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What type of hive would be best for Sheer Total and Utter Neglect?

 
Marty Mitchell
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Was surfing youtube earlier today to glean more info. about top bar hive designs. Saw a video of a guy who designed a Modular Top Bar hive to be both used as a Bee trap mounted high in a tree and then just simply dropped into final destination. He even claims to use it for easier hive divisions.

Anyways, I live in a neighborhood with .3 acre and larger lots. I want to keep honey bees for their pollination but don't want to harvest the honey. I want them to swarm as often and as many times as possible during the summer months to help the populations rebound. I am thinking that copying this guy's modular design might be on the right track.

I am thinking that the smaller hive size will...
1. Help the hive be nearly invisible to the neighbors(Stealth!)
2. Decrease the swarm size so they can have more options for a new location(more places to fit) and be less likely to be seen/attacked by humans when they find a new home
3. Increase the amount of times they can swarm in a given year.
4. Make it easier for bees to keep the atmospheric conditions right for a healthy population.

I want something that I can mount high up in a tree permanently and move away for four years. I am in the military.
I plan to make the tree a Leyland cypress out back to keep the hive shaded during the summer and hidden/protected from the weather/neighbors during the winter.
Later on I want to be able to have the option to bring the hive down and expand it to harvest the honey some day.
I already planted a slurry of food sources for continuous bloom.
The small hive kind of looks like a bird house.
I would add extra insulation and a removable board with an observation window to check in every now and again if I so chose.

Any suggestions or opinions? If I go this route it won't be until late this year or early next. I still need to look it up and see if bees are allowed here. I know chickens are.


Thanks!

Marty
 
tel jetson
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Marty Mitchell wrote:
I am thinking that the smaller hive size will...
1. Help the hive be nearly invisible to the neighbors(Stealth!)


yes, though most folks won't recognize anything other than a stack of white Langstroth bodies as a beehive.

Marty Mitchell wrote:2. Decrease the swarm size so they can have more options for a new location(more places to fit) and be less likely to be seen/attacked by humans when they find a new home


maybe, but I suspect that larger swarms have better odds of survival. really small swarms are almost always doomed. the population of the new colony can't grow again until there is comb built for the queen to lay in. the more bees in the swarm, the faster that will happen. if the swarm is really small, they can't even keep warm overnight.

big swarms are more likely to become big colonies, which I have reason to believe are more resilient and more efficient. for one example, think of the ratio of the surface area of a sphere to the volume: it gets smaller as the size of the sphere increases. for bee purposes, this means that a larger cluster will lose less heat to the atmosphere than a small cluster. not really an advantage in really warm places, but certainly an advantage in temperate climates.

Marty Mitchell wrote:3. Increase the amount of times they can swarm in a given year.


probably not. the sort of swarm that I would consider desirable occurs when the bees are healthy enough and have enough reserves that it seems like a safe bet for a good portion of them to take a chunk of those reserves with them to start a new colony (I would consider that a necessary condition, but not a sufficient one: bees still keep some of their secrets). unless it is located where forage is scarce or competition is an issue, a larger colony is more likely to store up a surplus so that they will swarm. after the prime swarm, some colonies will keep swarming until they've exhausted their reserves or so diminished their population that further swarming would seriously jeopardize the colony. sometimes they'll keep swarming even after that. if what you're after is the maximum number of swarms, my instinct says you'll want a larger hive. I've seen some reports that really large hives rarely swarm at all, but I can't confirm that.

Marty Mitchell wrote:4. Make it easier for bees to keep the atmospheric conditions right for a healthy population.


initially, as the colony is growing, this would be true. but refer again to the sphere ratios (works for cubes and other squarish shapes, too). a larger colony should be able to more easily maintain homeostasis in the hive.

Marty Mitchell wrote:I want something that I can mount high up in a tree permanently and move away for four years. I am in the military.


bees like high hives, but the typical high hive is a cavity in the tree, not something mounted to the outside of it. when they're full of bees and honey, hives can get pretty heavy. wiggling loose over time as the wind blows and the tree sways can also be an issue. if it will be secured with fasteners, use screws instead of nails. if it will tied in place, make sure that it won't be swaying around knocking into things if the wind picks up. your hive won't be so stealth anymore if it falls out of the tree and spills your bees all over the ground.
 
Marty Mitchell
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That is the kind of response I was hoping for. Thank you. You make perfectly logical sense. My kind of language.

I may have to draw this out a few times to get things right before actually doing something.


