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Double Deep Long Lang Hive


#1

The Bee Condo:

Last winter after finishing 4 Langstroth flow hives, I was looking for another excuse to put off house renovations so I came up with this bee condo design. It was an evolution from the various excellent long hives and top bar hives I’ve seen on this forum so far. I was really intrigued by them, but wanted a couple of tweaks of my own, as do most of the DIY beeks I come across.

Bee Condo Design:

The major difference I wanted was deeper frames; my mind simply struggled to envision a long shallow hive being very efficient in my rather extreme winters. I’m located in eastern Ontario, Canada where we routinely see cold snaps dipping below -30C at night for up to a week at a time. In more recent years we’ve only had the occasional days like this with a lot more thaws throughout the winter so I see moisture management becoming very critical as well.

Vented Inner Covers:

With that in mind I designed a double deep hive with the ability to seed with standard Langstroth deep frames 2 deep, but ultimately use uninterrupted single double deep frames. I used full 2” thick rough sawn White Pine lumber for the hive, and a well ventilated, insulated gabled roof. I also added an easily removable slatted rack at the bottom to facilitate cleaning and the ability to add 1 honey super.

Slatted racks:

I used adjustable entrances that allow me to keep the ventilation open even in the sides with no current colonies. There are 6 entrances total, spaced so that when starting out a colony they only have one to defend, and as they get larger a second one becomes available. It is a blast to watch them come and go from the entrances.

Entrance:

The hive is designed with semi-permanent dividers that allow it to be run as 3 separate colonies of up to 15 double deep frames but with the intention of only running 10 to 12 and a follower board that leaves space for spreading them out during hive manipulations. 10 of these double deep frames is slightly larger comb area than 2 deep 10 frame Langstroth boxes.

Inside Follower:

I initially considered integrating a flow hive into it as well, but instead settled on a single shallow super for comb honey sections as I’ve already got 2 flow hives setup, and room for 2 more. In the winter the space for the shallow supers is to be replaced with moisture quilts.

Comb Honey Super:

This spring (early June) I seeded the condo with a four frame NUC. I must say of the 3 NUCs I started this spring (2 in Langs) it is by far the most successful. To be fair one of the Langs was destroyed by a bear, and the other refused to draw out the second brood box, and swarmed instead so not a great comparison. However since early June installation they have completely drawn out 9 double deep frames, and are finishing the 10th now, and I removed the initial 4 Langstroth deeps frames a while back. The new colony is just starting to use the section super now, as I’ve focused on getting them out to 10 double deep frames first, but they look promising for next year.

Inside 4 Weeks:

Inside 9 Weeks:

The double deep frames are made very much the same as a normal Langstroth frame, but with 1/8” thicker end bars that are self-spacing top and bottom. I do add 4 wires, and have embedded a sheet of wax foundation on every other one, with foundationless in between. With this setup I’ve had very little issue (almost none) with cross comb. I find the combs quite sturdy, although I wouldn’t recommend flipping them horizontally.

Frame With Foundation:

I found the manipulation of the initial stacked Langstroth frames frustrating as it is a long reach to get the bottom frames out, and you need a lot of room to turn it slightly to clear the sides. Once they had drawn out enough of the double deep frames I repurposed them to my standard Lanstroth hives, and have no problems removing the double deep frames for inspections. The bees certainly seem happy with their new home so far as they draw out and fill the combs beautifully.

Frame Drawn:

Hopefully next year I’ll be able to split this colony, and/or catch swarms to fill out the other 2 sides. For now I’m enjoying watching them thrive, and hoping for more comb honey sections like this before fall.

Comb Honey:

I’m amazed that my plan to start 2 hives this year has evolved so quickly to 5 full size colonies! I’ve already utilized all the equipment I built this past winter so I guess I’ll easily find new ways to avoid renovations again this coming winter.

Maybe one of these would integrate very well with the flow hives and keep me busy for a while.

Slovenian Hive:


#2

WOW - I don’t think you are every going to get that house renovation done!

