Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Double-Walled Insulated Horizontal Hives with Extra Deep Frames

5/10 - Corrected spelling of "Liedlich." Sharashkin's wife is the artist, not Lazutin's wife. Added additional details about European bees, timing of honey harvest, and insulation as provided by David Liedlich.

For a long time now, I've been curious about the traditional hives horizontal hives used in Eastern Europe, but I haven't really found much info on them. Most likely, that's my fault since I haven't done much looking. However, I hit a jackpot at my last local beekeeping meeting when a fellow club member, David Liedlich, gave a talk on his newest experiment -- the Russian long hive!

This is going to be an unusual post in that it's going to present the highlights from a talk that featured the highlights of a different talk, but it's all good, right?

For Christmas 2013, David Liedlich mentioned that he gave his wife a copy of the book Keeping Bees with a Smile by Fedor Lazutin. The book, as you may have guessed from the author's name, is by a Russian beekeeper who uses traditional horizontal Russian hives. Originally published in Russian in 2009, it was translated into English in 2013. After reading the book, Liedlich and his wife became fascinated by Lazutin's ideas and traveled to the Ozarks to hear him give a presentation last fall. (Note: Although Lazutin speaks some English, the talk was in Russian, and translated by his editor, Leo Sharashkin.) The presentation Liedlich gave to our club is based on the talk he heard last year.

Traditional Russian hive. Sharashkin's wife is an artist and decorates his hives.

About Fedor Lazutin
Sadly, Lazutin passed away this past February from a brain tumor. However, prior to that, he and his wife, Lena, kept approximately 100 hives in the Kaluga region of Russia (approximately 150 miles outside of Moscow.) The conditions in this region are quite similar in terms of temperature and forage time to Zone 4 in the US (e.g., New Hampshire and Vermont).

Red shows the Kaluga region.

Fedor began his beekeeping career with Caucasian bees in Dadant hives. However, he suffered so many losses that he decided there had to be a better way. As a result, he began researching historical beekeeping to see how things were done in the past. This led him to beekeeping in traditional Russian hives.

He says that he never uses any kind of treatments for diseases or pests. Rather, he relies on good forage away from farms that use pesticides, not feeding, and vigorous bees as well as his extra-deep hives for success.

The Bees
Lazutin's book describes how, prior to the Soviet era, Russian beekeepers used European black bees. The European black bee is the native bee of much of northern Europe (England, Ireland, France, Poland, Germany, Russia, etc.). Over the years, it has been replaced by the huge infusion of southern races of bees. Places with wild European dark bees are much more rare these days. When we think of Russian bees, we primarily imagine the "Russian" bee from the Primorsky region, which is likely derived from Carniolan bees that were imported there long ago. The "Russian" bee from Primorsky is not a black bee or even a separate race of bee. It is simply a European bee that has been exposed to Varroa mites for much longer.

In any case, the black bees were known for being highly defensive, so when beekeeping became a government-regulated activity, gentle grey Caucasian bees were shipped to apiaries all over Russia. In fact, this is the bee that Lazutin started with as well. However, over time, Lazutin began to feel that the Caucasian bee is not as well adapted to the colder climates and shorter foraging seasons outside of the Caucasus. As a result, he switched to the native European black bee.

Lazutin's spring starts around March, and his bees can build up from a population low of about 15,000 in spring to about 80,000 during the peak of his summer in late June/early July. The colony's peak population corresponds with the maximum bloom for his area.

According to Lazutin, beekeepers should maintain and improve their local strains of bees. If one can't obtain local stock, then he says beeks should improve what stock they have by installing swarms.

Historical Perspective on Hives
Observing hives in their natural environment can provide beekeepers with insight. However, local conditions should also be factored into the observations. For example, we know that bees live in hollows. However, the further south one goes (i.e., the warmer the climate), the less important a hollow is to the bees. For example, bees like Apis dorsata and Apis cerana make their nests directly on tree branches.

