the top and sides being 'sealed' - the bottom no longer needs to be.  In fact it's desirable to have a reasonably large gap at the bottom, so that any bees which find their way through an imperfect seal can then easily find their way back, rather than be trapped in the unused section.
The type of 'thermal curtain' boards I now use can be seen in:  http://heretics-guide.site90.com/beek15.htm  (the last picture), being the invention of Charles Dadant, which he describes in his book 'System of Beekeeping'.

4. You could, I suppose - I'm not a great fan of entrance feeders, as my experience is that they can start-off robbing - so I don't use them.  My preference is to use overhead inverted jars for syrup, fondant, and damp-set sugar.  Ideally, these do need a feeder-shell of some kind to keep the sun off the jars when feeding syrup.  Like so many things in beekeeping, it's a personal preference thing. :)

'best,
LJ
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 07:26:12 PM by little john »
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Offline little john

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2017, 06:00:58 AM »
I thought a photo might be useful ...

This is one of the Long Hives I have which isn't occupied right now.  I've placed one of my old-style partition boards inside it to show how these look.  But - because I've recently extended the box depth from 9" to 12", I've placed a block of wood inside to show what the bottom gap would have looked like before that depth extension.  About 1.5" or so.  You can also see the strip-OMF I favour (not everybody does), and the flush contact with the crown board (inner cover) above.




This is shot of the hard crown board (inner cover) under surface, showing the inevitable propolis build-up around the edges.  The several propolis lines nearest the camera show that the partition board was moved - hence several lines of propolis.




Although it's not really relevant - just in case anyone wonders - four feeder holes have been made, as we don't have the large mason jars you guys have, so I install four large jam-jars holding a total of half a gallon of syrup instead.  The feeder jar location lines are now on the underside, as I've changed from bottom bee-space to top, and the crown board bee-space battens are no longer required.

Hope this helps visualise how follower/partition boards can be used in Long Hives.  But - there may also be alternative methods ...
LJ
A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping - http://heretics-guide.site90.com

Offline Coach v

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2017, 02:29:13 PM »
1. Oxalic Acid - as you mention holes to be plugged, I'm assuming you're thinking of Vapourised Oxalic Acid ?  If so, then - if you fit an OMF (full or partial) - then you'll need some means of blanking it off during the treatment.  A plank of wood strapped underneath would be adequate as it would only need to be in position for 15 minutes or so.  If no OMF, then simply block-off the entrances.  BUT - you'll also need some means of actually getting the VOA into the hive, and that will depend on what kind of applicator you intend to use.

2. Inner Covers - very much a personal choice.  For example, Michael Bush swears by 'soft' covers, I happen to prefer hard ones.  My reasons are outlined in: http://heretics-guide.site90.com/beek02.htm  which, although a page concerned with a vertical hive, my reasoning (rightly or wrongly) applies equally to my horizontal hives.  I would stress though, that many beekeepers use soft inner covers successfully - I have in mind Michael Palmer, who simply cuts a flap into the material, folds it back and places the feeder over the hole thus created.  Maybe I'm just being over-cautious ... ?

3.  Follower Boards.  Much depends on what they're being used for.  If you have more than one colony in the box, then clearly you need the follower board (acting here as a partition board) to be bee-tight all round.  This is fairly easy to achieve with (say) a Kenyan Top Bar Hive, due to it's wedge shape. 
With a parallel-sided hive it's much more difficult.  Personally, I'd never keep more than one colony in a parallel-sided hive with a movable divider, precisely because of this difficulty. ( I DO have several Long Hives in multiple occupation - but these have either permanently fixed dividers, or dividers which slide into fixed-position slots to achieve 'bee-tightness')
So - with just the one colony, all that's needed is to create a 'thermal curtain', with the top and sides being 'sealed' - the bottom no longer needs to be.  In fact it's desirable to have a reasonably large gap at the bottom, so that any bees which find their way through an imperfect seal can then easily find their way back, rather than be trapped in the unused section.
The type of 'thermal curtain' boards I now use can be seen in:  http://heretics-guide.site90.com/beek15.htm  (the last picture), being the invention of Charles Dadant, which he describes in his book 'System of Beekeeping'.

