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

 
Posts: 236
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Sorry if I came across as less than excited about your enthusiasm. Re-reading what I wrote it sounded it much more negative than I intended.

When you say, "every bit helps", who or what are you trying to help? The honey bee is not in danger of going extinct. There are escaped "wild" honey bees all over north america that are dong fine. They are not in danger and they don't need your help. You are right in saying that nature is the best at selecting what is best for her. What makes you think she need help here? When people are saying that honeybees are in danger, they are generally referring to commercially kept bees. You say nothing will change your mind about this, but, based on what I've read in your posts, I am not sure you understand the actual problem. We don't actually need more honeybees. For backyard gardeners and permaculture farms, honeybees are not even the best pollinator. I jst want to understand what you think the problem is so that I, and others can maybe give you the best advice to achieve your goals.

If you are not planning on harvesting the honey, how does the hive increase your resiliency? Mason bees, bubble bees, and other native pollinators are actually much better pollinators for most small to medium gardens/farms. My honeybees pretty much completely ignore my garden. If you want to make sure you achieve good pollination, it is the Mason and bubble bees that will do that for you. Honeybees really don't add much to that. They are good at making honey.

I don't get the reasoning behind "wanting them to invade more". If it were the case that they were better at performing some function than the native bees are, then I could understand. The only thing that they are better at are producing honey, and you have stated that you are not all that interested in honey. So what is you reason to want more honeybees for?

I am glad you are not offended, but I am trying to understand what your end goals are in creating the STUN hive. I really don't think it is a waste of time to review these sorts of questions. I just want to make sure we are all on the same page here and I am just trying to highlight some things I think that may have been assumed that might be incorrect.
 
pollinator
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1. I pretty much just want a bee hive that does not require heavy maintenance or chemicals to survive long term. That is my goal. To prove that it can be done. Want to able to leave for years if I had to... and not worry(at some point into the process).

2. To enrich my children's childhood and lives. I want to inspire their imaginations. To teach them about Nature. To keep it interesting. My daughter has an auto-immune disease. There may come a time to where she isn't able to go far. She is headed for remission though we hope.

3. The pollination of my fruit, garden, and wildflowers would be nice. I am almost all invested into perennials at this point. Aside for some of the wild flowers and mini veggie patch. I still think that several thousand bees visiting my yard every day will likely pollinate something.

4. Even if the other bees are a ton better per bee. The honey bees would be there to cover the gaps in the seasons where the others are not there or are thin. I have heard the specs of Mason Bees and such.

5. The wildlife the bees would attract is nice too.

6. If the economy ever collapses or something crazy. The bees would make a great human deterrent when moved to the middle of the garden or fence gate. At that time... or when I retire... I would transform the hive into a honey producer. That is a life skill that I would possess that nobody else around me does. I could use the honey for barter and food. Not having a hive that is reliant on chemicals would be of utmost importance at that point.

I am sure there other reasons that I could think of. I just can't think of "why not" other than it may offend neighbors and someone may get stung.

Stopped using my free time I had left for the day that was being spent to do my first drawing. I will try to spend time on the drawing tomorrow on my overnight duty.


Marty
 
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Tom
I must admit I do not concur with your assessment .
I believe that to try to manipulate bees the same way that mankind treats animals such as cows and chickens is a mistake . Bees are different on many levels and unfortunetly I dont have time today to make more than a few points why .
Firstly there will always be a feral population breeding with your "pure bred bees " eliminating ferals is not an option in my book . I think Marty having a feral hive is no issue as lots of folks have them without noticing anyway
Secondly bees know best in that left alone they will coevolve with their pests and pathogens eventually - whitness what has happened with verroa . Are you raising bees or "tame "verroa ?
Thirdly I think Marty or anyone else has the right not to take part or to try to reduce there participation in industrialised bee keeping a system I find cruel , short sighted and ultimately doomed to failure. Maybe you can explain how this fits in with permiculture ?

DAvid
 
Tom OHern
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David, I practice treatment-free, non-manipulation beekeeping becasue I also feel the way you do. I never advocated eliminating feral bees. But I also think that "wanting them to invade more" is not the right way either. Today's honeybee has already been manipulated just as tomatoes, apples, chickens or goats have been manipulated. It is not in anyway anti-permaculture to choose genetic lines of plants and animals that better work in our systems. I assume you agree unless you think we should go back to eating only the orginal wild nightshade plant or breeding only Wild Jungle Fowl. And that is all I do. I select hives that best deal with the parasites and diseases. I have also spent spend the last 5 years catching wild swarms (away from known beekeepers to avoid getting commercially bred bees) and in my experience, the feral haves are not any better at dealing with parasites and diseases. I believe that in working with the bees to help choose the best hives that can deal with parasites and diseases on their own is the fastest way to end industrialized bee keeping.

And I want to help Marty avoid participation in that system too. And to that point:

Marty, if you want to build a hive that avoids maintenance and chemicals, you would be hard pressed to make a better hive than the Perone Hive. Perone spend years researching bees and various hives and using his hives as a starting point would be a great thing I think. I also highly suggest reading Honeybee Democracy and At The Hive Entrance to better understand bees and their needs.

I think bees are a great way to encourage children. Attached is a picture of my daughter standing in front of a few of my Warre hives!