In the 19th century, books started making recommendations for hive size based on observation of feral hives. Hollows with a 10" diameter were recommended. However, Lazutin purports that this conclusion was faulty. Observations were skewed by logging activities that had destroyed trees with larger hollows. In other words, bees were simply making the best of what was available. According to Lazutin, modern beekeepers are continuing to use hives that are too small based on erroneous centuries-old conclusions.

Horizontal hives vs. Vertical hives
It's rare to find live tree hives, log hives, gum hives, or skeps anymore. For reasons related to convenience and practicality, these have been replaced by moveable frame hives. Commercial beekeepers that need to move hives around frequently will certainly want vertical hives. Horizontal hives with extra deep frames are extremely difficult, if not nearly impossible, to move, so they are well-suited for hobbyists and stationary apiaries.

A horizontal hive with 25 extra deep frames (each frame is the size of 2 Lang deeps) has the equivalent volume of 5 Lang deeps. The enormous volume of this hive reduces swarming and provides enough space to store all of the honey produced in a single season.

Horizontal hives with deep frames in various cultures
Horizontal hives are not a new invention. Records of them go back to the 1500's, though they were comprised of bars on tubs. In the 1800's, Georges de Layens designed a popular deep horizontal hive with movable frames. Variations of this design have been used in a number of European countries, including:
  • Spain's colmena Layens hive
  • France's ruche de Layens
  • Trough hives in Sweden (tragupka) and Denmark (trugstade) (Note: traditional Danish hives are available for purchase from Swienty.)
  • Poland
  • Ukraine (Note: the Ukrainian hive is taller than wide. It holds 36 frames in 2 18-frame rows. Although it winters well and can be used with standard extractors, Lazutin says that it tends to encourage more swarms.
Constructing a horizontal hive with extra deep frames
Lazutin recommends building the hive with double walls. For the inner lining, he says solid wood is best, though plywood is adequate. An interesting sidenote is that L.L. Langstroth also recommended double-walled hives to provide insulation, but he correctly predicted that "Such is the passion of the American people for cheapness in the first cost of an article, even at the evident expense of dearness in the end, that many, I doubt not, will continue to lodge their bees in thin hives in spite of their conviction of the folly of doing..."

A layer of insulation should go between the inner and outer walls. Lazutin recommends 1 1/2" to 2" of foam polystyrene. He says 2" is equivalent to 5"-6" of wood. However one could also use natural materials like flax fiber mats.

The entrance, which is positioned about 14"-16" down from the tops of the frames, should be 1/2" high to allow bees to come and go without getting blocking the entrance. The entrance is nearly the entire length of the hive, but it can be reduced to whatever length is needed at the time. 

A division board is used much like in a KTBH. However, rather than fitting snugly against the sides of the hive, Lazutin recommends that there be a gap at the bottom of the division board. This allows bees to travel the entire length of the hive and see how much available space they have.

One can use a flat roof, but Lazutin recommends an insulated peaked roof, particularly for snowy climates and a steel hive stand about 16" high.

The hive uses extra deep frames that sit tightly together just like in a TBH. The frames are equal in depth to 2 Lang deeps. The frames can be built as a single frame (though it's difficult & expensive to find an extractor that will accept the frames), or two deep frames can be bracketed together. Note, if using commercially available frames, which have a bit of space between them, a burlap cloth should be laid over the frames to close them off. A bit of extra space is left beneath the frames. Unlike with a TBH, Lazutin recommends using foundation, though he makes his own from treatment-free wax. However, he also recommends that the foundation size match the size that is natural for one's particular strain of bee.

Liedlich modified some standard Lang frames to sit side by side and make a "ceiling" for the bees.
Interior view of Liedlich's hive. Instead of using large frames, he's bracketed two Langs together.
Note: the bottom of the hive has not yet been added.
Clustering in the hive
In his book, Lazutin discusses how a cluster moves upward at a pace of approximately 1 mm every 24 hours during the winter. After doing a bit of math, he concludes that the cluster needs a certain amount of space overhead in the frame so that it can move unhindered to new honey. (I can't recall exactly, but I think it translates to a minimum of 16" tall frames for his climate For other climates, the required number of inches will vary. For example, in France, where the Dadant hive was developed for a much shorter, warmer winter, 12" is just enough, though it's pushing it, too.)

