I am trying to plan my small beeyard and was thinking about hanging my hives (probably 6). I have read where some places hang them from trees and I like that idea, especially not having my ground space occupied. My question was about wind. The wind here doesn't usually get too bad, but can be gusty at times. Do hanging hives suffer because of wind swaying them some. I would build a structure over the hives with a roof of some sort to protect from rains (maybe grow grape vines over it to give some dappled shade) and hang the hives from that with four cables or chains. I wouldn't think the bees would appreciate their home rocking and rolling like a ship in a storm, but would four cables keep it secure enough? Any ideas? Thanks.
Hanging hives wouldn't work for me on the prairie, even if there were some trees to hang them from! But it seems to me that if you have big enough trees to hang hives from the trees themselves would provide you with enough wind break, you must be in the woods or on the edge of a woods.
If you look at some of the TBH africa sites they always hang them between trees but i think it is to protect from the army ants and other predators.
I regret putting mine on legs because they are exposed to too much wind, next hive will be lower to ground.
I'm a beekeeper down here in Honduras. Several years back I had a small apiary where we had the hives hanging.
The main reason was for protection against ants. The other reason was to keep costs down (show farmers alternatives that could save them a bit of money). A bit of wire is cheaper than cement blocks and lasts longer than a wood hive stand (termites are a problem).
We had our hives in a line, using trees where we could and posts where we couldn't. If you have to use a post, keep an eye on them that they don't start to rot out (a couple hives ended up on the ground but luckily it didn't cause any damage to them. They came down upright.)
These hives were located in a type of hollow so they didn't receive the full impact of the wind. I never noticed them moving around a lot with the wind that there was. The wind wasn't something that really worried me.
We had two wires that came out of the corner area of our TBhs. These two were tied together and then just a single wire was used as the line that was tied around the tree or post (I think what I'm trying to say they were anchored by two wires and not four) Again, in my situation, I still didn't see any excessive swaying that caused me to be worried. At the same time there wasn't any hives on solid hive stands in this apiary to use to compare honey production. I can't say if it really did affect the honey production.
I've had some trap hives in trees that have come loose and started to blow around a bit. The bees never absconded but then I also can't really say if the movement affected their growth while they were up in the tree.
Also keep and eye on sagging, especially if the wire or cable has to go out at an angle and not straight down. If one end starts to dip down the combs are going to begin going off at an angle from the top bar. This could cause a bit of a problem if you need to swap combs with a hive whose combs go straight down from the top bar.
This is my two cents worth. Hope it helps.
Thanks Dave, Tom,
I guess my main reason for wanting to hang them is that it is something different. I don't like the status quo most of the time. Other than that, I just think I would like the looks of a sort of grape arbor with half a dozen hives hanging under it. We don't have too much trouble with ants here, I've found a few carpenter ants now and then in the hives, but nothing major. I've found more cockroaches than ants. I guess what I'm saying is that hanging them in my opinion here would be more for aesthetic reasons. I was thinking of pouring a concrete foundation in a form then using the post anchors to keep the wooden posts above ground, that way I could see the bottom of the posts easily too keep an eye on rotting. Concrete blocks would be much cheaper than building the frame, but I'm not too worried about the money right now - it is more of a garden project. I just didn't want to build something that the bees decided they didn't like. Thanks.
Just an added note. There was an old guy down here who I got to know. He had a bunch of hives of stingless bees. The type he had looked pretty much like the normal european bees except they didn't have a sting (they would try to bite instead, if at all). These bees are usually kept in hollow log trunks from two to three feet long.
Anyways, he built himself a structure with poles that had a tiled roof (the common type used down here)but otherwise was opened to the air (no walls). He had all of these logs hanging underneath it, about 15 or so. It worked well to protect the hives from the elements and looked really nice. It was always an eye catcher when ever visitors would come by his place.
Many people down here with these bees also hang them under the eaves of their houses. Because they don't sting they don't cause a problem (africanized bees would be another story however).
Good luck with your plans. I like the idea.