Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

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h2o
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Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby h2o » Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:04 pm

Hi,

I am in the planning phase for a small sized operation ~100 hives for next year.
Already worked with Langstroth for sometime and thinking about the Layens hive but in an 8 frames setup and supering "mainly with mediums" like a regular Lang.

Having an 8 frame setup would provide smaller footprint as we will have to move the bees not less than 2 times a year and not more than 4 times.
also guessing an 8 frame Layens should be good enough keeping the extra size compared to a standard langstroth setup

Would be great to get some input from you guys, what are your thoughts?
Would you recommend a Layens hive , 8 frames?

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby GregV » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:01 am

Just watch this video carefully (in Russian, but does not matter, watch and observe).
It has your answers.
They do exactly what you want to do - they are migratory yard.
The brood chambers are on deep Ukrainian frame/90 degree turned Dadant.
The honey supers are standard shallow Dadant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gExG-W07Efw

8 Layens maybe not enough anyway; I feel about 12 should be.
Basically, your deep frames turned cold way should just about match the shallow honey super frames turned warm way.
So do your own arithmetic and see how it works and do it.
I want to try this setup myself too.

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby h2o » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:16 pm

Thanks a lot for the video , that is exactly what i was looking for :)
I would agree it needs at least 10 if not 12 on the brood box.

What i like about the layens is that it really seems like the natural state of a brood nest. i.e. uninterrupted and oval with the honey directly in contact with the bees like in most cases in a tree cavity for example.

Hope to be going forward with this setup and will for sure post some pics when possible.

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby GregV » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:25 pm

h2o wrote:Thanks a lot for the video , that is exactly what i was looking for :)
I would agree it needs at least 10 if not 12 on the brood box....


Yes, exactly.
You got it.
DeepFrameConfiguration.jpg
DeepFrameConfiguration.jpg (115.13 KiB) Viewed 314 times

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby Varroa Apiary » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:30 am

Yes. The same situation is in Warsaw hive. Enough food for winter in the end of the brood season is 1/3-1/2 honey storage up on the frame center of the nest and 2/3 honey storage on the lateral frames of the nest.

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:16 pm

You assume that bees only live in vertical hollow spaces in trees. They live in horizontal ones in trees as well. They also live in any other hollow spaces they can find other than trees, horizontal or vertical. Bees have no trouble moving horizontally. If they did then horizontal hives would not have been the traditional hive of Russia and Scandinavia for the past several centuries and they are still popular. By this time of year most all the bees in Nebraska are in the top box of the Langstroth hives and will spend the winter there. My horizontal hives do just as well as my vertical hives.

http://www.swienty.com/shop/default.asp?catid=1085
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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby GregV » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:34 pm

Michael Bush wrote:You assume that bees only live in vertical hollow spaces in trees. They live in horizontal ones in trees as well. They also live in any other hollow spaces they can find other than trees, horizontal or vertical. Bees have no trouble moving horizontally. If they did then horizontal hives would not have been the traditional hive of Russia and Scandinavia for the past several centuries and they are still popular. By this time of year most all the bees in Nebraska are in the top box of the Langstroth hives and will spend the winter there. My horizontal hives do just as well as my vertical hives.

http://www.swienty.com/shop/default.asp?catid=1085



Michael, do keep in mind that all those horizontal hives in Russia and Scandinavia are really, really well insulated.
A very significant difference.
Heritage horizontal hives had typical straw and cat-tale insulation which also provided excellent moisture management (until they switched to modern materials which messed up the moisture management badly and only now being rethought again).

Shallow frame KTB/Lang horizontal hives with no insulation in Russia and Scandinavia stand little chance (you should see comments about them on the local beekeeping forums - which I do read :D ).

Bees will not have many chances to move side-ways and freeze in place, food-less.
In fact, even conventional Dadants/Langs routinely freeze in place - food-less.
They DO have trouble moving horizontally very much in steady cold winters.

PS: US Mid West, Nebraska included, has very crazy winter swings where cold spells alternate with warm temperatures and this allows bees to regroup;
most places in Russia, for example, are much less forgiving that way;
the bees are stuck on the same frame for months at a time - the only way to move is UP and UP.

PPS: horizontals on deep Dadant frames are doing OK in those same regions but require careful management as Dadant deep frame is marginally OK for wintering; meanwhile heritage deep frames are pretty much automatic/low maintenance version - bees take care of themselves.
Last edited by GregV on Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:46 pm

>In fact, even conventional Dadants/Langs routinely freeze in place - food-less.

Exactly. Which indicates it's not the direction that is the issue. It's the cold.

