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Long Hive: early teething Problems- Minimum Queen Space?


#1

Ok- first ever inspection of my long hive and I ran into an issue:

My queen excluder is vertical- it goes right to the top of the box and touches the inner covers. When I put the inner covers back into place- bees caught on the top edge of the excluder frame- get squished. I have a strip of wood there exactly 1/4 inch think- which is 6.35mm. From my understanding the size of the gaps in queen excluders is 4.3mm- and a queen can pass through a gap of 5.2mm…

If I remove my strip- there will be a 6.3mm gap all the way along the top edge of the excluder frame. The queen could theoretically pass through this. But my question is would she? If I can remove the strip then when I close the inner covers bees caught there would be able to wiggle safely out. Bees would then be able to pass through the face of the excluder or walk to the top and over it. If the queen was to cross the excluder that’s her only spot. Already there are no brood frames close to the excluder on the brood chamber side- only fully capped honey frames. I am hoping she wouldn’t wander down to that end of the hive…

I have a second question: I can open up a small entrance on the Flow frame side of the queen excluder so bees can enter and exit the ‘super’ without entering the brood chamber. If I did this- would the queen ever be likely to wander out of the main entrance, mosey along the landing board and re-enter into the honey super? Other than maiden flights and swarming/supercedure eviction does the queen ever leave the hive?

I understand this is all probably impossible to quite understand without seeing what I am talking about…


#2

I am building my long hive as we speak,
Question 1. On mine I plan to build the wood top on the excluder full height and same height as the inner covers ( using a double rebate) .
Question 2 I would like to know the answer also, as I plan on having 3 entrances, one for each super frame area and one for brood frames. I will have excluders either side of the brood frames.
Cheers Tim


#3

I’m thinking we might have to pioneer this stuff Tim.

In theory I like the idea of honey supers at each end- the one problem I have with that idea is it makes it harder to increase and decrease the size of the brood nest. In theory with my design you can move the follower board at the other end up and down as you expand and contract the brood over a season- if you make splits- and if you cycle frames out of the hive.

Have you given that much thought?

As to my own design I am living in tenterhooks at the moment as I wait to see if it will even work. I know I can easily convert it to a standard hive if I have but hope to god that never comes to pass…,

One issue that already popped up with my set up is the bees cleaning house: if you don’t have an entrance directly into the super I just realized the bees will have to clean up dead bees in there by carrying them across to the excluder and pushing them through it… or breaking them up and pushing them through the screened bottom… it remains to be seen how they’ll go with that…

Another potential issue: pollen. Will bees bring pollen into the super and store it there if they have direct access? I’m guessing they will know to deliver it where it’s needed beside the brood…

Already if things don’t go as planned I am wondering if an option would be to have a queen excluder underneath the flow frames- and a special ‘sub basements’ conduit for the bees to access that from the brood…

Argh: unforeseen complexities!


#4

Hi I think I understand what you are saying.
Three ways…
You could smoke the bees off the top edge before putting on the top boards.
Or…Keep the strip but make it thinner but not so much that the queen can get through…
Or…if you make a cover board of Perspex ( clear plastic…you can buy different thicknesses) for that area…you will be able to see the bees and avoid squashing them.


#5

Smoking I did- and it worked to a large degree. A few bees popped back up at exactly the wrong second though
:tired_face::anguished:

The next one is to add a 2mm shim of something to bring that gap down- and I think that’s what I’ll end up having to do.


#6

Once you need to put the QX under the flow part, why not put a flow box on top? Solves all the problems. :clap:
I mean, have a long hive with flow on top.


#7

There are many reasons I didn’t want to go that route. The main reason I even built a horizontal long hive was so I didn’t have a vertical one! Having said that mine is designed to accommodate 2 10 frame ideal supers during a nectar flow at the height of season :sunglasses:

Also along the road somehow I ended up making a super vertical hive system:

One thing with this long design if it works: any leaks from the flow frames cannot drip through the brood but straight onto a tray to be fed back to the bees.

Anyhows- I’ve gone so far down this road I can’t change course now. I’m in uncharted territory…


#8

Unchartered yes, but the flow frames dripping is a non issue really, if capped, incremented and after first harvest.
If you run into too many problems, just keep the brood down there in the long and put as many flows up as you like. Take em off for winter easy. It adds tremendous flexibility.
Everything just seems so complicated insisting the flow frames need to be down there as well.
I can’t see any benefit whatsoever, and it’s certainly not walking the path of least resistance.
By the way, a woman can change course any time. We are real good at it too.


