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Converting to lighter beekeeping equipment
Mediums instead of deeps
My first step in the direction of lighter beekeeping equipment was trying horizontal hives, which I like a lot. But I still had a lot of old equipment around, so I started cutting the deeps down to mediums and quit using deeps and shallows. Then I cut the ten frame boxes to eight frames. If you want to understand why, a ten frame deep full of honey weighs 90 pounds (41kg). A ten frame medium weighs 60 pounds (27kg). An eight frame medium weighs 48 pounds (22kg).
On the left is a "typical" beekeeping setup as recommended in the books. From bottom to top it is: a bottom board, two deep boxes for the brood, a queen excluder, two shallow supers an inner cover and a telescopic cover. This is not what I typically run. The one on the right is one of my vertical hives. Not exactly what I'm currently running as I now run eight frame mediums and I do them the "cold" way (the entrance on the short side). I also don’t do the slatted racks anymore, not because I don't like them, but because I didn't want to buy or build 200 of them for the eight frame hives when I expanded. This one has a slatted rack with some #8 hardware cloth for a bottom, four medium boxes for brood and honey (no excluder) and a migratory top with a shim on both sides to make a top entrance. Using all the same size frames greatly simplifies beekeeping management as any honey can be used for winter feed and any brood found in the supers can be moved back down since the frames are all interchangeable. Leaving out the excluder helps prevent a honey bound brood nest and doesn't restrict the bees working the supers. It also saves having to have a bottom entrance because the drones can get out the top (no excluder to stop them).
These are more my current typical hive. All eight frame medium boxes. No excluders. Solid bottoms that double as feeder. Simple flat covers with top entrances..
The one on the left is a ten frame hive with an eight frame super. The one on the right is a ten frame hive between two eight frame hives.
Eight frame instead of ten frame
I'm still tired of heavy beekeeping boxes, so lately I've been buying eight frame boxes. But I still have a lot of tens. Here's a couple of tens for the bottom followed by eights on top. The board on the side covers the crack. The next picture is a ten frame hive between two eight frame hives. Last time I went through the hives I didn't lift a single box because all the clusters were at the top and couldn't figure out why my back hurt when I got done. Then I remembered the concrete blocks. I think I'm going to start wiring the lids on with baling wire and get rid of the blocks. But those 60 mph (97 km/hr) winds tend to blow the lids off without them and blow the hives over sometimes in spite of them.
Cutting deep frames down to medium
I cut down all my deep beekeeping boxes and frames. The left picture is what I did with the solid bottom bars. The picture on the right is what I did with the broken bottom bars and split bottom bars. I made a new bottom bar from the corner of a one by.
Cutting ten frame boxes down to eight frame
I am now cutting down all my 10 frame medium beekeeping boxes and bottom boards. Here is the sequence of events to make a 10 frame box and Brushy Mountain screened bottom board into an 8 frame. The handsaw cut is to finish the skill saw cut square because of the curve of the blade to make the small ears on the ends.
Hope you enjoyed the pictures,
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