Thanks Again!

Marty
 
John Wolfram
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If you're looking for pollinating bees and are not interested in honey, have you considered creating a structure for mason bees instead of honey bees?
 
Su Ba
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Marty, have you taken into consideration your regional bee health situation? Where I am a neglected hive will be a dead hive in a matter of weeks. Hives that are not being regularly opened and treated simply die off. The varroa mite here weakens the hive, then the hive beetles move in and destroy it. Wild hives around my area have all just about disappeared. I seldom see swarms anymore, and just about all swarms are doomed.

Before varroa and hive beetle showed up, we could just open hives for honey harvest. Swarms were common and easy to capture. No more. Regular attention is now required. I hope your area has a healthier bee situation.

I haven't seen much of a difference using the various types of hives. All hives here now use oil trays on the bottom to capture hive beetle and monitor varroa. I run both top bar, langstrath, and a hybridized top bar. They all work but still need regular maintenance.
 
tel jetson
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Su Ba wrote:Before varroa and hive beetle showed up, we could just open hives for honey harvest. Swarms were common and easy to capture. No more. Regular attention is now required. I hope your area has a healthier bee situation.


I would guess that your queens are laying all year in Hawai'i, yeah? if, in addition to that, swarming is discouraged or prevented, there will be brood for varroa to grow on all year. and opening hives for any kind of treatment is likely to lead to alarm pheromone which will act as a beacon for hive beetles.

not suggesting solutions or that anybody is doing anything wrong, just thinking through some of what might make Hawai'i a special case, at least compared to the continental U.S.
 
Mike Feddersen
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Marty, first off thank you for your service.
Instead of going the neglect route, how about teaming with a local bee lover in your area? They are liable to love having a 'silent partner'.
 
Mike Haych
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WADR, as a beekeeper, I think that this is a really bad idea. With the world that we have created, to set up an artificial hive and then not check on them for four years is probably going to kill them. If you want to keep bees, why not wait until you can keep bees? That'll give you some knowledge and insights that will help you to your goal of helping wild populations rebound.

The suggestion of trying to build wild bee populations is a really good one. They are in true decline and far more at risk than honeybees. The honeybee problem is more one of economics. Wild bees are far more efficient pollinators than are honeybees but most don't cluster in colonies so there's nothing to load onto flatbeds and move around the country. Find out what wild bees are native to your area. Plant what they need. Provide water. Provide natural nesting material. You'll probably find that if you build it, they will come.

STUN, by the way, is a process for discovering survivors strong genetics:
Using the STUN technique, we can now ignore our trees on purpose.

What might that purpose be? Aside from the obvious cost and labor savings when you don’t hand weed, hoe, cultivate
or mow around trees, one of the most significant benefits of using STUN is the discovery of superior genetics. Think
about it. If you plant 100 trees and ignore them , the only ones that will survive did so because they had some sort of
competitive advantage. Maybe they developed deep roots more quickly than the others around them . Maybe they require
less water or nutrients than the ones that died. Everybody has seen trees growing out of cliffs and observed that som e
trees can survive without any soil at all. STUN allows us to discover which trees are adapted to surviving in the
unamended soil type that exists on a farm .


You definitely want strong genetics but simply abandoning the bees for 4 years probably won't achieve that. A ton of things can happen over that time that can wipe out strong genetics that have developed and you will never know.
 
David Livingston
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Mike
"You definitely want strong genetics but simply abandoning the bees for 4 years probably won't achieve that. A ton of things can happen over that time that can wipe out strong genetics that have developed and you will never know."

If they are wiped out does that not mean that their genetics were not strong enough ? Which is what you want ? Leaving space for those that are "strong " enough

The problem I have with your idea is two fold firstly is practical - bees swarm taking with them the queen ,the sole repository of her genetics so while the queen in year one leaves in the prime swarm leaving her daughter who is only 50% her genetics behind . Over 4 years the queen of the third generation will only have 12.5% of the genetics of the origional queen . So if she fails is this the failure of the genetics of the origional queen ?
Secondly bees are not chickens we cannot deliberatly mate them, who decides what are strong genetics ? Death is the only sorting mechanism ,its very Darwinian the world of bees
I see nothing wrong with either setting up a hive and see who comes after all ,there are many wild places that have had bees for many many years uncared for . Yes sometimes the bees die off but then in a couple of years come back again when the hive has been " cleaned out " by wax moth and the like. There are number of sites in churches I am aware of where this happens .