As far as pollination of your fruits, garden, and wildflowers. As I said before, honey bees are not your best option here. Of course, they don't hurt, but it is unlikely that your efforts will result in thousand bees visiting my yard every day. Honeybees will forage up to three miles away, and they are much more inclined to skip your yard and fly a few houses down to the neighbor that has a huge yard full of dandelions or clover. They like to find large swaths of the same plant and forage on those en mass. During their winter and early spring flights they will absolutely stick to local plants and such in your yard, but by the time your garden and fruit trees are in full swing, they will have found other sources of forage. For backyard gardeners, mason bees and bumble bees are they way to go becasue they have foraging rangers in the range of hundreds of yards rather than miles.

As far as bees as a deterrent, you might guess what my take on that is based on the same picture of my daughter. Bees, when they leave the hive, immediately fly up to well above head height and take off. I've had people in my yard not even realize that there were beehives right there until I pointed it out to them. Bees are not a good deterrent system!

But regardless, keep on doing what you want. All I am doing is trying to best understand your needs and try to provide the best advice I can to help you get what you want. I am still confused about your desire to "want them to invade more" becasue I don't see how that helps us or the bees, but that is my experience. I am sure you will form your own opinion once you have your experiences with bees. Have fun!
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Marty Mitchell
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@ Tom OHern

I will def take some time to check out the Perone Hives. I am a horrible person when it comes to sitting down and taking the time to read a book. I will look into those books though. I need all of the info. I can get.


As far as "wanting bees to invade more." They are already naturalized and are part of the ecosystem. I was just trying to convey that I am glad they are here.


A scare crow does not hurt birds either. Just it's presence is all it takes. If someone is really hungry... nothing would stop them anyways.

I am glad that the bees are that unoticable. Otherwise I would not consider it. Will they attack you while mowing the lawn past the entrance? I used to see a yellow jacket hive that would attack and chase cars as they would drive by. Not the same thing of course. Just made me wonder about honey bees.

I am getting excited that I am about to get to the drawing phase of things. It has been giving me something to think about on my commute to work every day.


Thanks!

Marty
 
Marty Mitchell
pollinator
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1. Just realized that I forgot to mention that I have inoculated my entire yard with white dutch clover... and 2/3 of my back yard with 3 more types of clover. Along with about 8 other flower species. Not to forget to mention that I have planted around 40 to 50 different trees, bushes, and berry types that flower at different times.

2. Found this other thread that has a video of a guy in the UK that has not treated any of his hives since 2007. He has about a 25% failure rate and the other keepers in his region who do treat have been loosing on average of around 40% or more. His longest lasting hive has not been treated for 7yrs. It is a Warre Style. I am betting that if they were better setup... and honey not harvested... they would have an even better success rate. Here is the link...
https://permies.com/t/43299/bees/Good-video-treatment-free

3. Here is a pic of my first hive drawing. I expect it to change a few dozen times before I get it finalized. I just want to create something that is highly adjustable until I figure out how to keep the hive stable throughout every season of the year. I also want to either drill a micro hole for a thermometer inserted permanently... or to place several sensors inside the hive to monitor humidity and temps.

Like one of these... the sensors are wireless and can transmit up to 300ft. So I can see how my hive is doing from inside the house. I like the non-electrical turkey thermometer better though.
http://amzn.com/B003OSSH9G


The hive pic... Sorry about the lines. My scanner is messing up. Scanned it twice so you can read the covered parts.
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Hybrid Warre Hive
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Hybrid Warre Hive
 
Marty Mitchell
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Room for a triple post?

This youtube video is awesome. Another one about treatment free. Is pretty well describing what we have talked about so far.

 
steward
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Tom OHern wrote:
Marty, if you want to build a hive that avoids maintenance and chemicals, you would be hard pressed to make a better hive than the Perone Hive. Perone spend years researching bees and various hives and using his hives as a starting point would be a great thing I think.



I'm hesitant to recommend Perone hives to folks, especially new beekeepers, because they're unproven in most of the world. Oscar Perone and others have reported great success in South America, but I'm unaware of anyone elsewhere who has had a colony survive more than a couple of years in a Perone hive. I've got a couple going into their third year now, but several others did not survive their first or second winter.


on the breeding issue, well, that's a tough one for folks to agree on. I will say that not actively breeding has some compelling advantages. if treatment-free colonies survive to reproduce, they are, by definition, survivors. that is a valuable trait. many folks also believe that there is value in allowing a colony to swarm because it is an important expression of their nature that should not be suppressed. I would argue that there is also some rather less esoteric value in swarming, because it provides a break in the brood cycle and provides for expansion and replacement of failed colonies without opening or manipulating a hive.

in the end, it may come down to one's personal ethics. there's a wide spectrum from viewing bees as existing entirely for the benefit and exploitation of human beings all the way to viewing bees as agents of their own lives that should be tampered with as little as possible (there may well be at least one other axis on that spectrum, too). that they have been tampered with previously does not invalidate that ethical position. David Heaf wrote an interesting and articulate (no surprise there) article on this topic (pdf).

I think there might also be plenty of value in providing hives for colonies that will be left alone. the industrial model is failing. I think that's clear to many folks here, but not necessarily in the general population. backyard beekeeping provides a visible alternative to that model. in that way, it might very well contribute to "saving the bees", whether a person believes that's a worthwhile endeavor or not.

I'm curious, though: how do you go about your breeding work, Tom?
 