>Mid West, Nebraska included, has very crazy winter swings where cold spells alternate with warm temperatures and this allows bees to regroup;

Not always, but usually yes. I have seen winters where it did not warm up from October until almost May.
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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby GregV » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:49 pm

Michael Bush wrote:>In fact, even conventional Dadants/Langs routinely freeze in place - food-less.

Exactly. Which indicates it's not the direction that is the issue. It's the cold.

>Mid West, Nebraska included, has very crazy winter swings where cold spells alternate with warm temperatures and this allows bees to regroup;

Not always, but usually yes. I have seen winters where it did not warm up from October until almost May.


Well, with proper hive/frame design - cold is a non-issue.
Bees can move UP no matter how cold that is.
So the deep frames support that configuration by default.
Shallow frames - not.

The gaps between the hive bodies are also a problem - hence, like I said, even vertical Langs/Dadants routinely freeze in place (due to vertical move being obstructed).

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:23 pm

Bees here spend the winter in the top box. How will they move up? The gaps have never stopped my bees from moving from box to box. It in no way slows them down. In fact the cluster usually spans the gap and the bees move from side to side more easily with a gap in the middle of the cluster.
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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby Varroa Apiary » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:01 pm

Michael Bush wrote: If they did then horizontal hives would not have been the traditional hive of Russia and Scandinavia for the past several centuries and they are still popular


Same in Poland but with all respect Michael, You have to consider that these are narrow and
tall frames and according to the traditional way of beekeeping here (in horizontal Warsaw, Lewicki hives, less in Dadant) we condense the nest for the winter to the area that occupies wintering bees. The bees storaged honey on the top and have last brood and starting wintering on the bottom of the tall frames. Then we close the narrowed nest now with straw mats on the both sides and on the top with a warm cushion. In Poland, there are still use wooden bars that are inserted between the frames on the top. Consequently, with this way of beekeeping, despite the fact that it is a horizontal hive, actually bees wintering like in the vertical hive with no horizontal space beetween frames with preserved the vertical continuity of the comb (not like in segment corpus hive).
Last edited by Varroa Apiary on Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby GregV » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:15 pm

Michael Bush wrote:Bees here spend the winter in the top box. How will they move up? The gaps have never stopped my bees from moving from box to box. It in no way slows them down. In fact the cluster usually spans the gap and the bees move from side to side more easily with a gap in the middle of the cluster.


It is not given that the bees spend the winter in the top box.
Some do; some start in the middle and move up; some start at the bottom and move up.

My bees start on the comb bottoms because of how I configure my hives (I posted frame and wintering hive pictures).

With your top entrances - they will tend to do the entire winter in the top because the bottom is too cold to sit there efficiently.
It makes sense as they need to compensate for the warm air continuously escaping the hive.
Then they CAN move about more freely along the very ceiling (where a buffer of more warm air is present).

Look, vertical multi-body hives are doing OK in most of the US.
Generally, US still has pretty mild/short winters, and long/warm summers, to compare to other places (relevant to this global forum).

But wait... we are still talking of horizontal hives here.
One thing is to jump a frame over (a pretty good chance to do this successfully).
Another thing is to cross several frames to get to the honey still left (much less likely).
With the deep frame configuration, no need to jump several frames. Not even one.

Well known beekeeper in my county dropped his KTB experiments and gave me all bunch of honey combs from dead-out KTBs (great deal to feed my nucs). He is sticking with the standard Langs as KTB experiments are no longer worth his time (he says). This is South Central WI.

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:38 pm

>It is not given that the bees spend the winter in the top box.

Nothing in beekeeping is 100% but I've seldom seen an exception here.

>With your top entrances - they will tend to do the entire winter in the top because the bottom is too cold to sit there efficiently.

I had them with bottom entrances only for 30 years. They still wintered in the top box and everyone who I talk to here (almost all of which have bottom entrances) say the same.

>Look, vertical multi-body hives are doing OK in most of the US.

In my experience and observing bees all over, any box that is not overly large or overly small does fine in most of the US.
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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby GregV » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:50 pm

Michael Bush wrote:>It is not given that the bees spend the winter in the top box.

Nothing in beekeeping is 100% but I've seldom seen an exception here.

>With your top entrances - they will tend to do the entire winter in the top because the bottom is too cold to sit there efficiently.

I had them with bottom entrances only for 30 years. They still wintered in the top box and everyone who I talk to here (almost all of which have bottom entrances) say the same.

>Look, vertical multi-body hives are doing OK in most of the US.

In my experience and observing bees all over, any box that is not overly large or overly small does fine in most of the US.


This "top wintering thing" needs classifications.

