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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Appleton WI
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    59

    Default Fact or Fiction?

    I ran in to an old beekeeper today who was doing something I'd never seen or heard of before.
    He had grounded his queen excluders with a wire and a nail in the ground. His contention was that the bees build up static electricity while beating their wings and the excluder becomes charged, especially in hot dry conditions. His contention was that the girls get 'zapped' while moving through the excluder and thus will avoid it and the putting up of honey above it. He claimed much improved honey production.

    Was this old fella pulling the leg of a third year beek or is there something to what he's doing??

    Anyone hear of this before?

    Thanks folks
    Last edited by Stooge King; 06-23-2012 at 06:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Gloucester County, New Jersey
    Posts
    213

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    I would be shocked if this were true.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Huntington ,VT, USA
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    256

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    If it were true (which I doubt), I am pretty sure grounding the excluder would increase the shock...discharge to a grounded object is complete.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,774

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    My thoughts exactly.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,729

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    Was this old fella pulling the leg of a third year beek?

    Yes. but he may believe it.

    Crazy Roland

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Andover, Ohio
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Honey View Post
    I would be shocked if this were true.
    Now thats funny ("shocked")

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    3,068

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    IT is very unlikely that a nail is going to sufficiently ground anything. It is less likely to actually form a ground connection in hot dry conditions. Effective grounding rods can commonly be 6 to 8 feet long. Grounding rods for even portable fences for example are 2 feet long and fairly well useless after even a short period of time.

    It also unlikely that a bee in a wooden hive is capable of conducting to ground so even if there is static electricity in the hive. there is not a lot of chance a bee is going to get shocked. A bee can land on the wire of an electric fence for the same reason. they never touch the ground.

    Just to many reasons I see this could not possible be true but I won't go into all of them. IT does not mean the old timer doesn't believe it. if it makes him feel he is doing better by his bees. let him hang nails all day long.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,115

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    Since the wire queen excluder is surrounded by non conductive material, their couldn’t be any path to ground for a static charge to discharge too. And the bees would be at the same potential as the excluder so again no path for electron flow, and a nail wouldn’t provide enough contact to earth to be and effective ground. That’s why ground rod are made of copper and are eight feet long. The other beekeeper may think it improves his honey production so grounding the excluder can’t hurt. You could suggest he should go to plastic excluders and save the wire.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,655

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    "Superstitious belief" was brought up in a discussion of my narrow frame hives. The fact that the bee population was greater in the Spring may have nothing at all to do with the frame width. Perhaps the "old beekeeper" had a stronger nectar flow that first season after grounding the excluders...

    You can read about B.F. Skinner's pigeon study here:
    http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Skinner/Pigeon/

    BTW, I'll be pecking away at converting more brood chambers to narrow frames...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  10. #10

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    Interestingly enough, bees do build up a static charge as they fly. That is one of the things that helps attach pollen grains to the hair on their bodies, which in turn allows them to cross pollinate flowers.
    Now..a metal queen excluder placed between two wooden boxes will not provide a discharge path to ground, as has been pointed out in earlier posts.
    But….the old beekeeper may actually be doing just the opposite of his intention. By providing an electrical path to ground he may be causing his bees to discharge when they come into contact with the excluder. I’m thinkin’, that if anything, the old goat may be creating a problem where one didn’t exist.
    Last edited by beemandan; 06-24-2012 at 09:14 AM.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    Or one may just use plastic excluders, but I don't want to make things too complicated.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Fallon NV USA
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    Plastic is capable of static charge also, just research plastic pipe in dust collection systems.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    But plastic can't collect it and transfer it like metal. IF there were a static charge problem with plastic, all you'd get would be pollen dust like you mention.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Clayton, NC, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    I am new to beekeeping but I am an electrical engineer at a large plastic manufacturer and I work with disapating static charges from our production areas. Static builds more readily in plastics than metal, in dry environments, and if a person or machine is not well grounded, they will be fried. So the old timers theory is plausible, however I would think the hive environment is humid enough to dissipate static electricity.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thermwood View Post
    Plastic is capable of static charge also, just research plastic pipe in dust collection systems.
    Oh yeah they do. can really brighten up your day there for a nano second. It is actually recommended that you run a ground wire through the length of plastic dist collection duct just for this reason. it can build up to a really painful jolt.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    California
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    I just read this in Mastering the Art of Beekeeping vol2 by Ormond & Harry Aebi. p214 "Grounding a Beehive". Beekeepers from Santa Cruz CA claimed to have higher honey production in hives with grounded queen excluder than in those without. published in 1982

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    1,515

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    Interesting...
    May be instead grounding - just connect to the LED? Free electricity and completely green, I mean, bee!
    Серёжа, Sergey

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    El Sobrante, California, USA
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    148

    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    Seems to me the surface area of his 'grounding rod' is hardly nothing at all, a nail? And the length, a nail?

  19. #19
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    Neutralizing static charges from non conductors like paper, plastic, rubber, or glass is a bear. You have to know if the charge is positive or negative and then supply the right amount of oppositely charged ions, or sink the charge to an infinite capacitor (the earth). This is very difficult to do correctly. A nail, sure, dream on.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  20. #20
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: Fact ir Fiction?

    Quote Originally Posted by gillwrig View Post
    I just read this in Mastering the Art of Beekeeping vol2 by Ormond & Harry Aebi. p214 "Grounding a Beehive". Beekeepers from Santa Cruz CA claimed to have higher honey production in hives with grounded queen excluder than in those without. published in 1982
    Hmmm, I built a shop with power. the grounding rod is almost as big around as a persons thumb and 8 feet long. the entire thing is driven into the ground. a permanent electric fence woudl need the same. and if it is long enough several of them. portable electric fence I put up last year had a grounding rod that was two feet long and a bit thicker than a pencil. It did not ground the fence. I had to run a ground wire under the hot wire. Now that works as long as you contect both wires.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

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