Tom OHern
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Under normal circumstances I wouldn't recommend a perone hive to a new keeper either. Given that Perone only started widely publishing his plans in 2010, anyone who has has a hive survive a couple of years at this point in time is doing just fine in my opinion. The problem is that most beekeepers are not willing to try one due to all the regulations mandating removable frames. With only a handful of keeps actually trying the hives out, it is hard to collect enough data points to say one way or another. But I did recommend it in this case, becasue if you are going to try and create a STUN type hive, Langstroth, Top Bar, and Warre hives probably won't cut it. Perone seems to me to be the best bet.

If he were willing to put the effort into it, I would first recommend Marty spend a few years keeping bees in proven hive designs before deciding he needs to invent something new. It is only with that experience that I think one can actually design a new type of hive. We see this all the time over in the Rocket Mass Heater forum where new tinkerers pop up and say they want to design a "new" RHM that does something different. The advice over there is always the same: Buy the book first, build a few proven designs, and then try innovating. That would be my same advice here.

As far as breeding, after I stopped buying package bees, I bought a few nucs of Varroa Sensitive Hygiene Bees from a local breeder. Since then, I've only added hives by either making splits or catching swarms with bait hives. The only active part I take in the breeding process is culling hives that are having issues to make sure that they aren't putting out drones that have less than acceptable genetics.

Heaf makes some interesting points, although I have a hard time placing my self exactly in any of his categories. For me, honeybees are only useful to me if I can take honey from them. I am all in favor of doing so in ways that are least harmful or stressful to them, but without the honey they are of no use to me. As I have said before, if pollination is all I want, other types of pollinators are better. I'd be happy to have them around if they want to fill a cavity in a tree, but I see no point in building them hives unless I plan on getting honey out of it.
 
Marty Mitchell
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I have started reading your article link Tel Jetson. I feel like I would be closer to "The Participant" category. I have no idea where I would end up though after keeping for a while. About to start reading the rest in spare time as it arrives.



I guess the hive I drew out is a Warre' style at heart, size, and in principle. Just with a little wild space at the bottom. Kind of a Wild Warre'.... or Warre' with a Perone bottom.


Do you guys think it is too far from the Warre' to try out??? Any suggestions??? I really need some input since I am only using logic to guide me... with no actual experience with bees. Just nature and life experiences.


Also wondering if you guys think it would be good or bad to try add some insulation to the outside of the hive. I am thinking about thermal-reflective material. Then... if it is not toxic... some sort of wrap or R rated foam sheets.
 
David Livingston
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Marty
Two things
Firstly I would check out the work of professor Seeley
http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9267.html
He is the chap to go to on bees in many ways I am sure there is a lecture on you tube he gave about honey bee democracy
Secondly I think bees would prefer real wood its from a tree after all , you don't need any plastic stuff

David
 
Marty Mitchell
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David Livingston wrote:Marty
Two things
Firstly I would check out the work of professor Seeley
http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9267.html
He is the chap to go to on bees in many ways I am sure there is a lecture on you tube he gave about honey bee democracy
Secondly I think bees would prefer real wood its from a tree after all , you don't need any plastic stuff

David




I will check it out.

Also, I just realized that I already have a huge pile of scrap wood laying around. I could just make the hive thicker if the bees have a hard time maintaining their temps. Wood is a good insulator. You are right!
 
Tom OHern
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Both Warre and Perone hives have bottom entrances. I stopped using top entrances on my top bar hives becasue I found that the bees can't clear out the crap that falls to the bottom of the hive effectively, and then come winter, it collects condensation and grows mold. It is fine to have a top entrance as a secondary, but make sure the bottom entrance is the main one. Your desire to eliminate the need for them to walk through the detritus will actually promote unhygienic behavior. Also, bees do not require a landing board as you have drawn. People have added those becasue we think they should have a nice flat area to land on. The bees don't care. Plus it gives mice a better leverage spot for pushing them selves into the entrance.

A side note on preventing mice... Mice can fit through any hole that their skull can fit through. The smallest dimension of a mouse skull is about 10mm. An entrance of 9mm high, as on the Perone hives, keeps mice out of the hive while allowing ample room for the bees. I've modified my top bar and Warre hives to have similar sized entrances after having mouse problems and this fixed it.

Personally, I dislike viewing windows. They create a lot of condensation and that leads to mold. As far as exterior rigid insulation, I tried it once. That hive had a lot of moisture issues and I assumed it was becasue the insulation doesn't let the wood evaporate moisture normally. This is also why I don't paint my hives.

Thicker wood is a good idea, but with 2" walls with a 12"x12" exterior dimension only leaves an 8"x8" cavity. That is not big enough. Plus, you are going to have a hard time finding wood with a finished thickness of 2". In the US atleast, standard lumber is actually 1/2" less than it says it is. So if you were planning on using 2x12's, they are actually 1.5"x11.5". You'd have to get 4x12's which are actually 3.5" thick and very expensive. But if you wanted to take your wall thicknesses down to 1.5" you would probably have more than ample wall thickness for your needs. But on a 12x12 foot print, that still only leaves a 9x9 cavity, which is still to small.

