I just read an article by Charles Martin Simon (http://www.beesource.com/pov/simon/bottomless.htm) about 'bottomless hives'.
Has anyone else experimented with such hives? And does anyone know how to get in touch with the author? Neither of his displayed email addresses seems to work, neither does his phone number.
Not sure what number and address you had.
This is his bee page.
I think this is the last email address I had: charles at charlesmartinsimon dot com (encoded to avoid spam crawlers)
Yeah, I found his site and tried his email, but it bounced. Also tried his phone (from the UK) but got 'no such number' recording - strangely, from BT (Brit voice!).
Is he still with us? He will be about 63 years old now.
>Has anyone else experimented with such hives?
I tried one this year quite by accident, I'll try to find the pictures of it and post them for you to see.
I split a couple of gums open. One of them was a terribly mean colony bees I was paid to remove from a front yard. They rather enjoyed chasing people and dogs who might get a little too close. The plan was to stand back ans say "Fly and be free!" I did, but they didn't. So, since they clustered up like a swarm I got the idea to set an old brood box next to them and see what they would do.
I really did not want to use that old deep, I had just gotten it pulled out of service and was destined to be cut down into a medium and the perco frames trashed. But, alas, the girls got a wiff of it and marched right in.
The box was setting an a miniture pallet about the size of a hive box and there the whole thing sat for the rest of the summer. This fall I tiped it back and slid a bottom under it. They did fill two deeps that were already drawn with brood and honey, and three mediums of PC with honey. Luckily I got a bottom on it before the field mice moved in. I think..., I hope so anyway.
I still don't trust them nasty bees, they just like to sting too much. Don't bother telling me to requeen that ferral colony, either they are going to make it without treatments or they won't. They are the best reason I have for my Goldenbee suit.
Great - accidental bottomless beekeeping!
What interests me is how well can a bottomless colony defend itself - in your case, pretty well by the sound of it! My guess is that, without a bottom, they are actually *less* likely to get mouse trouble, as the critter won't have anything to stand on, to reach the honey.
I've actually taken to leaving the underside board off my mesh screens over winter, so in effect having bottomless-bar-the-mesh hives. This seems like a better solution than top ventilation to me, as the bees seem to propolize any attempt I have ever made at top vents.
Seems like you have some evidence that bottomless colonies can work, though. Are you planning on repeating the 'experiment'?