Page from the book comparing clusters in various hive designs

Harvesting honey
Just as with a TBH, honey is harvested from the edges of the hive. One interesting note is that Lazutin recommends harvesting just once per year, about 3 weeks after the last brood has emerged in the fall. He says this makes harvesting easier because they are not as defensive. Also, the brood must must be out of their cells so that they can rearrange their stores as they see fit. Of course, not all honeys have the same nutritional/medicinal value to the bees. By taking only surplus honey from the edges of the nest after the stores have been rearranged, beekeepers ensure that they are leaving the bees what they need to stay healthy through winter.

Advantages of a horizontal hive with extra deep frames
For all you TBH beeks, these advantages are going to sound really familiar, but I'll list them anyway.

  • Minimal interference with the brood nest since it doesn't get exposed during inspections. The brood nest is inspected and disturbed once in the spring in a Lazutin hive. The rest of the management through the year need not disturb the brood nest.
  • Easy inspections since the brood nest remains largely undisturbed
  • Easy to expand/decrease the hive size without disrupting the brood nest's microclimate. This is in stark contrast to vertical hives, especially in cold climates where adding supers too early can chill brood or removing supers can cause swarming if done too late.
  • Lazutin is very much against feeding sugar, so the colony prepares for winter on it's own. It also overwinters without any human assistance.
  • Honey is harvested at a time when the bees are beginning to cluster, so they are not as defensive.
  • The colony can winter outdoors instead of in sheds, which is common in Lazutin's climate.
  • Easy to strengthen weak colonies by combining them with stronger ones. The long entrance allows beeks to create entrances where needed.
  • The long entrance also allows for making easy splits.
  • No heavy lifting of supers or brood chambers. (Note: 1 extra deep frame of honey can weigh up to 20 pounds.)
  • Bees consume less honey in winter in an insulated hive because they aren't working as hard to stay warm.
Disadvantages of a horizontal hive with extra deep frames
  • One has to either modify an extractor to take the extra deep frames. Or if one is using two frames bracketed together, they have to be separated before inserting them into an extractor.
  • Difficult to move the hive. Virtually impossible to move in the summer when full of honey. Even an empty hive requires more than one person to move it.
Tweaking the hive
  • Since writing his book, Lazutin has stopped making a raised screened-off chamber under the frames.
  • He also doesn't leave screened bottoms open during the winter because the bees were using more honey.
Lazutin's Observations
When inspecting, Lazutin insists that disturbances be kept at a minimum. Beeks should look for brood and not queens. He believes that constant disturbances lead to more swarming. He also says his hives rarely swarm. He credits this to the hive's large volume and to his practice of removing surplus honey and old comb from the brood nest. His queens stay productive 2-3 years, and he actually has to induce swarming. 

He hives primary and secondary swarms individually, but weak afterswarms are combined. Feeding weak swarms seems to be his one exception when it comes to feeding. Initially, he didn't feed them either, but in the end, he relented. He felt that he was losing a lot of perfectly good bees who would have survived and done well if they'd had just a little boost in the beginning.

He's also had good results by combining weak swarms with weak, older colonies. If he has a shortage of swarms, he'll also fix a weak colony with queen cells from a colony preparing to swarm. 

Wintering and moisture control
Lazutin recommends a couple of options for wintering. One method uses a special frame containing 10 lbs of silica gel dessicant placed behind the divider. No top vents are used.

Liedlich plans to experiment with a 5" thick peat moss pillow on top of the frames under vents -- very much like a super filled with wood shavings above a Langstroth hive in winter (or like the quilt in a Warre). He indicates that he is trying to mimic an approach that is used in the attics of houses -- vents in the attic with insulation on the attic floor. 

