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Holzer Style Log Bee Hive

 
pollinator
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Cj Verde wrote:I think the issue is that if you don't harvest the honey, the bees run out of space to make more bees and if that happens the bees will swarm.



My brother and I were talking about this last night. If you were to have several of these log hives throughout the property that are unoccupied wouldn't having the bees swarm be a great way to increase the number of bee colonies on your farm? Again I'm no bee expert but this seems to be the natural way that new colonies form, wouldn't this be a process to encourage if your goal is to increase bee populations?
 
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Zach - increasing populations via swarming is a great way to approach the issues. I'm personally hoping to set up some nice strong colonies and do minimal management - I'll let them swarm but also setup swarm traps in the area.

We have a feral colony already living in the roof and they throw off 4 or 5 swarms each year.

There is quite a lot of info online about building and baiting swarm traps - you can make up 4 traps from a single sheet of ply. Put them out in the countryside in the area of known colonies. These days buying a nuc can cost well over £100, where as swarms are pretty much free. I'm personally working on the basis of setting up a series of hives with very low management taking small amounts of honey for personal use - small yields per hive, but relatively good yields for the time and effort put in, plus all the added bonuses of having plentiful bees in the area.

This winter I have built 4 swarm traps which I will put out next week, and if I get time I'll make some more. I have one horizontal top bar hive nearly ready and a huge pile of logs I could make into log hive bodies.

I bet I could make good swarm traps by carving logs up too - much more durable than the cheap ply type.

As far as increasing your odds of catching swarms - they like the scent of old used wax and propolis so if you can get some out of an old hive you'll increase your odds. Lemon grass oil smells sufficiently similar to the queen pheromone (Navosov?? Spelling?) that it can be used to lure scout bees to your bait hives.
 
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The instructor for this workshop explained that in harvesting these hives you have to cut the comb from the side of the log (as there are no frames to remove). You then can use an extruder designed for comb to extract the honey. You harvest a super to leave the rest of the hive in tact.



Zach,
Did you see or do you know if any of the log-hive designs incorporated sloping walls inside the "honey super" log similar to the slope of the interior of top-bar hives?
For those unfamiliar, the sloping sides in the interior of a top-bar hive deter the bees from attaching the comb to the sides, leaving the top bar free to lift out for inspection, extraction, etc.
John
 
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There is a traditional Russian log hive called улей колода. I read about these awhile back in a beesource forum discussion. Here is a link to a google image search for them улей колода. Some are vertical and some are kept on a slope. They have very thick walls, so plenty of insulation. Traditionally they have no frames, the bees just attach the comb to the lid, but you could easily add top bars like mentioned earlier. From what I have read these are harvested by removing comb from the bottom.


I think the mushroom style hives are very cool looking




There are also some modern ones made from thick boards
 
Zach Weiss
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John Merrifield wrote:Did you see or do you know if any of the log-hive designs incorporated sloping walls inside the "honey super" log similar to the slope of the interior of top-bar hives?



I did not see anything like this but it sounds like a great idea. I imagine it would make the construction a little more difficult but it sounds like it could end up saving you time when it comes to harvesting the honey. I imagine with this kind of design you would also be able to remove frames for inspection. This bee keeper had a special knife for cutting the honeycomb free from the walls of the hive. It didn't sound like this was very hard to do.

Ryan, thanks for sharing the pictures, those hives are really awesome! I especially like the one made from an in-ground stump!
 
Michael Cox
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I'm not convinced it would be more difficult. Rather than hollowing a log with plunge cuts you take a slice off the side and then hollow the face out. You can slope those sides easily enough. You can even make the sizing fairly standard by using top bars of a known length as your. You may need to trim comb a bit, but you should be able to exchange bars from a horizontal log hive to a horizontal top bar hive.

I'm planning on giving this a try this week and will take som shorts of it.
 