As for wild vs honey bees for me its not an issue as the honey bee is native here in europe
I also have lots of mason bees too

David
 
Mike Haych
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David Livingston wrote:
If they are wiped out does that not mean that their genetics were not strong enough ? Which is what you want ? Leaving space for those that are "strong " enough


Depends on how they are wiped out. If your neighbour sprays a pesticide and he is thoughtful enough to ask you, you might be able to avoid damage to your bees or worse. If you're not there, they could be wiped out. That's got nothing to do with strong genetics.

The problem I have with your idea is two fold firstly is practical - bees swarm taking with them the queen ,the sole repository of her genetics so while the queen in year one leaves in the prime swarm leaving her daughter who is only 50% her genetics behind . Over 4 years the queen of the third generation will only have 12.5% of the genetics of the origional queen . So if she fails is this the failure of the genetics of the origional queen ?


Sometimes the queen leaves; sometimes she doesn't. Regardless, a new queen will emerge. When she mates, it will not be with a drone offspring. You're not suggesting that you want to suppress swarming are you?


Secondly bees are not chickens we cannot deliberatly mate them, who decides what are strong genetics ? Death is the only sorting mechanism ,its very Darwinian the world of bees


I wasn't proposing mating but if we select fruits, vegetables, trees, etc for desirable characteristics, I see little difference in doing the same for bees.

I see nothing wrong with either setting up a hive and see who comes after all ,there are many wild places that have had bees for many many years uncared for . Yes sometimes the bees die off but then in a couple of years come back again when the hive has been " cleaned out " by wax moth and the like. There are number of sites in churches I am aware of where this happens .


The wild places in North America seem to be increasingly problematic. Dennis Murrell in Wyoming lost his bees to a crop duster emptying his tanks before he landed. Normally, his bees would have been safe even from drift but not this time.

As for wild vs honey bees for me its not an issue as the honey bee is native here in europe
I also have lots of mason bees too


I wasn't making a native/non-native distinction. Just noting that the wild pollinators who are more efficient than honeybees are under far more pressure. One need only look at the number of bumblebees which are extinct or on the verge in NA to see the problem. Wherever they are on the planet, they face more or less the same problem - us.
 
David Livingston
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"If your neighbour sprays a pesticide and he is thoughtful enough to ask you, you might be able to avoid damage to your bees or worse. If you're not there, they could be wiped out. That's got nothing to do with strong genetics. "
I agree thats down to chance and that applies no matter what sort of beekeeper you are or do .

"Sometimes the queen leaves; sometimes she doesn't. Regardless, a new queen will emerge. When she mates, it will not be with a drone offspring. You're not suggesting that you want to suppress swarming are you? "

No way would I ever suggest stopping swarming as swarming is the hope for the future I personally think its cruel to stop bees swarming .

"I wasn't proposing mating but if we select fruits, vegetables, trees, etc for desirable characteristics, I see little difference in doing the same for bees."

If we select ? on what basis would you select and how would you ensure that bees you select dont dissapear with the next swarm ? What happens to those you dont select?

I agree we need many differing types of polinator

David




 
Mike Haych
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David Livingston wrote:If we select ? on what basis would you select and how would you ensure that bees you select dont dissapear with the next swarm ? What happens to those you dont select?


I suppose that it depends on what you want. The subject of queen rearing is broad enough for a separate thread - http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearing.htm.
 
David Livingston
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I think we will have to agree to differ I prefer that the bees choose for themselves . I trust the bees and Darwin.

David
 
Mike Haych
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David Livingston wrote:I think we will have to agree to differ I prefer that the bees choose for themselves . I trust the bees and Darwin.


Yep but we've done so much interfering with honeybees over the years, so much not letting them choose that I'm willing to select queens who have strong grooming characteristics, etc. and then leave them alone. Maybe they can do that without my help and maybe not - Nature's pretty random.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Wow! Awesome responses. I just love the power of the internet to bring people and their thoughts together.

I live in Coastal Virginia. Many fresh water ponds in the neighborhood. Good rain and temps that don't get below 15 deg F. I don't know about the local pests or diseases. I do like the idea of just letting someone else keep their bees here.

I do already have Mason Bees and plan/hope for more.

Captured some unknown local solitary bees in the Mason bee hive this past summer.

I did see several leaf cutter bees last summer in the yard. I am about to add a box for them. Would I keep them the same way during the winter as I do the Mason bees? They are in the fridge.

