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Bee Hut Concept

 
Danny Smithers
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Location: Florissant, CO
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Disclaimer: I'm absolutely new to bees and have not yet kept any.

I have a concept for a bee shelter at my 8500 ft elevation site in Colorado, but I can't find anything that seems similar posted, which makes me feel like there is some obvious fatal flaw to the design that most experienced bee-keepers would see. All the bee sheds I see have ample space around the hives and I am envisioning a protective structure that more closely hugs the hive. It would essentially be a top-bar hive surrounded on 3-sides by palettes which would provide plenty of space for the bees to come and go, and protection from bears and wind. The 4th side would be a window facing the south. I would put rocks for thermal mass beneath the hive to help balance our high-altitude temperature swings. During the winter I would put straw bales on the 3 non-glazed sides. The top and one of the sides will flip open for bee-care. I am attaching an extremely rudimentary illustration of this concept. Any thoughts on its efficacy are welcome and thanks in advance for any comments.
plan-demi-palette-leg-3s.jpg
[Thumbnail for plan-demi-palette-leg-3s.jpg]
Rough illustration
 
David Livingston
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Sounds like you are trying to reinvent the bee bole . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_bole
If there was a way to put your TBH so it could slide out of the Bole I think this would be really effective Something like a wall facing south east , an alcove with the hive recessed lengthways so it catches the sun and a means to slide it forward so you can work on it then return it to the alcove Door optional ( protection from Bears maybe )
 
Danny Smithers
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Location: Florissant, CO
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I'll look more into this concept for adjustments to this concept... I was lacking the term "bee bole" in my vocabulary which stifled my Googling. Many thanks David.
 
jimmy gallop
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palettes won't stop bears only electricity does that and sometimes that won't.
other than that the bees don't care all that much
 
Danny Smithers
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Location: Florissant, CO
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I know palettes aren't bear proof. It's more of a stalling tactic so that when I hear the ruckus I can go and scare them away--they won't be too far from where I sleep. But if this setup keeps the bees happy, then I might give it a go.
 
Thomas Partridge
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Location: Zone 7a
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It is risky, once the bear tastes the larva/honey combo they wont stop coming back until they are destroyed. If you are using it as something that will make a lot of noise, make sure it is enough to wake you up if you are sleeping.

I agree with others however. Your best bet if you have a bear problem large enough to warrant special precautions is to use electric fencing to discourage them before they get a taste. If that is not an option for you, put it as far away from the forest edge as possible. They may not make it past the first few areas without you first noticing that they are exploring your property at night. If you know they are coming at night, contact your department of game and inland fisheries and find out what you are legally able to do. If you get the go ahead from them and they are still invading your property, put them down. I know it is harsh and they are marvelous creatures, but it is either that or not have bees.

I wish there was a way to have these animals captured and fitted with some type of shock device that would shock them when they came close to human residences.
 
Danny Smithers
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Location: Florissant, CO
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There are so many uncontrollable variables when it comes to bears including the individual personalities of the animals. With this setup, they will not get a taste of the honey/larva combination before I am alerted--and I will have some extra noise-making element to the system. I might even reinforce it with used re-bar. It is also in a fenced in area--not that this will stop a bear, but it will also provide some extra noise. I've had a lot of experience dealing with "city" bears which tend to be harder to intimidate. Most bears that aren't too used to humans run with nothing more than a quick yell. But I did have to use bear mace on one in the middle of the day when we had all the neighbors out and about and one simply wouldn't spook even with rocks being thrown at it--and wow does bear mace work well--but this is not the location where I will be housing the bees.

I am just in the process of relocating to my homestead where I will be putting the bees. It is a tiny-house set up on about 3-acres and is about as quiet as can bee (ha ha, lame-ass joke). In the summers I will be sleeping with the windows open, and probably on the porch a lot as I like to sleep outside. I've had bears around a couple times so far, but it is rare. One day I was working and accidentally almost stepped on one as I turned around a rocky bend and he scurried up a tree. He didn't come down all day while I worked on my projects. But he already had 2 tags on his ear, which means one more garbage infraction and the DOW would put him down, he is likely dead unfortunately.

No system is perfect, but I think this will give the bees a pretty good chance. There is also the possibility that bears will never be an issue, another person in my PDC has a large bee setup in bear country without any protection and never had a problem. Too many factors to control them all, but I think I'm playing decent odds.
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