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Thread: Starting up with Langstroth hives

  1. #1
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    Default Starting up with Langstroth hives

    Hello everyone

    After some experiences with bees and bee farmers back in South of France where I'm from (so sorry in advance for any misspelling and grammatical mistakes!), I live now in Scotland (yes, quite a big climatic change for me ), in Fife, where I would like to take on bee farming. I have registered with the Fife Beekeepers Association last week, as I guess I will get lot of advices and support from them, as well as social interactions!

    I am currently planning to start with 5 colonies on Langstroth hives and, given I'm totally new to scottish beekeeping, I have a few questions:
    - are there any beekeepers managing Langstroth hives in Scotland? (or is it only about National, WBC and Smith? )
    - what kind of Langstroth 'box' is more easy to find/is more used? I knew the Langstroth Standard (~241 mm deep), but I recently discovered there is also a Jumbo (~295 mm), Medium (~170 mm) and Shallow (~144 mm)
    - is it more frequent to run a colony on 2 Standard as a brood box adding others Standard as supers or to use a Jumbo as brood box then adding Standard or Shallow (even Medium) as supers?
    - and finally, are there beekeepers in Fife (as I understood the importance of using a local strain of bees) who could provide me with nuclei on Langstroth frames or would it be easier for me to order packages of bees (ideally from Fife or close)?

    Sorry for this long mail and thanks a lot for any pieces of advice you could give me!

  2. #2
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Your English is better than many native speakers .

    Are you going to the meeting in Dairsie on 11 Feb? If so we could chat there and once spring is underway I'd be happy to show you round my Fife apiaries. I'm building up my numbers of colonies in the hope of raising my income from bees and have been trying to fit in around the existing bee farmers in the area.

    Bees in Scotland (of whatever type) tend not to make such large colonies as elsewhere so Ian Craig uses a system with 2 brood boxes and dummy boards to close down the capacity to 8+8 frames for overwintering.

    The speaker at the beekeeping meeting on 11th posts here and is talking about getting Langstroths. A few others on here use them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    Bonjour Clem
    I'm in Fife but don't use Langstroths. Saying that, one of my strongest colonies (when I checked them all yesterday) is in a Langstroth poly nuc ... bulging at the seams, on National frames
    If you introduce yourself to Gavin at the Dairsie meeting, he'll introduce you to me ... easier than me wearing a red carnation and carrying a copy of The Times.
    Welcome to the forum.
    PS And I thought the speaker already had Langstroths??

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    Thank you Gavin! I would be glad to visit your apiaries one (fine spring) day . I will see you on the 11th in Dairsie!

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    Thanks for the welcome, Fatshark, en francais s'il-vous-plait!
    I will be glad to have a chat with you in Dairsie on 11 Feb.

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    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatshark View Post
    ... easier than me wearing a red carnation and carrying a copy of The Times.
    Welcome to the forum.
    No, no. That's definitely a good idea, wear and carry them! The SBAi official photographer will be waiting .....

    Quote Originally Posted by fatshark View Post
    PS And I thought the speaker already had Langstroths??
    Malheuresement, c'est vrai! J'ai oublié. Je regardais à l'intérieur de ses ruches et lui a montré les danses.

  7. #7
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Aha! The East Neuk. My bees are both sides of the Tay estuary. There is a bee farmer with several hundred colonies in Fife. He's based in the middle but I would imagine he has colonies in the East Neuk too, not sure. There was also a Tayside bee farmer who used to use the E side of Fife but his colony numbers are much reduced and I don't think that he goes S of the Tay these days.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clem View Post
    Hello everyone
    ...
    - what kind of Langstroth 'box' is more easy to find/is more used? I knew the Langstroth Standard (~241 mm deep), but I recently discovered there is also a Jumbo (~295 mm), Medium (~170 mm) and Shallow (~144 mm)
    - is it more frequent to run a colony on 2 Standard as a brood box adding others Standard as supers or to use a Jumbo as brood box then adding Standard or Shallow (even Medium) as supers?
    -
    I started with Jumbo brood boxes. Far less lifting required. Fewer box joins, fewer frames.I use a hive stand about 40cm above ground so inspection is easier.

    I use Shallow frames for honey.. Much lighter and easier to handle.

    Remember a full brood box with honey weighs around 40kg or more! you have to be strong to lift it and have a good back.. And after a few years , you will have a sore back!

    ( I only lift Jumbo brood boxes when moving hives - NEVER for inspections.)

  9. #9
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    I forgot to post a link to Ian Craig's description of his beekeeping system using two brood boxes and dummies.

    I just winter in one brood box (OK, OK, my bees winter in them ... ) for most colonies and go double during the summer for the strong ones. Bees in polystyrene hives build better and more often need the second brood chamber so I'm planning to prepare enough brood boxes to give two to most hives in this coming season.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the link, Gavin, it is very interesting indeed!

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