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The Valkyrie long hive: built with love for bees and their keepers

Many of you may remember the Valhalla hive from several years ago. The Valhalla was a long hive designed by Naomi and Larry Price for beekeepers who were unable to lift heavy equipment or reach stacked hive boxes. The Valhalla hive was unique in many ways, including the fact it used standard Langstroth frames. This meant that frames could be transferred between the Valhalla and a Langstroth, and standard nucleus colonies would fit seamlessly into the Valhalla.

Naomi and Larry continued to use the Valhalla long hive, but over the years, they discovered improvements that would make the hive even better—both for the bees and the beekeeper. When it became necessary for them to switch builders, they decided to incorporate the many changes they envisioned. The remodeled hive has been rechristened the Valkyrie.

The evolution of the Valkyrie Long Hive

Vivien and Bruce, of The Right Hand LLP, have been working hard to perfect the changes and ramp up production of the new hive. I had the pleasure of meeting them both and viewing the new hives in production. What a show! Bruce, “The Beekeeper’s Carpenter” is a woodworking craftsman, attentive to every detail. Meanwhile, Vivien is putting together the business end, learning about shipping practices, packaging, bookkeeping, web management, and even beekeeping.

I have to say, the Valkyrie hives are so lovely I’d like to buy one for my dining room. You know, just for show! Plus, when I got to see the hives in action, I was impressed with the ease with which the hives—and the bees—could be handled.

Improvements galore

Some of the improvements in the new hive include:

  • The hinged lid with hardware that makes it a breeze to open and close. No heavy lifting is involved.
  • The lid mechanism has been tested against stiff breezes, so it will not accidentally close in a strong puff.
  • The new lid includes a built in frame rest. While inspecting, you can remove a frame, place it in the frame rest, and slide the rest of the frames one-by-one.
  • The built-in slatted rack was tightened up so debris no longer collects along the edges.
  • The hive comes with optional viewing windows, either one or two. Your choice.
  • The hive comes with two side-by-side varroa drawers that are easy to inspect and clean.

Bruce builds every hive by hand and assembles it to assure that each piece fits perfectly. Then he takes the hive apart for shipping. When I visited the shop, they were still finalizing the packaging method, but what I saw was impressive. Every piece was protected from every other with a variety of corners and braces. The entire hive (not including frames) will be shipped in two boxes. Since the hive was assembled before packaging, you are assured the pieces will fit together with ease.

Bee canvas and bee blankets

The standard Valkyrie comes with a canvas cover that fits over the top bars. The canvas is multipurpose, keeping the bees calm during inspection and conserving heat in the winter. An optional wool blanket fits in the space above the canvas cover. Naomi has found that the wool blanket not only keeps the bees warmer in winter, but temperature readings confirms it keeps the bees cooler in summer as well. Like a well-insulated home, the hive interior is protected from temperature extremes.

The optional hive stand

A really cool option to this hive is the insulated hive stand. Last winter, Naomi decided to use an infrared camera to monitor her hives in winter. What she discovered was a surprise. Her hives were insulated on top with the canvas covers and folded army blankets, so no heat was escaping through the lid. But much to her surprise (and mine!) heat was escaping from the bottom of the hive. She decided she needed a system to insulate the underside.

In reviewing this problem, Bruce decided to design a hive stand with built-in insulation. The stand is made of wood and is designed to hold a large rectangle of 3-inch rigid foam which stops the heat loss in its tracks. As an added bonus, you can specify how high you want the top of your hive to be, and he will cut the legs of the hive stand to assure the proper height just for you. It is an ingenious answer to two problems at once.

Straight from the source

I asked Vivien to give me a run-down of the Valkyrie features in her own words, and here is what she has to say:

From the Halls of Valhalla

“In the glorious halls of Valhalla, slain Norse warriors were transported by the Valkyries to enjoy the thrill of never-ending battle. While Odin ever-awaited new arrivals, it was the Valkyries who remained vigilant and watchful, presiding over earth’s battlefields to choose who would be taken aloft. Sprung from a ‘faithful constant’ (the Valhalla) to embrace an evolving field of bee biology, the Valkyrie Long Hive has emerged.