To be honest, when I first saw your drawings, I said to my self, why doesn't he just build a Warre hive? In my opinion, none of the changes you've made over the standard Warre hive, beside the thicker wood, really will provide much benefit.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Tom OHern wrote:Both Warre and Perone hives have bottom entrances. I stopped using top entrances on my top bar hives becasue I found that the bees can't clear out the crap that falls to the bottom of the hive effectively, and then come winter, it collects condensation and grows mold. It is fine to have a top entrance as a secondary, but make sure the bottom entrance is the main one. Your desire to eliminate the need for them to walk through the detritus will actually promote unhygienic behavior. Also, bees do not require a landing board as you have drawn. People have added those becasue we think they should have a nice flat area to land on. The bees don't care. Plus it gives mice a better leverage spot for pushing them selves into the entrance.

A side note on preventing mice... Mice can fit through any hole that their skull can fit through. The smallest dimension of a mouse skull is about 10mm. An entrance of 9mm high, as on the Perone hives, keeps mice out of the hive while allowing ample room for the bees. I've modified my top bar and Warre hives to have similar sized entrances after having mouse problems and this fixed it.

Personally, I dislike viewing windows. They create a lot of condensation and that leads to mold. As far as exterior rigid insulation, I tried it once. That hive had a lot of moisture issues and I assumed it was becasue the insulation doesn't let the wood evaporate moisture normally. This is also why I don't paint my hives.

Thicker wood is a good idea, but with 2" walls with a 12"x12" exterior dimension only leaves an 8"x8" cavity. That is not big enough. Plus, you are going to have a hard time finding wood with a finished thickness of 2". In the US atleast, standard lumber is actually 1/2" less than it says it is. So if you were planning on using 2x12's, they are actually 1.5"x11.5". You'd have to get 4x12's which are actually 3.5" thick and very expensive. But if you wanted to take your wall thicknesses down to 1.5" you would probably have more than ample wall thickness for your needs. But on a 12x12 foot print, that still only leaves a 9x9 cavity, which is still to small.

To be honest, when I first saw your drawings, I said to my self, why doesn't he just build a Warre hive? In my opinion, none of the changes you've made over the standard Warre hive, beside the thicker wood, really will provide much benefit.



I did create an adjustable lower vent. Should help keep the mold down if the issue arises. I plan to keep the hive under close observation until I get the kinks worked out. Long before ignoring it. With a lower cork adjustable vent... Keeping the higher opening should be fine. I hope.

My region has SEVERE mice issues. Seems like anything I turn over out in the yard... and any piled up dirt... gets to be home to a new mouse family. So the info. on entrance size is VERY helpful. Thank you! I will do that. Likely will take away the launch pad too. Are there corks out there that are 9mm or smaller? I would like to keep using corks like in the drawing if possible.

Since I also live in a humid region I will take your bare wood approach very seriously. Being inside the shed should keep the hive protected from the fog from the ponds every morning.

Good thing you pointed out the wood thickness variations. I assumed every one else learned that in middle school wood shop. I have a tendency to assume everyone else knows the stuff like that. Thanks. I really want to find and use rough cut wood for the hive. I want as many cracks and such as possible to show up to create as much "edge effect" as possible. I want to score the wood too a little here and there. I just went through the free Warre hive instructions I have. He said that 1.5" to 2" is good for colder climates. He wants the inner dimensions to be about 11 3/16" x 11 3/16". So you are right. I need to make mine slightly larger.

When drawing the hive... I literally was trying to just draw a Warre hive with a few modifications. Modifications to enable me to hone in the interior environment well enough to be able to walk away at some point. For at least a year at a time... maybe as many as four. Also, just wanted to make as few cuts as possible. lol I am lazy minded I suppose.

I like the concept of the Perone hive. I just don't like the large diameter for warmth reasons. I bet it does well in warm climates. Too big for my crowded shed though.

I wonder if this hive would have the same interior dimensions as a top bar hive. Just squared instead of V shaped. I will try to keep the inner dimensions in line with a Warre hive.
Filename: warre_hive_plans_imperial.pdf
File size: 383 Kbytes
 
Tom OHern
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I did see the lower vent you had, but you really do not want a vent in the hive during winter, which is when you are going to need it to prevent the mold issues. Vents in hives during winter create chimney effects, especially in the your case where the hive is going to be inside and the entrance will be exposed to the outside temperatures. And a chimney effect in a hive is a great way to kill the bees. Good bees will seal it off, but then you end up with the mold issues in winter again until you go to clear out all the rotting dead bees in the bottom of the hive. And once you break their seal, you create the chimney again, and once the bees are balled up for winter, they can't go fix it. If you want a low maintenance hive, skip the vents and stick with a bottom entrance.

Sorry I was not more clear on the entrance size. A 9mm hole, or even a series of holes, is not enough of an entrance. Bees naturally look for a minimum entrance size of 0.75 to 1.5 sq in. (this sort of thing is covered in the book Honeybee Democracy and you should seriously consider reading this before you design a hive.) The long narrow entrances on Langstroth, Warre, and Perone hives all achieve this while preventing mice infiltraction. The large round entrances you see on many top bar hives require hardware cloth screens to be put over them to keep mice out. Once again, if you want a low maintenance hive, I would stick with the proven entrance designs on standard hives. The langstroth entrance and a standard entrance reducer is a really good way to go.