Is it that cluster started on the top and stayed on the top all winter OR is it the cluster started down below and ended up on the top after few weeks/months. I suspect, lots of those who claim the "top wintering" actually report the latter cases.
IF, indeed, they spend the entire winter on the top, they for sure need to scour the nest right and left and back and forth for the stores (no way up).

So I am watching the latest YouTube video reports on popular beekeeping channels nightly.
(Many are showing the wintering preparation status for 2017/2018; I watch them as my nightly news as I hate the real news anymore).

You can observe a large variety.
Few cases are already on top as of end of October... They just jump up at once. But these are rather few.

Typical Dandant/Ukranian frame clusters start low at this time, as well as in front of the entrance and slowly work their way up.
So these are the real case deep horizontal hive keepers we are talking about.
You can find none of these in the USA, so hard to talk to "everyone" because they virtually do not exit in the USA (well, me, and Leo Sharashin with his Layens' and few people who are off-line) :D .

(talking of typical 12-framers and wider, single level, classic horizontals up to 20-24 frames here; mostly cold way but some warm way too; mine are hybrid-way as my entrances are at the corners and the frames are shifted to the mid-hive).

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:08 am

My bees are on one deep dadant this winter, I took away the top boxes in august before they reduced bee number.
Last year was two deep arrangement.

They arranged the overwintering broodnest totally different than last fall.

Our climate is moderate. Last year the fall broodnest looked the same asit was arranged the rest of year. Honey was at the sides, brood in the middle up to the top bar. No domes.
Honey was in the top deep.

Now they arranged the honey stores in high domes around the patches of brood, on the side opposite entrance ( bottom) they filled the cells to the bottom. On the bottom is pollen. The broodnest patches are big as a hand and were on 4-5 frames. The side frames are filled with honey.
Every frame is an arrangement in itself.

This is the deadout ( varroa) I had, you can see the arrangement they did central frame, the domes later were as high as half of the frames in the other hives.
That was in september before more honey from fall flow was stored.
Later the brood nests were reduced and the surrounded honey stores expanded.

Varroa Oktober 17 86maa.jpg
Varroa Oktober 17 86maa.jpg (675.69 KiB) Viewed 213 times



I have yet to see if this is an improvement.
Last winter some starved on big stores because they did not leave the brood they already had.
So now I hope the stores on one frame are sufficient for one brood circle and then the bees might move sideways.

Seems more natural to me , compared with pictures I saw showing comb in trees.
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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby Michael Bush » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:20 am

>Is it that cluster started on the top and stayed on the top all winter OR is it the cluster started down below and ended up on the top after few weeks/months. I suspect, lots of those who claim the "top wintering" actually report the latter cases.
IF, indeed, they spend the entire winter on the top, they for sure need to scour the nest right and left and back and forth for the stores (no way up).

In September they are almost always at the bottom. In October they are usually at the bottom. By November they are usually at the top and remain there all winter.
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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby GregV » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:09 pm

Michael Bush wrote:>Is it that cluster started on the top and stayed on the top all winter OR is it the cluster started down below and ended up on the top after few weeks/months. I suspect, lots of those who claim the "top wintering" actually report the latter cases.
IF, indeed, they spend the entire winter on the top, they for sure need to scour the nest right and left and back and forth for the stores (no way up).

In September they are almost always at the bottom. In October they are usually at the bottom. By November they are usually at the top and remain there all winter.


OK, I will post a recent video for equipment on the Ukranian frame I just watched - dated January 2016.
This is from the channel of a very well respected Ukranian beekeeper.
He is 100% Ukranian frame; mostly horizontal hives; few vertical too.

So in January/February his bees are still down there and still working up...
This is consistently.

Added the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y5DlwvEfHU
Dated January 30, 2016 (just one of many he has published; he speaks Ukranian in his videos, but also fluent in Russian in the comments).
Just watch minutes 8 to 10.
He comments in the audio how the cluster is still "down" there.
This is a typical case with him as well as a demonstrated argument against the Dadant frame (where bees come to the top too early and then start wandering right and left looking for stores, which is risky).
Last edited by GregV on Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby GregV » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:21 pm

SiWolKe wrote:.... you can see the arrangement they did central frame, the domes later were as high as half of the frames in the other hives.
..


These kinds of frames (mostly empty; like the pictured) should be removed from the wintering nest completely.

I hope, SiWolKe, you reduce the nest for winter.
If your bees winter on 5-9 deep Dadant frames, you are probably OK.
If more than that, this is not a good sign.
With single-level wide Dadants, it is a good practice to reduce the wintering nest to the only number of frames that bees cover.
Any frames not covered with bee is a liability and should be removed until spring.

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby GregV » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:09 pm

I will plug a book here just because I am a fan (not mine; I have nothing to do with the book).

