It's all built, painted and set up, and a swarm has moved in as well :)
I've never done any wood work, but getting stuff cut to size by the timber merchant and putting 4 bolts and about 20 screws in wasn't all that hard. It didn't need a lot of measuring either, and there wasn't much that could go wrong and not be compensated for. (bliss)
So, after 30 minutes of fiddeling around with this, I was ready to paint it dark green with undercoat. I had a friend hold stuff for me a few times, so its definitly a 4 hands project)
The bottom is made from a 1m piece of PVC pipe which is strapped to the hive with pieces of fabric elastic held by screws. It can be removed for cleaning, or, if you insert wire to make a gap of 1-2mm(?) you could probably expect the mites to fall through that as a bonus.
(note to self: I need to paint that roof asap. I know, it shouldn't be plastic, but I can't think of a simply way of making a plywood roof. Everything I can think of involves 'woodwork' (yuck). The entire point of this hive is that its makable by anyone, eg its as close to flatpack as it can get :)
I've watched the bees today a bit and they seem to have some problems landing smoothly and quite some navigational problems seem to occur as they tried to decide where to land and even how to take off(some impressing kamikaze stunts took place ;). I don't know if that is because they are learning the place or because its unintuitive for bees to have such an exit. So I better find a way of modifying this unobtrusivly I think.
Also, when can I peep in to check that they are reading the little 'build here <-' signs I've left about?
I note they've evicted the fallen wax pieces, and also, I'd left some 1:1 sugar syrup in there as feed -- now, how did that end up dried on the outside?
Some piccies are here:
Let me know if you have any simplifications, or other tricks that could make the design even easier to put together.
An outstanding example of the KISS principle at work - the perfect measure of TBH simplicity and functionality.
Let's see a photo of the underneath side of your top bars. Did you use 'starter strips' or what? We're always interested in the different techniques used to get the bees to pull straight, parallel comb.
From the outside it looks a lot like mine. Except for the PVC pipe bottom.
Re: what I did for the topbars.
I tried two things. First one is to cut up a piece of factory comb into pieces ~ 2cm x 4cm, and then just heat that up a bit and attach.
Second approach is that when someone else was making their frames, I grabbed the thin cut offs and worked them onto the wood in a line.
I don't know which one will work better (if they work at all :)
I will take photos, but can I open the hive yet (today is day 2) without risking them wanting to leave?
Ps.: Mike, I think I started from your design, but could not buy the right kind of cloth, then I saw a floor made from spaced pipes on the web and so thought I'll try a pvc pipe at the bottom. I can buy all of this stuff for about 50 gpb, so each hive costs me 25 gbp => 25(1.4)$ ~ $36.
Great pictures and a really neat tbh design. This is about the most flexible design I've seen. This hive could easily be re-configured, if needed. It could handle a variable width and depth!
Day 4 and I (well. John helped, I was quite glad to see it demonstrated first) had a look...
The bees drank all their syrup (about 1 litre of 1:1 with a little vit C powder) and drew out 10 combs to (I think) about 1/2 - 3/4 of their final size.
Didn't smoke them or wore a veil/suit, and despite 5 people all standing around, they just minded their own business and go on with making comb.
They also seem to be learning how to land and take off now -- much more elegance was to be observed at the entrance :)
The pics of the combs are in the 4 Days album here: http://f2.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/hex...bein/my_photos
All the combs are straight, and sit right in the center too.
So, I'm real pleased with all of this :)
Cinnamon, basking in beginner's luck(for now)
see requested picci here:
if that doesn't work, its in the hive design album, photo nr. 8.
On pic #2 in the Day 4 Album, the cell size can clearly be seen decreasing away from the top bar.
Are top bar hives fun or what?
Looks great! The cut groove and starter strip is what I did and it seems to work fine. What I've found is the width (or is it, depth? - i.e., how far the starter strip goes below the bottom surface of the top bar) doesn't have to be very much, even a 1/4-inch will do. What's more important is the starter strips be long; to within about an inch of the end of the bar. Mine were not (more like yours) and the comb the bee draw further away from the brood nest area, the more likely the combs are to develop a curve on the ends (away from the center of the top bar). It will be interesting to me, to see if you have this same experience.
Also, the thickness of the top bars will lead to smashed bees (and it's related alarm pheromone) if you don't develop a slightly different handling technique when placing the top bars back together. This can mostly be overcome by putting the top bars back into position with a vertical motion (as opposed to sliding them together sideways). My bars were also thick (not as thick as yours) and I quickly discovered I needed to be careful about not smashing bees bewteen bars.
Good luck and thanks for sharing the photos!