View Full Version : Housel Positioning
08-09-2005, 05:37 PM
Here is a link to an illustration and explanation of Housel Positioning:
Housel Positioning (http://cordovan-honeybee.com/housel/index.htm)
09-04-2005, 08:38 AM
Thanks Joseph, I've been biding my time waiting for something to come along that would explain housel positioning in terms I could understand. This page is a good start.
09-05-2005, 07:08 PM
Yeah,I second that.
I read DEE LUSBYS (POV?)and thought exactly opposite of what I'm seeing. :(
I thought I understood that the outer cells faced down,like a roof to protect and shed the cell.
I guess I will leave them the way they are now....Maybe next year when I split I'll try it this way,with a empty middle frame,to have them draw,and some of those cool side racks to center things up.
09-05-2005, 10:24 PM
I am the kind of person that really does better understanding something with a visual aspect to it when I can actually see it, without that I need multiple visual aids. I too read Dee Lusby's (POV) about Housel Positioning and had a somewhat difficult time visualizing what was being described, especially after I saw the use of "^I^" to indicate the central comb in Housel Positioning -- just confused me, just before that in the POV illustrations showing the "Y" formation and the upside down "Y" formation, and how it is there.
09-05-2005, 10:24 PM
They should re-name it the Hooey Positioning System.
09-05-2005, 10:26 PM
I must admit that I am not an entirely convinced advocate for Housel Positioning, just curious enough to give it a try.
09-06-2005, 07:30 AM
The primary comb is not well described in that article. It is NEITHER upside down NOR right side up. It IS the same from both sides. It is a sideways "Y" with the bar on the side horizontal. Another description would be that the primary (center) comb is "vertical" as the rows run vertically instead of horizontally.
These I have seen in most all self drawn comb hives.
On the other hand I have not observed the right side up and updside down pattern in natural comb that I can tell. It tends to vary a lot from comb to comb but not in any pattern that I can discern.
09-14-2005, 06:32 PM
I know nothing about the Lusby's or their beekeeping system? Does anyone have a link or reference explaining why housel positioning is or is not important. just curious. thanks.
09-14-2005, 09:45 PM
09-15-2005, 09:10 AM
Since we as beeks have been throwing frames of foundation in boxes for many years, paying no attention to orientation of the foundation, Housel Positioning obviously is not necessary. But, if you want to provide your bees with a more natural structured brood nest, I would suggest orienting your frames. If we allow our bees to construct comb the way their instinct tells them to, I believe they will do so much more efficiently.
After stumbling upon Housel's theory, I had to see for myself how they constructed their "primary" comb, and subsequently how they oriented their cells on either side of the primary comb. I have been fortunate enough to observe two natural brood nests in particular, one of which was built completely exposed on a branch of a tree, the other in a hive with no foundation. Both of these brood nests were constructed with a primary comb, and both had combs that flanked the primary comb with the orientation as described by Housel.
Here is a pic and some of my rambling...
Primary Comb (http://beeholder.blogspot.com/2005/07/primary-comb-close-up.html)
And for those interested in Small Cell observations of the same brood nest structure...
Cell measurements of frame adjoining Primary Comb (http://beeholder.blogspot.com/2005/07/cell-measurements-of-foundationless.html)
09-15-2005, 10:15 AM
"They should re-name it the Hooey Positioning System" LOL :D
09-15-2005, 06:32 PM
Hi Phoenix and Everyone,
I've looked at your photo and reached another conclusion. Just which way are the Y's anyhow? If I were the most prominent direction, I would say they are about 30 degrees to the right rather than horizontal.
Also, what about all those different shapes other than Y's?
I've seen comb constructed the same way in natural broodnests. But I think rather than reflecting a horizontal orientation, the patterns reflect the expediancy with which the comb was drawn. Maybe when the bees need comb, they really don't care too much about how each side mates up. Hence, the really goofy patterns seen in the midrib.
I was one of the first four people Michael shared his observations with. I didn't have any natural comb experience then. But I was quite surprised that, in less than a month after that, the most marvelous benefits, attributed to Housel positioning, were being promulgated (but not by Michael himself). And those 'marvelous benefits' have been repeated, ad nausium, until they have become a beekeeping fact within some beekeepers circles!