So many approaches. lol

I still feel that If I were to get a few years of swarming of 5k bees every now and again... that the local population would benefit. However, I am wondering if I shouldn't just plant wildflower seeds under all the power lines in the area. Gorilla style.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Also have yet another question after one more day of thinking about a STUN hive.

I have seen several nests over the years in buildings and steep banks on hillsides(grew up in mountains of North Georgia). I assume that is because the buildings/hill faces are more thermally stable and can be selected for their particular micro climate. aka facing North/South/East/West. As Well as being good launch points and well drained.

Anyways I am now wondering what your thoughts are on integrating a hidden bee hive into an attic or wall If placed inside an attic or shed... I could build a box Around the Outside of the bee box and hook up a simple ventilation system to keep the air around the bees @ the same temps as the outside. Then during the winter I could simply close the vent. The bees would have their own entrance/exit that is separate from the vent box. Could even hook up one of the temp regulated gas shocks that go on greenhouse windows to open only during temps above 70 deg F.

Anyways... the bees would be safe from neighbors and weather and such. I hear hives used to last for decades in old homes when left alone.
 
David Livingston
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Firstly making a space for bees to be bees is not a new idea it's quite old.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/8594724.stm
Secondly I was thinking about the point made earlier about beekeepers breeding hygienic bees . I have always been a bit doubtful of this idea and have given it some thought about it over the last couple of days .
I wonder about looking at this issue from another direction thinking about evolution and BOTH the bees and the parasite ( continue in next post )
 
David Livingston
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Comparing bees and verroa it's obvious to me that Bees have a pretty narrow range of genetic veriability compare to the parasite - the super organism that is the swarm relies on the genetics of a single individual the queen whilst the verroa unfortunately have many many more different ideviduals all slightly genetically different . Also bees only breed one a year whilst the verroa breed numerous times a year.
For the vampire like parasite ,verroa killing your prey is evolutionary bad move as if you kill your host then there is a good chance you will die.
Plus for me the idea of hygienic bees is a bit of a subjective s every strong hive I have seen has been quite clean so is this a cause or symptom .
Instead of thinking that the bees and beekeepers have managed to find a solution is it not equally possible the verroa has found a solution so instead of buying hygienic bees could you not be buying " tame " verroa .
Just a thought

David
 
Marty Mitchell
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David Livingston wrote:Firstly making a space for bees to be bees is not a new idea it's quite old.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/8594724.stm
Secondly I was thinking about the point made earlier about beekeepers breeding hygienic bees . I have always been a bit doubtful of this idea and have given it some thought about it over the last couple of days .
I wonder about looking at this issue from another direction thinking about evolution and BOTH the bees and the parasite ( continue in next post )



I checked out the link. What an awesome thing. Appears that bees really can survive without our intervention. If done right anyways.


The video Paul Wheaton made a while back is what go me leaning towards putting a hive into a building. He made a claim in the following video that simply covering a hive during the Summer can drive up honey production by a factor of 4 to 5 times! Which means the hive would be less stressed and have much more potential to swarm several more times throughout the year/ make more brood/focus more on cleaning house. However, Paul says they stack some hay bails around the hives during the winter for insulation... along with full southern exposure. I would avoid that expense and extra work by adding permanent insulation with adaptable ventilation. My shed out back is protected by large cottonwood trees during the summer and receives full sun during the winter. It is also directly next to the garden and is not going to interfere with my occasional mowing. I plan to cut some walking paths through my newly designated wildflower meadow in that half of the yard. Does anyone know of a flower type to add to the meadow that would act as a medicine or parasite repellant for the bees

Paul's YouTube video...

http://youtu.be/6macQJkubK4

 
tel jetson
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I'm a bit skeptical of the five-times-the-honey claims. scratch that. I'm extremely skeptical. that said, I do keep bees in a shelter.

I think it's important to consider the amount of resources used to make a hive. building it into another structure might benefit the bees (though it might not), but at what cost?creating the perfectly ideal situation is just not going to be a responsible use of resources, even if it were feasible to do. so we find a balance.

if there's an existing eave that can shelter a hive from midsummer sun and winter rain, making use of that would be reasonable. building a completely new structure to shelter one or more hives, though, might not pencil out.

actally putting a hive inside a building can work, but probably not if it is a conditioned space. the bees need that cold weather to signal the time is right for dormancy. if they're kept warm, they'll stay up eating honey and looking for forage that isn't there.
 