As far as cracked/scratched wood: Bees will just seal any interior cracks up with propolis and any on the outside will just lead to early rot. Think of the hive as a single organism similar to your body. You don't want edge effect inside your body, and the bees don't either. On the otherh and, placing a beehive on the edge of an ecosystem is a great idea, but not inside the hive. Bees are very clean. Per your drawings, any organisms/items you put in the hive will be covered in propolis or wax to prevent any chance of contamination. Really... Just don't do that.

Here is what I'd do: Get a 12 foot 2x16. Cut four 30" pieces and four 5.75" pieces. The 30" pieces come together as your body and give you a interior space of 98 liters (much better than what you had at 59 liters) and the 5.75" pieces will be your quilt box. Cut a 3/8" by 4" slit in the bottom of one of the sides as your entrance. Done.
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Marty Mitchell
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That is a really good point with the chimney effect. You are saying that if I had to open the lowest vent then it would chimney out through the high entrance to the hive. I am totally willing to put the entrance back down to the bottom... or near the bottom. I plan on picking the hive up off of the floor anyways.


Also, Just realized a goof I made on my original drawing. If I were to use 12" boards like I was thinking in my head... the outside diameter would have been 12"x16". Leaving an internal diameter of 12"x8". Do you still feel that would be too small? It is still a bit smaller than Warre liked.

Thanks for everything.

Marty
 
tel jetson
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Tom OHern wrote:As far as cracked/scratched wood: Bees will just seal any interior cracks up with propolis and any on the outside will just lead to early rot. Think of the hive as a single organism similar to your body. You don't want edge effect inside your body, and the bees don't either. On the otherh and, placing a beehive on the edge of an ecosystem is a great idea, but not inside the hive. Bees are very clean. Per your drawings, any organisms/items you put in the hive will be covered in propolis or wax to prevent any chance of contamination. Really... Just don't do that.



I most certainly do want edge effect inside my body. what, after all, are intestinal villi for? and alveoli? and capillaries? &c?

I do like to leave the inside of my hives rough. at the very least, it makes for more effective attachment of combs to walls. this is more important in warm and humid seasons when comb collapse can be a problem. and maybe it provides habitat for some beneficial cohabitants. I'm inclined to believe it does.

and are bees very clean? I guess it depends on your definition. they'll remove dead bees, certainly, and potentially harmful foreign objects that end up in the hive. and they do groom themselves and each other with apparently obsessive-compulsive zeal. but is decomposing litter at the bottom of a hive necessarily harmful? do they refuse to share their hive with other creatures? and how clean is a critter that relies on fungus to ferment its food after mixing it with a bit of honey and saliva? clean enough for me, but it's really a matter of perspective. having observed the inside of a couple of thriving tree hives, I can say that decomposing wood and litter from the bees at the bottom of the hive and all the accompanying macro- and microorganisms that one would expect to be present in same don't seem to be a problem for the colony. there was certainly propolis elsewhere in these hives, but not at the bottom. and I've seen quite a few small flying critters (outwardly similar to fruit flies) and crawlers (little wormy things and small-ish beatle-y things) wander in and out of my own hives without the slightest objection from the bees. let a hornet try that, though, and it will be harassed until it gives up or is killed.

I think they know their friends from their foes from their indifferent acquaintances.
 
Marty Mitchell
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tel jetson wrote:

I most certainly do want edge effect inside my body. what, after all, are intestinal villi for? and alveoli? and capillaries? &c?

I do like to leave the inside of my hives rough. at the very least, it makes for more effective attachment of combs to walls. this is more important in warm and humid seasons when comb collapse can be a problem. and maybe it provides habitat for some beneficial cohabitants. I'm inclined to believe it does.

and are bees very clean? I guess it depends on your definition. they'll remove dead bees, certainly, and potentially harmful foreign objects that end up in the hive. and they do groom themselves and each other with apparently obsessive-compulsive zeal. but is decomposing litter at the bottom of a hive necessarily harmful? do they refuse to share their hive with other creatures? and how clean is a critter that relies on fungus to ferment its food after mixing it with a bit of honey and saliva? clean enough for me, but it's really a matter of perspective. having observed the inside of a couple of thriving tree hives, I can say that decomposing wood and litter from the bees at the bottom of the hive and all the accompanying macro- and microorganisms that one would expect to be present in same don't seem to be a problem for the colony. there was certainly propolis elsewhere in these hives, but not at the bottom. and I've seen quite a few small flying critters (outwardly similar to fruit flies) and crawlers (little wormy things and small-ish beatle-y things) wander in and out of my own hives without the slightest objection from the bees. let a hornet try that, though, and it will be harassed until it gives up or is killed.

I think they know their friends from their foes from their indifferent acquaintances.



I agree with you on the whole edge thing. The videos I have seen of wild hives... show almost only edges inside them. I totally am going to keep the bottom wild area idea. Even if I drop the entrance.

I also am currently trying to figure out what I could attach to the inner wall that would be a good space for any psuedo scorpions or other insects when they arrive. Any ideas? I will still score the inside of the hive though too. If they seal it up then they didn't want it and it's fine. I will let them chose.