A gable-style lid

“The Valkyrie has an hinged gable-style lid that comes in two standard finishes: deluxe powder-coated and textured aluminum. The powder-coated color is ‘Moss Grey’ and the textured aluminum (with a ‘ridge cap’ design) is ‘Juniper Ridge.’ Both lids can be custom ordered in a rainbow of colors for an extra charge. The aluminum is custom fit by hand to eliminate weather intrusion.  Feel free to use a dry-erase marker for taking your ‘inspection notes’ on the covers as they wipe clean easily.

Improved hinges

“The standard hinges are durable and long-lasting steel, rust resistant and strong enough to stay open in inclement weather. The Valkyrie has one additional type of hinge called ‘Easy Glide’ which is currently in testing and should be available next spring.  The ‘Easy Glide’ will allow for self-opening and closing with just a light initial touch. The craftsman quality and lightness of the lid (40% lighter than before!) give the beekeeper an ease of operation which help those with arm, shoulder, or wrist problems.

An interior frame rest

“Under the lid is storage that can be used as a frame rest or to hold hive tools. It can also hold the ‘Interior Canvas Cover’ which is included in each hive purchase. The cover helps to increase the sense of security and privacy within the hive body. It is reinforced at the corners where the hive tool will be used, decreasing the chance of rips or tears.

“As an additional (not standard) benefit, the hand-crafted ‘Interior Pure-Shetland Wool Pad’ can be ordered which helps the colony maintain temperature and humidity levels year round. This pad is 100% Shetland sheep’s wool (locally grown, harvested and felted) and is placed on top of the Interior Canvas Cover. In two gorgeous colors, grey and charcoal, these pads are beautiful and functional as well!

A 24-frame capacity

“The hive body holds 24 standard deep frames. Beneath the frames is a built-in slatted rack with new, tighter spacing on the ends. The space above the rack allows a great view through the observation window.  Best of all, there is a space between the bottom of the frames and the top of the slats that allows the bees a free space in which to ‘hang out.’

“A single observation window is standard and placed on the left where viewing is best. An extra observation window can be ordered for the right side, if desired. Feeding supplies and containers can be placed directly inside the hive body when using less than 24 frames, so the need of an exterior boardman feeder was eliminated completely. Take that, you predators!

Interchangeable varroa drawers

“Beneath the body sits two drawers, screened and solid, which are interchangeable left-to-right (for those of us prone to forgetting). In hot weather, the solid drawer may be removed and the predators such as wasps are foiled again by the secured screened drawer: no access to the colony here!

Optional insulated hive stand

“Finally, an optional custom-fit stand can be ordered with each Valkyrie: it allows the top of the hive body (not the lid itself) to sit at 30″ from grade-level which is perfect for any beekeeper needing to be seated during inspection time, and suited to the height of most adults.  The stand can be custom ordered in other heights as needed, or even lowered. Included is a fitted sheet of rigid insulation which protects the colony from icy-cold or super-heated ground temperatures year-round: less work for ‘the ladies!’

Global shipping

“With shipping across the U.S. and globally, we’ve incorporated our bee-friendly philosophy to also include shipping containers and materials that are 100% recyclable, with easy set-up at your location. Just call for pricing!

“The over-all size and weight of this Valkyrie Long Hive means less work for the beekeeper and the colony. It is lighter, taller, and built to last.  We offer a two-year warranty on the lid and hinges and we won’t sacrifice ‘bee biology’ at any point.”

A hive to be proud of

I am truly impressed by the craftsmanship poured into the Valkyrie hive. Not only that, but the commitment of Vivien and Bruce is palpable, not only to beekeepers but to the bees themselves. If you have difficulties with the Langstroth configuration or are just looking for a better way to keep your bees, I urge you to have a look at the Valkyrie Long Hive.

Ordering Information

You can see more details on their Facebook page or call Vivien directly at (541) 771-7278 for pricing and ordering.