Marty Mitchell
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I agree. I found the 4 to 5 times more honey a bit extreme. I don't keep bees though and never have. So what do I know. I am betting that the forage on his land has increased in amount and decreased in distance. Causing the drastic increase they observed.

If the increase is only 20% I would still be impressed to be honest. If a large hive were producing 200 pounds of honey a year(Just a number someone threw out one time that stuck in my head) and it were to increase by 20% it would then be producing 240 pounds of honey. If selling honey at $8 a pound... that would equate to an extra $320 of income a year per hive. Throwing a few hives into a building could theoretically pay for the building in a single year depending on what/how it is built. Just crunching some made up numbers.

I am leaning more towards that old shed out back now instead of the cypress trees or house.

I would be building everything from the scrap wood I have saved from other projects over the years. The cost for me would be the time. A plus side would be less scrap wood laying around.

We could consider this a mad science experiment when someone does it. I bet there are others already doing it somewhere out there. Should I put a permanent oil moat at the bottom of the inner hive?
 
John Wolfram
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Marty Mitchell wrote:If the increase is only 20% I would still be impressed to be honest. If a large hive were producing 200 pounds of honey a year(Just a number someone threw out one time that stuck in my head) and it were to increase by 20% it would then be producing 240 pounds of honey. If selling honey at $8 a pound... that would equate to an extra $320 of income a year per hive. Throwing a few hives into a building could theoretically pay for the building in a single year depending on what/how it is built. Just crunching some made up numbers.


Building one of those bee hut structures sure looks like a lot of work. If we observe nature, we see that bees tend to make their hive in trees, so it would seem that we could get most of the benefits of a hut structure simply by putting the hive underneath a tree. By selecting a distance from the tree trunk, and possibly removing some of the lower branches, the timing and duration of the light exposure to the hive could be adjusted.
 
David Livingston
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Marty
Check out warre hives if you are going to build your own .
As for bee houses in Europe they were and still are popular in Germany and points east from there I have never come across any here in France . In the UK there were similar structures called bee boles but they tendered to be holes or alcoves in walls rather than a seperate building. The issue I have with bee houses is that the bees are often too close together ,this I fear will encourage the spread of desease pests etc . In the wild they are never that close and maybe we should ask ourselves why ? I think it's just for the convenience of the beekeeper

David
 
Lina Joana
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If you want to go the neglect route, you might try to either catch a swarm or find a bee club in your area that goes out to rescue them. Here in LA, we have this group: http://www.backwardsbeekeepers.com/ which rescue swarms from places they aren't wanted - like people's houses. If you can find someone to help you move or capture a swarm, you won't have to pay for a hive that would likely die, and you will have genetics that have survived at list a bit of time in your area.
Best of luck!
 
Marty Mitchell
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I will read up on the warre hives too then. Thanks!

I agree about the trees. They would help out in a multitude of levels I bet... even wind and rain. Awesome observation. Which type of trees was it that exude the sap bees need to feed from in order to activate their immune system? I want to plant some in the yard too. I will scratch the tree from time to time to make the sap available.

I def. want to catch a wild hive first. If that does not pan out then get one that is known for self grooming.


After thinking about the whole discussion earlier about how a larger hive is able to maintain/regulate it's internal temps better... I began to have a bit of a brain storm last night at work... trying to find potential benefits of a smaller hive.

Less bees would require less nectar/pollen. Therefor requiring the bees to fly less distance to find the amount they would need. Creating less of a chance of running into the bad things out there and bringing them back to the hive... and wearing the bees that are I their final stages of life out slower... decreasing the stress/work that comes from having to replace that bee when it passes on. If insulated well enough then the hive would not have a major issue maintaining the right temps. Since each hive represents a single strain of genetic diversity... then more diversity could be supported per square mile. Diversity is the spice of life.

Perhaps the bad things would spread slower too.

Had some more points/ideas but forgot them.