If I drop the entrance though I will not put any vents on the back access door. Still keeping the door though too... most likely. I still want windows for observational/learning purposes. Mainly for me but the kids and guests would like it too. As well as anyone I will be sharing what I will have learned. I may make them smaller and keep them to a minimum to keep it simpler and more efficient.
 
tel jetson
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Tom OHern wrote:Also, bees do not require a landing board as you have drawn.



it's certainly true that landing boards are not required, but I find them to be useful. I've found that a landing board provides a better opportunity to observe entrance behavior than going without. on a landing board, the bees are on a plane that is easier for me to see. it also appears to provide more space for them to fan when they're drying nectar or ventilating the hive or spreading Nasanov scent, but I don't know if that's anything more than appearance.

so, not necessary, but potentially handy, especially if sitting and watching a hive appeals to you. it does to me.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Being able to watch the bees does appeal to me Tel. I will have to think about it for a while.


While we are on the subject of the hive entrance...

The size and shape of the hole has been figured out. So has the extension I will need to get the entrance beyond my shed wall.

I am wondering about the inner hole where the extension box attaches to the hive... and the color of the box.
1. Color- I want to make the box out of cedar since I have a lot of cedar scrap. I plan on either leaving it natural wood... or scorching it black with a torch.
It will be facing South and receiving full sun exposure all winter long. During the summer it will be shaded once the leaves come out... until about 2PM till sunset where it will be back in the sun again. I am thinking that making it Black would turn it into a little pre-flight area where the bees can warm up during the cool days before launch. Black would also heat the air up a little before it enters their hive. However, I am worried that if I make the entrance black... that on cold days the bees may launch in search for food and be too cold to return. So... I am leaning towards plane wood color... even though I like the thought of the benefits of black. Oh, scorching black would kind of keep water from soaking in too.
2. Second Entrance Size- We already know the size of the entrance to put on the outside of the hive. I keep going back and forth in my head about the inner entrance where the extension/entrance box actually attaches to the hive. If I put down a larger hole... then the "little black box" would not get as hot... and would allow for a little bit better air flow. However, if I were to make yet another small entrance hole... then anything that gets past the first entrance may get stuck @ the second entrance long enough for the bees to handle it. Like a second line of defense(especially if the extension box gets ripped of by a larger animal). Also, the air inside the "little black box" would be able to get warmer due to forming a pocket of air @ the top of the box. Or... I could still keep the second entrance small... but place it towards the top of the 'little black box". Then the pocket of warm air would not be there... and the bees could keep their second line of defense.


OH! I would also be more inclined to keep the launch pad if there were a second line of defense.



What are all of your experienced thoughts and opinions???

Thanks,

Marty
 
tel jetson
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Tom OHern wrote:
As far as breeding, after I stopped buying package bees, I bought a few nucs of Varroa Sensitive Hygiene Bees from a local breeder. Since then, I've only added hives by either making splits or catching swarms with bait hives. The only active part I take in the breeding process is culling hives that are having issues to make sure that they aren't putting out drones that have less than acceptable genetics.



what form does culling take for you?
 
Marty Mitchell
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I have been reading further into the PDF Tel J posted a few posts back. I am only on pg.19 so far and feel like I have learned several interesting things to consider when designing a hive that I plan to STUN.

Here are a few things...
Warre said a "Large" colony balls up to about 11.8inches during the winter. So I bet smaller could be OK if you don't want a larger colony. Don't know for sure.
Keeping the hive square or round will help eliminate cold spots during winter.
Honey bees have a hard time traveling from side to side during the winter... but can travel upwards for honey stores.
Disturbing the hive can break up the ball during the winter. Opening a hive during cold days can take up to 3 days for the cluster to get back up to temps.
In the wild single combs can be up to 1.5 meters long.
Having hive boxes that are modular in nature is a relatively new thing in bee keeping.
The Warre design makes it doable to only open the hive 1 time per year. Mainly for the single honey harvest if doing that sustainably.

Got to go for now....

EDIT: I remember reading something about "honey lockup" to where the hive gathers so much honey that there is no more room for brood cells and the hive get's into a bind. Tel... from your experience with the warre... does this still have a fair chance of occurring? I need to read up on that subject a little but I suspect that a hive left a lone will be able to manage it'self and that honey lock-up comes from manipulation of the hive. Should I build an extra box to throw on top and "super" if that emergency arises? Or should I just let the bees figure it out by throwing out some small swarms to consume the honey. Could just take out a single comb or two from the top of the hive too. Since I want to make a couple that are removable.


Thanks
 
tel jetson
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some folks have had issues with honey-binding, but it's not common. to my knowledge it's been limited to areas with brief, but intense nectar flows. long and intense is fine, because they've got time to build comb to keep up with the nectar. when all that nectar shows up out of the blue, though, the bees don't leave room for brood and the population eventually plumets.

there's a chap who posts on David Heaf's list who has some Warré hives in Alberta in a region full of oil-seed rape farms. he prevents honey binding by supering, which isn't usually practiced by more orthodox Warré beeks.

unless you're near a great expanse of monoculture that blooms all at once, honey-binding isn't likely to be an issue for you in a Warré hive, supposing you cycle empty boxes underneath periodically. even if you don't, they'll probably swarm when they run out of room, which is another way honey-binding can be alleviated or prevented.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Found a bee group local to my area today. Found out that in the Tri-city area just North of me. All residents are allowed to keep bees. All except the City of which I may be within the limits of. The rest of my county is allowed to have bees. I am allowed chickens and such. The bee group is currently educating the local voting counsel on the subject so they can make the decision of whether to allow bees or not @ the beginning of April. I may be just outside the city limits as I my neighborhood borders farmland on all sides except the North. I won't go rebel with honey bees. I will have to wait and see what to do.