Rusty
Honey Bee Suite

Long hive on stand.
The Valkyrie Long Hive on an insulated hive stand.
Back of long hive.
The back or “beekeeper’s side” has a viewing window and varroa drawers.
Varroa drawers and screens.
Both varroa drawers and screens remove for easy cleaning.
Varroa trays.
Close-up view of varroa trays. A second viewing window can be added if you wish.
View of the inside.
View of the inside. Twenty-four standard Langstroth deep frames fit in the hive.
Hinges and lid.
The hinges make the lid easy to open and have been tested against a stiff breeze.
The built-in slatted rack.
The built-in slatted rack.
Detail of roof construction.
Detail of roof construction.
Bee entrance.
On the “bee side” of the hive, the bees have a covered, closable entrance.
Lids come in two standard colors.
Lids come in two standard colors, or they may be custom ordered in other colors.
Insulated hive stand.
The insulated hive stand is an optional item.
A slatted rack getting ready for shipment.
A slatted rack getting ready for shipment.
Packing material.
Specially designed rigid packing material.
All packing materials are recyclable and designed to protect the hive.
All packing materials are recyclable and designed to protect the hive.
Packed for shipping.
The entire hive is disassembled and packed in two boxes for shipping.
Cover and blanket.
The canvas top-bar cover comes standard, and the woolen insulating blanket is an optional item.
First box.
The first box is nearly ready to go.
The second box.
The second box. Large box is 44 lbs and the small box is 34 lbs.
One of Naomi's hives showing the woolen insulating blanket.
One of Naomi’s hives showing the woolen insulating blanket.
Propolized canvas cover.
Your bees will propolize the canvas cover to their liking.
The built-in frame support.
The built-in frame support.
The canvas cover calms the bees.
The canvas cover keeps the bees calm while working them. Just pull back as much as you need.
Naomi and Larry Price working their bees in July.
Larry and Naomi Price (foreground) working their bees in July.
The ends of the Valkyrie long hive has handles.
An end view showing hinges and handles.
"The Beekeeper's Carpenter" The Right Hand LLP.
“The Beekeeper’s Carpenter” The Right Hand LLP.

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Comments

Sharon Klemm
Reply

This is so cool. I was thinking I would move toward this type of hive as the Langstroth is just impossible for me. Way too heavy and removing frames to work the hive just ticks the bees off to no end. I thought I would give the one deep experiment a try this summer only to discover bees that were honey bound and overcrowded beyond belief. Back to two deeps and the impossible stuff, something I really didn’t want to do. This hive looks like the solution to a whole lot of problems. Gotta get the girls through winter, but come spring, there’s gonna be new houses in our neighborhood. Can’t wait! Great article.

Vivien Hight, The Right Hand LLP
Reply

Thank you for your interest, Sharon, we look forward to hearing from you!

Lloyd Seested
Reply

Looks like it could survive IEDs.

Vivien Hight, The Right Hand LLP
Reply

Hi Lloyd!

Hopefully, we won’t have to undergo an impromptu testing but, hey, it just might survive!

Thanks for your interest, and humour!!

Ray
Reply

Wow, very nice, I wish we could buy these in the UK!

Vivien Hight, The Right Hand LLP
Reply

Hello, Ray:

We can ship to the UK, just call for shipping prices and hive availability.

Have a wonderful evening!

Dave
Reply

Looks gorgeous Rusty, great to see people taking such efforts to perfect a hive able to be used by everyone. I might get one for my partner in crime!

Just wondering what your take is on the ventilation? From what I understand ventilation is more important than insulation.

Naomi Price
Reply

Dave,
Honey bees in my 13 long hives demonstrated that strategically placed insulation is a huge step in reducing much of their ventilating activity. The pleasant trade off is not seeing bees bearding, or their beekeeper fretting about excessive condensation within the hives. Beekeeping should be fun and not so worrisome.

leslie poulin
Reply

Hello,
How and where can we order one?

Rusty
Reply

Leslie,

Call Vivien directly at (541) 771-7278 for pricing and ordering.

Nancy Ogg
Reply

Thanks for the review, Rusty – it’s very impressive! Very well-thought-out

A few weeks ago I was racking my brain to figure out a way to donate a frame of eggs to a friend who was afraid her top-bar had become queenless.