Marty
 
tel jetson
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John Wolfram wrote:If we observe nature, we see that bees tend to make their hive in trees, so it would seem that we could get most of the benefits of a hut structure simply by putting the hive underneath a tree. By selecting a distance from the tree trunk, and possibly removing some of the lower branches, the timing and duration of the light exposure to the hive could be adjusted.


bees are naturally adapted not just to living under tree canopies, but actually inside of tree cavities. I'm not certain that just being near a tree approximates that arrangement terribly well. the walls of a tree hive, for example, are likely to be several inches thick and with sap flowing through parts of them. there's also likely to be a fair amount of active decay inside the cavity, something that isn't typically encouraged in constructed hives, though some folks are having good luck encouraging a layer of decomposing debris at the bottom of their hives.

that isn't to say that placing a hive under a shelter approximates the natural habitat any better, but it does have some things going for it. most of those advantages can be accomplished without a purpose-built structure, though. supposing it is secured against blowing over, a wide roof placed directly on a hive can provide plenty of shelter from winter precipitation and midday summer sun. windbreaks can be made of living vegetation. a stand can easily be built to accommodate raising one hive above ground-level moisture.

I built a shelter for my beehives several years ago. at the time, I thought it would be a good way to shelter up to 15 hives together. since then, I've realized that I don't actually want that many hives in one place. like David mentioned, hives in close proximity share pathogens. I do still keep five hives in that shelter, but that's the only place I keep more than one hive, and I won't replace them there if any colonies die.
 
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tel jetson wrote:
John Wolfram wrote:If we observe nature, we see that bees tend to make their hive in trees, so it would seem that we could get most of the benefits of a hut structure simply by putting the hive underneath a tree. By selecting a distance from the tree trunk, and possibly removing some of the lower branches, the timing and duration of the light exposure to the hive could be adjusted.


bees are naturally adapted not just to living under tree canopies, but actually inside of tree cavities. I'm not certain that just being near a tree approximates that arrangement terribly well. the walls of a tree hive, for example, are likely to be several inches thick and with sap flowing through parts of them. there's also likely to be a fair amount of active decay inside the cavity, something that isn't typically encouraged in constructed hives, though some folks are having good luck encouraging a layer of decomposing debris at the bottom of their hives.

that isn't to say that placing a hive under a shelter approximates the natural habitat any better, but it does have some things going for it. most of those advantages can be accomplished without a purpose-built structure, though. supposing it is secured against blowing over, a wide roof placed directly on a hive can provide plenty of shelter from winter precipitation and midday summer sun. windbreaks can be made of living vegetation. a stand can easily be built to accommodate raising one hive above ground-level moisture.

I built a shelter for my beehives several years ago. at the time, I thought it would be a good way to shelter up to 15 hives together. since then, I've realized that I don't actually want that many hives in one place. like David mentioned, hives in close proximity share pathogens. I do still keep five hives in that shelter, but that's the only place I keep more than one hive, and I won't replace them there if any colonies die.



You just gave me some more ideas.
The tree sap flowing around a hive inside a tree could help regulate the temps some.
If the right type of tree sap were slowly flowing into a hive then they would be having some food/medicine literally brought to them.
My Favorite... Are there any type of lifeforms that could live in soil placed inside the bottom of a hive that would also eat the invasive mites and such that fall down there? Could be fungi or else.
 
tel jetson
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Marty Mitchell wrote:My Favorite... Are there any type of lifeforms that could live in soil placed inside the bottom of a hive that would also eat the invasive mites and such that fall down there? Could be fungi or else.


book scorpions (Chelifer cancroides) have been observed killing mites (and wax moths). they'll eat dust mites in our homes, too. helpful little critters.
 
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tel jetson wrote:
Marty Mitchell wrote:My Favorite... Are there any type of lifeforms that could live in soil placed inside the bottom of a hive that would also eat the invasive mites and such that fall down there? Could be fungi or else.


book scorpions (Chelifer cancroides) have been observed killing mites (and wax moths). they'll eat dust mites in our homes, too. helpful little critters.



Just read up on them in Wikipedia. Here is the link followed by a few copy/pastes... with personal thoughts attached.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoscorpion

"may sometimes be found feeding on mites under the wing covers of certain beetles." The small types look to feed on mites and the large ones feed on larger insects. Small ones are about 2mm.

"They enter homes by "riding along" attached to insects"... shows a pick of one attached to a micro fly

"Species have been found under tree bark, in leaf and pine litter, in soil, in tree hollows, under stones, in caves, at the seashore in the intertidal zone, and within fractured rocks." So they can live inside a hive/tree hollow or in the soil at the bottom of a hive!

I am betting that if one were to find the right species and introduce a breeding population into a hive that these would be a real friendly thing to have around. They are related to spiders. They are small enough to travel with the bees when they swarm. Hive keepers could inoculate all of their hives by keeping soil/debris at the bottom and taking some to the other hives every now and again. Like a ladybug for bees. I wonder what kind of life cycle their young go through.