What a design! How much honey have you collected?


#3

Double wow- very impressive!

Did you make those comb honey sections yourself? I also plan to use shallow ideal supers on my long hive this spring to make comb honey. I was thinking to make some kind of divider like that also to make sections- possibly using balsa wood. Your segment looks absolutely superb! It looks like you could cut it out with barely any leaking- very nice of the bees to just attach it with empty bridge comb rather than capped right to the sides… Did you get a whole box of those?

You hive is similar to a layens hive with those huge deep frames. The queen must love all that uninterrupted real estate.


#4

No honey from this hive yet; my focus this year is on growing it so that next year I can split further.


#5

Yes the comb sections are bent from a single strip of wood using a small steam bender. I used white cedar or white pine for the strips. I planed a small ramp (known as a scarf joint) on either end of the strips to increase the surface area for gluing. It does take some trial and error to get the exact length of strip tha will perfectly overlap in the middle after bending around the form. Its also important to use some sort of tape or web to support the outside of the strip when bending around such a sharp corner.




I haven’t gotten any sections from this hive, as I’ve only just put it on the hive to see if they’ll work it during the fall flow. The sections I have are from the prototype frame that I installed in my established langstroth flowhive:


#6

That is COOL!, really cool ( had to put last bit on to get 20 characters)


#7

I am super impressed, you are a ‘real’ craftsman. :star_struck:


#8

just to clarify: your hive holds up to 45 double deep frames??! That’s HUGE! The scale in your photo is deceptive- it looks big - but not as big as it must be. My horizontal langstroth holds about 21 deep frames- and I thought it was big… Yours is the equivalent of 9 x 10 frame boxes!? WOW! And that’s not including the comb supers… gee whiz! When it is fully established your hive will be an absolute monster: 3 queens laying over all that real estate- 3 deep broods each! 1/4 of a million bees in one hive? at 120mg per bee- that equals 30kg of bees- almost half my body weight… Please keep us updated as you go- if it all works- and I’m sure it will- I imagine they will be able to produce masses of comb honey - plus having three colonies like that side by side- the entire hive will stay very warm and be very efficient… the colony in the center will be totally spoiled- I’m impressed.

here are some pics of my hive- it is quite similar with the ability to add two ten frame ideal supers for comb honey:

here it is at one storey:

and these with the ideal supers added:

Mine has had bees in it over winter- I’ll be inspecting soon and if all is well I’ll add the supers early in spring.


#9

Yes, max 3 X 15 double frame colonies, but I plan on limiting each at around 12 frames with a follower board so I have room for spreading out the frames when doing inspections. My hope is that the large colonies, thick walls, and shared heat will overwinter successfully.

I certainly enjoy working the long hive, the extra space is convenient for keeping spare frames handy as my apiary is a good distance from my house and workshop. If it continues to be successful I may put another one in a more remote corner of my property.

I’ve definitely enjoyed seeing your hives as well. Hopefully you get a good spring start.


#10

Just when I thought my winter to do list couldn’t get any bigger I come across this on pinterest:

These sections will be easier to make than my square ones, and way cooler!


#11

Whoa! This is quite the project. :purple_heart: the adjutable entrances. I also am looking forward to seeing your house renovations, as I’m sure they’ll be inspiring too.


#12

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#13

wow- that’s super- can I ask how thick the wood of the frame is? and does the comb extend out beyond that thickness much?

@Lazar_Rajcic that’s really amazing too!How’d you get the bees to stay within the love hearts? Have you cut out comb that was outside of the hearts?


#14

On my square sections they built out the comb to suit the spacing, so roughly 1 1/8" thick just slightly protruding from the 1" wide frames.


#15

srca%20(1) try to keep space between hearts small as is posible.


#16

srca%20(5) template


#17

Well done; those are fantastic!


#18

Thanks. This is one of possible for final package


#19

2009%20(8) This is another way of making honey comb. This system is coming from Turkey


#20

417217213731 final packaging