Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back  (Read 6875 times)

Offline Culley

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 254
    • my beekeeping page on twitter
My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« on: November 10, 2014, 01:37:58 am »
My dad quit beekeeping mainly because he could no longer lift the 10 frame deeps.

We want to build a long langstroth hive to try out, but I was also wondering about another option.

I am going to try some 10 frame 'half size' boxes for comb honey (I think in the US these are called 'extra shallow'. They're half the depth of a 'deep' anyway).

If the 'half size' boxes are too heavy, what about putting 2 x 4 frame half size boxes on an 8 frame brood box, side by side

Or 2 x 5 frame half size boxes on a 10 frame brood nest, side by side.

I thought I could cut the box in half and patch the cut walls with 3mm plywood or even mesh or queen excluder. Has anyone tried this? If I go for solid walls, would ventilation be an issue? Would stability of the hive be an issue if there were quite a few of these mini-supers on?

References for box depths: http://www.bobsbeekeeping.com.au/minibb/index.php?action=vthread&forum=2&topic=9142&page=0 & http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm

Offline ugcheleuce

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 128
  • Gender: Male
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2014, 04:10:07 am »
My dad quit beekeeping mainly because he could no longer lift the 10 frame deeps.

At least one other Oz beek had similar complaints (see third post here).

Quote
If the 'half size' boxes are too heavy, what about putting 2 x 4 frame half size boxes on an 8 frame brood box, side by side?

Omlet Beehaus does it (based on the Dartington, which also does it).



I also tried it...



What I found was that the boxes must be perfectly perfectly squared, otherwise the two boxes side by side will have a gap between them, where bees will be forced to put glue to stop the draft.  I suppose you could simply duct tape the gaps shut, if there are any.

(The reason why you see ekes below the honey boxes in my photo above is because in my current country the honey boxes aren't exactly half the height of brood boxes, so you can't create a brood "box" by simply putting two honey boxes on top of each other, as you would be able to if you use Australian fulls and halfs.)

Quote
I thought I could cut the box in half and patch the cut walls with 3mm plywood or even mesh or queen excluder.

Personally I would go for the plywood, to ensure some rigidity.  The queen excluder idea won't work because the holes will not be lined up, so the bees won't be able to pass through it anyway.

The main thing to remember is that the frames in the super won't match up perfectly with the frames in the brood box (if that is how you normally do it), due to the wall in the middle of the box.

Quote
If I go for solid walls, would ventilation be an issue?

Other hives with this configuration exist, so no, I don't think so.

Quote
Would stability of the hive be an issue if there were quite a few of these mini-supers on?

If the boxes themselves are sturdy, then I doubt it, but...

Quote
We want to build a long langstroth hive to try out, but I was also wondering about another option.

...why not combine your first idea with your second, i.e. make a long hive (brood chamber) that use these truncated supers (honey).
--
Samuel Murray, Apeldoorn, Netherlands
3 hives in desperate need of requeening :-)

Offline BlueBee

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 4587
  • Gender: Male
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2014, 06:27:59 am »
I thought I could cut the box in half and patch the cut walls with 3mm plywood or even mesh or queen excluder. Has anyone tried this?

Yes I have tried it and I like it.  I’m a fit beek but I sure never want to pick up a deep again.  Just don’t see any point in putting that kind of strain on a human spine.  

Here’s a few photos of my latest setup; at least that a have photos of  :).






Here are some pros and cons:

My setup just uses a single brood box which I NEVER pick up so the weight is not an issue.  The brood box uses Jumbo frames so you don’t need the traditional 2 deep setup for brood.  I go with 11 or 12 frames.  Each frame has 10,000 cells.  That is quite a lot of area for brood; more than enough.  12x10K = 120K cells!  Not all cells are used for brood obviously but these things get to be massive colonies.  Since there is just one brood box there is none of the silly rotating of boxes some beeks do in the spring.  Brood inspections are quicker than in a traditional setup since there are just 11 or 12 frames to inspect.   A lot easier to find the queen if you want to see her for some reason.



