I am an A level Student studying product design. For my final years project i have confronted my local village beekeeper to ask him about any problems he encounters whilst carrying out his hobby (so that i can help solve it). I was told that a large amount of lifting/bending is required , especially for the elderly this can be tiring especially when you have 30 LBS beehives!!! I need to know if many other beekeepers encounter this problem? How have you solved it? I was thinking about a lifting device... Any ideas? Suggestions/ adaptions?Are there any inventions out at present? Also i dont mean to be rude but i gather beekeeping is mainly dominated by the older generation is this true? any help is much appreciated, please e-mail me or post a reply.
>I am an A level Student studying product design.
We don't actually have that designation for "A level" of school here, so I'm not sure what it correlates to. In the US we aren't even consistent in lower grades, but "High School" is for either 14 or 15 year olds up to 18 year olds. So you've had a year of Kindergarten and 12 years of "real" school to graduate "High School". I know that is not what it means in Europe.
Then we have an Asociates level degree which would be generally a from 19 to 20 year old (or an older returning studen) but it is 2 years of college. A Bachelor's degree is another 2 years of collect (four years of college total) and a Masters is another couple of years and a doctorate is another couple of years. So generally you go to school from the time you are five until you are 26 to get a doctorate degree.
>For my final years project i have confronted my local village beekeeper to ask him about any problems he encounters whilst carrying out his hobby (so that i can help solve it). I was told that a large amount of lifting/bending is required , especially for the elderly this can be tiring especially when you have 30 LBS beehives!!!
A typical box in the US for a brood chamber if filled with honey weighs 90 pounds. (about 41 Kg) a typical super (a medium) weighs 60 pounds (about 27 Kg). My back is killing me right now from working the bees, and I didn't move very much this weekend.
>I need to know if many other beekeepers encounter this problem?
All of them over 40. Some of them much younger
>How have you solved it?
Long hives (horizontal instead of vertical). Shallower boxes (mediums instead of deep) or smaller boxes (8 frames instead of 10 frames). Here is a British version of a long hive: http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/...ive/index.html
And a discussion of it here: http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum12/HTML/000122.html
>I was thinking about a lifting device...
>Any ideas? Suggestions/ adaptions?Are there any inventions out at present?
I have two carts for hives. One is a one wheel cart like a wheel barrow it's from Brushy Mt. Bee farm. The other is a two wheel cart from Mann Lake Ltd. There is also a bipod system with an "ice tong" kind of affair hanging from it. You attach the ice tong to the handles and tip the bipod forward to lift the box off and set it aside. It's advertised in the Bee Journals here. I have a few more ideas I haven't implemented yet.
>Also i dont mean to be rude but i gather beekeeping is mainly dominated by the older generation is this true?
It is definitely true here in the US. There are some young beekeepers but they are by far the minority.
I took the advice of another beekeeper by moving things one frame at a time, instead of one box at a time.
For instance, when I went to check a hive, I first set down a bottom board with an empty box on top. I then moved the inside of the hive one frame at a time, examining each frame. This hive was 2 boxes tall, so I moved the now-empty box over and started taking frames from the bottom. Once I am done, I can reverse the process. It takes quite a long time, but I cannot lift a brood box.
Since these hives were started in the spring, I haven't been able to take more than a couple of frames of honey. I simply shook the bees off of the frames and then covered them to keep the bees off.
This could get awkward if I had many supers, but right now I do not. I am seriously considering using a fume board to drive the bees down away from the supers once I have a lot of honey.
[This message has been edited by Terri (edited September 07, 2004).]
As the point about being few new beekeepers, it is so true. I find I am a young beekeeper being 32. All the beekeeper I know around here are much older.
I have an "old" hive lifting / moving device that with some modifications would be quite usefull.
It consists of:
A base with (4) wheels
A moveable frame that slides forward to capture (2) hives side by side.
A wing gate that allows the frame to slide around the hve and closed to capture them.
Screw jacks that clamp to the side of the hive box.
Pump jacks that lift the frame / hives up.
The entire hive can be lifted or the #2 box and up to reverse the boxes.
