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Horizontal Hives in Canada

 
Ted Best
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I know bee keepers around me move their hives indoors during the winter months in Canada. How do the Horizontal Hives do in the north. Will they have to be moved inside as well or is there a way to over winter the hives outside. As a single senior moving them would be very difficult.
 
Gregory T. Russian
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A horizontal hive for Canada would be insulated at the design/build time (double-walls, etc).
No need to move it anywhere.
 
Leo Sharashkin
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Ted - I fully agree with Gregory - build an insulated hive (I recommend at least 1.5" or 4 cm of natural wool between the walls) and they winter successfully outdoors. If you have not yet read Keeping Bees with a Smile, 2020 Edition, please do as it is the most comprehensive resource on natural beekeeping in cold climates using horizontal hives. The author is from central Russia (Zone 4) with climate similar to southern Canada or Wisconsin. By the way, in the north it is REALLY important to use horizontal hives with EXTRA-deep frames (e.g., Layens 16" deep) - I do NOT recommend a "horizontal Langstroth" hive (using standard American frames just 9" deep), no matter how well you insulate it. There are free plans for double-wall insulated Layens horizontal hive at HorizontalHive.com
 
Ted Best
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Thank you Gregory and Leo for the information.  It is very much appreciated.
 
Michael Hollihn
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Hello Great Permaculture Friends,
I just finished 'Keeping Bees with a Smile'
So excited
I live in BC Canada and am now deciding to build either an insulated Layen's hive or an insulated Laxzutin hive?
Any thoughts?
Also, i find it very interesting there was zero mention in the book about bears as possible predators/pests for the hives in any of the Russian apiaries?
I am sure they still have bears, what's the deal?
Thank you and happy new year to all.
 
Mike Barkley
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Hi Michael. Welcome to permies. I read that book a while back & thought it was excellent. It is packed full of tips on keeping bees alive during winter. You can post a review at this thread if you wish.

Page 23 mentions bears but doesn't go into any detail about preventing them. There's a few threads here on permies about keeping bears away from bees. Nothing earth shattering as I recall. Physical barriers. I attached a pdf here that has some good info & drawings. I've seen what bears do to hives. It's leaves a big mess & a useless pile of sticks.

Are you new to beekeeping or just new to this type of horizontal hive? Either way, good luck. We need more healthy robust bee populations!!!



Filename: Bearproofing_Booklet-PDF.pdf
File size: 388 Kbytes
 
Michael Hollihn
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Hello Mike,
Thanks for the time.
Yeah, i remember the one word on bears. Basically referring to what the bears do to a wild hive in a tree; clean it out so another swarm can move in at a later date.
Odd that there is no mention of bees in the apiary though and all the photos show no sign of protection.
The best i've seen is a youtube video of a guy who built a post and beam shed around his hives and wired it with electric wire fencing on all 4 sides.
I might of seen this via here actually with one of Paul's awesome video tours; can't recall.
Thank you for the pdf, i will review!
I am new to beekeeping and will start (an possibly finish) with horizontal hives.
It looks like there are no ambassadors of this type of respectful beekeeping in the area.
We are year 4 into our food forest (second we've done in this lifetime) and the acre of diversity we've planted is going to leap this year.
Happy days to all!
Michael
 
Mike Barkley
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Odd that there is no mention of bees in the apiary  



haha  that's a funny typo
 
Michael Hollihn
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whoa, that's a good one...thanks for noticing (said with the sound of eeore from you know who, winnie the pooh!
 
David Bond
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Hi Leo,

In May of 2020 you said this:

By the way, in the north it is REALLY important to use horizontal hives with EXTRA-deep frames (e.g., Layens 16" deep) - I do NOT recommend a "horizontal Langstroth" hive (using standard American frames just 9" deep), no matter how well you insulate it.

Just curious as to why. I live in chicago area and thought it would be ok to build an insulated horizontal hive using standard 9” deep frames. Please help me understand. Thanks!  David Bond
 
Mike Barkley
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A short quote from the book ...

