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  1. #1
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    Smile Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Hello, my name is Sarah.
    I am a student at Loughborough University studying Design with Engineering Materials and my final year design project is titled "A Beehive for the 21st Century".
    I would be grateful if you could spare a couple of minutes of your time to complete a questionnaire I have produced with the aim of obtaining some quality data from those who interact with this product frequently.
    The questionnaire is anonymous and the results will be used for nothing other than helping me define an area of the hive I feel can be improved, though results of the project can be made available to participants upon request. There are 10 short questions and an opportunity for you to suggest any ways in which you feel the hive could be improved. To access the questionnaire, just follow the link below:

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JCGBTVB

    Your experience and knowledge will greatly assist me in the completion of this project, and will hopefully lead to a feasible solution to one or more of the many problems encountered in the act of beekeeping.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
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    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Welcome Sarah!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Thank you!

    It may also be worth adding that my family also keep bees, so I do have some knowledge and experience (although limited!), however I need to obtain information from a much wider range of beekeepers for my decisions to be justified

  4. #4
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Welcome Sarah. Thanks for the opportunity to interact w/ your project. I don't see the correlation between hive design and colony health.

    I would find it interesting if you designed a 21st Century Hive and it came to look just like what we already have. That would be something.

    As a Commercial Beekeeper, conventional Langstroth Hives design works well for both bees and beekeepers. Other designs work well for those who choose them. Or, w/ experience, they may find that they don't work that well for them and changes in style/design occur for those individuals. As we can see by those different hive designs currently in use there is no one size fits all.

    Best of luck w/ your project. Please let us know how it goes. Thanks.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  5. #5
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    The brief primarily suggested designing to prevent CCD, but with a number of possible causes this was very much impossible. So I tweaked it slightly.
    I know many beekeepers lose colonies over winter, presumably due to the weather, and so I plan to base my redesign on helping the bees regulate temperature and moisture (in both summer and winter), however there are so many other factors to consider it is proving rather difficult!
    Hence a questionnaire to see where other beekeepers feel the main problems lie, hopefully to give my project a little more direction! As a materials engineering student, I think my supervisor wants to see a change in materials to solve the problem but this may just not be feasible, as I believe the hive should mimic a natural hive as closely as possible!
    But the hive isn't just for me, which is why answering the questionnaire is so helpful!

  6. #6
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    Dec 2005
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Gladly did answer the survey.

    Keep in mind that cold temps don't kill bees, lack of ventilation does. So, I would suggest that you not design a heat source into your hive design.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  7. #7
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Thank you!
    Yes, my supervisor suggested a heat source but I disagreed as I think the bees should be left to regulate temperature themselves. So provide enough insulation but also enough ventilation for them to propolise closed or open up as they wish

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    627

    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    There is another hive in use (in Slovenia) that I didn't see on your list that you might want to check out. It has some interesting attributes. Search the equipment forum (or Google) for Slovenian AZ hive.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Would suggest you not prejudge any suggestions, but just a suggestion.

    Ideal temp inside the hive is 5C as bees can move to fresh stores, but consume minimum stores. Search "The Biology and Management of Colonies in Winter" done at Beaverlodge Research Farm. This a constant temp to strive to keep the interior at.

    Adequate but minimal ventilation is also critical. Amount of air flow a varies with the hunidity of the local climate so you need a variable sized inlet to have a universal hive. Using 2 1/2 wode by 3/8 high inlets and our cold temps are dry.

    The bees themselves in maintaining the cluster are a heat source inside the hive. I have 2 inch insulation on five exteriors and 1/2 inch on south exposure. Black building paper over that. Inside temp will run 20 - 30 F warmer than exterior temp. About the coldest I have seen interior at the top is 30F in cold (-15F). Critical to have more insulation on top than sides or quilt boxes on top so any excess moisture does not drip on the cluster.

    Bee cluster itself is a heat source and put four of them together and it's better.

    A styrofoam wall is a start and there are commercial styrofoam hives on the market. Styrofoam insulates in the winter and insulates from excess heat in the summer. Needs to be durable as well to sunlight and use.

    ANd some commercial bee keepers move hive into a controlled climate that avoids the labor of wrapping and unwrapping and provides close to 5C temp.

    Cost is significant factor. Needs to be a profit and living for the bee keeper.