Large Diameter tubed tires for rough ground.
The wheels should be able to be adjusted to level the base. Similar to a trailer / camper.
The unit is quite heavy - the frame / base made from tubular aluminum.
It does not work bad on level ground that is not too rough. Good for most backyard beekeepers, but not too good for out yards.
I'm 25 does that make me the youngest beekeeper on beesource? Even so I think that the deeps are heavy and hard to lift. I like mediums - it seems that my queens pack mediums full of brood
At 27 I find myself being the young one at alot of the meetings. I would like to see a cheaper hive loader like the ezy loader. Here is a link to there site.
I'm 30 years old but was beekeeping with my father as young as 13/14yrs old.
At one time in my life 30 seemed old.... Guess it's a perspective thing....
Daveuk.An older fellow I knew told me his best labor saving device was his 14 yr. old grandson. Ron
Daveuk.An older fellow I knew told me his best labor saving device was his 14 yr. old grandson. Ron
You might make a visit to one of your local beekeepers meetings and ask your question.
Concerning mechanical lifting or transporting individual hive equipment for
non commercial beekeepers, there is a need.
I have built several but the big problem is that you must generaly use it at the other end, they take up room and they can be heavy.
You also might consider helping your village beekeeper work his hives. It would give an understanding of what manipulations are required.
There is nothing like hands on to understand how to improve something.
I first worked with bees as a young boy with my father, but that was more than a few decades ago.
How about something more high-tec? Like a camera on a probe that can be inserted into the hive to allow a 'good' visual inspection without opening up the hive.
As a next step - it could have a small capture device on the end that could be used in catching the queen. This would be used in those feral bee extractions from a hole in a tree.
>How about something more high-tec? Like a camera on a probe that can be inserted into the hive to allow a 'good' visual inspection without opening up the hive.
>As a next step - it could have a small capture device on the end that could be used in catching the queen. This would be used in those feral bee extractions from a hole in a tree.
You might be onto something here.
I've considered the idea of "drawers" that would slide out, but the propolis tends to mess up that idea. You'd not only need a way to keep it from falling over (a wide base that would allow a full super to be pulled out wihtout it tipping) but some way to break the propolis loose. Basically that probably means making a gap by lifting the rest of the hive at least a little bit.
Or maybe just have the frames slide in from the end instead of the top. I believe this has been done in some hive I saw the patent to. But it seems like a good idea. In the end propolis is the biggest enemey of any of these kinds of schemes.
You could look at it from the view that you usually want to do one of two things. Either something in the brood chamber (find the queen check on brood etc) or something in the supers (check for space, add supers, pull supers). If you could have the supers supported all the time and have some kind of jack that raises the brood chamber up to the supers, then maybe you could just lower the brood chamber and slide it out, like a drawer, and inspect it. A 12 frame dadant deep chamber would lend itself well to this kind of setup (or in England, the deep british standard frame).
All in all, though, it seems like systems like this get too complicated and therefore too expensive. A long hive is pretty simple, reduces the lifting a lot and only has the disadvantage that you don't have so much room over the brood chamber where the bees prefer to put surplus stores. But you can just keep moving the capped surplus stores off to the back, where you have no brood and add empty supers to the front where the brood is so that you don't have so many supers to move to inspect the brood.
I always figured a window on the side of each box would provide a lot of information without having to open the box. Just a side made of plexiglass and something to cover it so it doesn't become a solar wax melter. I've built these by using a sheet of plexiglass and putting a one by two frame on top of it. You have to predrill holes bigger than the screws through the plexi or it will split when you screw it all together. You also have to put some kind (I use a pan head screw) of attachment in the middle to keep the plexi attached to the frame so it doesn't warp inward and lose the beespace there. Then I cut a one-by to fill the space that is the window and make a toggle (a small piece of wood with a screw in the middle) to hold the one-by filler in. The one-by filler adds some insulation in the winter and keeps the sun out in the summer.
I saw visualizing something like the camera on the end of a snake apparatus - as seen in police/terrorist movies. Just insert in through the main enterance and look around - in low or infrared light.