Marty
 
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Just read an article and was basically repeating everything I keep hearing in Paul's podcasts(reverence for bees).

However, it added an extra stress for the bees as one of the many possible factors. It basically says that "poor food quality, pests and pesticides" stress them out... and that having to fly further for food causes a kind of cascade effect by wearing the bees out quicker than they can be replaced. They said the tipping point is when they wear themselves out in 2 weeks or less.

They did miss out on several of the stress factors talked about in "reverence for bees". The "wearing out" factor was a new one that just made sense so I wanted to share.


http://au.ibtimes.com/mystery-bee-colony-collapse-may-have-been-solved-1420743
 
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There has been a lot written about sub lethal effects which is a more sciency way of saying worn out . I think its a combination when you have a strong hive with a warm nest they can take on anything but add some weakness due to insecticide , verroa , small hive beatle and it becomes too much for them . Remember though that on average about 50% of feral bees hives die every year which is a good thing because if you do the math otherwise we would be soon up to our necks in the little darlings

David
 
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David Livingston wrote:There has been a lot written about sub lethal effects which is a more sciency was of saying worn out . I think its a combination when you have a strong hive with a warm nest they can take on anything but add some weakness due to insecticide , verroa , small hive beatle and it becomes too much for them . Remember though that on average about 50% of feral bees hives die every year which is a good thing because if you do the math otherwise we would be soon up to our necks in the little darlings

David



Good point about the 50% survival rate in the wild.


I am betting that I can beat that in a STUN hive that is intelligently designed and placed in the middle of flower paradise.
 
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David Livingston wrote:
Check out warre hives if you are going to build your own .


David



I took your advice last night and started watching a few YouTube videos about just what a Warre hive is. I really like what I see. Thanks!!! I am thinking something this style would be really good for a STUN situation.

Appears that the warre hive boxes attempt to...
1. Emulate the circular nature of the hollowed out inside of a large tree cavity by being about 12"x12" in diameter and about 8" tall.
2. Allow the bees to build their own comb to decide for themselves what is best for their particular needs for brood types.
3. Instead of placing new boxes on top as the hive grows like in a langstroth hive... new extension boxes are placed on the bottom. Allowing the bees to start at the top and build their way down as they would in nature.
4. There is an insulated/breathable ventilation located at the very top of the hive.
A. This enables the honey comb located at the top to dry out quicker since humid air rises... increasing ease of production.
B. The hive tends to be drier since moisture is expelled. Decreasing disease/mold.
5. Easier to lift than langstroth but not as easy as a top bar.
6. Less cubic inches in the top box makes for a warmer spot in the winter. Potentially creating some micro climates within the hive depending on their needs.

The only modification I would make is the one so thoroughly explained in the final "lazy beekeeping" video link below. I would move the entrance up off of the ground. Keeping the flight path of the bees clear from grass/brush. Making it harder for pests such as mice to get in. I would not put the entrance at the very top though like in the video. I am thinking something like the bottom of the second box from the top. Or if keeping the entrance on the very bottom then just lifting the hive up. My imaginary STUN hive would be about the size of two warre boxes. So the entrance would be on the bottom I suppose.

As yet another bonus of keeping the entrance closer to the top... the honey making bees would have quicker ingress/egress. Decreasing their work load that much more and increasing production by saving time.
My favorite videos...







Lazy beekeeping...

 
David Livingston
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Another advantage is cost as you can build them yourself
Compare with the WBC hive now that is beyond my ability although it looks good

David
 
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David Livingston wrote:Another advantage is cost as you can build them yourself
Compare with the WBC hive now that is beyond my ability although it looks good

David



Totally true. Building it myself would be much more fulfilling too.

I do like the free Warre hive design from www.houseofbees.com

That houseofbees Warre is a pretty intricate hive that is doable myself. However, I would go much more simple and tougher for the STUN. I do like the houseofbees upgrades they made by using steel mesh instead of canvas on the top insulation support. Steel would be better at keeping rodents out that are likely to be an issue in my neck of the woods. I also like their observation windows and would want some for minimal monitoring and education for the kids and guests.

I am thinking some 2"x8" boards for both strength and insulation. Having a design that is easy to take apart is not as important for me. Just easy basic maintenance.
 
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Marty Mitchell wrote:I do like the houseofbees upgrades they made by using steel mesh instead of canvas on the top insulation support. Steel would be better at keeping rodents out that are likely to be an issue in my neck of the woods. I also like their observation windows and would want some for minimal monitoring and education for the kids and guests.

