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Making a Long Hive - no plans required.

 
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 386
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:25 pm    Post subject: Making a Long Hive - no plans required. Reply with quote

The Mk.II All-Weather Long-Hive

Key features:
# maximum flexibility in use
# uses top bars, standard size frames, or both
# economical to build
# no plans required


The All-Weather Long Hive described here is intended for 'stand-alone' use, but could equally be housed or stacked. It could also be fitted with legs for more comfortable 'back-garden' use.

It is principally a 18-19 frame one-piece hive with an integral floor fitted with mesh ventilation, a three-piece crown board and telescoping cover, and can be used in this minimal, low-profile configuration.
However, there are several advantages to be gained by fitting an upper box which can house several inches of insulation during winter, and a maximum of four one-pint insulated inverted jar overhead feeders in both autumn and early spring. In late spring and early summer, this upper box may be used to house one or more dedicated 'honey supers'.

The hive is so easily made that plans are not necessary: the dimensions being determined by working around an existing frame - and so needless to say, this frame must be accurately dimensioned - and be aware that most frames are not, and so first check and double-check it's dimensions. That, I'll call point 1.


The following building notes relate to Long Hives dimensioned for the National Deep (or Brood) Frame, typically denoted as DN(x). For other frame sizes, you'll obviously need to adjust the measurements accordingly. Two existing 8"(nominal) by 1" thick planks were used, from which 4 sides and 2 ends were cut without waste, with the remaining two ends being made from 1" thick planks sourced from pallets. This resulted in the construction of one 29" and one 31" hive.


Ok - point 2. The end pieces, which sit inside the side pieces, MUST be cut square, of exactly equal length, and as near to 370mm (for standard National frames) as possible. This will ensure that an accurate bee space is created on either side of the hanging frame.

Here then is the first picture: the box on the left is too shallow by around 15mm. The box on the right was the same, and so has had trimming pieces added to the tops of the sides to bring their height up to 215mm.





So - point 3: any (side) height between 212 and 215mm is acceptable (for standard National brood frames), so that when a frame is placed on top of the adjusted sides, a bee space is created below the bottom of the frame - as shown.

You will also notice that an additional piece has been added to the box end, immediately behind the frame top bar.
Point 4: this piece needs to have a height of 18mm : this height is made up from 10mm to accommodate the frame top bar (the standard is actually 9mm, but in practice most frames are 10), and 8mm to provide a top bee space.

Point 5: a top bee space is essential, as these Long Hives contain a large number of frames (typically 18-19), and a divider is highly desirable in order to reduce the volume when initially housing small colonies. But - as the position of the divider is variable, the only way of effectively creating a seal between it and the crown board is for the crown board under-surface to be flush - thus a top bee space is mandatory.


In this next photograph, both of the 18mm vertical end pieces have been attached, and the 2 upper side pieces are being held in place by clamps. As can be seen, the 17" frame top bar straddles these upper side pieces, and by careful measurement the amount of rebate to be cut into them can be determined - in this case 6mm. An alternative to cutting rebates would have been to secure 6mm spacing pieces to the sides, and attach the upper side pieces to those. So - Point 6: determine the amount of rebate to be cut, allowing for (say) 1mm top bar end float each side, by placing a frame top bar across the box.





In the next photograph, the basic boxes are for-all-intents-and-purposes 'finished'. The rebate gaps will be plugged with scrap wood, entrance holes (4 x 22mm dia) will be cut into one end, and any holes, splits etc, being filled with automotive body filler before being finally painted.





Floors can either be solid, or a strip of mesh inserted to one side.
The next photograph shows a floor, made over-size (to be trimmed after fitting) with mesh stapled into shallow rebates which have been cut into pallet planks.
Imperfections being filled as before with automotive body filler before the floor is fitted.





Point 7: if ventilation mesh is to be fitted, then it should be located to one side of the floor, and not centrally - in order that the hive may be tilted a few degrees during winter, to allow any condensation to exit the hive via the mesh, rather than 'pooling' on the hive floor.


Floor in place - top view




and bottom view showing the added 'feet'.




The next pic shows the upper or top-box in place above the three-piece crown board. The telescopic roof frame is also shown, onto which will be secured a sheet of plywood, before finally attaching the aluminium cover.





Here are the 2 hives, with the 29" on the left, sitting comfortably on their pallet, with division boards in place.





Finally, two finished hives just waiting for the paint to 'season' before joining the rest of the circus ...





Hope somebody finds this stuff of interest or inspiration. Smile

Colin
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imkeer
Foraging Bee


Joined: 03 Oct 2011
Posts: 203
Location: Belgium, Antwerpen, Schilde

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both inspiring and interesting !
Quote:
The next pic shows the upper or top-box in place above the three-piece crown board. The telescopic roof frame is also shown, onto which will be secured a sheet of plywood, before finally attaching the aluminium cover.

What is this top-box for? To fill it with insulation, to place feeders and such, or both? (I'm not familiar with long hives so I have to ask... Other information on long hives - links etc. - are most welcome!)

Luc P.
(BE)
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 386
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Luc

Quote:
What is this top-box for? To fill it with insulation, to place feeders and such, or both?
Both.