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justus bernhard wrote:dear zach!
there is nothing new and nothing invented by sepp holzer published by this topic!
log hives are used since hundreds of years in beekeeping and they were the first step in developing the "modern bee hives".
when you are using pictures, please publish them under the correct references.
the pictures showing the vertical log hive, its' building and the observation hive are not sepp holzers origin.
the pictures are showing my beehives in my place in the austrian alps and I'm not sepp holzer - you know.
yours thomas.



Gruss Dich, Servus Thomas,

I was wondering if you have done any experiments with Leaving the log whole and not doing any supers? Kind of like the descriptions Anastasia gives in her books. I saw a reference to one online and thought it sounded like a very good way to keep the bees.

How much ventilation is reccommended? In your demonstration hive I remember the bottom was slightly elevated in the middle, was this the same as your Removable bottom on your more conventional looking hives?

Thanks for any input.
Ciao
Jacob Saltzman


 
Jacob Saltzman
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Well here she is mostly done, I still want to add a mushroom style straw roof but i am waiting until there is some more dry straw in the field. I hope some bees like it..

What do you guys think?
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From Foxfire 1:
http://hihathoney.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/traditional-appalachian%C2%A0beekeeping/
 
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Just a couple of questions from a newbie. 1.in reference to the original pics, the cross bars didn't cover to cavity in the log so I am assuming that you would space the bars every 4.5 mm all the way across the cavity and do this on each super. 2. There's no entrance, that I could see for the bees to enter the hive. 3. Like I said before newbie here but would really appreciate some detailed instructions if possible. Searched the web and basically found nothing instruction wise. I happen to have a downed hollow tree that's about 34" in diameter and I figure it would make a great hive. Curious how tall each super would need to be. Thanks in advance
 
John Merrifield
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The excerpt posted by Rusty is from Foxfire 2
 
Rusty Shackleford
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Thanks for catching that, John. Wish I could edit for clarity, I was going from memory.
 
John Merrifield
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Joe,
As for size or height of supers cut from a 34" log, I would in my opinion, keep them small or they will weigh a ton.
John
 
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There are similar hives at the Russian honey museum at Krasnoyarsk:
http://www.medochek.ru/podrazdel.php?id=25
(scroll down)
 
John Merrifield
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Also, Joe, a hole drille in the log will suffice as an entrance.
John
 
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Disagree with Sepp's assessment of CCD. Bees have been kept on plastic foundation, fed sugar water, had their honey harvested, etc much longer than CCD has been a major problem. Something has changed. I suspect pesticides.
 
Michael Cox
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I've finally had time to get on with this properly. I've started hollowing out a series of rounds (linden/bass wood). They are pretty damn heavy, even after being hollowed out. I think next time I will make everything, including the main body, a bit shallower. I expect them to lose about half their weight as the wood seasons, but they will then be loaded up with honey.

I messed up one super while hollowing it and made the wall a bit thin in one spot - later on it cracked when I was moving it around, but I think I should be able to patch it by putting a wooden block on the inside and screwing it in place.

Today's job is notching to put some top bars in place. My feeling is that, even with removable bars, the bees will simply build their comb in whatever orientation they want so I'm not going to worry too much about precise bee spacing. They can figure all that out for themselves.

This process emphasised to me that my chainsaw chains are slightly unevenly sharpened - the cuts are not exactly true so on the large diameter pieces when I need to cut from both sides they don't line up perfectly. Not a deal breaker at this stage but something to be aware of.
 