Now let’s calculate how tall the comb should be to allow bees to winter successfully. A cluster is ten inches (25 cm) in diameter. The bees remain in the cluster for five to six months (the dearth period extends even longer). One millimeter of movement per day brings us to seven inches (18 cm) total. So the required comb depth is 18 inches (45 cm) including a one-inch (2-cm) margin. As we mentioned before, this is why bees prefer a hollow of at least 20 inches (50 cm) in depth.

 
David Bond
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Mike Barkley wrote:A short quote from the book ...

Now let’s calculate how tall the comb should be to allow bees to winter successfully. A cluster is ten inches (25 cm) in diameter. The bees remain in the cluster for five to six months (the dearth period extends even longer). One millimeter of movement per day brings us to seven inches (18 cm) total. So the required comb depth is 18 inches (45 cm) including a one-inch (2-cm) margin. As we mentioned before, this is why bees prefer a hollow of at least 20 inches (50 cm) in depth.



Thanks Mike. That makes sense. Two questions. Why wouldn’t the bees move east or west to get access to more Honey frames in a horizontal hive?  There are small cut outs in the corners of plasticell foundation so the bees can move that way too not just up or down.

Also I have plans to build an insulated hive using two deep frames zip tied together top and bottom. (With the protruding part of the lower frame cut off so it acts as a single large frame.). So that would give me the 18” the bees need to over winter and I can just cut the zip ties and voila, two 9” deeps that can go in my extractor during the honey harvest. Do you think that would work?

Thanks for your help!  

David
 
Mike Barkley
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I really don't know why bees think the way they do. They do seem to prefer moving vertically rather than horizontally. Even so, I've lost a colony to apparent starvation with plenty of honey in either direction. It happened during a late freezing spell so that may have been a factor. Perfect cluster, easy honey, easy pollen, all dead within a week or two.

A cluster doesn't form on just one frame. It forms on several frames at once. The innermost frame will have the most bees while the outer ones have less & less the further away from the center you look. It's a sphere, not a circle, if that makes sense. Since the purpose of the cluster is to keep the eggs & queen warm & the warmest spot is in the center it seems like the queen wouldn't want to move to another frame.


 
Michael Hollihn
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Mike, do you use 18" deep frames like Fedor Lazutin did?
 
Mike Barkley
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No. Haven't tried it yet. After reading that book it makes a lot of sense though.
 
Mike Barkley
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I can just cut the zip ties and voila, two 9” deeps that can go in my extractor during the honey harvest. Do you think that would work?  



I think it will work good as long as it's very sturdy.

 
Nick Kitchener
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I live in NorthWest Ontario and nobody here has been successful with horizontal hives. I think it has to do with the enclosed volume to surface area ratio. In the cold weather they just can't maintain enough heat.

The standard practice is to insulate the hives and pretty much seal them over the winter using Styrofoam. they want the bees to go into hibernation but not freeze. That way they use less food. wit these practices, 50% mortality rate is considered normal.

We're trying a bee hut. It's super hot in the summer and super cold in the winter, and bears are an issue. I think keeping the direct summer sun off the hives, and breaking the cold winter wind will make a big difference.

and since we're using a bee hit it would make sense use a Warre rather than the Langs everyone uses here. It might be a little smaller but it seems more suitable for the bee's natural tendencies, and the lifting equipment can be part of the bee hut infrastructure.
 
Michael Hollihn
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Hello Nick
I would read 'Keeping Bees with a Smile' by Fedor Lazutin before doing what you are thinking. The horizontal hives most certainly work in Russia's zone 4 and out here in BC i have talked with bee keepers in zone 4 who are having excellent results. The ones you have heard from were doing something wrong is my guess. In the Lazutin and Layen's horizontal hives there is good size/heat ratio with the dividing boards they use to keep the heat in whichever side the cluster sets in for the winter. The horizontal frames also disturb the cluster the least and this also benefits the immunity/stress levels of the queen and her cohort. Good luck.
 
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