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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    rockford,mi
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    Default Much ado about nothing, spoken by a first year beekeeper.

    I'm thinking about bees and how they've lived for thousands of years without us, and, thinking that a tree hive offers a few things, but, I don't know details and haven't done research much. Seems a bee hive in a tree has a low hole, and no vent at the top. Trees vary in thickness and cold prevention, etc, based on wood density, quality, and thickness. No idea if bees prefer a thick wood or if they just pick something that is about big enough inside and deal with variances in heat due to trunk thickness.

    A few observations-summers are cool as leaves shade. Winters get sun because leaves are gone. Low hole allows ventilation out during winter, but condensation can happen in the top of the hive? Other than that, it's live and let live.

    I have a first year TBH and it all worked fine, low entrance holes on one end, one high hole on the far other end for ventilation, but, haven't been thru a winter yet and I've been scared at the whole humidity talk people mention, contradicting my earlier statements about a log hive.

    So, asking for input...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,905

    Default Re: Much ado about nothing, spoken by a first year beekeeper.

    humidity is not much of a problem, unless the 'ceiling' of the cavity gets cold enough for the humidity to condense out on, which is not likely in a tree.

    trees might vary in thickness, but would certainly always be thicker than 3/4", much thicker. therefore the insulative properties of a tree would be consideralby better.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  3. #3
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    Dec 2012
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    rockford,mi
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    32

    Default Re: Much ado about nothing, spoken by a first year beekeeper.

    Right, which is why I'm confirmed in building 3" thick hives...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Much ado about nothing, spoken by a first year beekeeper.

    you must be a body builder. i couldn't lift the boxes if they were any heavier than they already are.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    rockford,mi
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    32

    Default Re: Much ado about nothing, spoken by a first year beekeeper.

    Well that's a good point. I'm all about making it easy and natural. And beehives out in the sun may make more honey but, in summer, it seems to me that is an extra stresser for them. I'll put mine in a place that gets summer shade but that has a good line to the sun(not in a forest or orchard for example) for winter so that the natural warmth can help. I had 2000 bees hanging out by the door this summer when it was warm. Maybe it wasn't any harm, or, maybe it's normal, but, 3/4" or even 1" isn't very thick...we'll see how it goes. I'd planned to make a Lang with heavy brood and maybe 1 heavy honey super, and then the rest, that you'd typically remove in the fall, I'd make with 1" or 3/4" since they aren't there for winter...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Much ado about nothing, spoken by a first year beekeeper.

    facing the morning sun, and getting late afternoon shade works well.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    rockford,mi
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    32

    Default Re: Much ado about nothing, spoken by a first year beekeeper.

    We love our TBH, we're just worried that 30 or so # of honey isn't enough for this winter, as it was a new hive, and we had a big drought here this summer. Don't wanna lose our girls...had so much fun with them, and learning, it's only right that we do everything we can to make them safe...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Much ado about nothing, spoken by a first year beekeeper.

    sorry, i didn't notice it was the tbh forum erik. i guess if you aren't stacking boxes you could make them as thick as you wanted. good luck.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Much ado about nothing, spoken by a first year beekeeper.

    Erik, what kind of roof do you have on your hive and where are your entrances? I started this year too, and we had a major drought and heatwave (114 I think was the high, record number of 100+ days in July) and my bees never bearded. I've got upper entrances (had to move them on both hives) and a peaked roof. I think both helped keep the hives the right temperature. My hives are in shade mid-afternoon, sun most of the day. Most say full sun helps combat SHB but that may not be an issue for you. The afternoon shade helps keep mine from a melt-down too I'm sure.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    rockford,mi
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    Default Re: Much ado about nothing, spoken by a first year beekeeper.

    Flat roof. Now I have a bunch of insulation and wood on top to try and stop condensation inside by keeping the cold away from the roof...3 entrances on the bottom, 2 plugged now. I do have 1 high vent hole on the opposite end as the entrances, behind the follower, hoping that allows some ventilation...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,408

    Default Re: Much ado about nothing, spoken by a first year beekeeper.

    How do you figure that the hollow of a hollow tree always has the opening at the bottom?

    I've cut more than my fair share of bee trees. Those that I've dealt with often had the hollow, below the opening. Most had hollow space both above and below the opening, but the hollow space below was often where more of the space was, than above. And, of course, all I experienced may have just been a fluke.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    9,647

    Default Re: Much ado about nothing, spoken by a first year beekeeper.

    Observations I've made from the cut-outs I've done, most, if not all had the entrance below the comb. These were from structures, not trees.
    Regards, Barry

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    rockford,mi
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    Default Re: Much ado about nothing, spoken by a first year beekeeper.

    I said that out of ignorance, figuring that bees would use the natural cavity above as a heat trap, helping in winter. But your experience then is interesting...And yes, I've seen coons in holes with dens below the opening. It's an interesting curiosity...bottom line is a tree has a thick trunk, usually, or, again, I'd say, that bees would take a cavity that would be in a tree with > 3/4" thick trunk around them, but then again, I say that with no experience. Then again, could they live in a tree that has a hole with walls that are 1/2" thick? I suppose, but those trees don't last as they're weak...anyway...seems a thick walled hive keeps cold away better than thin, but it also retains heat...I have bluebirds that live in houses I make, all out of 3/4" wood, they are in full sun. Babies don't die of heat, nor do parents...

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