More Info
I took a number of notes on Lazutin's beekeeping year. However, I'll never finish this post if I don't stop somewhere. Maybe, if I get enough interest in the comments, I'll write up a Part 2. In any case, I highly recommend reading his book, which has detailed notes on his yearly maintenance activities. If you're unsure whether you want it, you can check out the contents of the book and see some sample pages online. One last thing I wanted to mention -- you can get plans for a Russian horizontal hive on Sharashkin's site, Horizontal Hives. The plans have lots of measurements and photos, so they look pretty easy to follow.

If you happen to speak Russian, Lazutin also has a number of talks on YouTube. I minored in Russian and even lived in Moscow for about 6 months, but I've forgotten way too much. This may give me the motivation to brush up on old skills so that I can listen in. :-)


  1. Great post. We have been trying Tanzanian top-bar hives largely to keep heavy lifting from being a regular part of the experience. Our overwintering rate has not been good in spite of thicker walls and a long version of the Warre quilt box.

    Dr. Milbrath recently mentioned Lazatin's book to us and we have been interested in trying such a hive. We had already been thinking about insulated sides and the extra depth does seem useful when our bitterly cold winters prevent the bees from moving to an adjacent comb. Sadly we do not have anything like his native bees so varroa will be an issue and the surrounding forage is probably not as good. Nor are we fond of making frames but there is no choice with a hive that deep.

    Since then our fickle selves have heard of AZ hives used in Slovenia
    Detailed information and plans very hard to come by. They are a vertical hive but fixed in height and worked from the back. It seems like keeping bees in a kitchen cabinet. Perhaps we shall try something like those. Forced towards frames again.

    Anything but Langstroth! Or Warre. Or anything requiring lifting more than a frame.

    1. Thanks for sharing that link. I've seen those Slovenian hives, but I wasn't quite sure how they worked. I hope you find plans because I'd love to see them in action!

      I'm not super keen on the idea of frames either, but I like the idea of a hive that has a fixed volume. That way, at least the hive is self-contained and one doesn't have to come up with storage for boxes, etc.

  2. I agree, it's a great, informative post on the horizontal hives. When I saw it, I also thought about the AZ hives which I was enthralled with when I was in Slovenia last fall. The nice thing about the bee houses is that it gives them some protection from the elements and you can work your hives in any weather since you are inside! But like theprospectofbees, I found that plans or hives are very hard to find. Here's a thread at beesource with some links:

  3. Great blog! I stumbled upon it searching for some info on extractors (or how to construct one…) that would work with extra-deep frames. I just finished the Lazutin book and your write-up of it is great. I find his approach really compelling. My dad started keeping bees at my ‘homestead’ several years ago (I’m out in the country, he’s in suburbia)- other than “lending a hand,” thus-far its been pretty much his project (I’ve had plenty else on my list), but as he lives some distance away and is getting older I’ve known I’ll have to take it over eventually. As a former engineer, he’s comfortable with, let’s say ‘human-centric’ approaches and (sometimes overly) complex ‘solutions’ to problems- Langstroth hives, medications, sugar feeding, etc., etc. I’m more oriented toward permaculture notions, letting natural processes do most of the work, etc. It was the feeling that ‘there has to be a simpler, more natural way!’ led me to the Lazutin book (and its obvious attraction). Anyway, as I take over the beekeeping I’m shifting it all to the more natural approach and have been working out a version of the Lazutin hive design, and I noticed in your write-up under ’tweaking’ you mentioned:

    Since writing his book, Lazutin has stopped making a raised screened-off chamber under the frames.

    Can you elaborate/explain? Do you mean he just wasn’t putting in a screened panel to keep the bees from building comb off the bottom of the frames? Or he wasn’t leaving the space at all? My understanding was this was the space where he was putting an absorbent material in the winter.

    Again, great blog!

    Sure with I'd been able to see Lazutin talk.