One question: suppose I decided to “retire” from shifting hive boxes but wanted to move a thriving hive to a Valkyrie. In transferring frames from Langstroth boxes, what order would I place them in? Outer (stores) frames from bottom, brood frames from bottom, brood frames from top, stores frames from top?

Love to hear from any of your readers who have undertaken this kind of switch.

Nan
Corinth, Kentucky

BeeHappy
Reply

Nancy,
I would place the brood nest on the end where the entrance is. and then the upper boxes of honey and stores next, IE farther from the entrance. similar concept of the standard Langstroth, laid on its side. Entrance to brood nest then past the brood nest to the stores. If you have 2 boxes with brood then you need to merge it in a fashion that would end up with the brood all together on the entrance end with stores of honey farthest from the entrance. The bees travel into the stores in the winter as far as they need to. Ideally they do not run out or have stores split on 2 sides of the brood nest, they cannot shift to the other end in the middle of the winter. Feeding can be done adding 3 or 4 frames of honey to the end farthest from the entrance. Also I would move them to the long hive, early in the summer so they figure out they are in a different configuration and they will set up the stores on there own. Moving them late fall would perhaps not allow enough time to shift stores if needed.

have fun good luck

Nancy Ogg
Reply

BeeHappy –
Thank you!
That’s very clear, and makes perfect sense!
Nan

Anna
Reply

What a lovely hive. There was a similar one with carved images of honey bees on the exterior at EAS. I wonder if the clothes moths are a problem with the wool blanket?

Vivien Hight, The Right Hand LLP
Reply

Good morning, Anna:

The hive is built to keep predatory insects out, so, it doesn’t seem likely that a moth could enter inside.

Thanks for your interest!

Margaret Pearson
Reply

Rusty; How do I find out the price of the valkyrie long box hive? I”m very interested in purchasing one.
Thank you,
Marge Pearson
pilotchickm@comcast.net

Rusty
Reply

Margaret,

Call Vivien directly at (541) 771-7278 for pricing and ordering.

Dennis Steadman
Reply

Wow, that hive body looks fantastic! I don’t know if I could afford it but I might just want to get rid of my Langstroth hive!

Dave
Reply

Hi Rusty,
In this hive, is the entire box a brood box? I can’t quite tell how it is that you harvest anything? Is there a queen excluder to one side? Do you shift the frames towards the bees and remove them as they fill? How do you winterize? Is there a website to look this up?

Vivien Hight, The Right Hand LLP
Reply

Hi Dave:

The website isn’t ready yet, so sorry! Page upward on this blog where there is an excellent answer to your placement question. Also, the ladies will winterize the hive themselves, and if you add the Shetland Wool cover to your hive purchase—so much the better as it really brings a higher level of protection in both summer and winter.

Thank you for your interest!

Jo Anne
Reply

I looks beautiful. My questions is, do the Langstroth frames fit this box? How many frames does it take? Queen excluder included? Thank you

Vivien Hight, The Right Hand LLP
Reply

The Valkyrie is designed to make the “cross-over” from a Langstroth quite seamlessly. And yes, the STANDARD DEEP frames fit beautifully, 24 to each Valkyrie.

Nice talking with you JoAnne!

Kate
Reply

Could you email pricing info to me? I am hearing-impaired and cannot call. Are you in Oregon?

Rusty
Reply

Kate,

I sent your request directly to Vivien. I’m sure she will be back to you shortly.

MarianA
Reply

I have problems with Argentine ants. Currently my hive stands are standing in cans of oil. How would I ant-proof the stand? (These ants are really small and persistent, so a tight box would only make them work harder to find a way in, which they’ll manage somehow.)

rodney
Reply

Interesting concept. Worth looking into. Question, does the wool blanket not irritate the girls? I thought they did not like wool? I am still learning and would greatly appreciate any guidance.

Thank you

Emily
Reply

Is losing heat from the bottom of the hive such a bad thing? Just wondering if too much condensation might build up without bottom ventilation. We have a saying in the U.K. that damp kills bees, not cold.