A little bit of background: I started working with Long Hives a few years ago, and the first one I made was from plywood (not a good choice, as it's too dense and provides poor insulation), dimensioned for bottom bee-space 14x12 frames. Plenty of mistakes in those days ! But my main concern was to find a really good way of feeding bees, especially in an emergency during winter.

Here's a shot of what I initially used: just a single layer of expanded polystyrene inside a National brood box.




Here's a close-up of one trial: fondant in one jar and dry sugar (which had been allowed to become damp so that it 'set hard') in the other. You can just see the bees munching on the sugar at the bottom of the jar.




As the 14x12 box was too deep for those bees, I cut off the top and used it to make a 'top box' - I then called this hive the Mk.I. And this hive - although it does have many faults - is still in use several years later, and has had bees installed in it continuously throughout that time.
I've just taken a pic, showing the improved 'double thickness' insulation, with the insulated jar cover which keeps the syrup warm.




... and there's the feeder jar underneath.




I'll be using the same feeder system on all future Long Hives.


During spring and summer, the insulation and feeders can be removed, and perhaps a couple of small honey 'supers' put in their place. Maybe. Haven't done that before - as I haven't had the need to.

But - it's far more likely that I'll keep smallish colonies in these hives, without any top box on at all during summer. That way the hive will have the lowest possible profile which is highly desirable when leaving hives unattended in the fields around here. If they can't be seen, they won't be pinched !

Of course, a custom 'super' could always be inserted between the bottom and top boxes. That's what I meant by 'flexibility' in the first paragraph of my post - the Long Hive format lends itself to all sorts of possibilities. Smile


Re: links - perhaps the best place to start is ... http://www.bushfarms.com/beeshorizontalhives.htm

And you may find: http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm of interest ?

The Long Hive itself has a very long history, extending back to at least the 16th century. They were used in Eastern Europe and Russia at a time when straw skeps were being used in Britain and Western Europe. By the 18th century the Long Hive design had firmly established itself throughout Eastern Europe, with the Krainer/ Bauer/ Farmer's stock being notably improved by the Slovinian bee-master Anton Janscha.

It should be noted though, that historical Long Hives were of the 'upside-down' (from the beekeeper's point of view - but not the bees Smile ) format, with access to the combs from underneath.

If you Google any of these key-words: Dartington, Anton Janscha, Long Hive, Bienenkiste - you should get quite a few leads - although Eastern European sites will most likely need the use of an online translator Smile

Good luck

Colin
BBC
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imkeer
Foraging Bee


Joined: 03 Oct 2011
Posts: 203
Location: Belgium, Antwerpen, Schilde

PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much, Colin !
I'll know what to do. I have always had a special interest in East-European long hives with a thick insulated lid on top and the beautiful wood carvings all around. Mine won't be like that, except if I can go there and buy one. But I'll post here (with pictures) when I finished making one (to start with).

Luc P. (BE)
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 386
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Luc - yes, don't forget the pictures ! It's always good to see what other people have made.

I do love beautiful hives, such as those which Janscha made - but sadly I don't have a single drop of artistic blood in me - so I turn out boxes which look like they belong on the deck of a warship ... !

Just to show that there's seldom anything new in the world of beekeeping - here's some pics of the Danish Trough Hive (of which you may be familiar, of course). What I call my 'top box', they have incorporated into the main hive body. Plenty of insulation of course, for those Nordic winters.









And I rather like this artist's impression of a Chest Hive:



I can immediately see how that would work very well indeed.

'best
Colin
BBC
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mark.b
House Bee


Joined: 14 May 2014
Posts: 16
Location: Sileby, Leicestershire, uk

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:19 pm    Post subject: long hive Reply with quote

Hi Colin

some pictures of my attempt at a long hive it uses 14 x 12 national frames but I need to shorten the lugs slightly. I am not planning on a crown board but going to have a top cloth and shallow quilt box as per warre hives.



I can change the entrance block to a full width opening by twisting the block retainers around and removing one block and exchanging it for the full width block and I have made it possible to have an entrance at each end and could have two lots of bees in the box with the divider board in between.



29 self spacing frames and the divider board in the box.



picture of 1 frame with a wax starter strip to get the bees to hopefully build straight comb. There is about 100mm between the bottom of the frame and the floor so the bees might build down from the bottom of the frame I do not know if this will cause me any problems as yet.



The hive has a solid floor made from planks of wood running across the support bearers. The roof is felted and has 1" polyurethane foil faced insulation beneath it. It is a rather heavy hive and will not be easy to move around not that I plan to do that when it is installed and occupied.



Regards
Mark

Leicestershire


Last edited by mark.b on Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:38 pm; edited 6 times in total
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can see on my blog the Swedish Trågkupa which is similar to the Danish just thicker- The one in picture does not have the supers on only the bottombrood part with a divider board and feeder boards. The supers are called "magazin" and are made from very thin ply or planks (10mm);
http://chopwoodcarrywaterplantseeds.blogspot.dk/2012/07/tragkupa-old-horisontal-swedish-bee.html
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 386
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Mark - someone's been busy ...