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I came across this web site while I was searching out another log hive face to be carved. I've built two log hives so far. I'm a natural bee keeper. I don't use ANY treatments in the hive and I only use bees from swarms. The log hives are mainly used for bees to live in, of course, but I don't try to get honey out. I figure they can have intervention-free shelter, some poison-free habitat, and they can give me swarms and unlimited photo opportunities.
http://solarbeez.com/2014/06/17/bee-atrice-steps-into-prime-time/
Bee-atrice Log Hive was inhabited on June 6, 2014, by a huge wild swarm after two failed attempts on my part to give her a swarm. That wild swarm must have been Italians because it built natural comb very fast and swarmed again exactly two months later in August. I wasn't real excited to capture a swarm in August so I let it do it's thing and it ended up choosing my recently vacated other log hive. Pictures and videos posted here... http://solarbeez.com/?s=bee+Beard+is+back
Log hives are a lot of fun...a bit of work setting them up for sure, but so what...it's my passion!
 
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I've got access to a huge log - probably 4'diameter w/ 2' inner diameter. Thinking this would be too large to make the 'supers' but it would make a really cool mushroom hive like the Russians make. Or possible insect hotel? I'm looking for some good ideas to make use of it before it rots away. Was a great big tree that got cut to put in powerlines.

Speaking of powerlines, the explanation for colony collapse that I've heard which should be considered, has to do with the massive increase globally in man made electro-magnetic frequencies (EMFs) in the past 10-15 years. Of course in nature there are EMFs such as the earth's Schumann resonance, & the electrical activity in every mitochondria, or electron-chain transport, which is foundational to all biology. These natural bio-EMF systems are very delicate and precise, working on the level of superconductivity which is the physics that drives the computers we're all using to read this. Think about an IBM factory, how they have to be scrupulously clean and get the details exactly right to make a computer chip. That's because it works at the scale of very small flows of current, one electron at a time. So this sort of delicate physics is what controls the functioning of our mitochondria which as we know are the "batteries" that create the energy to power every cell. There are huge implications to blasting our environment with these forces. So to not bring up the subject of EMF and the role it plays in biology, and the detrimental effect of non-native EMFs on biology, is a huge omission people are making. You can say I'm nuts but that wifi router you're sitting right next to, and the cell phone.... might want to rethink that.
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Michael Cox
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pato van ostra wrote:I've got access to a huge log - probably 4'diameter w/ 2' inner diameter. Thinking this would be too large to make the 'supers' but it would make a really cool mushroom hive like the Russians make. Or possible insect hotel? I'm looking for some good ideas to make use of it before it rots away. Was a great big tree that got cut to put in powerlines.



Sounds ideal for log hives. I wouldn't worry about adding supers to it, just chop it in sections that give about 60 liters volume and put and piece of wood on each end. If you can lift the sections off the ground they will last longer.

They can just be homes for feral hives, and you can easily add a caught swarm to one.
 
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2 questions for those experienced with wild hives.
Do the bees have a preference to orient the comb in a certain direction in relation to the earth?
Would a paper soaked in bee's wax be an effective separator between the comb starter strips and the lid that the bees would accept and not chew trough and glue the strips and comb to the lid?
I was thinking the paper could easily be cut if required to pull the comb for inspection.
 
pato van ostra
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Michael Cox wrote:

Sounds ideal for log hives. I wouldn't worry about adding supers to it, just chop it in sections that give about 60 liters volume and put and piece of wood on each end. If you can lift the sections off the ground they will last longer.

They can just be homes for feral hives, and you can easily add a caught swarm to one.



60L volume with a 2ft diameter hole yields a length per section of .67 feet. Seems a little short? Or I suppose if you keep the log sideways, it would be like the orientation of a tire on a car?
 
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Cj Sloane wrote:

Zach Weiss wrote:Never chisel towards yourself, unless your the son of a timber framer



I'm not so sure that even the son of a timber framer should wear sandals while chainsawing.



Mhmm. To both. My inner health and safety inspector had a hernia, shorts, bare hands, no face or EAR protection and similarly unprotected people holding the log. Please guys, when you use a 20th century tool, don't take 13th century protection.
 
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This looks like a beehive simple enough for me to try! I have never done any beekeeping but want to jump right into it once I find some land. Has anyone had any luck catching a swarm by baiting one of these hives with lemongrass?
 
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