4. You could, I suppose - I'm not a great fan of entrance feeders, as my experience is that they can start-off robbing - so I don't use them.  My preference is to use overhead inverted jars for syrup, fondant, and damp-set sugar.  Ideally, these do need a feeder-shell of some kind to keep the sun off the jars when feeding syrup.  Like so many things in beekeeping, it's a personal preference thing. :)

'best,
LJ

1) I am not sure how I will deliver the Oxalic Acid, but I am pretty sure I do want to treat with it. I did not treat last year (my 1st) and my hive absconded after a mite infestation. I DO want to set my hive up now to make treating easy when the time comes. I guess that is what I am asking, what should/could I do now while building the hive to set myself up for easy treatments in the future? I will most likely go with vaporization.

2) I am leaning towards a hard inner cover, most likely using 1x material. If I can figure out how to do it, I will use a feeder much like you have out lined. I like the inner covers here:




Offline Coach v

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2017, 02:33:33 PM »
My lumber came on Wednesday. The redwood is a beautiful and heavy heartwood rough cut on 3 sides to 2" x 12" actual dimensions. My 1x12 cedar is much less impressive but serviceable. We will start (and hopefully finish) at least 2 long hives and a bunch of standard lang boxes this weekend.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2017, 08:47:19 AM »
Michael,
Wish we had Redwood growing around here that I could sawmill. I spent some time in California in the 80s and I love that wood.
Add your location to your preferences.
Jim
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Offline Coach v

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2017, 04:29:38 PM »

4.  Yet again, not critical. Anywhere between 3/8" and 1".  When building, I aim for 1/2-3/4"  In contrast, the beespaces between frame sides and box walls, and between top bars and crown boards/ inner covers ARE important, especially the top bee-space.  Alternatively - use a 'soft' inner cover (plastic sheet/ canvas/ feed bag etc) to eliminate the top bee space issue completely.
 


What is the correct bee space between top of frame and inner cover?

Offline cao

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2017, 06:30:05 PM »
"Bee space" is the space that a bee can crawl thru.  If I'm not mistaken is 5/16 to 3/8 of an inch.  Any less the bees tend to porpolise it shut.  Any more they tend to add burr comb.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2017, 10:35:00 PM »
"Bee space" is the space that a bee can crawl thru.  If I'm not mistaken is 5/16 to 3/8 of an inch.  Any less the bees tend to porpolise it shut.  Any more they tend to add burr comb.
5/16 to 3/8 of an inch is correct.
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Offline Coach v

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2017, 10:36:47 PM »
Made good progress today!




« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 12:20:47 AM by Coach v »

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2017, 03:07:26 PM »
1/4" to 3/8" is the standard.  I would prefer the 3/8".  Propolis tends to build up on the frame rests.  With standard frames that means the frame rest rabbet is 3/4" deep.
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Offline Coach v

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2017, 08:54:05 PM »
Made good progress on Sunday. They hold 32 frames. Still have quite a few things to do:

Drill entrance(s)
Finish roof(s)
Design and complete oxalic acid treatment access
Follower board(s)
Cosmetics
Probably more











Online Joe D

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2017, 01:32:11 AM »
On your feeder, when you are using follower boards, I have cut a notch for a front feeder to fit in and have it inside the hive.  I didn't get here in time to tell you on the screen bottom  board, I had a screen bb with it enclosed.  I built a tray to put liquid in under the SBB, this compartment had a door to open to take out the pan to empty.  In the summer I would leave the door open.  At the other end was the entrance across the front with the bottom of the entrance at the screen level.  I also had the side sight glass, people would come by and I would take them to see my hives and open the window where they could see the bees working.  It was easy to just watch them like when you first got started with bees.

Good luck to you and your bees,

Joe D

Offline paus

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Re: Long Langstroth hive design questions
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2017, 08:59:41 AM »
I have a top bar hive the first hive to start my second beek adventure. It is screen bottom, and this by far is the best hive I have, 7 now.  My daughter and I are going to move these ladies to a new Lang hive. WE are considering several things to do. 1. Cut the ends of the top bar and tie wrap the top bar to the inside of a deep frame and place these in a 10 frame hive. Lots of innovation will be required.  One of the other options is to make a lang adapter spacer and place lang boxes on top of the top bar.                                                                                                                                                   WE are considering splitting the hive into two or three using tie wraps, big job.  The most viable option probably is to make a long lang and to gradually convert to all lang frames.  I would strongly consider a long Lang, if this were my first hive.  I would use a double screen bottom with and oil pan to slide in from each end.  I am considering this and I will make spacer to  go between the hive and bottom board so that trimming the topbar comb off the bottom will not be needed. This will allow the top bar combs to fit and then mix lang deep with the top bars.  This may take two or three years, but then what is time to a hive of bees.