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Author Topic: How do you run your hives?  (Read 814 times)

Offline illuminateddan

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How do you run your hives?
« on: June 15, 2017, 10:31:36 AM »
Hi folks,

Hi, my name is Dan Cook and I'm a hobby beekeeper and mature-age (old!) design student. I'm currently researching beekeeping and how todays modern beekeeping practices effect the beekeeper and the bees for my Honours project. I'm not looking to design the next flow hive or anything like that, just get an understanding of peoples practices and problems.

It would be fantastic if you could spare three or four minutes to let me know a few details about you practice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me on: d9.cook@connect.qut.edu.au

The questionnaire is here if you would like to help out https://goo.gl/forms/O3c1eb7eWp6FyK6y2

Thank you so much for your time in advance , and if this is not the right place to post this I apologise and will place it properly elsewhere if you could point me in the right direction!

Dan

PS. Keep up the amazing work!  :wink:

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2017, 11:55:13 AM »
Welcome to Beemaster.
I answered your survey. It only took a few seconds.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline mikecva

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2017, 12:37:32 PM »
I also responded.   Good lock.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2017, 12:46:27 PM »
I did it from the other site.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Offline heidi.k.cummins

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2017, 02:14:52 AM »
Done.

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk


Offline Joe D

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2017, 01:47:56 AM »
Filled out the questionnaire, may have added more than you wanted.

Hope it helps,

Joe D

Offline paus

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2017, 11:19:29 AM »
If you are allowed to post your results, I would like to see them.  This is a most intriguing thing you have started. Thanks

Offline loner

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2017, 01:11:36 PM »
Tried to answer but most answer spaces are missing.

Offline illuminateddan

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2017, 08:57:28 PM »
Hi Everyone,

Thanks so much for your responses! Across 4 forums we managed to get 51 responses. As I keen to contribute to the community and believe in sharing, the data collected is below! To summarise the results, the majority of active forum users / responders were from various states in the USA with 94% using langstroth type hives. of the participants the majority ran 10 frames per super with 50% using plastic foundation, 15.7% using wax and 12% using no foundation at all.  Of the participants almost 90% ran under 30 hives, with 11% running 31-100 hives. Over one third of beekeepers modified their hives in some way (not including just paint) and over 40% believed the hives they used to have a positive effect on the bee colony. The top priorities in hive design were for lifting cleats, inspection ease and pest management. Most beekeepers (on the forum so a loaded technology question!!) learnt beekeeping from forums, youtube and books. There were a wide variety of styles of beekeeping from treatment free to commercial and 'leave them alone' to 'bees know what they're doing-leave them to do it!'. Extinction of varroa was a key response in the wish list question with a expense and better resources being other common answers. I particularly liked the 'better research' answer!  :wink:

American (and Canadian) beekeepers are a safe bunch with only 6% having had a injury, usually connected to the back or shoulders. Apiarists seem to be an older group with 68% being over 50, with only 2% being under 25. The group was 78% male, however this could also be an indication of forum participants rather than beekeeping in general...

Here's the hard data for those interested.
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TAMj026FvUfqVqHShkc4Nki6InwpCmwPe9e-JEzChcY/edit#responses

Just as a little FYI for those that expressed an interest, I run 4 langstroths (10 frame), 1 top bar and 2 warre hives. I am mainly ligustica but also have a lovely colony of caucasians.

Again, thank you so much for your answers and I hope you found the results interesting.

Have a great day,

Dan

Offline Jim 134

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2017, 09:17:29 PM »
     Dan Cook

  I do hope you the best in all your endeavors. Something you may not realize 95% of all the hives in the USA. Are owned by only 5% of the beekeepers. These include operations such as raising bees, honey production and pollination.. I know the European market is much more Diversified.


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

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2017, 04:21:37 AM »
Thanks Jim, I did not realise that! I seem to have mainly found smaller apiary owner/operators, but the information is very interesting. It does seem that most of the bee forums are USA orientated too!

Offline tycrnp

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2017, 02:06:54 AM »
I tried to respond too late, but I looked at your results...interesting.

