Want plans? Here’s a Google Sketchup based plan for this hive:
My combo hive is a cross between a long hive and a standard hive. It has many advantages of both. Two supers, back to back, can set on top . This hive:
- is managed both horizontally and vertically
- uses deep frames
- accommodates top bars when used with a cloth inner cover
- a split or migratory lid allows conventional supers use
- broodnest access is maintained when supers are stacked away from the entrance
After three decades of running Lang hives, running top bar hives opened my eyes to the unique advantages and disadvantages of both types. A combo or long hive has the advantages of each hive type, with few disadvantages of either, especially when used with natural comb frames.
Three Box Combo Hive
When a combo hive is managed exclusively as a long hive without supers, a three box long combo functions better than the two box version. It’s easier to work. And more flexible to manage than a two box model.
A three box combo hive, with supers stacked away from the entrance, still provides broodnest access without lifting the supers.
To build a three box combo hive, just extend the bottom and side lengths from 31 inches to 47 1/4 inches.
Of all the hives I’ve tried, the combo hive is my favorite. I would probably standardize on them if top bar hives weren’t so cheap and easy to build.
This combo hive is my best honey producer. Barry Birkey, who runs a similar hive, has observed the same thing. I think more bees are exposed to empty comb, directly above the broodnest, in a supered long hive. This stimulates heavy foraging.