The supers are just half wide boxes of medium sized frames (5 frames).  Being just 5 frames wide, the center of gravity is closer to your body when you lift them.  That means the stress on your spine is much less because the torque arm is much shorter.

The downsides of this design is I have to make the frames myself; they are custom and a PITA to build.  There are some issues with crushing bees, water intrusion, and structural stability when the stack of supers gets high.  Obviously these problems can be designed around, but they are real problems.  It also takes longer to check on a hive with supers since you’re now removing twice as many boxes to get to the brood.  

My brood boxes are way heavier than any sane person would ever want to pick up.  So you either pick a permanent place to put each hive or you use a dolly to move a hive.  I do make my brood boxes out of polystyrene which cuts down on the weight a little, but just a LITTLE.        

Offline hjon71

  • Queen Bee
  • ****
  • Posts: 1067
  • Gender: Male
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2014, 07:47:25 am »
That's a pretty sweet setup there BlueBee.
There are as many ways to keep bees as there are beekeepers. To each their own.
Quite difficult matters can be explained even to a slow-witted man, if only he has not already adopted a wrong opinion about them; but the simplest things cannot be made clear even to a very intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he already knows, and knows indubitably, the truth of the matter under consideration. -Leo Tolstoy

Offline Michael Bush

  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 16688
  • Gender: Male
    • bushfarms.com
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2014, 09:00:37 am »
I've done long hives and like them a lot. 
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeshorizontalhives.htm

I've gone to eight frame medium Langstroths mostly with narrow frames, so I have 9 frames to a box.  The boxes are 6 5/8" deep. 
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeseightframemedium.htm

Yes, we have extra shallows in the US, but I think only Walter T. Kelley lists them for sale although I'm sure Western Bee Supply would make them if you ordered enough to be worth setting up.  The problem is that there is little available for them other than split top wood frames and basswood sections.  With mediums I can get small cell one piece frames and foundation, regular frames and foundation, plastic foundation, all kinds of wax (from 7/11 to small cell).  There just isn't much available for extra shallow boxes.

My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin

Offline troyin17331

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 35
  • Gender: Male
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2014, 10:15:12 am »
i made this for a friend for the same reason  let me know if it can't be seen and i will repost it another way


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1617595899110&set=t.100001817000128&type=3&theater

Offline ugcheleuce

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 128
  • Gender: Male
--
Samuel Murray, Apeldoorn, Netherlands
3 hives in desperate need of requeening :-)


Offline thewhiterhino

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 87
  • Gender: Male
  • Bee Happy - Ross Knittel
    • pueblo bee rescue
If it was easy, everyone would do it....
pueblo-bee-rescue.com

Offline troyin17331

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 35
  • Gender: Male
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2014, 09:27:44 pm »
and since the second one is on my facebook page i cn see it fine grrrr

Offline Culley

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 254
    • my beekeeping page on twitter
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2014, 09:39:54 pm »
You might have to set the Facebook permissions for that photo or the album it's in so that anyone is allowed to view it, not just your Facebook friends.

Offline sawdstmakr

  • Global Moderator
  • Galactic Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 8942
  • Gender: Male
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2014, 12:48:23 pm »
There are a lot of us that do not use Facebook and cannot see it.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline Culley

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 254
    • my beekeeping page on twitter
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2014, 07:59:12 am »
Thanks for the replies everyone.

It's really inspiring that some of you have already done this, and I'm going to make some and see how they go. The pictures are very cool too.

I thought to solve any stability issues, I could fasten the two halfs together with these:


Offline BlueBee

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 4587
  • Gender: Male
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2014, 12:36:45 am »
Didn't you post a photo someplace on here with a giant rock on the cover of a nuc?  Step one for a lighter box; ditch the big rock  :-D

I think the stability issue depends to a large degree upon where you put the entrance.  If you go with the conventional route and put the entrance on the bottom, you will have a solid structure to set your supers and they should be fine.  Once filled with honey and glued together by the bees, the supers aren't going to go anywhere as long as they're sitting on something solid.  