Offline little john

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2017, 07:24:56 AM »
What happens now ... how will this information be used ?
LJ
A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping - http://heretics-guide.site90.com

Offline illuminateddan

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2017, 09:45:34 PM »
Hi,

So after a fairly brisk debate on the merits and failures of my survey on various forums, I thought I'd share a little more information just for completeness sake:

To clarify, this survey was just a very small part of my other research which is on the 'thermal impacts of hive manipulation'.

While this sounds like 'mumbo jumbo' it's really just documenting and measuring what I and all the participants here know already - that opening a hive releases the environment within and changes the temperature and humidity. What I am trying to document is the empirical figures: how much does it change, how long does it take the bees to recover, what happens to the hive temperature and humidity after a manipulation and how do the bees restore the 'microenvironment'. I am also looking at the role that brood comb and honey comb play in hive temperature stabilisation (which is a lot due to the thermal mass of the honey comb when full).

Unfortunately, as you probably already know, in academic papers, theses, essays and such, first hand knowledge must be supported by empirical evidence, hence the survey. I know that langstroth hives are a base standard with a gazillion variations, that I get a sore lower back from lifting a 35kg super that's too near the ground and that I run a 10 frame super because thats what I started with and what my local store sells, but I need to be able to say 'x out of x beekeepers' do this. Even knowing that out of 'x' many views on 'x' many forums, I got 'x' responses is very useful in (in)validating the data.

I have however learnt that in beekeeping forums, a survey is not a valid collection method to get an accurate cross section as the form of the questions will be judged for worthiness and the questioners reputation on the board changes the number and type of people answering - surprisingly valid information from which I shall get paragraphs of recommendations from!

Anyway, having alienated various beekeepers on various forums through this survey I'd like to say thanks to all that responded. Further to this, I'd now kind of like to move on if possible and become involved and learn from this community. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Dan

Offline Acebird

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2017, 10:34:07 PM »
If you filter the responses to what you are looking for a survey is very useful.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Offline illuminateddan

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2017, 11:51:23 PM »
Hi Brian,
I think the issue with the survey is determining the sub-demographic of the beekeepers completing it - commercial V small commercial V hobby. The problem with asking questions is that you get the answers you are looking for(!) - if that makes sense. What I will look at next time is getting a sense of the type of beekeeper rather than just sort by the number of hives they have.

This forum has been very supportive of this survey, however there has been some 'robust discussion' in other forums!  :shocked:

I think I need to aim the survey to types of beekeeper to get more relevant answers, but it has been a learning experience to say the least!

D

Offline Acebird

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2017, 09:24:00 AM »

This forum has been very supportive of this survey, however there has been some 'robust discussion' in other forums!  :shocked:

Hi Dan
This forum is far more tolerant of other peoples views.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2017, 10:32:32 AM »
Ditto.
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline Fusion_power

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2017, 04:05:06 AM »
One can learn a lot by studying the hive designs used in other regions.  I wouldn't expect to see a moveable frame hive used by a dirt poor farmer in Tanzania any more than I would expect a commercial beekeeper in the U.S. to use a Perrone hive.  Hive types break down into 4 basic types: Fixed comb, Horizontal Topbar, Moveable Frame, and Vertically Stacked.  There are innumerable variations used in various regions with many that fit in more than one group.  If you want to study each type, a good list is Skep (Fixed Comb), Kenya Topbar (Horizontal Topbar), Layens (Horizontal Moveable Frame), Jackson Horizontal (Moveable Frame), Langstroth (Vertical Stacked Frame), Dadant (Vertical Stacked Frame), Rose (Vertical stacked Frame), Perrone (Fixed Comb, Cassette style supers), and Warre (either Topbar or Moveable Frame Vertically Stacked).  IMO, the common Langstroth hive used in many countries is a relatively poor design.  I used them for 40 years then switched to square Dadant beginning last year.

The bees do not care one whit what type hive they are in so long as it provides a cavity large enough for them to survive and reproduce.  The hive is based on the beekeeper and his management strategy.
47 years beekeeping, running about 20 colonies in square Dadant hives.

Offline little john

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2017, 05:14:46 AM »
One can learn a lot by studying the hive designs used in other regions. 

Indeed.  There are two others not included in your list, both of which have unique features: one being the A-Z hive (of which the OP is already familiar) of Eastern Europe, in which frames are accessed from the rear of the hive, rather than from the top - as with all other hive designs ...