I've tested Housel positioning and found no difference in behavior between hives managed that way and those that aren't. And I haven't been able to find any correlation to the Y orientation in the numerous natural nests I've dissected since. See:
I think Housel positioning has more to do with human perception than bee behavior. It's amazing how many different ways the orientation of the Y's can be seen on a single comb. :>) And I suspect that if a beekeeper believes that Houseling will make a hive more gentle then that's what he will see the next time he inspects his hive!
Having said that. I would suggest that a beekeeper conduct a comparitive type test and post the results. It's probably one of the easiest test to conduct and can be quite fun. A really neat test might involve two beekeepers and a blind type test!
Phoenix, thanks for sharing your photos and observations. I don't know why Michael and my own observations differ so much. But with more observations, a better sense of comb drawing, its orientation and function are bound to develop.
09-15-2005, 07:20 PM
But I think rather than reflecting a horizontal orientation, the patterns reflect the expediancy with which the comb was drawn. Haste may very well explain the hodge podge type of pattern on the primary comb, but I don't believe it causes the bees to turn the pattern to some degree or another. If they naturally build the "Y"s either right side up or upside down, I don't believe they forget how to build this structure when they start a new nest.
I understand that foundation orientation my not be the most critical aspect in beekeeping, but if they seem to have a system of orienting their natural brood nest structure, shouldn't we take that into consideration, if only to assist the colony in building the way they do in nature? Would it not make the transition less stressful for a new package to be shook out on a box of "oriented" frames?
I've not noticed a difference in bee-haviour, by orienting my frames, but it does seem to make a difference in their drawing out foundation.
09-16-2005, 05:36 PM
I think working with the bees broodnest structure is very critical to beekeeping. But I haven't been able to find any evidence that Housel orientation is part of that structure.
It interesting to watch bee build combs other than the 'primary comb'. I haven't seen any correlation of Housel orientation between the combs in my top bar hives.
And I haven't even seen any consistency on a single comb in my tbhs. My top bars are 22 inches long and the bees often start drawing comb in three or more seperate areas along a single top bar. These hand size pieces of comb eventually are merged to form a single comb. If Housel orientation were a part of bee behavior, then each side of those seperate combs should have the same orientation. But they don't. The bees performed their own blind test on Housel orientation in this case. :>)
I would like to challenge everyone to watch their bees carefully. Evaluate one's management practices based on the bees behaviors and needs.
One thing I have learned from Houseling is not to name any beekeeping phenomina after one's self or become too personally invested in any observation. After all, a beekeeper might want to change his mind! :>))) And don't let anyone name it after one's self either! :>)))))
09-17-2005, 01:57 PM
Thank you Pheonix and others for your reply. The concept seems like its worth a try, but I'll have to defer this for a few years....not enough colonies/time
Scot Mc Pherson
09-26-2005, 09:41 PM
If you have done any comb swapping or rotating, and I believe you said you have, then you must start from scratch to see housel positioning. Use some form of queen includer so you can free shake your bees into a new hive without any comb present. The 3rd or 4th comb will become primary with a freely released queen in a fresh shakedown. Once you turn comb, even for a few days it shifts comb building enough to make a permanent impact for years to come. I have two hives that are still double lobing as a result with half combs in different directions. This spring its getting shaken into a new hive and I believe unless some memory holds true, that the bees won't double lobe again unless I turn comb again.
09-27-2005, 07:02 AM
"One thing I have learned from Houseling is not to name any beekeeping phenomena after one's self"
I think someone else named it after him - is that not correct?
" or become too personally invested in any observation."
Amen, anything can happen once, twice or even several times. The real question is what observations are truly repeatable, for everyone . . . ad naseum? As far as I can tell only the true believers and those who re-sequenced expecting it to have a noticeable positive impact seem to be able to find instances of HP in feral colonies and benefits in their hives. I did it for a lark I see no difference in how my bees behave.
There are a few people who have expended a huge amount of time and resources "re-sequencing" their frames. Sometimes that alone will cause people to see things that are not happening.
"After all, a beekeeper might want to change his mind! And don't let anyone name it after one's self either!
Uh-oh - I had planned on spending my spring Murrelling my hives - are you telling me there is no such thing?
09-27-2005, 05:48 PM
Hi Keith and Everyone,
I've spent over 35 years Murrelling my hives. Lately , I think the less Murrelling, the better. :>))))
It's great to hear from you again.