In my case, I use a mid entrance (for a variety of reasons) and that means I've only got 3 solid sides to set the supers and that is where my stability concern comes from.  Each box actually only has 2 solid sides.  Can we say teeter topper  :-D  

Offline Culley

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 254
    • my beekeeping page on twitter
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2014, 05:01:20 am »
Oh yeah, that's my nuc. Sorry if I didn't write my post very clearly. I am young and foolish and the rock is the least of my worries - I use 10 frame deeps.

The long hive and half super ideas are for dad so he could manage hives again.

I bought some half depth frames today.  :)

It's good to hear that people don't think stability would be an issue. I guess I'll have to just try it and see.

Offline kalium

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 96
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2014, 06:48:55 am »
Culley,

(warning to all, I will freely indulge in the use of australian box sizes...).
I was intent on using manley's until I went to the local supply shop and they suggested using ideals. Simply because it's so much easier to get components for them
(well frames at least in my case, I make my own boxes). No one really uses manleys and It's been my experience that frames often have to be specially ordered in.

A 10 frame ideal is going to be similar weight as a 5 frame full depth, and similar to an 8 frame manley. You can buy all the parts off the shelf for it as well.
So far I've found that the queen rears brood in them just fine. I would still not pick them up if I had a sore back on that day, but they are nothing like a full depth.
If you really wanted lightweight, you could but them down to 8 frames...

IMHO I wouldn't worry about half depths. You can easily put a full depth frame in two ideal boxes, and they only build a small amount of comb on the bottom (which you
can just scrape off with your hive tool if/when you want to put the frame back into a full depth box).

Having said all that, most of my hives (12 and counting...) are actually full depths or a mix of full depths and ideals. This was purely due to circumstances at the time
and am hoping to eventually end up with just ideals. The main issue with anything smaller than full depth is the cost + time. It takes you just as long to assemble an
ideal as it does a full depth, and you have to do twice as many. As well as buy twice as much timber (or flat pack boxes). Not a big deal if you only have a few hives
I guess.

Offline ShaneJ

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 530
  • Gender: Male
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2014, 11:30:28 pm »
If the weight of a full 10 frame deep is a problem perhaps you could look at operating differently  :?

All of my hives are full deeps and I never have to lift a full box. When I rob the hives I take frame by frame shaking the bees off as I go and I put the frames into another empty box thats sitting on a trolly or trailer. I do this for the 40+ hives in my back yard and for other hives I have spread around the place.

A commercial beekeeper that I learned a lot from that was operating with 400+ hives did it this was for many years so smaller operations shouldn't have a problem.
Shane

Offline Eric Bosworth

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 994
  • Gender: Male
  • I love New York... I hate the government.
Re:
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2014, 05:56:59 am »
Forgive me if somebody already mentioned this and I missed it skimming through. Isn't it a lot more convenient to use all the same size frame? MB talks a lot about that in his book. It makes sharing resources between hives so much easier.
All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns; that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party. ---Mao Tse Tung

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. ---Benjamin Franklin

Offline BlueBee

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 4587
  • Gender: Male
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2014, 05:32:05 am »
Well, let’s analyze.......

Do I want to search through 11 jumbo frames during spring inspections or do I want to search through 30 mediums and have bees everywhere  :?

Why would I want to shuffle honey frames down into the brood box?  I use them for honey. :?

If I were to treat, do I want to be contaminating my food supply too (via shuffling of frames between brood and honey) :?

Do I want more work or less work  :?

