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Horizontal hive,

hi all, im converting my established langstroth hive to a long horizontal hive, does anyone here have this type of hive, and when i put my frames into the long horizontal hive do i need to use a queen extruder ,

There are members here who will pick up your thread about long hives, but so far as the excluders use goes it applies to all bee hives if you want to be certain of keeping the queen from laying in the frames you want to devote to honey… It is a definite that you will include a QX so that the queen can not lay eggs in the Flow Frames or any traditional frames that you want to devote to honey.


Please don’t use an “extruder”, it would be very messy and wasteful of queens! :grin: :crazy_face:

Most people with long hives do use a queen excluder, otherwise you risk getting brood in your honey frames. You will definitely need a queen excluder if you want to use Flow frames in a horizontal hive.


Yep I use one with my flow frames. With out flow frames you will need sufficient frames for brood and then honey. One of my longs put brood into 20 odd frames this spring. They are still sittimg at around 15.


looks like an amazing hive you got adam, did you build it ?, if so what timber do you recommend please

Yes I made it. The sides of this one are 40mm merbau 290x1200. The thickness and depth of the wood was to allow for the two rebates (frame + cover boards). The base is 20mm beach and the roof 40mm.

I’m just about to make another and have sourced some 45mm pine 290mm deep and will be using that instead as I think the insulation of the pine will be better than the merbau and it will be lighter too.



thats great, did the merbau bow or buckle, pine is a lot lighter but i think you should not get treated pine as it has chemicals it,

I’m curious, does the brood pattern change because the colony is restricted in height?

Does that mean long boxes produce less honey per bee volume/realestate?

I’m intrigued because Im contemplating a long in the distant future.

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The merbau was laminated the pine is not. Both untreated and the pine about 1/3 the cost.

I’ll be making the new pine in a couple of weeks 13/14 Jan.

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Just my thinking Fred, but the long hive still uses a full depth Langstroth brood frame but I guess you could increase the number of brood frames to have a bigger and stronger colony. But long hives are something that wouldn’t suit my bee keeping so I look forward to the answers from the guys who have them. I can see that in some bee keeping set up that could be a ‘good thing’.
@Charlie_Challita merbau is a very stable timber and a lot less prone to warping, splitting and rotting than hoop pine but the draw back is it is heavier.

I don’t think it makes less honey, it is the equivalent of 30 deep frames. The brood pattern per frame is abouth the same. Arc of honey, pollen and then the brood. The brood just decreases in size the further you get from the entrance.

Like a top bar they maximise brood production in spring and back fill with honey in summer/Autumn


So do you use a QX or find a ‘natural’ barrier with the distance from the entrance where the queen doesn’t lay further into the hive Adam? Or use a QX so that the queen is in a defined brood area, along with the brood of course… :blush:

I have my entrance in the middle of a long side, equivakent to an 8f opening. I have a QE and then the flow frames to ensure I don’t get brood in that area. The other 22 frames I let them go.

Having said that I’m thinking of having a QE on the other side so that I can get virgin frames of honey for cut comb too.


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thank you peter48 for that information

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I’ve always conceptualised a colony as a layered 3D sphere/football shape, hence we get the arc of honey, pollen, brood… with honey just in end frames…something like this:

Note: not to scale or mathematically modelled or based on any research. Just my observation and intuition…

When we add a super (and QE), we extend that arc and bees will store honey above the colony for access for the brood as needed. Which might explain why sometimes the bees leave laying space for the queen in the flow hive… something like this

This is how I’m now picturing a long hive based on what you’ve said assuming single entrance:

So to my thinking, adding honey frames on the would be less ‘optimal’ for honey storage - hence why I assumed “less honey per volume/real estate”/frame

Either way, bees will build and store where-ever they see fit, but as @JeffH likes to quote from “City of Bees”, it’s worth remember bees are ‘efficient’ and good at ‘optimisation’ - hence a hexagon for cells - not a triangle, square or pentagon…

Imagine supering a long lang and the possible honey stores :heart_eyes: but then imagine how buggered your back would be due to inspecting… which defeats the purpose of going long…

I suspect that’s why longs aren’t used commercially… but at the end of the day, most of use are just hobbyist - and our backs are more important.

I hear you can also have multiple colonies in a long… this will throw my “mathematical model” into a spin…

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Those images correspond largely to what I have observed in my hives- except for one thing- the outer yellow honey arc will simply extend all the way to every edge if the bees have honey to store until the shape is essentially a rectangle. The brood nest does tend to be an oval- however the honey storage is not at all constrained.

from the colonies I have seen cut out of walls and roofs- it seems to me that bees can build in a very wide range of situations and configurations. They can extend honey storage horizontally away from their brood for a very great distance (+ 1 meter) if the space dictates it and they have the honey to store. The same goes for the brood: I run 5 frame tower hives and in them the brood ball is stretched out vertically to fit. In my long hive at times (early spring) the brood can be stretched right across 15 frames horizontally (so the tip of your red brood ball would reach right to the ends.

One thing that is remarkable is how the bees maintain that brood ball laying pattern across the frames! The queen and/or the bees that prepare the cells for laying can clearly sense what’s on the other side of every comb they on.

I imagine that over the last 65 million years bees have set up shop in all manner of hollow spaces- vertical trees- horizontal fallen logs, crevices, etc. They make do with what they find. Watching how swarms behave- you can see they get serious about scouting all possible homes- but if they find after 4 days or so that have nothing suitable they just start to build their comb exposed hanging off a tree branch. The form it takes depends on the branches they have to work with.

In my own long hive the bees tend to have the brood ball in the middle and solid honey at either end (as you would expect) I have had up to 5 frames deep of pure honey at the end- with no queen excluder. I have flow frames at the one end only but get honey at both ends. Sometimes the ball is more at one end than the other- that may be due to entrance location but also I think the way the sun warms the hive differently.

Due to a few random setbacks and one very bad season I have not been able to run my long hive for enough time to determine if it is more or less productive than a standard hive. I imagine someone has made comparisons between standard hives and top bar long hives- which are functionally identical to a horizontal langstroth.

a good cross between vertical and horizontal hives is a long hive with supers stacked on top. This set up can be enormously productive I think- either with one or two queens. But whilst it is supered you lose the main advantage of a long hive: ease of inspections. My plan with my hive is to super it during the main flows- and not really inspect the brood much at those times (if at all)- and then remove the supers at the ends of the season so the hive can be inspected easily going into winter and coming into spring when it is most important.

this is a nice video of a long hive with supers on it:


@Semaphore Jack, is your entrance in your long lang in the middle of a long side, towards an end on a long side, or on a short side?

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its in the middle of the front longside. But I open up a smaller one into the flow frames when a flow is on. If you read the comments in that video I linked above you will see Trev says his bees tend to have the brood towards one side despite the fact his entrance is in the middle. From my experience with other normal hives I think the suns path and how it hits a hive dictates brood placement maybe more than where an entrance is?


If i find the time between wife, kids, pets and work to make a long lang I’ll be able to test that. My hive doesn’t get direct sun on any side for most of each day as it is on the south side of my property but it does get sun on the top for a longer period.


actually I am not sure if it actually the sun hitting the hive- so much as position of the hive in relation to the suns path. I have just noticed that hives in certain locations tend to all cap off frames on the same side of the hives before those on the opposite side. I assume it has something to do with internal temperature but cannot say for certain. When there is a really large flow on this behavior is less pronounced.

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