... except the German Bienenkiste hive (modelled on the Krainer-Bauernstock, the so-called 'farmer's hive' as used by Anton Janscha during the 18th Century), in which the combs run along the length of the hive (rather than unnaturally across the width, as with ALL other horizontal hives), with the hive being accessed from the bottom, rather than from the top.
LJ
A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping - http://heretics-guide.site90.com

Offline Jim 134

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2017, 06:04:13 AM »
         AZ hives  Has been around for about a hundred fifty years.... This is complete different way to manage bees then any other  beehives you talked about I believe.



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

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2017, 07:08:22 AM »
Quote
the combs run along the length of the hive (rather than unnaturally across the width, as with ALL other horizontal hives), with the hive being accessed from the bottom, rather than from the top.
LJ and Jim, you haven't even scratched the surface yet.  Quinby's hive was based on a rectangular box with 9 long frames 1 ft deep that ran from the front of the hive to the back.  It would have qualified as a horizontal hive in operation except during the nectar flow when he put empty boxes on top for the bees to fill with honey.  The operation of this general type hive is unusual, especially in winter.  The bees keep the brood nest near the entrance at the front of the hive during the flow gradually filling the back portions of the combs.  Over winter, they eat their way back into the honey and start brood rearing near the center to rear of the hive.  As spring honey comes in, they fill up the back of the hive and slowly move the brood nest back to the entrance.  This is one of the natural mechanisms bees exhibit in all areas with long harsh winters.  The other mechanism which is very similar is to work up into honey stored above over winter, then move the brood nest back down to the bottom of the comb as the flows progress.  The Warre hive exhibits this behavior much more than most other designs.

Movable combs are not a recent invention.  They were used by the Greeks over 2000 years ago.  Their method was simple.  They made a skep and turned it upside down so the point was at the bottom and placed strips of wood about 1.5 inches diameter on top of the opening.  The bees made combs attached to the wood pieces that could be lifted out and managed like most moveable comb modern hives.
47 years beekeeping, running about 20 colonies in square Dadant hives.

Offline little john

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2017, 07:17:07 AM »
         AZ hives  Has been around for about a hundred fifty years.... This is complete different way to manage bees then any other  beehives you talked about I believe.

There are indeed a very old design - as too is the design on which the Bienenkiste is based. 

If you refer back to reply #13, you'll see that the OP is investigating temperature and humidity changes which occur whenever a beehive is opened. Although Fusion Power usefully listed many different hive types, they are all identical with regard to their opening - i.e. they ALL open at the top (Whoops - except the skep).

The A-Z and the Bienenkiste beehives are the only ones I know of which do NOT open at the top - and so I thought they were worth a mention. Of course, both of these hive types are frequently installed in dedicated bee-houses, shelters, or purpose-built trailers - but are sometimes deployed as stand-alone units.
LJ
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Offline Fusion_power

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2017, 04:45:31 PM »
The bienenkiste operates the same as a Quinby hive.  Accessing it from the bottom does not change the way the bees act nor the way the hive is managed.  Italians are not good bees to keep in this type hive because they overwinter with large colonies and would tend to starve on the amount of honey left in the hive.  It is the perfect hive for Carniola or Mellifera.  The only disparity is that in some areas with high honey production potential it would limit the amount of surplus the bees could store.  The standard size of a bienenkiste gives a bit over 6000 cubic inches of volume which is adequate for most areas.  If the back area were completely filled, the beekeeper would harvest roughly 100 pounds of honey.

The AZ hive is adapted for trailer based beekeeping.  It is still a frame based system of beekeeping.

I've found this list invaluable for evaluating hives in terms of beekeeper ease of use.

