Author Topic: Square Hives  (Read 2492 times)

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Offline Newbee

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Square Hives
« on: February 25, 2015, 01:22:13 pm »
Has anyone ever worked w/ square hives?

I'm looking at building my own, and believe I want to build all medium-sized Langstroth style hives. They have a rectangular shape… however I've read a few online posts about folks building them square, and setting in 11-13 frames vs. the typical 8-10?

THanks.

- K

Offline apisbees

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Re: Square Hives
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2015, 03:01:04 pm »
The bees are not near as fussy or opinionated as the beekeepers that keep them. That being said bees can be content in any type and size of hive but depending on hive type and configuration the management of said hive may need to be modified. For a new beekeeper with little experience and relying on the advice of others asking questions about bees when they are in a hive setup that few are familiar with could lead to receiving bad advice. If the beekeeping adventure doesn't work out and you need to sell or are offered a good deal on equiptment, standard size equiptment will be easier to sell. Some hive components that you may need to purchase like queen excluders are only available in standard hive sizes. In the end it is up to you but for me it's standard Langstroth size hive.
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Offline Perry

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Re: Square Hives
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2015, 05:29:19 pm »
Apis has just given out an incredibly worthwhile post. :yes:
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Offline riverbee

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Re: Square Hives
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2015, 07:32:39 pm »
what apis said!!!  ............. :yes:
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if you obey the rules, you miss all the fun.....katherine hepburn
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Square Hives
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2015, 07:41:27 pm »
Apis has just given out an incredibly worthwhile post. :yes:
   Agreed here too.
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Offline LogicalBee

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Re: Square Hives
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2015, 09:21:04 pm »
Yep, I’ve listened to Brother Adam (from Buckfast Abbey in the UK) and tried 12 frame hives.  They work fine but as apis says IF you want to use standard parts like queen excluders, top feeders, the latest super duper bottom board, then you’re out of luck.  Since I use none of that stuff, I couldn’t care less.  Sometimes we logical people are called square though. :'( 

It sounds to me like you’re interested in this more as a hobby and learning experience than a money making one.  Hence I wouldn’t worry about resale value of a 13 frame box if you want to try it.  Heck that’s only about $5 worth of wood.  People waste that much on a cup of coffee everyday.

The beauty of bee keeping is there are very few absolute rules and nobody really knows what they’re doing anyways, so we’re all learning all the time. 

Offline riverbee

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Re: Square Hives
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2015, 09:42:59 pm »
"The beauty of bee keeping is there are very few absolute rules and nobody really knows what they’re doing anyways, so we’re all learning all the time."

well said logical.......... well except for the part about not knowing what we are doing............i like to think i know what i am doing...... :D
few absolute rules?   :yes:  learning all the time?  :yes:
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Square Hives
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2015, 08:47:54 am »
The idea was tried by me four years ago or so..  I only tried it because I thought it would be easier to cut all the boards for the box the same length.   As it turned out, the bees didnt want to use the outer 4 frames. Even when they were drawn they were often ignored. COme fall they did get filled with honey, but come spring the honey was still in them. It worked OK to rotate that honey into nucs or up where it would be used, but overall I finally decided it was a waste of space and resources, and cut them down. If you try it, you may decide differently.
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Offline LogicalBee

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Re: Square Hives
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2015, 11:20:59 am »
It takes a large colony to use all 12 frames.  It’s been a while since I read Brother Adams book, but I seem to recall his reasoning for going to 12 frames was to encourage larger colonies, larger foraging forces and hence larger honey yields.  He also used deeper Dadant style brood frames.  Brother Adam did a lot of experimenting and keep bees for about 80 years so I figured he almost knew what he was doing. ;D 

However it’s a much different climate in the UK than it is here, so what worked great for him doesn’t necessarily mean it would work as well for all the different climates we have in the USA. 

If you’re leaning toward an all medium setup which seems to be a modern trend, you would probably want to think twice, or more, about going to 12 frames wide because of the weight.  Brother Adam used shallower supers to keep the weight somewhat reasonable.   But if you mix mediums with shallows, then you’re back to the interchangeability problem the all medium folks seem to obsess about.  I suppose a possible solution to that problem might be to use 12 wide mediums for the brood and reduce to 8 or 10 frames for the honey supers.

I run medium framed nucs, a few medium framed hives, and large brood frames for the rest.   Medium supers for everything. 

For the hobbyist the best design is probably the one that is easiest for the bee keeper to manipulate because the bees don’t care that much; they’ll make do.
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Offline Sour Kraut

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Re: Square Hives
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2017, 11:19:51 am »
I've been running a square ( 13 frames, probably should have spaced them to a total of 12, may do it before winter) for two years

IF you have a really good queen, she will fill both boxes with brood and you will have a population that is quite frankly, unbelievable

They are on their third medium-13 frame super right now

Weight:  Build it, and put it on a sturdy stand, cause it's not going anywhere without some serious muscle power