It’s been months since my last blog post, but that’s because it’s been the normal fall and winter goings-on: getting hives ready for winter; reading and research during the winter; early spring inspections. But now, something new and exciting to write about: a long Langstroth hive. Not just a top bar and not just a Lang, but a hybrid.
I’ve been interested in a top bar set up for ages, but felt committed to the Lang because I have so much hardware already. All the experts said there’s just no good way to get bees from a Lang into a top bar. But my back was oh-so-tired of lifting heavy honey supers. I just knew there must be a way. Turns out I wasn’t the only one thinking along those lines. Rusty Burlew over at Honey Bee Suite wrote a blog post about a long Lang she called the Valhalla. And I found plans online from an apiary in Canada.
It took much longer to construct than I expected because I had to learn how to use some tools, especially the router. But after working on it off and on for several months, and with some help from my husband, I finally finished building it.
This long box holds 30 medium frames. It has a deep inner cover for extra congregation space. It also has a slatted rack and screened bottom board with slide out Varroa traps.
I painted it a bright yellow with cheery flowers along with the name of my little apiary: Happy Florence Bees.
Today was moving day. I waited until a Saturday so Hial could take video and photos. It’s not easy to take photos while doing bee stuff, plus I always get honey and propolis on the camera.
I reverse-stacked the existing hive boxes and moved brood frames from the hive body and brood chamber first, opening the brood nest by just one frame at each end. There were seven frames of brood. They were of course pretty stirred up by the disassembly of their hive, with lots of unhappy buzzing. Then suddenly the tone changed to a calmer hum. They had found their queen and the brood nest was back together.
After getting all the frames arranged, I placed a long piece of burlap sacking across the top. This prevents exposing the entire hive during inspections.
I went back a little while later and bees were going in and out through the entrance and none were clustered anywhere outside. Good signs they’re satisfied with their new home. Cooler weather is in the forecast, so hopefully they adjust the lateral arrangement quickly. I’ll leave them alone for a week to settle before checking on them.
If this hive is a success, I’ll build a deep version with some modifications of my own.