1. How many frames have to be manipulated to manage the hive and/or find the queen?  Langstroth 16 or 20, Dadant 11, 12, or 14
2. How many boxes are required to hold the brood of a prolific queen?  Lang - 2, Dadant - 1
3. How many boxes are required for wintering?  Lang - 2, Dadant - 1
4. Can it be set up for 2 queen operation?  If so, how is it oriented?  Lang - Vertical, Dadant - Horizontal
5. Does it "crowd" the bees in spring triggering swarming?  Lang - yes, Dadant - less so
6. Does the entrance permit easy ventilation for hot climates?  Lang - yes, Dadant - yes but better
7. How compact is the brood nest i.e. how many frames does it require?  Lang - 16, Dadant - 12
8. Is a special extractor required? Lang - no, Dadant - Yes (I happen to own a 50 year old 4 frame tangential designed for Dadant frames)
9. How easy is it to produce queens in the hive?  Lang - moderately easy, Dadant - a bit simpler
10. Can existing equipment be leveraged for use with the hive?  Lang - yes it is standard, Dadant - Yes (I reused all of my shallow honey frames)
11. How efficient is the hive for space utilization?  Lang - poor, Dadant - significantly better
12. How cost efficient is the hive?  Lang cost $100 (2 boxes, top/bot, 20 frames, foundation), Dadant $76 (1 box, top/bot, 14 frames, 14 foundation)
13. Is being blown over by wind a problem?  Lang - yes, Dadant - significantly less (calculated at 42% better stability for the same volume)
14. Is the hive easily palletized?  Lang - yes, Dadant - yes
15. Can honey storage areas be reoriented easily?  Lang - no, square Dadant - yes (rotate the super 90 degrees to improve filling efficiency)
16. Does the hive provide forager clustering space outside the brood area?  Lang - no, Dadant - yes
17. Does the hive provide efficient flow of foragers from the entrance to the honey storage area?  Lang - no, Dadant - yes
18. Is the hive designed to easily increase or decrease the number of brood frames according to queen capability?  Lang - no, Dadant - yes
19. How much does a box full of honey weigh?  Langstroth - 90 lbs, Dadant 125 lbs (ouch!)
20. Is it standard equipment easily resold? Lang - yes, Dadant - no (except in Europe)
21. Do suppliers sell the hive as standard equipment? Lang - yes, Dadant - regionally limited
22. Can splitting a hive be done by moving boxes?  or frames?  Lang - boxes, Dadant - frames
23. How is honey harvested and are any particular harvest tools required?  Lang - relatively standard, Dadant - bee blower is less effective
24. Is the hive adapted for use with tropical bee races? Lang - moderate, Dadant - Moderate

Evaluate a horizontal hive such as the bienenkiste according to the above list and some of the answers are interesting.

47 years beekeeping, running about 20 colonies in square Dadant hives.

Offline Jim 134

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2017, 11:13:53 PM »
       AZ hives you managed by the frame. You are in these bee hives about every 4 days. To  pull frames of Honey out of each one. AZ hives are not made to be directly Outdoors.. I know where I live AZ Hive are suggested to be in bee houses..  in warm areas all they do is put a common roof over the top of a group have AZ hives..


             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 illuminateddan

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2017, 06:37:42 AM »
I'm always amazed how many hive variations there are on what is essentially the same basic principle - moveable comb systems using bee space. I would love to put a history together and identify how all the hives came about and where they 'evolved' from.

Until the 1600s the hives were either pots, skeps or log hives, then some economic changes forced the design to change which was the driving factor for moving from log hives to box hives (as a log can make more than one hive when turned into planks). I also found the driving factor of box hives in the USA and Australia was from the high price of straw as it was the main animal fodder, and so skeps declined quickly as being too expensive in favour of wooden hives as there was lots of wood about. {Kritsky, 2010}.

It seems that in the C16 to C18 there was so much innovation as the time had come for the moveable frame hive (thanks to Huber) and Prokopovych, Langstroth and Dzeirzon all came up with the same forms based around bee space and moveable frames. It seems that at this point hive design exploded into many variations based around these initial few hives.

 I'd be really interested to start an open source family tree of hive designs if anyone is interested? There is so much information in beekeepers heads that it would be amazing to create the definitive timeline of hives and 'bee-tech' with some nice images! Anyone game?

D

ref:
Kritsky, G. (2010). The quest for the perfect hive: a history of innovation in bee culture: Oxford University Press.
 

Offline Fusion_power

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2017, 09:43:29 PM »
I put in a year studying hive designs and how they work.  It all breaks down to variants of 3 basic hive designs and 3 ways of managing those designs.  Each can be evaluated in terms of advantages and disadvantages and each has a place in agriculture.