Also reading further into that report Tel put up... apparently allowing a beehive to swarm can be a benefit in the combat of the Verroa mite by causing a break in the reproduction cycle of the hive. It even went as far as to say that wild populations of honey bees are on the rebound because they were allowed to co-evolve naturally with the verroa mite.


I will be putting back out my Mason bee boxes soon... and the leafcutter boxes later on in the year. Hope to get a chance to get into Honey bees.

I need to start studying for promotion now. Be back in a few months if I have any good news.


Marty

 
Marty Mitchell
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tel jetson wrote:some folks have had issues with honey-binding, but it's not common. to my knowledge it's been limited to areas with brief, but intense nectar flows. long and intense is fine, because they've got time to build comb to keep up with the nectar. when all that nectar shows up out of the blue, though, the bees don't leave room for brood and the population eventually plumets.

there's a chap who posts on David Heaf's list who has some Warré hives in Alberta in a region full of oil-seed rape farms. he prevents honey binding by supering, which isn't usually practiced by more orthodox Warré beeks.

unless you're near a great expanse of monoculture that blooms all at once, honey-binding isn't likely to be an issue for you in a Warré hive, supposing you cycle empty boxes underneath periodically. even if you don't, they'll probably swarm when they run out of room, which is another way honey-binding can be alleviated or prevented.




Ok. That makes me worry a little less I suppose. My neighborhood is surrounded by farm fields though. The fields have all been let go feral for the last 2.5 years that I have lived here though. Except one that they grew some soy beans in. That crop didn't do too good. Was a dry year last year. That particular field is only about 3 acres though. It is smack in the middle of suburbia. Wish they would sell it. I could get a real business going on there... Permaculture style. I would start by turning it into a wildflower field with plants to repair the soil. Then when I got good @ bees I would have some fruit start coming in off of young trees/bushes/etc. I could even clone the plants in my yard for free to fill that land up.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Do you folks remember what I was originally wanting in the first posts of this thread? I was wanting to build a STUN hive that I could basically hoist up into the evergreen trees in my yard and forget about it.


Just came across www.gaiabees.com by finding this YouTube video on a vertical log hive they built and then hoisted about 10ft up into a tree and eventually a wild swarm moved in all on their own.

http://youtu.be/oDXZc0tZe04

I really like this log hive! I would build removable top bars into it to make it legal in the U.S. I might put a long skinny viewing window(not likely) and a warre style roof/quilt on top. I would go with the rodent proof entrance holes too. I could throw in some long 4x4s into the ground and make a simple pulley system for quilt work at ground level.

Now I am liking the warre for honey harvesting some day... and this log type for a STUN... even though I think the warre would work too. I could even put a log hive inside my shed if wanted... to help it last even longer and keep it more simple to use.




Marty
 
Marty Mitchell
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I have been using the knowledge and links that I have gained since starting this thread to have several discussions with my brother about keeping bees. He has been interested in keeping bees for a while but wasn't quite ready to make that leap. He even read the pdf dissertation that Tel posted earlier.

So I wanted to take a second to say thank you to everyone who has posted so far. Thank You!

He ended up deciding that a Warre' style hive is best for the type of bee keeper he wants to become.

As of today... he finished building his first hive ever and sent me some pics. Turns out he is a crafty guy with the wood tools. I had no idea. Maybe I will try to get him to build mine some day. Here is my brother's new hive...


Brandon-s-Warre-.jpeg
[Thumbnail for Brandon-s-Warre-.jpeg]
 
David Livingston
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Very nice !
did he use half frames or just topbars ?

David
 
Marty Mitchell
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David Livingston wrote:Very nice !
did he use half frames or just topbars ?

David



I am pretty sure that he just used top bars. He used the free "house of bees" warre plans. He only made 4 window boxes that all have top bars so he can learn and open the hive as little as possible. He does live down in Georgia where it's warm. I will let him figure out that he needs to turn the windows to the back side. lol

Here is a link. The window boxes are 8.25 inches tall each....


http://houseofbees.com/warre-hive-plans/
 
tel jetson
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looks like some nice carpentry.

houseofbees.com included a couple of deviations from Warré's design that I wonder about. they won't necessarily cause a problem, but they might. the first thing that jumped out at me when I looked at your picture was that the roof does not telescope over the quilt and topmost box. in Warrés design, the telescoping roof does a great job of preventing the quilt and top cloth from getting wet and wicking moisture into the hive.

but then I noticed that there is no quilt or top cloth included in the design you posted, so that wicking isn't likely to be an issue anyway. is the "feeder section" meant to be filled with anything, or left open? either way, I would highly recommend the use of some sort of top cloth. it would make opening the hive a very gentle process instead of a rather jarring one.

the roof also doesn't have a "mouse board" as it does in Warré's design. with the rather stingy eaves provided, I would expect that to lead to rain blowing into the roof vents that are covered by hardware cloth and from there on into the hive. the hardware cloth would most likely be propolised from the bottom in relatively short order, so that might not be such a big deal, but I would expect it to begin rusting. of course, if it is kept in a building as you've discussed previously, there might be no issue at all.

the side view of the windows suggests that there is a protuberance into the hive cavity. that could make harvesting a bit more complicated and harvesting individual combs particularly difficult. but then, it might not.

last, the screened bottom board. not an innovation I find to be very valuable. others in different climates and with different practices may have different experience and disagree with me.
 