My first impression was that of size: that is one enormous hive ! I don't think you need worry about any swarming from over-crowding. Smile

Have you thought about perhaps supporting your foundationless combs in some way, as 14x12 is rather on the large size ? Having said that, I seem to remember that Layens' frames were/are of similar size.

Best of luck with your hive.



Che - are these hives just curiosities now, or do you know of anyone still using them ? I would think that such hives would pver-winter very well indeed.

'best
Colin
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mark.b
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Joined: 14 May 2014
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Location: Sileby, Leicestershire, uk

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:08 pm    Post subject: long hive in use Reply with quote

Hi Colin

Yes it does look quite big but I think it will be ok. David Heaf of the warre group is also doing a similar sort of thing don't know if you are a member of the group but he does a web site and has created a page called the one box hive. I find this interesting reading and this hive has very large frames.

http://www.dheaf.plus.com/framebeekeeping/oneboxhive.htm

The 14 x 12 frame I think will be OK it will support it's self on the sides of the frame, my method of extraction of honey if and when will be to cut the comb out of the frame and crush and strain. I will not be trying to extract from the comb by using an extractor.

Regards
Mark
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Che - are these hives just curiosities now, or do you know of anyone still using them ? I would think that such hives would pver-winter very well indeed.


They very much still around and many keep bees in them, but conventional supered hives are the majority. On my blog you can see the apiary of my wife's father. He has both Trågkupa and Supered hives too.
http://cheguebeeapiary.blogspot.dk/2014/09/apiary-of-old-dansih-beekeeper.html

I am sure bees do well in most hive styles when it comes to wintering. This hive has thick walls and bees need a bit more food. Thinner walls seem to make bees eat less as recorded by Warre' and Brother Adam too. Aparentlly double walled hives ate 2 kg more honey than the single wall hives.

The bad thing about this hive is the issue of moving it/migrating because you simply can not move it without help. Its too heavy.

The building is also complicated. I could not find any plans on the net but have found it on the Swienty site but it cost money to download. Everything costs in Denmark Rolling Eyes
http://www.swienty.com/shop/vare.asp?side=0&vareid=101271
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok - the bees are finally installed - the 31" sitting on a temporary stand cobbled together from pallets, and the 29" is sitting on a trolley waiting for the cold weather to arrive so that I can move it the thirty feet or so to join the other one.






So now the pressure's off I can build a proper stand for these hives, and also get the grass cut ... Heavy rain forecast for Saturday !

Colin
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Che Guebuddha
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do they have comb (chop'n'crop) or did they only get wax strips? Im asking because its a bit late in the season for comb building. If comb, how many did you give them?
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Scout Bee


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Che,

these hives contain AMM breeder queens which were imported from Ireland in June and July and installed into 6-frame nuc boxes, initially with 2-frames-worth of nurse bees, one frame of capped brood and one of stores. The remaining frames had partly drawn combs.

It soon became very clear that these queens are very profilic and quickly outgrew those NUC boxes - so I put the 6 (by now fully drawn and filled) frames into National brood boxes with 2 more starter strip frames each as a temporary measure whilst I built the Long Hives.
So they were now both on 8 frames in 11-frame boxes, which I didn't bother padding-out with dummy frames, as they were only going to be in use for a couple of weeks.

But when I came to transfer them in the last couple of days, I found yet again that they are bursting at the seams - all frames filled, and they'd even started building new comb in the box void ! So I've given them another 3 frames each, right at the back of each Long Hive, just in case they feel up to it.

So they're now on 11 frames, after approx. 10 weeks. The AMM is supposed to be a frugal strain of bee - but I think that may be something of a myth, for these are the most prolific bees I've ever encountered. Indeed, I'm already considering the prospect of needing to enlarge these Long Hives to take 14x12 frames - but I'll see how the girls over-winter first.

Regards,
Colin
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Che Guebuddha
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. What are those wires coming from one entrance?
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Che

the wires run to an 18 watt emergency heater that I've fitted inside both hives.

The idea being not to heat the hive constantly, but in the event of a prolonged period of extremely cold weather. the hive can be heated for a few hours during the night in order to give the bees an opportunity to break cluster and relocate onto unused stores.

But - as it's just an experiment and I don't know if this is really necessary - I'm running the wires out of existing holes, rather than cut new ones. Bit of a bodge - but it'll do for now.

Regards
Colin
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EdnaHall
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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is about 100mm between the bottom of the frame and the floor so the bees might build down from the bottom of the frame I do not know if this will cause me any problems as yet.????



lol
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DomenicMo
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a great build BBC.
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DomenicMo wrote:
That's a great build BBC.


Thank you - appreciated. I've just popped in and am catching up with posts.

Mark - re: the 100mm gap - if it should tempt the girls to draw comb there, perhaps the easiest work-around would be to fit a slatted rack in that space to stop that, and yet still provide them with somewhere to 'get off the combs' if conditions inside the box should ever become too warm for comfort.

I'm in the process of using slatted-racks myself for the first time this year, so can't say for sure if they work really well - but many folk swear by them.
There's a pic of my efforts at building a slatted rack at:
http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/beek17b.htm

'best,
Colin
BBC
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