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Hi All,

We're excited to join the forum! We've been keeping bees for 12 years, and currently keep 8 colonies in 3 standard Langstroths and 5 horizontal Langstroths. There's a wealth of knowledge on beekeepingforums, so thank you all in advance...we're always learning.

Regarding our horizontal Langstroths, we've been working on building a fun, intuitive, and versatile hive design for about 4 years, and after 6 prototypes, we've come up with a great horizontal hive designed to keep 1 mature colony, or raise up to 4 nucleus colonies. We've really enjoyed bringing these hives into our beeyard. We named it the Bright Hive, and it's great for beekeepers that either 1) don't want to lift bee boxes, 2) don't love the management issues of top bar hives, or 3) want an easy way to raise nucs and sustain their apiary. We've partnered with Orr Bee Supply (creator of the Swarm Bandit) outside of Asheville, NC to produce these hives due to the amount of interest we've had in them. They're made from 100% cypress and stainless steel hardware.

We look forward to sharing our adentures in beekeeping! Feel free to ask us any questions about the Bright Hive (www.thebrighthive.com), or beekeeping with horizontal hives in general.

-Chris
 

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welcome aboard, whats your coldest weather down there? I have a question about the usage of that type hive in cold climates..
 

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that sounds pretty interesting. Are the horizontal hives deeps or Illinois mediums?
 

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welcome aboard, whats your coldest weather down there? I have a question about the usage of that type hive in cold climates..
We're zone 6b, so most of the time, our coldest winter nights are in the 20s. But for a few weeks each winter, we'll get into the teens and single digits. Our winter winds here on the mountain whip through from the north, but because these hives are solid and well insulated, we've never had issues with them overwintering.

I'm happy to answer any questions!
 

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that sounds pretty interesting. Are the horizontal hives deeps or Illinois mediums?
Thanks- we love these hives. They're deeps. We've used medium long boxes in the past, but they didn't provide enough room for our bees to build up and still allow a decent harvest honey (that's our experience with most top bar hives, too). But, I have taken drawn medium frames and installed them into these deep long boxes, and the bees simply draw comb off the bottoms of the medium frames, essentially turning them into deeps.
 

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I use medium frames foundationless in cutouts or when I am in a hurry to add a box in spring, and they do the same, build out comb and drape it off the bottom, the shorter bottom piece of the frame reinforces the comb.
 

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We're zone 6b, so most of the time, our coldest winter nights are in the 20s. But for a few weeks each winter, we'll get into the teens and single digits. Our winter winds here on the mountain whip through from the north, but because these hives are solid and well insulated, we've never had issues with them overwintering.

I'm happy to answer any questions!
seems like in very cold weather the bees wont be able to ball around food, as a stack able hive they can easily move up and down and when adding supplemental patties it will be right ontop of them, that long hive doesnt seem like it would be beneficial for long cold winters..also how do you keep brood out of honey frames since you cant put queen excluders unlike a stacked hive, have you studied how the queen moves around that long hive to lay eggs?
when you talk about nucleus colonies in the same box but separated by dividers how do multiple queens react with each ones pheromones mixing in one big box, the dividers are not air tight so wouldnt that cause issues?
 

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seems like in very cold weather the bees wont be able to ball around food, as a stack able hive they can easily move up and down and when adding supplemental patties it will be right ontop of them, that long hive doesnt seem like it would be beneficial for long cold winters..also how do you keep brood out of honey frames since you cant put queen excluders unlike a stacked hive, have you studied how the queen moves around that long hive to lay eggs?
when you talk about nucleus colonies in the same box but separated by dividers how do multiple queens react with each ones pheromones mixing in one big box, the dividers are not air tight so wouldnt that cause issues?
1) Horizontal hives, whether top bar or long boxes overwinter fine as long as you arrange the frames in the fall so that the brood nest is on one side, and the honey frames are on the other. The bees don't have a problem moving horizontally throughout the winter, but they do have trouble changing directions. So, if you have your brood frames in the middle of the hive, and solid frames of honey on each side, you're more likely to have issues. This is a pretty standard top bar hive management technique. Michael Bush actually addresses overwintering top bar hives on his site. He overwinters horizontal Langstroth hives in Nebraska, and he quotes a book where they're overwintered successfully in Scandinavia. I've never had a problem in NC or VA. http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#winter

2) Regarding keeping the queen out of the honey: this is actually addressed on the same page above. In my experience with these hives (5 years now), 90% of the time the queen keeps a concise brood nest, and doesn't have the desire to lay all over the hive...so I don't need a queen excluder. Some queens do like to wander all over the place (this happens with standard Langstroths, too), so you can either a) use a frame of capped honey to use as a natural queen excluder, or b) cut down a plastic queen excluder and use that in the horizontal hive. Since I keep standard Langs and horizontal Langs, I always have a capped honey frame I can stick into a horizontal hive if the queen's not keeping a compact brood nest. Again, it's uncommon.

3) Regarding multiple nucs in the same hive: this is done fairly commonly by beekeepers who simply put a divider board in a 10-frame Langstroth deep box and raise two, 4-frame nuc colonies in the same hive with a shared inner cover and roof. The queens and the bees don't have a desire to fight if they have their own space. Watch Michael Palmer's 'Sustainable Apiary' on youtube for good examples of this. The divider boards on my hives are actually fairly 'air-tight'-- they come right up to the bottom of the inner covers, and there's only 1/16" airspace laterally that the bees tend to propolize up anyway. They're also 3/4" solid Cypress, not thin plywood. We also use solid Cypress bottom boards. We've never had a management issue with keeping 4 nucs in one place, and they all seem to benefit from each other's heat in the winter. They like to cluster against the divider board....so 2 colonies overwinter happily next to each other, less than 1" away!
 

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interesting info, but ill stick with my standard hives and the price of the bright hive is a big nut compared to standard hive boxes, but it does look nice so someone looking to keep bees for fun and yard art may try it..
 

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interesting info, but ill stick with my standard hives and the price of the bright hive is a big nut compared to standard hive boxes, but it does look nice so someone looking to keep bees for fun and yard art may try it..
I agree, there's nothing wrong with standard Langstroth boxes if you're willing and able to lift them (we have 3). Our Bright hives are simple and fun if you want a hive that's easier to work. Regarding price, Cypress is over 3x the cost of pine, and stainless steel hardware is 5x the cost of zinc plated hardware. So, you get what you pay for. Most of our customers are those who like top bar hive beekeeping, but want the added perks of Langstroth compatibility. There are a lot of people out there who physically cannot, or mentally do not want to, lift hive bodies and supers. We think the Bright Hive provides the best of both worlds. Every beekeeper's different!
 

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agreed, its a specialized hive setup for those that cant handle or want a fancier hive than the standard ones...I still would be curious how they winter in a true northern climate where the winters are long and cold...down by you winters are warmer and shorter with warm times between the cold times....
 
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