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Thread: poor comb

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    A book I am reading on "ordinary" beekeeping stresses the importance of a level hive. Have any of you whose bees seem to be producing poor comb checked with a spirit level to see if you have given the bees the best situation.
    And a strange question - does the compass orientation make any difference. I know that I sleep better if my head is towards the north (hey guys an English eccentric has joined the board!!!.) Would the bees draw better comb if the hives were oriented north/south. Do feral bees show any preference?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    chatsworth, calif usa
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    >And a strange question - does the compass orientation make any difference.
    >Do feral bees show any preference?

    I believe it does and that they do.

    Key word here is "believe". I do not know this for a fact. Just something i have noticed a time or two.
    -j
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    I know that I sleep better if my head is towards the north
    I'm sure the reason you sleep better is not because your head is to the north, but that your feet are to the south. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Linux - World domination through world cooperation

  4. #4
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    So, Hillside has noticed the effect too but being left handed he thinks that it is the south that is important! Interesting!! How would the pyramids have been built if he'd been Pharoah?
    jim b, what is the best orientation for producing well drawn comb and good honey?

  5. #5
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    I've had swarms start going sidewise on foundationless frames and i went in and removed what they had done. Then i turned the whole thing to orient them in the direction they wanted to go in the first place. It usually ended up that the front was pointed toward sunrise.

    This guarantees the best honey and more of it than anyone elce's hives have ever produced. (and if you believe that, send me a lot of money for some good Arizona oceanfront property)

    All this ever did for me was to get them going straight in the frames. From there on they drew whatever kind of comb they needed when they needed it.
    -j
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  6. #6
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    So yet again it's Bees 10 Human Beings 0.
    Thanks folks for bearing with me. I told you it was a strange question!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    I always point the front to the rising sun. [img]smile.gif[/img] I also always level them with an actual level.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
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    Hi Guys,

    The direction of gravity and the location of the entrance are two major factors in comb orientation/development. A tbh hive should be leveled before any bees are installed. Once the comb is drawn, they can be treated like a Lang hive and setup without using a level. Any newly drawn comb in such a hive will orient to gravity, but if the comb is going to be harvasted, it won't make much difference. So, I always use a level when I set them up. But just eyeball them for level once the comb is drawn out.

    I don't know about the magnetic aspects. My hives are setup to face solar SE, making the long axis of the comb point roughly magnetic east-west. I just haven't experimented with it and am about experimented out.

    A beekeeper in England, Ian Rumsey, has done lots of experiments with natural comb and magnetic orientation. His observations are a good read. They can be found throughout several years of Apixs-UK http://www.beedata.com/apis-uk/newsletters04/index.htm

    Regards
    Dennis

  9. #9
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    It would seem that Ian's latest work is still to be reported although his earlier work on comb creation is fascinating. So far, however, it would seem that the strongest drive within the hive created from a new swarm is to draw comb in a magnetic east/west direction, a fact noted and used by egyptian beekeepers at the time of the pharoahs and there are pyramid wall paintings to prove it. Presumably if foundation is provided the urge to create brood quickly overcomes the hive decision to build in that E/W direction. The further work that Ian is to report on is whether there is some magnetic or other force that occurs mainly at sunrise that affects the bees decision on direction of comb.
    At the present time my decision is to stand the hives as level as I can (using a spirit level) and to orient them using my compass so that the top bars are running magnetic east/west. I shall create the entrance to look toward the rising sun.
    Thanks Dennis for the pointer to ApisUK. I have now signed for a subscription (which is free)'cos it makes such interesting reading.

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