The hive designs are Single cavity, Horizontal moveable comb, and Vertical Stacked moveable frame.

The ways of managing are Fixed Comb Swarm based, Top Bar moveable comb, and Suspended Frame..

Single Cavity hives provide a single cavity intended for brood and honey storage.  Brood nest and honey management is rudimentary at best.  Honey is harvested from a defined area either at the top or back of the hive.  Single cavity hives can be oriented vertically or horizontally as exemplified by the Bee Gum, Bienenekiste, and Skep.  A general feature of single cavity hives is volume between 4000 and 8000 cubic inches.  Virtually all Single Cavity hives rely on reproductive swarming for increase.

Horizontal moveable comb hives require the bees to work from front to back of the hive therefore require different management methods.  Bees have a natural inclination to work vertically which is stymied by the horizontal hive.  Fortunately for beekeepers, bees are highly adaptable and will work just as well in a horizontal design hive as in vertical.  Horizontal hives are highly adapted for tropical agriculture because they can be opened from the top and honey harvested with minimal disruption of the brood nest.  Horizontal hives incorporate a fixed cavity size and either top bars or suspended frames.  A key advantage of horizontal hives is that the brood nest is always easily accessed by removing the cover.  A key detriment is that honey must be harvested by the comb.

Vertical Stacked hives with moveable frames are pretty much industry standard.  Temperate climates are ideal for this design.  The key advantage is the ability to add honey storage space as needed and then to harvest the honey by the box.  Virtually all vertically stacked hives use suspended frames because top bars result in attachment of comb from one box to the next box down in the stack.



Fixed comb hives were the standard until Langstroth invented the moveable frame hive.  Vertical (bee gum), horizontal (Bienenkiste), and Skep designs were common.  Common features include high levels of reproductive swarming and limited ability to manage the brood nest.  The Japanese Garden Hive is an example of a vertically stacked fixed comb hive.  Quinby's original hives were fixed comb horizontal hives.  He improved them by adding frames when Langstroth's bee space concept became mainstream in the 1860's.

Topbar hives go back in history a few thousand years.  The inverted skep with top bars was in common use over 2000 years ago and was the first truly moveable comb hive.  Modern topbar hives incorporate horizontal hive shape in the typical Kenya Topbar style.   Top bar hives have moveable combs and can be managed to prevent swarming, make reproductive splits, and harvest honey.  The original Warre hive was a type of vertically stacked top bar hive.  Modern Warre hives are usually equipped with frames.

Moveable frame hives date back 500 years or a tad more.  All hives with moveable frames were glued together by the bees using propolis and burr comb until Langstroth conceived the idea for bee space around the frames.  Common features of moveable frame hives are that the frames incorporate bee space to prevent attachment to the hive shell.  The Jackson Horizontal Hive is a good example of a frame based hive adapted for tropical agriculture.  If I were beekeeping in Africa, this is the design I would use.  The Dadant, Langstroth, British National, 14 X 12, etc. are among the most popular hive designs today.


Cassette based management should be mentioned because several hive designs incorporate the concept to some degree.  When honey storage space can be added a box at a time as with Langstroth and similar designs, that is one form of cassette management.  When this concept is extended to the brood area, a hive can be managed by moving one or more of the brood boxes.  Langstroth deeps that are reversed in spring to stimulate brood rearing are an example of cassette based mangement.  When 8 frame medium Langstroth type boxes are the only size hive body used, they can easily be managed by the box and therefore are a cassette system.  The Perrone hive is a type of fixed comb Cassette hive.  The key difference that defines cassette management is that the brood nest and honey storage are managed by the box, and is not restricted solely to moving individual frames.  Most horizontal hive designs such as the Layens are incapable of cassette management by design.  They always have to be managed one frame at a time and honey is harvested one frame at a time.  The key advantage of incorporating cassette design into hive elements is the ability to harvest honey by the box instead of by the frame.
47 years beekeeping, running about 20 colonies in square Dadant hives.

Offline Jim 134

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Re: How do you run your hives?
« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2017, 09:22:35 AM »
      What Lorenzo L Langstroth  discovered was bee space. Yes he also did design a removal frame beehive.



            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/