Naomi Price
Reply

Emily,

Observing honey bees at their hive entrance often gives keepers clues to the colony’s emergency call. Bearding to a tight cluster signals the colony is reacting to hive temperature extremes. The purpose of insulate materials, like wool or rigid foam, is to create a cavity that the colony isn’t always in emergency mode. If the insulation is not wet, then it is doing its job in allowing the colony to maintain the temperature of their choosing, including high humidity that brings some moisture needed by the bees. Some keepers have located their long hives on a bed of rock. Rock absorbs heat and radiates it back up into the hive. My thermal camera detected a winter colony pushed up against their inner cover, while heat was escaping from the hive’s bottom. Surprise! Rigid foam was secured underneath the long hive as an experiment. Within 24 hours the tight cluster had expanded to access their needs on several frames. The adversity from both examples was eliminated with insulation. The wool insulate keeps the propolised inner-cover cloth cool v. sticky, and allows the colony to easily maintain a core temperature with high humidity. Yes, beekeeping is more than insulating a hive, but it has become a good addition to the Valkyrie long hive.

Vivien Hight, The Right Hand LLP
Reply

Hi Rodney, and thank you for your question.

Honestly, these Shetland Wool Inner Covers are so soft, the felting is so comfortable, I’d like a winter coat made of the stuff. That being said, the wool cover is cut to fit right on top of the canvas inner cover, so the ladies won’t really ever come into contact with the wool.

The wool cover stays on the canvas cover 24/7/365 and helps to avoid the temperature spikes that can be so troublesome. Take a look at the blog post dated Aug 31 from Naomi Price. Thanks, hope that helps!

Vivien Hight, The Right Hand LLP
Reply

Hi Rusty!

As noted above, I now have a website with PayPal!

PayPal won’t be fully operational until just after the holiday, and I’ll still need to add a pricing sheet/shipping information before the week’s end. I’m VERY HAPPY to point a link to your site. Thanks again for all your wonderful assistance and knowledge. I am blessed.

Sincerely, Vivien

Rusty
Reply

Vivien,

I’m so glad you got the website going. It will make a big difference and help you a lot.

Rodney
Reply

Thank you. I learned something new.

Debbie
Reply

Nice ….. our hive producer makes similar hives, but the frames are deeper and larger … I have been thinking of switching to something like this for a while now, I think it would be so much easier than fighting with the regular boxes. easy in and out. Thanks for the write up. I like, I like !! Very well made and thought out.

Vivien Hight
Reply

Hi Debbie and thank you for the nice comment!

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, the credit goes to Larry, Naomi, and my husband, Bruce. Such a wealth of expertise from the “bee whisperers” and Bruce’s devotion to craftsmanship — I’m privileged to just soak it all in.
We’ll look forward to hearing from you soon!

Rusty
Reply

Vivien,

No, the name doesn’t ring a bell.

Vivien Hight, The Right Hand LLP
Reply

Thanks, Rusty, I’ll keep looking.

PS: I’m still trying to figure out how to change the font color of your web link so that it stands out more… sheesh. Check out the Shetland Wool page on the website that I just added.

Shipping costs are costing us sales orders—think I’ll just buy my own truck!

V

Rusty
Reply

Vivien,

The web stuff takes some time. I never know as much as I need to, but I muddle through.

Jo DeDecker
Reply

Would like to purchase, can you send me a price?

Rusty
Reply

Jo,

You need to contact Vivien Hight, the business owner. Her email is vivienhight@ymail.com.

Vivien Hight
Reply

Good afternoon, Jo, and thanks for your interest!

On our website there is a pricing page: therighthandllp.com

Hive prices start at $480 depending upon the lid you choose and other options. When you’ve made your decision, give me a call to get the shipping/handling price.

Have a great afternoon! Vivien

Vivien Hight
Reply

Hello Mr. DeDecker (and Rusty):

I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have, and, feel free to look up our website.

Happy Holidays!