    1. Hi, Tom! Thanks so much for your kind feedback! I really appreciate it.

      So glad to hear that you like Lazutin's book. I also felt that he was very bee-centric, but also very practical, in his approach.

      Regarding the screened off chamber under the frames, I really apologize because I don't recall the reason why he stopped making the screened-off chamber under the frames. I don't entirely trust my memory, but if I recall correctly, he was still including a couple of inches beneath the frames. However, he simply wasn't including a screen. If you look at the photo of David's hive, you'll see the same thing (though he still hadn't added the bottom to his hive.)

      It's such a tragedy that Lazutin passed away, but he certainly has a wonderful person carrying on his work in Dr. Sharashkin. I've contacted him with my own personal questions about Lazutin's hive, and Dr. Sharashkin has been very gracious and generous in his responses. If you need more info, I would definitely contact him. His address is available through his website

      If you build one of his hives, I'd love to see it and hear how it works out!

    2. Hi Julie-
      Thanks so much for the response.

      I'll definitely be building one! Actually I'll probably build 3 or 4 to start (economy of scale, at least time-wise...). Unless I really get moving and get them done in the next couple weeks AND the swarm traps I've got up get some results they'll probably wait until next year to get populated. I wonder if maybe Lazutin found that with the extra deep frames maybe the bees just didn't build much comb off the bottoms....? Have to experiment and find out!

      Over the past year as I realized I was going to have to take a much more active part in the beekeeping I've been more studiously educating myself about the practice of beekeeping, but it wasn't until the Lazutin book that it all really 'made sense' to me (or at least the philosophy and methodology made sense to my world view!).

      I'm going to try and resist my habit of project tunnel-vision and actually document constructing my version of the Lazutin hive and will most certainly share!

  4. I applaud you. I frequently surf the web for information about alternative hive designs and insulated hive designs. You did a great job of summarizing the Lazutin book and I'm glad to see that people are starting to digest that info and offering practical feedbacl. The website "horizontalhive" makes a great effort to promote the book but not so much about how to manage this type of hive. I have built a Lazutin style hive and would like to transition away from my Langstroth style of hive starting next spring. I thing that the 'beginnig beekeeper classes' that are frequently offered only teach people to approach beekeeping as if they were commercial producers but on a small scale. Langstroth hives make it easy for the person but are not great for the colony - every time the hive is opened it's like a bear tearing open a tent. Please continue to share your experiences as your readers benifit from your insights and writing style to help them manage and understand top bar hive maagement.

    1. Thanks for your feedback! I completely agree about there being too little info on hive management for horizontal hive beeks. And as little info as there is for the first-year beekeeper, it seems there is even less out there for 2nd-year beeks. :-(

      That's the great thing about the Internet, though. I've been finding more and more people online who are trying out new things like horizontal hives or insulated hives or other things and sharing their experiences... I guess the revolution has to start somewhere, right. ;-)

    2. Big Daddy Duke, I'd love to hear how things turned out with your Lazutin hive. Can you give an update? I'll be building one next month to try out this year, and would love your feedback.


  5. Nice article. I'm looking into starting a bee hive in my back yard in South Florida. There's a lot to learn but I do know I would like to build a top bar bee hive. I like the idea of a deep top bar bee hive.

    1. Awesome! You're going to have so much great forage in S FL like mangoes, avocados, etc. Tropical flowers make super rich tasting honey!

      The tricky thing about TBHs is that they don't have frames to help support the comb, which limits the depth of the comb. (The longer your bar, the taller your comb can be, but 11" is generally considered pushing it to the maximum. There's a new TBH design called a cathedral hive. It allows for deeper comb, but it also looks more difficult to build. (At least for me.)

      My dad used to be stationed at Homestead, btw, and I remember it being really hot and humid. You might think about whether you need really deep bars. Deep bars are helpful in the winter when it's harder for the bees to move from one comb to another, but freezing won't be an issue for you. On the other hand, you have wretched summers, and comb collapse could be an issue. Have you looked at Les Crowder's design -- longer bars, shallower comb? Also, have you investigated using top entrances?