Here is a picture from the book.
ClusterFormingDiffFrames.jpg
ClusterFormingDiffFrames.jpg (40.71 KiB) Viewed 160 times


I will let the author of this blog to talk about the book as they are doing a fine job already:
http://happyhourtopbar.blogspot.com/201 ... ontal.html

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby Varroa Apiary » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:48 am

This picture is not always true. Well it depend of the genetics of colony. In Polish climate local bees (usually AMM like augustowska borowka forest bee) winter cluster in Warsaw (Lewicki) frame is near the sphere.
But in Ukrainian frame (Warsaw expanded or rotated dadant) has empty cells on the sides.

[i]"In the ordinary Warsaw narrow hive with a narrow frame, the winter cluster occupy the whole (or almost all) of its width, and the form of the cluster is similar to the sphere, a figure that provides little heat loss on its surface, with a large proportion to the surface of the number of bees. In addition, the honey store are collected only over the cluster, and the movement of the food as it is consumed is in one direction, from which there is no fear of break the cluster in the winter, encountered at wide and low frames, and the warmth pulsing from the cluster, which gradually warms up honey storage, preventing them from sugaring and fermentation, all of which produce very favorable winter conditions for bees in this type of hive."[/i]

Wanda Ostrowska "Gospodarka pasieczna w ulu warszawskim zwykłym" "Beekeeping in Warsaw classic hive" 1983

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby GregV » Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:28 pm

Varroa Apiary wrote:This picture is not always true....


I would agree.
I feel that the book author does favor his own frame subjectively.
I, for example, disagree with his argument that "ukranian hives are too small and swarmy" and that's why he chose a different, larger frame route.

It is still a good book in my view because it promotes
1)local, treatment-free bees and
2)deep, no-gap combs that are more optimal for seasonal bee cycles.

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby GregV » Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:42 pm

Here is a quick 4 minute video (in Russian); the locality is in Ukraine.
January 26, 2016.
Just observe as the keeper quickly checks his hives.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksFCfPEiwn4

Typical (as Michael said) - bees are on top and started to wander around as they can not go up and are forced to move around.
The keeps talking of a need to feed them (most likely by placing a packet of crystallized honey on the frames - a usual way).

The real issue - Dadant frame.
The remaining stores are still available but are horizontally distributed and this is a major issue.
More narrow, deep frames don't allow this to happen by design.

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby GregV » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:51 pm

Just to show good wintering on narrow/deep frame is a common thing (not just a single beekeeper phenomenon).
Below is video posted on February 13, 2017 by some other fellow (filmed on February 10, 2017).
Ukraine.
Deep horizontal hive on Ukranian frame.
Starting minute 1:20 observe the frames - the bees are way, way below the top bar - in February.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf-tziv9N0Y

So, there is plenty of factual evidence of how narrow/deep frames are superior on many ways in temperate climates with cold winters.
Superior wintering and overall better beehive climate in cold temperatures are demonstrated.
These benefits might turn into disadvantage in mild/hot climates with no significant winters, so to be clear.

One potential issue with these deep configurations - the bees will explode in spring and be ready to swarm much faster then with wide-shallow frames (really, a good thing, just needs management adjustment).

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Re: Thoughts for TF small startup using Layens

Postby SiWolKe » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:11 pm

GregV wrote:
SiWolKe wrote:.... you can see the arrangement they did central frame, the domes later were as high as half of the frames in the other hives.
..


These kinds of frames (mostly empty; like the pictured) should be removed from the wintering nest completely.

I hope, SiWolKe, you reduce the nest for winter.
If your bees winter on 5-9 deep Dadant frames, you are probably OK.
If more than that, this is not a good sign.
With single-level wide Dadants, it is a good practice to reduce the wintering nest to the only number of frames that bees cover.
Any frames not covered with bee is a liability and should be removed until spring.


Once again you answer before studying my post. I posted this pict was made in september.
I´m not able to reduce once again my configuration. I´m now on one deep and the space is needed for stores.
On each side capped honey is stored and these store are necessary in moderate climate because the bees need more stores when they are actively moving around never doing a brood brake like it is here.
If I reduced the frames like you advise there would have been no place for fall flow.
All frames are filled with stores now. They need 15-25 kg of stores in my climate which means 5 to 8 frames of honey at the sides. Spring often is rainy and can´t be used for nectar forage so I have to prepare. So far I never had hives starved, so it´s one mistake I never did.

I have yet to see a colony reduce the combs in a natural setting.

Seems like you feel a mentor here. To me MB is the mentor, if Sol is not interested as it seems. I don´t like to be offensive but I rather listen to tf beekeepers who are successful over years.
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