Vivien

laurie
Reply

Hi – I am new to beekeeping – taking a class actually and have yet to get bees, hives, etc… but trying to do my research first. I really like the long hives and there are a couple of local people making Langstroth Long Hives near me but they have a flat telescoping roof, 30 frames and they use honey supers on top. I note the Valkyrie uses a gable roof that is hinged, so assume you don’t put honey supers on top. How does one go about harvesting honey [eventually – I don’t expect to my first year] in this type of hive?
Thanks! Love this site – I’ve learned so much from it already!

Rusty
Reply

Laurie,

It works the same way as a top-bar hive. The honey is stored in the end frames. With 30 frames, you might have brood in 3 through 14, and honey in 1-2, and 15-30, as an example. The honey storage area is not clearly separated from the brood area, so you harvest the honey from wherever you find it.

laurie
Reply

Thanks so much! I actually just got off the phone with the guy making the long Langstroth with the honey supers – it is designed for housing two colonies (has a divider board in the middle) and that is why it has the honey supers. I might try it so I can start with one hive but get two colonies (as recommended). Hopefully by next spring my husband will have built a second Long Langstroth hive and I can put the second colony in it, omit the supers and add vented gable roofs.

Vivien Hight
Reply

hi Laurie! Thanks for your interest!

The Valkyrie has many advantages, one of the best being ease of operation for the beekeeper. If the long Langstroth has honey supers on top, then you’re still needing to lift a pretty hefty weight once the frames are full of honey, right? I’m not an expert: just guessing, really. Keep us all posted!

Vivien

AngelM
Reply

I have a new Valkyrie hive from Right Hand LLP. It is well thought-out and well-made.
I may have missed this info, but how do you combine hives in a long hive?

Naomi Price
Reply

Combing colonies can be accomplished through several options. The newspaper method uses the hive’s surplus end located opposite the entrance, about frame 16 through 24. Drape your choice of paper from the top bar of frame 16, down its face and continue across the slatted bottom toward the space of frame 24. Continue the process with slits, a mist of moisture and add your bees. Finish with the inner-cover cloth.

Another combining method is to have the incoming colony walk-in. Provide a ramp that connects the ground with the hive’s entrance. Drape a sheet over the length of the ramp, over ithe ramp’s edges until is meets the ground—minimum coverage. The drape helps to keep the bees out of grasses and to facilitate an easier climb. Dust the incoming bees with sugar powdered before removing them from their hive.* Shake the bees from each frame onto the ramp, then promptly remove their hive components from the area. The receiving colony could also be dusted with sugar powdered to help busy and distract them from the incoming bees. Some phoretic mites get left on the ramp and many of the sick bees will walk away, refusing to enter. The ramp method also gives the beekeeper an opportunity to remove questionable bees from entering their new home.

*Grind sugar in a coffee grinder to make sugar powder for dusting honey bees.

Jim
Reply

I am impressed with the construction of the Valkyrie long hive and the concept is very appealing to me. My experience is with conventional Langstroth hives, but I would like to give this concept a try.

I live in the Appalachian Mountains, and the beekeepers I know that have tried top bar hives and the extra deep Layens style long hives have not been too successful wintering the bees in our climate.

Judging by the photographs posted previously, it appears that winters in central Oregon are similar to what what we experience. However, the bee’s natural inclination is to move vertically as in a hollow tree cavity, and in a horizontal hive we are asking them to change what they have been doing for ages.

Would you share with me your insight and experience in wintering honey bees in a horizontal hive?

Rusty
Reply

Jim,

Personally, I don’t have any experience with a long hive, although I have a new Valkyrie and I intend to report my progress and findings as I go through the process. I will be putting bees into it as soon as it’s warm enough to make a split here in Washington.

However, I have worked with top-bar hives for about ten years—one of my own and many as a volunteer at a prison. I’ve never seen a problem with overwintering them, and in fact, my top-bar hive is much easier to overwinter than my Langstroths—basically, it takes care of itself.

Bees will move up if that is where the food is or they will move laterally. Sometimes feral swarms move into rafters, for example, and build and move laterally or even down. Since they start at the top, there is no room to move further up. They do fine. Many beekeepers who fail like to blame the equipment, but I think that’s nonsense. Honey bees are extremely versatile and are perfectly equipped to live in a horizontal hive.