Marty Mitchell
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I agree about the roof design. I liked the other one you guys introduced me to better. Mainly because it looked to be more functional on several levels like you described... and easier/cheaper to build.

He does have a quilt in there and already mentioned swapping out the steel cloth for something different. You can kind of see a small box under the roof. I know his area in GA has been experiencing a bit of drought the last 10 years or so. I am sure he will be on the ball with making any changes as needed. My brother is one of the hardest working ppl I have ever met.

I honestly have not studied the house of bees design. I could not get past the roof that popped out @ me as soon as I saw it too. Still should work much better than a Lang though.

I will have to spark some conversations with him here and there about the hive to see how it's going and what adjustment he can make.


He is already trying to get me to come to GA to visit so my daughter can see it. lol She keeps getting excited @ the thought of having bees some day. As well as ducks.
 
Marty Mitchell
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@ Tel

Yes. The feeder box up top is meant to be used as a quilt. Then a simple mason jar with holes punched in it can be set up-side-down in there for feeding. My brother does not plan on doing that as far as I know. The rest of the time it is used as a simple quilt. Realized I did not answer that.


I have a question.

I was listening to a Jack Spirko podcast on my way into work this morning and I heard another gleam of info. I am curiouse about. He said in short... bears will scratch a scertain type of tree with their claws. The tree becomes infected with a type of fungus that kills the tree eventually. Anyways, the bees will eat the infected sap to make their propelis for thier hive. The verroa mites are deathly sensitive to this fungus and get infected by the bees that consume the sap and then they die. The whole hive gets inoculated with many types of beneficial fungi in this manner.

My question is does anyone know the tree type... and fungi types that are good?

Second suprise question!

Since I am already keeping Mason and Leafcutter bees... as well as others that live in the ground... aren't I already breaking the law in my area??? It clearly states that keeping bees just for pollination is not allowed.... as even if not for honey.

Thanks,

Marty
 
Marty Mitchell
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@ Tel

Started a another conversation with my brother about his hive. His windows appear to sit flush with the inner wall. Then to compensate with the heat loss an extra layer is added to the cover side. The wood lip is even slanted to keep water from sitting in there and causing rot.

I do like the covering of the roof. It won't be an issue with my (currently hypothetical) hive since it would be in the shed.

However, if I were to need a roof... I would still want to use the design you guys showed me that has some overhang. Instead of using just paint that would get n the way of my STUN mentality... I suppose a person could use metal on the roof. I would likely use the spare shingles out in the shed. There is a stack of shingles in there that are not used and don't match my house or shed. Just sitting there and waiting for a purpose in life. lol


Here are some more pics of my Bro's hive. He is letting the hive sit for several months before introducing bees.

Marty


20150312_173122.jpeg
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20150312_173152.jpeg
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20150313_064814.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 20150313_064814.jpeg]
 
Marty Mitchell
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Here is an actual YouTube video of the Pseudo Scorpions in action against verroa. The video shows a single book scorpion taking out a verroa and... while it is in the middle of sucking out the first mite... kills two more mites for eating later. In the video they claim that the pseudo scorpions have been observed eating up to 9 verroa per day. Which means if you were too get a colony of book scorpions going... the numbers would quickly add up. They say the scorpions will eat small hive beetles as well.




This guy (Michael Bush) has some experienced insight into why it is soooo important to create that ecosystem within the bee colony....





This guy claims to have started out doing conventional beekeeping and has converted to treatment free. Says he has not treated any of his 200 hives in over 9 years!




Can someone embed the videos? For some reason I am not allowed.

Edited by moderator to embed videos.
 
tel jetson
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what material did your brother use to glaze the windows?
 
tel jetson
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Marty Mitchell wrote:My question is does anyone know the tree type... and fungi types that are good?



my guess would be agarikon. grows on and causes heart rot in conifers. as is my wont, though, I'm rather skeptical that there's any magic bullet for Varroa destructor.
 
Marty Mitchell
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I texted my Bro...

His reply was "since I used Acryllic plexyglass I drilled and countersinked about 10 beveled screws. Allowed the screws to sit flush. They are air tight and covered tight with wood. It was a few details I borrowed from other pics online. I also wanted double insulated walls so windows don't allow heat loss... and wanted no possible light to get in. The inside needed to be smooth and flush as well. I didn't want to frame the window traditionally since it weakens and I would have to caulk or seal."

I will have to read up on different fungi in a few months. I am about to start studying for the service wide exam @ work. I will be dissapearing for a month shortly. I have dozens of books to read through.
Marty
 
tel jetson
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plexiglass has the unfortunate trait of changing in size rather dramatically with temperature. the screws may prevent the issue, or they may lead to more warping or cracking. time will tell, I suppose.
 
Marty Mitchell
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That sounds like it explains why any time I see a plexy glass window... it tends to be sitting in there loosly. Nice Info. He will see if it is an issue eventually.
 
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"What type of hive would be best for Sheer Total and Utter Neglect?"


I just built my first Perone hive for just this purpose. I'm in WI, so I used all 2x8 lumber. We'll see hpw it turns out. Bees arrive the end of April, and after installing them, I shouldn't be touching it for 2 years.
 
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