The dampness issue in the PNW is a big one. In the past we've had bees winter over fine, then when you get warmer days in early spring, if there's too much moisture in the hive, fungus and molds can get a hold. We're finding that lifting the hives up 30" off the ground makes a BIG difference. The dampness is in the ground and bees by choice wouldn't put a hive that close to the ground.
I tell all my beekeeper friends to raise their hives up. Make them secure because we can get some stiff winds. Best idea of all is a bee shelter -- a raised shelf under the hives (you can hold more than one hive on it) and a roof over it. In cold rainy seasons the roof keeps rain off and when the roof is high enough, it still allows the winter sun to reach the hives to warm them. In summer the overhead roof will block sun and let them stay cooler when it's hot out.
Second best idea is to put them on an open raised shelf of some kind. We have two of ours on an old picnic table and they're doing very well.
This is really important -- be SURE to tie the hives down. We've had stray gusts in our valley that twice have knocked a hive over. Now we anchor them securely to the ground so they absolutely can't tip over. There's nothing worse than finding a perfectly functioning hive tipped over with comb in chaos. The bees can never get it back together the neat way they've had it and that's just plain human error. I hope anyone with bees who hasn't anchored them down learns from my mistakes!
We have another hive on a metal table I found at the recyclers. It weighs about 300 lbs and I feel good having a top bar hive on that, tied securely to it. When I want to open the hive (which isn't often), I untie the ropes.
Im building Warre hives; curious to know if anyone thinks there is a better choice of wood than cedar for this project? most sources ive found online tout it, and I have access to local cedar. any reasons the bees might perfer another wood?
Cedar's good, but because it's so fragrant, if it's new cedar it can be a little overwhelming to the bees. Old cedar's better. We use pine, too, in ours and the bees seem to handle it very well. Just make sure the wood is dry enough so it doesn't accumulate more moisture in the hive.
I'm teaching a half-day class on how to setup the warre hives, attract wild swarms, and collect wild swarms, too. It's at the farm (just north of Portland OR) on 4/16 or 5/5 or 5/15 2011. More info is on our class website. www.FriendlyHaven.com/classes.html
Good luck with the Warre, Deston. I think you are going to like using them. Our bees are doing really well in them.
if you want to learn about beekeeping go to the website beemaster international as far as keeping bees on the qt , if you have a backyard shed or out building put your hive in the shed with a large pipe out the top . its been done .
to stand sileent and be considered a fool or to speak and remove all doubt
The most difficult part of beekeeping for me is choosing locations, since most people kill bees. I recently found a dream outyard with nice landowners and no mosquito control agency. It's the farthest place I could find from a golf course (2 miles).
Michael Bush's site
Hardiness Zone 6 Save the bees.
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