    2. I want to build a Lazutin hive with a few modifications based on Corwin Bell's cathedral hive design, specifically the cross section of his top bar (although without the cathedral shape), the inclusion of the bee controlled upper vents and the holes that constitute his "super highway". I think these features could be well applied to the top bars of the extra deep frames (my plan is essentially two Lang deeps bracketed together, although the upper top bar portion would not be interchangeable with the lower portion). If I get this project off the ground, I will try to provide at least rudimentary plans, hopefully with pictures as well. BTW, I am in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    3. Sounds like a very cool project, Ed! Would love to see pictures and plans when you finish!

  6. Greetings,
    I also purchased and now have read Mr. Lazutin's book. May he rest in peace and his family be well taken care of. Thanks for your good review of his book, Keeping Bees with a Smile. Its an easy read and encourages novices that yes we can keep bees without having to struggle at timing everything perfectly and making it even more complicated than necessary. I have considered taking Dr. Leo Sharshkin's beekeeping workshop, though it's quite a ways and not that cheap. Look forward to other training closer and for perhaps less. Thanks

    1. Glad you enjoyed Lazutin's book. I also found it to be a revelation, and it's definitely one of my favorite bee books. If you can't find a workshop on Russian hives close to you, perhaps Dr. Sharashkin would be willing to answer a quick email with specific questions. I sent him a question regarding the necessity of foundation in Russian horizontal hives, and he was extremely gracious and generous in responding. Good luck!

  7. Hi Julie

    Great post. Do you have any idea how David bracketed his frames together? I'm wondering if he has a temporary way of joining them so they can be separated for extraction, or if they are permanently joined?

    Thanks. I'll be building one next month.

    1. Hi, Christina. As I recall, David just used flat plates to bracket his frames together. The brackets look like flat rectangular pieces of metal with a couple of holes drilled in them. His reason for bracketing frames rather than using large Lazutin frames was that he wanted to put the frame in his extractor.

      However, David has since given up on those frames and switched to Layens hives. The reasons he gave me were:
      -- In his area, the flow isn't good enough to fill his Lazutin hive
      -- The brackets messed with the bee space, and the bees propolized them/built on them so that they couldn't be taken apart.
      -- David did not want to switch to one-piece Lazutin frames because they wouldn't fit into his extractor, but the Layens frames would

      Good luck building your hive!

  8. Hi, I am a 'newbee' to all this and we have started our beekeeping with Langstroth hives. I am very keen to build a horizontal hive and have been checking the web to see what's out there. I love the idea of the Russian long frames but am wondering how they would cope in our quite warm Australian conditions? I am thinking that good insulation works both ways- keeping hives cool as well as warm. I read in one of your posts something about combs collapsing, would that be because of the heat and is that why Langstroth hives is taught in Australia. I really like the thinking behind a double deep langstroth frame. makes so much sense.
    looking forward to what you think. thanks for a fantastic summary of the book, have ordered it and look forward to getting informed :-)

    1. Hi, Susi! Welcome to the world of beekeeping! A couple of years ago, I took many of Lazutin's principles about hive building and made myself a double-walled insulated TBH. Just as you suspected, the insulation works beautifully in both the summer and the winter. Even though I'm in a more northerly latitude, peak summer temps are sometimes in the mid-90's F. On those days, my un-insulated hives all have thick beards, but my insulated ones are not even fazed.

      Heat (and a lack of support on all sides of the comb) is a reason why TBH combs collapse, but because bees work very hard to keep the interior of the hive a constant temperature, I'm not entirely sure that it's the predominant reason. In other words, it might be over 100 F outside, but the bees keep it much cooler inside for their brood. So I suspect that the culprit is more likely heat in tandem with beekeeper carelessness. For example, the first few years of beekeeping, I used to turn my combs upside down during inspections the way that you often see folks do in vids and photos. However, even if the comb doesn't break, it can develop micro-cracks. Although I can't prove it, I suspect any fallen comb I had was due to these weaknesses in the comb in combination with heat. Since then, I've mostly stopped turning combs upside down, and I've rarely experienced fallen comb in the hive since.