My nucs use medium frames and there’s nothing wrong with an all medium design, but it’s not exactly the cats meow either.  :)

Offline Michael Bush

  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 16688
  • Gender: Male
    • bushfarms.com
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2014, 11:05:09 am »
>Do I want to search through 11 jumbo frames during spring inspections or do I want to search through 30 mediums and have bees everywhere  huh

I can search 30 medium frames left to right with no circling back to be sure.  Jumbo frames require at least three times over to catch the ones that snuck around my field of focus.  It takes me three times longer to look through the same amount of bees with Jumbos compared to mediums.  I ran deeps for 28 years or so.  I have run jumbos off and on during that time as well.  I've run mediums for the last 12 years or so.  I would much rather find a queen on mediums.  Also, at the end of a day of looking for queens in deeps, my wrists hurt.  At the end of a day of looking for queens on mediums they don't.

>Why would I want to shuffle honey frames down into the brood box?  I use them for honey. huh

For instance:

You can put brood up a box to "bait" the bees up. This is useful without an excluder (I don't use excluders) but it's especially useful if you really want to use an excluder. A couple of frames of brood above the excluder (leaving the queen and the rest of the brood below) really motivates the bees to cross the excluder and start working the next box above it.

You can put honey combs in for food wherever you need it. I like this for making sure nucs don't starve without the robbing that feeding often starts, or bulking up the stores of a light hive in the fall.

You can unclog a brood nest by moving pollen or honey up a box or even a few frames of brood up a box to make room in the brood nest to prevent swarming. If you don't have all the same size, where will you put these frames?

You can run an unlimited brood nest with no excluder and if there is brood anywhere you can move it anywhere else. You're not stuck with a bunch of brood in a medium that you can't move down to your deep brood chamber. The advantage of the unlimited brood nest is the queen isn't limited to one or two brood boxes, but can be laying in three or four. Probably not four deeps, but probably in four mediums.

>If I were to treat, do I want to be contaminating my food supply too (via shuffling of frames between brood and honey) huh

Yes, keep all those contaminated frames in the "no peeing section of the swimming pool".  After all, bees never move anything.  They don't move wax do they?  Or honey? ;)

>Do I want more work or less work  huh

Less, of course.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#uniformframesize

>My nucs use medium frames and there’s nothing wrong with an all medium design, but it’s not exactly the cats meow either.

Actually, I think it is "the cat's meow".
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin

Offline Culley

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 254
    • my beekeeping page on twitter
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2014, 07:12:46 pm »
I wonder how much it would hinder the bees using half depth frames for the brood, with all the extra gaps this will make in the brood nest.

I'm leaning towards making a long hive that takes deeps, and using these 'quarter size' boxes for the honey. The thing with half depths is you can hang a deep down through two half depth boxes, but you can't put two half depth frames into the deep  :-\ I'm pretty sure dad wants to use a queen excluder anyway, so it could work well.

Offline Michael Bush

  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 16688
  • Gender: Male
    • bushfarms.com
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2014, 09:22:38 am »
>I wonder how much it would hinder the bees using half depth frames for the brood, with all the extra gaps this will make in the brood nest.

They do fine.  With short frames the queen does not hesitate to lay in several boxes.  With deeper frames she often hesitates.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin

Offline BlueBee

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 4587
  • Gender: Male
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2014, 05:51:29 am »
Yeah, I made a couple of hives to comb up a bunch of small queen mating frames.  Each frame was about 12cm x 12cm (5” x 5”).  I had boxes stacked 4 high.  The queen roamed all over the place in there!   The bees did pretty well too.

Offline Culley

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 254
    • my beekeeping page on twitter
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2014, 03:03:30 am »
We ended up making a long hive from a new sheet of 12mm plywood (1200 x 2400).

It takes 30 deep frames. The half depth mini supers idea is on the back burner for now, but I will probably give it a try sooner or later. I discovered the half depth boxes I have are 8 frames, not 10 frames, and in worse condition than I thought.

The weird entrance on the landing board is because of a design error. We made a few minor miscalculations, which I documented, along with all the dimensions in mm's.




Offline Culley

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 254
    • my beekeeping page on twitter
Re: My idea for a beekeeper with a bad back
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2015, 02:45:21 am »
We put a spring split which had built up to two 8 frame deeps, into the long hive.  :happy: