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Long / Horizontal Hive Modifications - Ventilation, Insulation and Bee Entrances

Hi all,

I’m planning to build my own long hive in the coming weeks. I have been reading a lot on the forums and will be taking a lot of people’s modifications on board when constructing my own.

However, there remain some areas which I am uncertain off as views differ. I would like to get peoples views on a couple of points who may have built their own long hive and had more experience.

For background, I live in the UK so the climate is somewhat mild at worst -5 Celcius to +35 max.

The hive I will be building will be insulated (similar to a poly hive but a bit thicker) to reduce variance based on local conditions which may impact the bee entrance/ventilation questions below.

  1. Bee entrances - which is preferred - bottom or top and why (or does it really not matter)? Keeping in mind I’ll be using a long hive design. Furthermore, should the entrance be placed centrally, or across the hive?

  2. Ventilation - I’ve read a lot on this and a lot seems to be a lot of differing views likely to do with local climate conditions and hive type. Keeping in mind I’m building a long hive, what I see is 3 common options:

a) Heavily insulated roof with open mesh floor (air rises as bees heat, hits roof and falls as it cools)
b) Open mesh floor with vents in the roof (air passes right through hive - more requirement on bees to manage temp and humidity)
c) Top ventilation/entrance with solid insulated floor (however, debris build on bottom) (air is managed fully by bees through a top entrance and they need to circulate in the hive).

Can anyone share their views/knowledge and experience, keeping in mind the hive is a long hive which will be insulated in a mild climate? It may be the case this is being engineered by myself.

If anyone has images to share that would be welcome.

Thanks in advance.

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For what it is worth I have a couple of entrances on my long hives along the long edge. My LL are ~1.2m long.

I have the equivalent of an 8f slot opening in the middle. I then have a 40mm round entrance ~2 frames in from one end that I put a disc closure on. I can then use that end as a second entrance or with a follower board a nuc. I don’t battle with real cool temps Min for a few days may push 2oC.

The other end I don’t have and entrance because I have the flow frames there and they start just next to the entrance.

I have a friend who has the entrance on a short side. I’m not a fan of this arrangement as his bees have failed to build out the full 30 frames to the other end in the 3 or 4 he has.

All these entrances are at the bottom of the frames. In a single story I don’t think it makes much difference - top or bottom. I don’t have any pests to contend with so there may be some benefit with hive bettles.

Ventilation I have solid floors and have a 40mm hole in a couple of my cover boards. I can blank them off, place a screen over it or use for feeding. I tend to have them blanked on one hive and screens on the other. The screened ones have been propilised up, so not sure. Again I don’t deal with the cool wet that you do. I do have some in hive temp/humidity readers and I haven’t seen a difference in my LL this winter. The humidity crept up a bit away from the brood but not to a concerning level.

Good luck with the build and I look forward to seeing some photos.

Adam

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