I’m hoping one of the other beekeepers who keeps long hives will chime in here and answer your question. Also, if you get a Valkyrie, be sure to report back. I’d like to get a group together to compare notes on using the Valkyrie and trade management ideas.

Granny Roberta in nw CT
Reply

I own four long hives (not the Valkyrie) but have only had one with a colony going into one winter, and two with a colony going into another winter. Of this terribly small sample, I have not gotten any through the winter and all three samples had plenty of honey left.

We have sudden cold snaps here. I think the people who say the bees like to move up and won’t move sideways are oversimplifying to the point of wrongness, but I think in a vertical hive, with the cluster warming the honey above them, the bees have more available warm honey in a sudden cold snap.

One of the reasons I love this site is because Rusty says “It depends”. One of the things it DEFINITELY depends on is your climate.

Vivien Hight
Reply

Hi Jim (and Rusty):

There are a handful of folks here in Central Oregon who have Valkyries that house thriving colonies which have over-wintered beautifully, so that’s a wonderful thing.

More exciting to Bruce and I, (as being directly vested in this beautiful Long Hive), is the fact that I’ve shipped Valkyries to Colorado, Montana, Georgia, New York, Maine and this week, to Utah, and several delivered to the Washington State AND Oregon Coast area. My point is this: these Valkyries will be given their colonies this year, and I am beyond excited to think of the future good reports from so many states with a such a huge diversity of climates and beekeeping practices. TOO COOL!!!

When the weather cooperates, I’ll be posting pics to our website of the local “ladies” which have been thriving more than one year here in our area—stay tuned!

Vivien

Naomi Price
Reply

Jim,

Thirteen long hive colonies are currently in my apiary. The location is mountainous terrain at 4200-feet backed by ponderosa pine and Douglas-firs. This area receives an average of 15 inches of annual precipitation, and experiences temperatures ranging from 105 degrees Fahrenheit to a low of minus 20 degrees (without a wind-chill factor). Additionally, sunset brings an immediate chill to all areas of Central Oregon’s High Desert region. In order for the colony to achieve homeostasis without unnecessary energy output, these significant environmental conditions were consideration starting with the Valhalla and into its next generation, the Valkyrie.

Rusty’s reply to your concerns about colony movement and overwintering is the same from me.

Adrienne Welch
Reply

Hi Rusty,

I too have a new Valkyrie hive and I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring and installing bees into this beautifully constructed hive.

I live in Maryland, on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay where summers are quite hot and humid and winters cold and damp. Among the many features I admire about the Valkyrie hive, I particularly like the insulation components designed into the hive & hive stand.

I will keep my other 3 colonies going in traditional Langstroth hives and will be happy to share my experience and comparisons with this new style long hive in the months to come.

Vivian was such a delight to work with and the hive was packaged and protected incredibly well for the long trip across the country. My husband, who assembled the hive for me was very impressed with the attention to detail in the workmanship and the clarity of the assembly instructions.

Rusty
Reply

Adrienne,

I’m very glad to know another Valkyrie beekeeper. I am eager to see how they perform outside of the Oregon high desert where they were developed. With my Langs, I’ve developed an entire wintering protocol based on high winter moisture. So overwintering the Valkyrie in a damp environment will be interesting. I’m not sure how to do it yet, but I want to set up a section where long-hive beekeepers, especially Valkyrie and Valhalla beekeepers, can compare notes. I’ve heard there are a few up here in western Washington, but I don’t know who they are, so I’m hoping some will see these posts and join in.

Vivien Hight
Reply

Hello Rusty and Adrienne!

Thank you so much, Adrienne, for your kind remarks! I’m confident you’ll enjoy your Valkyrie and all credit goes to Bruce and his craftsmanship—simple as that.

I just returned from the Olympia WA area: so far, Rusty, you’re joined by Tina L., Jan H. (two Valkyries) and Marge P., each in the Olympia area or within 20 miles of it. Jan H. lives on the bay in fact, just by the Capitol building so her moisture amounts will be interesting…

Perhaps they’ll contact you on this site, or I can gladly encourage them to do so!

