Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A New Hive Design, the Doublewide

I got this design for the most part from BWrangler. However, his design is not built like a standard deep box, rather his is built as a whole unit more like a topbar hive. As you can see here, this box is built exactly like a regular deep box, only twice as wide so it will be able to use standard tops and bottoms. You can see my standard migratory top/bottom design with my Parker Shims as landing boards. The only difference is that there are two of them side by side. This great open space leaves room for 22 frames if they are kept free of propolis. If there is too much propolis on the spacer parts of the end bars, it won't fit 22.

Below, you can see approximately how the hive would look during the production season, and indeed any other time of the year. Boxes are stacked up just like normal except they are in tandem. It would be possible to use two of the double wide boxes or more to super the hive, but that would make it nigh on impossible to get to the bottom of the hive because a box with 22 frames should weigh somewhere in the range of 200 lbs.

The benefits if they are what I'm told they are will be quite useful. First, the hive will never be more than three boxes tall which makes it easy to work. Secondly, according to BWrangler, this type of hive is his most productive. I hope that it will support a large broodnest and the ability to draw good brood comb for starting a bunch of new hives. I'm planning on starting around six this year if I can swing it. I can split the four I have into four more, and I have already ordered 2 nucs from FatBeeMan. One idea is to take one or two frames of brood from each hive (from each according to his ability) and be able to spin off one new hive per week during good times.

At this point, I just need to get all the tops/bottoms, shims, boxes, and frames ready to go so I'm not scrambling to catch up with hives that are about to swarm this spring.

Sol Parker