Presentation on theme: "Lighter Equipment & Top Entrances"— Presentation transcript:
1Lighter Equipment & Top Entrances Copyright 2007 by Michael Bush
2Lighter Boxes"Friends don't let friends lift deeps" Jim Fischer of Fischer's BeeQuick
3Lighter Boxes Ten Frame boxes: Deep, Langstroth Deep 9 5/8" lbs Brood & ExtractingMedium, Illinois , ¾, Western 6 5/8" lbs Brood & Extracting & CombShallow 5 ¾" or 5 11/16" lbs Comb & ExtractingThe hardest thing for me about beekeeping is lifting. Boxes full of honey are heavy. Deep boxes full of honey are VERY heavy. I know some will argue that the deeps should have brood in them and therefore not be full of honey, but sooner or later they WILL be full of honey. There may be some disagreement as to the exact weights of a full box of honey, but in my experience this is a pretty good synopsis of sizes of boxes and typical uses for them:
4Lighter Boxes Eight Frame boxes: Deep, Langstroth Deep 9 5/8" lbs Brood & ExtractingMedium, Illinois, ¾, Western 6 5/8" lbs Brood & Extracting & CombShallow 5 ¾" or 5 11/16" lbs Comb and ExtractingIf you want a grasp of these and don't have a hive yet, go to the hardware store and stack up two fifty pound boxes of nails or, at the feed store, two fifty pound bags of feed. This is approximately the weight of a full deep. Now take one off and lift one box. This is approximately the weight of a full eight frame medium.I find I can lift about fifty pounds pretty well, but more is usually a strain that leaves me hurting the next few days. The most versatile size frame is a medium and a box of them that weighs about 50 pounds is an eight frame.So, first I converted all my deeps into mediums. It was a huge improvement over the occasional deep full of honey I had to lift. I still got tired of lifting 60 pound boxes, so I cut the ten frame mediums down to eight frame mediums. I'm really liking them. They are a comfortable weight to lift all day long and not be in pain for the next week. Any lighter and I might be tempted to try to lift two. Any heavier and I'm wishing it was a shade lighter.
5Gravity increasing?I'm wondering how many aging beekeepers have been forced to give up bees because they hurt themselves lifting deeps and it hasn't occurred to them there are other choices?
6Richard Taylor said:"...no man's back is unbreakable and even beekeepers grow older. When full, a mere shallow super is heavy, weighing forty pounds or more. Deep supers, when filled, are ponderous beyond practical limit."
8All one size frameThe frame is the basic element of a modern bee hive. Even if you have various sized boxes (as far as the number of frames they hold) if the frames are all the same depth you can put them in any of your boxes.
9Advantages to all one size You can:Put brood up a box to "bait" the bees up.Put honey combs in for food wherever you need it.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.Run an unlimited brood nest with no excluder and if there is brood anywhere you can move it anywhere else.
10Cutting down to mediums I cut all my boxes and frames down to mediums.The boxes, are easy. Just cut 3” off the bottom of a deep or add 11/16” to a shallow.
11Cutting down frames to mediums Set a table saw fence to 6 ¼”.Run the frames through the table saw to cut off the bottom.Set a table saw fence to 3/8”.Run the ends of the bottom through and cut off the end bars.Put the resultant bottom bar between the two end bars and nail.
28Advantages to only a top entrance Tall grass doesn’t block accessDeep snow doesn’t block accessDead bees don't block the entrance in winterNo need for mouse guardsNo skunks or opossums eating the beesCombine with a SBB for excellent ventilationMigratory covers are simpler and cheaperHive can be 8 inches lower for less liftingWhen supering horizontal hives, bees have to go through the superLess condensation in the winterSundance II pollen traps easy adjustment
29Easy top entranceYou can just add shims under your inner cover or a migratory cover
30Making a top entrance cover Shingle shims on a simple plywood square
31Making a top entrance cover Nailing and gluing the shims
32Making a top entrance cover Finished top, upside down
36CaveatsRemember, if you have no bottom entrance and you use an excluder you will need some kind of drone escape on the bottom for them to get out. A 3/8" hole will do.
37Bottom Feeders Classic Jay Smith bottom feeder Made from a standard solid bottom so no extra equipment to buyCan double as a cover and top entrance for the hive below
38Modified Bottom Feeder Screened fill areaNo bottom entrance (less robbing issues)Provides reduced entrance below for a top entrance on stacked nucs or hivesAllows feeding stacked hives without unstacking
44More information concerning top entrances, lighter equipment, natural cell size and varroa, horizontal hives, queen rearing, general beekeeping, observation hives and many other topics.Many classic queen rearing books.Huber’s New Observations on the Natural History of BeesPicture from Jay Smith’s Better Queens
45Contact bees at bushfarms dot com www.bushfarms.com Book: The Practical Beekeeper