Thanks so much for the comments, Vivien

mary peterson
Reply

Is it possible to have the roof split so as to host a Flow hive for a short time?

Vivien Hight
Reply

Hi Mary!

The good news is that the frames used in the flow hive can be placed into the Valkyrie and as soon as they’re full of honey, simply transfer the full frames back into the Flow hive for harvesting.

One caveat: if the frames from the Flow Hive are shallow/Western/medium-sized, be sure to harvest them at the first opportunity– don’t leave them inside the Valkyrie too long or the ladies will draw comb on the bottom bar of the frame.

Hope that helps!

Vivien

Vivien Hight
Reply

Mary, I forgot to mention:

using the same frames from the Flow Hive also (happily) means that the Valkyrie doesn’t need any modification at all; it still supports our original premise– “Easy for the bees, easier for the beekeeper.” Vivien

John Blackstock
Reply

I have been researching long hives and intend to build one. I live in Wyoming; it can easily get to -25 in the winter. I am a second year beek and managed to get my 2 hives through the winter in what appears to be good shape. I am using a quilt on both hives and am very happy with the results, some of my quilt research was done on your website. My question is about insulation. I would like to build a long hive that is insulated all year, it can get pretty hot here in the summer and I would like to know your opinion on the idea. I currently use 1-inch foilbacked styrofoam on the hives I have and it seemed to work quit well. If I do build an insulated hive I will sandwich the styrofoam between two pieces of plywood. I am a little worried about too much heat in the summer. Your opinion would be appreciated as well as anyone else that has any experience with an insulated hive.

Thanks
JCB Wyoming

Rusty
Reply

John,

I worry more about heat than cold, although heat is probably less of a problem in a long hive. The bees should be okay in summer as long as you have some way for the heat to escape. The heat generated by a large colony is significant, and it will need a way to get out because it won’t escape through the insulated walls.

Naomi Price
Reply

John,

My apiary has been long hives for many years. It is because of the appropriate hive insulation that the spike or drop in temperature has never been an issue. Bearding appears without insulation. Winter food intake increases without insulation. And the propolis becomes gooey and strings without insulation.

Derek Mitchell wrote an interesting article addressing insulation and heat loss, “Honey Bee Engineering: Top Ventilation and Top Entrances” for the August 2017 issue of American Bee Journal. It is helpful to read the full text of his experimenting on various hive styles and their related heat loss.

Rusty
Reply

Naomi and John,

When I first read John’s question, I thought he was speaking of insulating the entire hive, sides as well. But I know you (Naomi) don’t insulate the sides, so you have a way for excess heat to leave through the relatively thin (compared to top and bottom) side walls. Now that I reread John’s comment, I’m still not sure. But for clarification, I love top and bottom insulation, but in summer I would be wary of a so-called wrapped (or side insulated) hive.

VivieN Hight
Reply

I think a Valkyrie may be your solution. But that’s my opinion…

Vivien Hight
Reply

Here’s my disclaimer: individual beekeeping practices can affect the overall performance of any hive. That being said…

In my oven at home, I turn the dial to change the temperature; I don’t weld extra steel to the sides, top, or bottom. In the Valkyrie Long Hive, the canvas cover (and triple layer wool blanket) help prevent heat loss from the top, and there’s no upper entrance to worry about. The brick insulation inside the stand helps prevent heat loss from the bottom as well as helping prevent the cold/heat from the ground from traveling upward into the colony BUT there’s still plenty of air flow. This helps the ladies to be their own “oven control knob” free to regulate the heat and humidity levels by themselves. We also rough up the interior of the hive body to encourage the bees to propolize the walls—even more “self management” for the bees. This seems to be a very straightforward solution, but that’s just my opinion 😊

Carl G. Fardig
Reply

I live on Long Island in New York, USA. Where can I buy one of these? How much do they cost?

Rusty
Reply

Here is the link to their website.

Vivien Hight
Reply

Hi Carl:
Check out the website or give me a call: 541 771-7278

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