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Mustang

Just built my first hives

I spent Easter building a couple of Dartington hives. I've not been able to have bees up to now, but now I've moved into a place with a lot more garden, I'm going to jump in.

I got the Dartington Hive plans years ago as it seemed a sensible way to go for a garden-based hive.

I've ordered my bee suit and am going on a refresher 'day' next week. The local beekeeper association has also given me a 'mentor.

So, hopefully I'll get hold of a swarm in the next few weeks or so.

Does anyone here use Dartington Hives?
Cathryn

I've never heard of them. It looks like a squared off top bar? Does this mean you can use Standard frames in them?
Mistress Rose

No, they are a sort that is all in one box or the supers on the end aren't they? As far as I recall they were designed so you didn't have to lift supers off the top, or am I thinking of another sort?

Why did you go for them?
Cathryn

Sounds interesting. I wonder if there are comparative studies about how well bees do in the different sorts of hives.
Mustang

They are a long, deep hive. So, think of 2 deep Nationals, and join them together side-by-side, with the seperator being flexible / removable.

So, the theory goes... normal sized colony set up in one half of the hive. If they look like swarming, you can seperate the colony into each of the 2 sides and continue as 2 hives in one hive. Or, you can let the colony grow into a super colony, using all the space.

The supers go on top. They are normally 1/2 National sized, but you can put on full sized national supers as well. Each 1/2 sized super fits 6 normal sized frames. You can stack supers on top of each other if needed.

The roof can be split into 2 as well, one for each side.

There is an entrance at each end, which can easily be blocked off as needed. The entrances are actually underneath, and is built with an 8mm wide gap. There is a landing board which extends slightly beyond the hive body. The bees land on this and walk underneath, and then jump up through the mouse-proof entrance.

The floor is mesh, so open.

In winter, the colony will move towards the middle to keep warm. There is insulation built into the seperator and the roof as well.

They are the original design for the Beehaus.

Thorne shows and sells them here: http://www.thorne.co.uk/hives-and-bees/hives/dartington

Here's the info by the designer : A couple of sets of brackets is all it takes

All National stuff fits them. They are not really designed to be highly portable, therefore suitable for gardens. But they are designed to deal with swarms easily, to have good overwintering characteristics, are easy to manage (due to half-sized supers), and have the space to allow a large colony (or two) to exist.

To my inexperienced mind, they made sense when I first found them, and am just happy I can now try them out for real.
Cathryn

I can see why you went for this. Please let me know how it goes and especially how well they overwinter.
Tavascarow

I've never heard of them. It looks like a squared off top bar? Does this mean you can use Standard frames in them?

They are in effect a horizontal national, but as Mustang says you have the ability to put supers over the brood as well.
Although IMHO that defeats the best bit about a horizontal hive, i.e. being able to work from one end to the other with minimum disturbance to the bees.
Making one long enough to not need the supers would be better (again IMHO)
It's something I've been considering doing, but time & money have held that one up.
Choice of timber would be more critical as too the dimensions.
Whereas a HTBH can be made from old pallets etc & dimensions aren't critical (other than the width of the top bars).
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