I was talking with Walter Wright about seasonal bee behavior in Langstroth equipment. He has been watching and writing about it for almost a decade.
Walter has also removed feral hives from between floor joists. He noted that the broodnest structure was alot like the vertical Lang but just tipped on it's side.
I hadn't thought about it that way. But that's what I've seen in my tbh and pictures of vertically oriented feral hives.
Here's something to try that you might
find both fun and informative:
1) Take your top-bar hive, and add a
new bar right in the middle, where
the bees will be sure to draw comb
2) Tilt the whole hive by putting a
brick under the rear corners.
Tilt the hive at a serious angle.
3) Compare the drawn comb on the new
bar to the existing combs.
4) Repeat (1) through (3), but with
the bricks at the FRONT of the hive,
so as to create a serious tilt in
the opposite direction.
Explain the newly-drawn combs in terms of "horizontal" and "vertical". Be sure
to explain the results in terms of
"Housel Positioning" too.
>Walter has also removed feral hives from between floor joists. He noted that the broodnest structure was alot like the vertical Lang but just tipped on it's side.
Are we talking about the arrangment of stores, pollen, brood etc. or are we talking about cell orientation?
How the bees build comb, not how they
Hi JF and MB,
Sorry, I was talking about broodnest orientation and not cell orientation. Maybe a better term would have been broodnest architecture.
I do use a level when setting up a tbh for the first time. :> )
My observations on cell orientation can be seen and read at:
[This message has been edited by topbarguy (edited June 25, 2004).]
[This message has been edited by topbarguy (edited August 07, 2004).]
Last edited by BWrangler; 04-06-2017 at 09:12 PM.
Reason: updated link
Interesting thread. When I look for "brood structure," what do I need to be looking for so that I can relate to what you are saying.
I read the link you posted regarding Housel's Idea. I had asked a similar question to this in another website: What do you see in your hive in relation to Housel's idea? If they don't conform to Housel's positioning, do you rearrange them to do what they are supposed to?
On the photo of you link, it seemed like some of the "Y"'s were actually horizontal rather than verticle as Housel suggests. Any idea why?
>If they don't conform to Housel's positioning, do you rearrange them to do what they are supposed to?
Personally, I think if the bees built it that way, than that's how it is "supposed" to be. I certainly don't want to change the arrangement.
The concept of Housel positioning (which I am neither a proponent nor an opponent of) as implemented by most people is an approximation in a standard hive using foundation, of the orientation of the rhombus in the bottom of the cell in a natural built brood nest.
>On the photo of you link, it seemed like some of the "Y"'s were actually horizontal rather than verticle as Housel suggests. Any idea why?
That's my problem with the Housel concept. I see cells running in a lot of directions and even more variation in the "Y"s in the bottoms of the cells. It's hard to pick out a pattern other than the primary comb. And people doing the housel positioning, that I know of, aren't even DOING a primary comb (which is turning the foundation vertically), other than me.
In defense of the Housel concept, I have noticed that when doing standard foundation (wax or plastic) if they bees don't want to draw one comb correctly, you can flip it (horizontally) and they will draw it. And if you look at the "Y" in the bottom it was most often backwards (the "Y" was actually upside down) of the combs on each side of it. Housel positioning is the only explaination I've heard for this.
On the subject of horizontal and vertical comb (not to be confused with "Housel positioning") I have made my statements on horizontal and vertical comb based on my observations of a number of hives of self built comb. But here are some other pictures of natural comb.
Here is someone else's obseration on orientation (Ian Rumsey) .
with these pictures: http://www.beedata.com/htcomb/index.htm
Look at the two bottom pictures to see cell orientation. Some vertical and some not really one or the other.
And some speculation by Ian on the survival of feral bees based on comb orientation.
Other natural comb links:
Gravity-independent Orienation of Honeycomb cells
And other peoples observations on the subject:
Check out http://bwrangler.litarium.com/nest/
for my observations on broodnest structure.
>On the photo of you link, it seemed like >some of the "Y"'s were actually horizontal >rather than verticle as Housel suggests. >Any idea why?
Cell size and orientation on opposite sides of a comb are somewhat independant from each other. So the bees don't orient to the 'Y's we see when they are building their comb.
The direction the 'Y's and other shapes point results from the shift in comb sizes and orientation between the two sides of the comb. Its as though a cell on one side acts like a telescope framing the comb bottom on the other side which can be just about anything.
So Y's, double headed Y's, and ??? end up pointing just about any direction depending upon that intersection of vision and opposite side comb construction. In that shot I've published, the Y's point in a multitude of directions even in adjacent cells.
I tried Housel positioning and I did notice a difference. Usually after the winter, I would have to recenter the cluster. After Houseling no recentering was necessary.Initially I attributed it to Houseling.
But my clusters before going with small cell were much smaller at that time of the year. Since then, my overwintered clusters have been huge. I now think that cluster size was the important factor and not Houseling.
I established some large cell hives without Houseling. I can't see any difference between them and my Houseled small cell colonies.
Last edited by BWrangler; 04-06-2017 at 08:57 PM.
Reason: updated link