I am thinking some 2"x8" boards for both strength and insulation. Having a design that is easy to take apart is not as important for me. Just easy basic maintenance.


steel really isn't necessary. unless the joinery is really shoddy, there isn't actually any gap for a mouse to get into the insulation. the part commonly called the 'mouse board' (it's part of the roof) sits on top of the insulation, which prevents any mice getting in. that mouse board also dramatically slows down or stops air and moisture communication with the outside. that insulation, or quilt, acts more as a moisture buffer, if it does anything to the moisture. a lot of folks, myself included, have observed that the top cloth is completely covered with propolis in relatively short order. propolis, being impermeable to water, prevents vapor from passing into or out of the hive through the top. mostly, the quilt insulates, which can reduce condensation in the hive.

unless it's rather fancy, or coated with something non-reactive, any steel in a hive is likely to rust in fairly short order. there is also talk of metal in a hive causing problems for the bees, though I haven't seen any scientific literature to back that up. some folks are willing to pay substantially more for hives without any metal fasteners in them, though.


windows are neat, but they also add complexity and potential problems. glass is fragile and won't work well if the wood of the hive moves with seasonal weather changes. acrylic shrinks and expands with temperature changes, which complicates construction a bit. any material needs to be tightly insulated when the window is closed to prevent heat loss. not at all insurmountable problems, but not the easiest construction, either, which is sort of contrary to Warré's design. they also don't allow a view very far into the hive, so they aren't particularly useful for management purposes. they're fun, though, and I'm not trying to talk you out of building windows.


2"x8" construction will work. 2"x10" would get you closer to Warré's dimensions without having to stack boards. 2" boards are going to result in pretty heavy boxes, though, unless you use a light-weight wood like cedar or sugi. if you end up building a lift to go along with the hive, the weight won't be as much of a concern.


anyhow, Warré's is a good design. not without it's drawbacks, but it's the hive I've personally had the most success with.
 
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A simpler Warré plan here
http://www.warre.biobees.com/plans.htm

David
 
Marty Mitchell
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@ David L.

Thanks! I downloaded the plans and even forwarded them to my brother down in Georgia. He is setting up to keep bees at the moment already. He will harvest and upkeep and such though. I keep sending him PDFs whenever I find them about different hive types. He does leave for a few weeks a couple of times a year... but that is about it.



@ Tel Jetson

Thank you for informing about the extra board I was not aware of... and the coating that gets onto the insulation.

I do need some extra protection from morning dew. There is a string of ponds through my neighborhood and everything is ALWAYS covered in dew in the morning. For most of the year.

I can tell I would be able to make a few modifications to the roof design of a warre if I placed it inside my shed. I will have to sit and think about that one for a while though. I may just leave the lower canvas the way it was originally designed with the quilt sitting on top. Then instead of a board on top of that with a sloped roof/vent... I could keep it open and flowing by just simply building a "screen door" on top that is easy to inspect in and open up for quilt material replacement. Then during the Winter when heat retention is needed and good ventilation for honey production is no longer required... I could throw down thicker insulation and a board on top of the screen door that has a small vent hole. Still needs some thought.

I may add some closable vents to the roof of the shed for further control. Still more thought required.

It is OK if the boxes end up being really heavy. I will only have as few boxes as possible. So long as they weigh less than 100lbs... a 200lb guy like me should be able to handle them easily. I want to put the handles on the lowest box in the hive @ around waist level. No bending or step ladders.

Still like the window idea. I am willing to do the extra work for the kids. I like the layered polycarbonate roofing material like on my greenhouse. Should not expand/contract too much. I can get a sheet from home depot and cut it with my tin snips. I will add a insulated door with a seal.



 
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Just came up on this interesting webpage about cell size within the colony.

1.Appears that smaller bees will live 8-12 weeks instead of the conventional 6 weeks. Making the hive drastically stronger.
2.Gestation takes less time and beat varroa mite.
3."The hygienic behavior VSH appears, which means the active culling of Varoa mites from the infected brood cells."

Here is the link. Seems that is totally important for a STUN hive.
http://www.bioapi.es/index.php?r=25

What are your opinions and experiences on that matter?

Thanks
 
tel jetson
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Marty Mitchell wrote:What are your opinions and experiences on that matter?


meh. I leave the bees to it. I'm not interested so much in controlling their behavior.
 
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