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Thoughts on Perone hive

 
master pollinator
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Leo (or anyone), do you have any thoughts on the Perone hive? I'm in a very cold climate.
 
pollinator
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For a very cold climate, I would advise Langstroth or Warre with at least 2" thick walls and a good insulating roof.

Perone would be too big for them to heat
 
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I don't like to extrapolate from my own experience, just because so much about beekeeping depends on local conditions. but I'll tell you about my experience with Perone hives.

here's the short version: I built my first one seven or eight years ago and I have yet to get a harvest from that or any of the subsequent Perone hives I built.

I really want these hives to work. something about a hive that size is really appealing. and they sort of do. they certainly aren't the slam dunk that Perone himself seems to claim, but bees do seem to like them. I've had one going strong for years with no intervention, it just never builds in the honey supers. when other colonies have failed, swarms reoccupy the hives pretty reliably. the couple times I've peeked inside one, the huge combs are really incredible.

I'm not at all sure why the bees never build in the honey supers. I see them crawling around up there sealing things up when I have a quick look. they've darn near filled the entire brood chamber with comb in several instances, so I don't think a shortage of forage accounts for it. and there have been both colder and milder than usual winters in the time I've had the hives, so I don't think weather or climate is the issue.

I guess my advice would be to start with a different hive and save a Perone until you want a fun experiment and a high chance of failure doesn't bother you. I don't know how your cold climate would affect your odds of success with one of these, but my hunch is that it really wouldn't matter much. bees are pretty good at hunkering down for the winter. warm humid air will stay at the top of whatever cavity they're in, so they're not heating the whole space.

Perone hives are pretty easy to build. I got a little carried away and made one with rabbet joints out of wide two-inch cedar boards, but the others are all made out of 2x4s except for the top bars. I keep them under cover and well off the ground, so whatever fir or hemlock they are works fine.
 
Trace Oswald
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Thanks Tel.  I built one myself and built a Warre style insulated top for it but I lost my bees.  I think I'll clean the hive out and put it out and see if I can just catch a swarm with it.  I really want the hive to work as well.  If it never produces honey in the supers, I'm okay with that.  I just want to have a really strong hive on my land.  I may try a couple different style hives as well, but I'm done buying bees.  If I can't catch a swarm, I'll live with my thousands of bumble bees :)
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