      I can't speak to why Langstroth hives are used predominantly in Australia, but I have a feeling that it has more to do with production than anything else. Langs, as they are currently built and used (which is not at all what Langstroth recommended, btw), produce more honey per hive than other designs. The drawback is that they are costly in terms of time and money to maintain (at least from my perspective).

      Regarding the use of a Lazutin hive for you personally, though, I can't say whether I would recommend it or not because I don't really know your local climate or foraging conditions. However, I spoke with Dr. Sharashkin this weekend (Lazutin's editor) about using a Lazutin hive in New England where I am, and he recommended against it. His reasons were that Lazutin's climate was much colder than mine, and he had phenomenal forage during spring to fall. (Here, I have a big spring boom, but then very little from mid-July too October.) He said a Lazutin hive would be too large, and he recommended a Layens hive instead. (BTW, I'm planning to write up my notes on Dr. Sharashkin's talks from this weekend, so if you're interested, stay tuned for this weeks' posts.)

      With that said, I'd recommend defining your beekeeping goals and also consider the kind of experience you want. You might find that a Lang fits your needs best, but you can still incorporate many of Lazutin's ideas. (Actually, Langstroth himself originally recommended a double-walled hive, so that's not really a new idea). Or you might find that a horizontal hive suits your style best. In that case, there are quite a number of options, but you might have to do some research to pinpoint the one that fits your local conditions best.

      I realize that I told you nothing except "You're going to have to figure this out," and I apologize if that wasn't really helpful. Wish you lots of luck figuring it out, though!

  9. I would like to comment about:

    * Ukraine (Note: the Ukrainian hive is taller than wide. It holds 36 frames in 2 18-frame rows.

    This is incorrect. Ukrainian hive is a hive that uses Ukrainian frames (the picture from the book above, in fact, show the Ukrainian frame listed - see the top row the most right frame. While there are designs where two rows of the frames are used (Dadant or Langstroth frames), these are not Ukrainian hives. In addition, Ukrainian hives may have any number of frames - not set to the number 36. Ukranian hive can be vertical as well, not just horizontal; although horizontal hives are traditionally predominant. The main point is - the hive must use the Ukrainian frame in order to be called Ukrainian hive.

    1. Thank you for your correction. These were notes that I took on a presentation prior to reading Lazutin's book, but as I recall from the illustration you are referencing, you are correct. Thank you for pointing that out.

  10. Hi Julie,
    I have read "Keeping Bees with a Smile" and found Mr. Lazutin's beekeeping philosophy very compelling. I have modified the plans shown in the back of his book to build my horizontal hives. They are designed to use 2 deep Langstroth frames. I connect them with a short piece of metal pipe hanger strap which is thin enough to avoid the bees filling the space between the strap and hive wall with propolis. I have maintained the screened off chamber below the frames and have built a shallow pan that fits inside. I place a layer of diatomaceous earth in the pan so that any pests that drop into it from above are dessicated and can't reinfest the bees.
    I'm in central Illinois and the insulated hives make it very easy to get the bees through the winter and keep them cooler in summer. This past summer was the second year with my horizontal hives and had three hives that produced upwards of 60 lbs of honey each. I also lost 3 hives due to wax moth infestation. I'm still on the steep part of the learning curve on how to manage the hives and have implemented several ideas to improve on that. I hope to expand to 16 horizontal hives this next summer.

  11. Very very nice blog. I'd started out just making a horizontal by looking at tanzanian style hive pics from Africa; it's easier on the back just lifting out the langstroth frames for inspection. Mine is 5' long and holds about 40 lanstroth frames. I use burlap for the top and have a hinged door mechanism to open it.

    These deep frames are really really appealing however. Even if I have to bracket to langstroths together my next hive build is going to be in this style.


Thank you for your comment! I can't wait to hear what you think!