    Need a cost effective, light, durable hive with adequate variable ventialtion that bees can maintain temp at 5C to 40C with minimal energy expenditure by the bees or other heat sources.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Re designing the hive isnt as easy as you may think.
    dont forget about all the related equipment that has been designed around this box measure
    foundation, frames, excluder, extractors . . .
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    look into beekeeping project from the Ukraine or Russia, even areas of Sweden and so on. Many there do not use the same equipment we do, slightly different.
    look into why the equipment is different and see if it makes any difference. There may be a reason why they have developed that type of hive.
    The main reason why we in North America use the same type of hive has alot to do with universality.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  12. #12
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    I filled out your survey and wish you the best of luck.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  13. #13
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    Jun 2011
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    Portland, Oregon
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Gladly did answer the survey.

    Keep in mind that cold temps don't kill bees, lack of ventilation does. So, I would suggest that you not design a heat source into your hive design.
    Oddly enough, though it does sometimes happen in warm temps, that lack of ventilation doesn't seem to kill many bees until they are exposed to cold temps....

  14. #14
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    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Need to able to put them on pallets in 4 or 6 hive per pallet.

    And them robust to stack pallets of hives.

    Also need to retain moisture collecting and insulating benefits of current inner cover and outer cover design for colder climates.

    Suspect having the flexibility and capability to add a syrup feeder(gallon capacity) on outer cover is a very useful feature.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Thank you all for your suggestions

    I promise I am taking them all on board and you are opening my eyes to other hive types used around the world, and for that i am grateful.
    I appreciate there are many different hive types already out there already, so I aim to take some of the best features and combine them to produce a better solution that is in keeping with equipment already used.

    Ian, you're telling me! There is SO much to consider, both in the upkeep of the hive but also the manufacture and standardisation, I feel like I need to spend a lifetime on this project, let alone half a year!

    How does everyone feel about taking it right back to basics? Almost like using a skep (without the killing of bees to extract the honey of course!)? What if there was a way of taking this idea but adapting it so it was more manageable?

    Just throwing ideas around as initial concepts!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    The natural shape of a hive is an ellipsoid. With current materials and technology that is much easier to produce than the boxes of the past 150 years plus.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  17. #17
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    Sep 2011
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    Santa Rosa County, Florida
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    My dream hive would have an internal camera ,microphone,and perhaps a built in scale as well.
    One piece hive with sliding drawers??Someone has probably done that already.
    Where is Acebird when he is needed?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Quote Originally Posted by SarahHep13 View Post
    Thank you all for your suggestions


    Ian, you're telling me! There is SO much to consider,

    woops, hope my comment didnt get across the wrong way

    I appreciate the time your putting into this project, I think we all have thought the same thing
    just telling you some of the initial problems with re designing the box design we currently have going here.

    So take it right back to the skep,

    Now wouldnt it be nice if we could integrate movable frames?
    We also need a durable, yet cost effective structure to put the frames in,
    now, what size of box makes most sence? Perhaps the size which the bees can work freely in, and yet not to confined,
    now how do we manage that hive size so that we can easily expand it during times of growth?
    also how do we manage that hive size so that we can easily manage it during winter?
    also how do we manage that hive to be able to harvest the surplus honey off it yet not interfere with the actual production nest?

    just few of my thoughts, and all my conclusion lead to the current hive configuration we now have
    simple, basic and universal
    The dimensions really mean nothing in the whole scheme of things. The current design made 100 or so years ago works like a charm even today

    cheers
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  19. #19
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Quote Originally Posted by Beregondo View Post
    Oddly enough, though it does sometimes happen in warm temps, that lack of ventilation doesn't seem to kill many bees until they are exposed to cold temps....
    I have seen hives laying on their side all thru a NY Winter far North of Elmira whose colony survived quite well. That is one illustration of cold not killing bees. As long as a colony has access to food and has enuf ventilation subzero temperatures won't kill that colony.

    Don't we have the hive we have because of the availability of the materials which they are made of? Maybe that would be a good peice of information for you to have. How did LLLangstroth come up w/ his design and why did it come to look as it does today.

    One thing I notice is the desire for smaller parts and hives in smaller/lighter equipment. The "new" desire for Medium Depth Nucs for example.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  20. #20
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    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Final Year Student Redesigning the Beehive

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    The "new" desire for Medium Depth Nucs for example.

    Not this beekeeper,
    here mediums means more work
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

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