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Bee hive wind protection - wall? hugelkultur  RSS feed

 
Rahima Teall
Posts: 3
Location: Groton, United States
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Hi,
I have about 1/3 of an acre to play with that is flat with no water. It's next to an organic farm fwhich in the Winter, the cold N. England wind visable comes across. There are a few trees planted on the north side that breaks it up some. My bee hive used to be next to a tree there.  Now I have a different setup for the bee hive, and I am wondering if I build a hugelkulture on the North side of the bee hive, if it would help keep it warm. Or maybe I would be better off with rocks?  I want to break up the wind mostly.

The 1/3 acre is an old horse pasture full of whatever wants to grow there right now. I have the home rented out to cover the major house repairs, so I am only up there once a week in the non-snow season.

Also, here's the hard thing - I really don't have much help unless I hire people.  I can rent heavy equipment and teach myself (I think it will come in handy in the long run and plus I really want to learn how to do it).  I have a tree crew which take down the dead trees and I cut them in 6 foot pieces. 

Whatever I am going to do is going to be slow but I could take a few days off from work to jump start the project. 

Attached is the picture of the bee hive in a geodesic dome. I plan on adding a few more over the next few years. The dome it to try keep the bears out.

Any thoughts? ok.... I know you have ideas and I appreciate the help!
File-Jul-10-12-18-13-PM.jpeg
[Thumbnail for File-Jul-10-12-18-13-PM.jpeg]
Keeping bears out.
 
David Livingston
steward
Posts: 3668
Location: Anjou ,France
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Er is there a door in the dome ? Maybe you could grow vines - grapes , kiwi , passion fruit / maypops
Or other climbers on the dome this would hide the hive ( it's a TBH ? ) help keep the hive sheltered and provide flowers for the girls and fruit for you

David
 
Rahima Teall
Posts: 3
Location: Groton, United States
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Hi there,
There is a door but it is clipped on. I was a little worried a smart bear would just walk in for a snack.  The hive is Cathedral Top Bar Hive which I like so far. The vines we started this year didn't make it. Not enough water and they were already limping before we planted them.  I could try some Peas and leave the vines but I am not sure it would be enough protection.  As a last resort, I could do some hay bales if I could find some that weren't sprayed. It is getting a little late in the season, that is why I was thinking a wall because I don't think vines would grow fast enough for this year.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 505
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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We don't have bears here except for a stray from Arkansas last year, so I'm just speculating, It seems like a bear might like climbing on your dome.  It doesn't seem like it'd support the weight a big bear. How big do the get there?

I'd add some electric fence wires.  I raise bees and it would be awful to find everything crushed and scattered around.


Snow tends to pile up behind a wind break. It's good insulation but can block the entrance.
 
Rahima Teall
Posts: 3
Location: Groton, United States
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Bears here are generally under 500lb, but a large one can be 650lb. The dome will hold over 1,000 lbs. I was going to add hog wire, but the triangles are too small from a small bear - the struts are only 11" inches long so the triangles are too small for a bear to reach in. I do need to add more anchors. I think I only have 5. Of course, a bear could dig...someone down the road just puts wood with nails sticking up near the hive.

The door to the dome is North West and the bee hive opening is south east. After a lot of thought, I think I will try a short hugakulture on the North side leaning into the dome. Even if snow piles up, it would be better than wind. I am adding insulation to the hive and the honey stores will help insulate from the wind too.  The reason I am using a dome is I can't reliable keep an electric fence up in the Winter and that's when we saw the paw print in the driveway. I also only have one hive in there just in case. I would be so sad if it gets smashed.  My next option is on top of the garage but that has a lot of concerns. Time will tell.... Thanks for the comments. I hadn't thought of the snow part at all and had just decided what I was doing the other day.
 
Dave Dahlsrud
Posts: 507
Location: North-Central Idaho, 4100 ft elev., 24 in precip
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I would do a really tall (6-10 ft) berm/hugel about six feet away from your dome, then do something like a stone wall about three feet high on the inside of that dome in a kind of sunscoop shape.  I like the dome idea btw, it should be really nice once you find some vines that will grow on it.  I think some of the older heirloom hop varieties might be able to make it ok without v a bunch of extra water.
 
Marco Banks
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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A larger context question: do you want a hugel in that location?  If not, wouldn't using a couple of straw bales or some ridged foam board insulation be much easier?  I've seen people use pallets as a wind-break as well.  Foam board is easy to cut with a utility knife and can be tied in place with some rope or wire.

A half-dozen carefully stacked bales would give the hive a lot of insulation, and will make great mulch for the garden next spring once the bees don't need them anymore.  Just make sure you aren't blocking whatever winter sun might be shining on the hive.

I might be talking about something completely different than you are asking (insulation vs. wind-break), but the cross-over is evident.  An insulating wall of straw or hay bales will serve as a wind-break as well as insulation if you place them close enough to the hive.  Double duty.  Just having a wind-break 10 feet away does nothing to help the bees keep the heat that they generate inside their hive.  You would still have all that cold air pulling heat from their home, forcing them to burn a lot of their honey to keep warm and keep the hive at the correct temp.


 
Dave Dahlsrud
Posts: 507
Location: North-Central Idaho, 4100 ft elev., 24 in precip
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Marco Banks wrote:A larger context question: do you want a hugel in that location?  If not, wouldn't using a couple of straw bales or some ridged foam board insulation be much easier?  I've seen people use pallets as a wind-break as well.  Foam board is easy to cut with a utility knife and can be tied in place with some rope or wire.

A half-dozen carefully stacked bales would give the hive a lot of insulation, and will make great mulch for the garden next spring once the bees don't need them anymore.  Just make sure you aren't blocking whatever winter sun might be shining on the hive.

I might be talking about something completely different than you are asking (insulation vs. wind-break), but the cross-over is evident.  An insulating wall of straw or hay bales will serve as a wind-break as well as insulation if you place them close enough to the hive.  Double duty.  Just having a wind-break 10 feet away does nothing to help the bees keep the heat that they generate inside their hive.  You would still have all that cold air pulling heat from their home, forcing them to burn a lot of their honey to keep warm and keep the hive at the correct temp.




Good point Marco, is this going to be their permanent home?  Some temporary works could be set up to provide protection until you are 100% sure this is where you want to build this system.  Just keep in mind with the insulation that you can easily run into condensation problems in the hive which is a much much bigger problem than just the cold.  Cold is hard, cold and wet is deadly.  Placement of the windbreak needs to take into account that there will be significant snow accumulation on the leeward side, and you don't want bury the hive in snow, covering the entrance.  Just blocking the wind makes a huge difference.  We live in a log home and I can tell you from experience that when the wind is blowing the heat is just scrubbed from our house.  Cold and still weather has a much smaller effect on the thermal mass keeping the inside much warmer than when the wind is blowing even when the thermometer reads a higher ambient temp outside.  I think something similar would be at play in the bee hive.  Just leave the bees plenty of honey and they should be able to keep warm! 
 
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