#9

The leak thing is only one of my many reasons (also I had small leaks last month: 2nd harvest, capped and icremented :hugs:)- if I can achieve it I think it will be well worthwhile with so many potential benefits. For instance the brood can be inspected without removing any super. In fact any frame can be inspected as easily as any other. Plus frames can be rotated out the hive easily. There’s more but suffice it to say: I think it might all be worth it- and am up for the challenge :sunglasses:

Plus- I can always change course further down the road.


#10

I would put in the second entrance to the flow side. I use second entrances in supers on my stacked hives and haven’t had a queen wander about.
In my long hives the queen lays in the 10-12 frames by the entrance and the whole other end is all honey without the use of an excluder.


#11

That’s encouraging to hear bigB!! I actually went out and put the entrance in as dusk fell this evening.


#12

Hi Michele
I have had a change of heart and thought about my hive. It’s a long story, but in a nut shell, I have had flow frames on my hives approx 16 months. I converted my standard supers into 2 hybrid flow supers. In that time none of my ff have ever been used by the bees to come even close to harvesting. After talking to a fellow flow bee keeper in my club he has found the same thing with his. He even found his hive has hybrid in the middle position and full flow super on top of that, the bees have filled the full super twice (which he extracted) and still the bees are not using the hybrid ff (this happens to both of his hives). He is going to make a long hive as well but thinks he will use standard frames, this is what I have decided to do, to much work to take the risk that the bees might not use the ff same same as hybrid box. So I will put all six frames on my second hive with no standard frames so the bees will deal with in their way. In the future I may give thought to having a full ff long hive😜 Good luck with your hive I really hope it works out Cheers Tim


#13

I also have had poor luck so far with my hybrid super- and very good experiences with multiple full flow hives. In my case the hybrid super colony is slightly weak with some intermittent evidence of chalk brood. But after 4 months in place the bees have not filled the flow frames- but have built multiple perfect standard honey frames… So I will admit that worries me. In any case- I really am in so deep with my long hives- that I will be testing them over the next 18 months come what may. Around this time next year I will hopefully have a good idea of whether the concept works or not.


#14

HI, Have you thought about not using a queen excluder at all, usually bees will keep the honey towards the outer edges with brood in the middle.
Alternatively make a new excluder that doesn’t have a gap. Queens will sneak through any space they fit.

A queen wont usually walk out of an entrance. So an extra entrance wont be a problem although if you have a busy apiary sometimes a stray virgin will enter and its more for the bees to guard.


#15

I do think I might be able to get away with removing the queen excluder- at the moment there are two frames of 100% capped honey beside it… I think they would form a natural honey excluder for the queen. I’ll wait a bit though and see what happens.


#16

Hi Michele
How is your long flow hive working out, any update?
Cheers Tim


#17

Hello there,

my names Jack actually- Michelle is my mother and I took over her flow account…

anyhows: the good news is my long hive is doing very well. I re-queened at the end of autumn and the bees have been busy right throughout winter. I haven’t inspected for a few months but will sometime this week if it’s nice and warm. there is plenty of activity- lots of pollen going in.

I will post more updates over spring- the big question is how the bees will take to the flow frames in a horizontal hive. I have a feeling its going to go well but we’ll have to wait and see. I just looked in some of my observation windows and note that there is fresh nectar going into all my hives at the moment- so we have a late winter flow on. Things are looking good.


#18

Hi Jack, thank you for the reply, I will be very interested in the updates.
Cheers Tim


#19

How’s the long hive doing Jack?

I have concluded that unless we use long hive I will have great difficulties growing my beekeeping empire without buggering up my back :slight_smile:

I think Australia needs an entrepreneur to distribute one (ideally that works with flow frames) and I think u may be the man!

Cheers,

Julia


#20

Hello there Julia @Jingles

the long hive testing phase is going very well. the four flow frames are now 90% capped. The hive got slowed a little when the queen got superceded from some reason but is now firing on all cylinders. the bees are doing very well- and seemingly love their home. I have put two 10 frame ideals on top to make comb honey but the bees haven’t yet started making that comb. I have come up with a bunch of small refinements that will be incorporated into the second production run- making it cheaper to produce and even more ‘bee friendly’ and I do hope to have some hives for sale sometime later this year (probably winter). Before I made more I really wanted to test them thoroughly with bees- and that is all going well so I think there is not much to stop me now… :grinning:

whilst I have stacked some supers on mine this is not necessary if you want to avoid all lifting of boxes. Also i could modify it to have 4 x 5 frame supers instead of 2 x 10 - which would be very easy to manage ad relatively light at maybe 7 kg’s each when full of honey.

My stacked Nuc flow hive also continues to do very well- I just harvested it yesterday for the third time this year. It is also kind of friendly on bad backs as you never need to lift more than a single Nuc box- but It does have a double brood.