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Thread: the "eco floor"

  1. #21
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    I don't see it as a pile of trash, btw.
    I rather see it as 3-4 inch (10cm) tall, detachable bottom box;
    totally breathable through (but not drafty);
    full of compacted wood shavings, stick, bark - tightly packed into the box (a sandwich);
    fine mesh below - to keep the filler from falling through;
    1/2" inch mesh above to allow bees to get inside the box as they see fit;

    The filler material should be dry and ventilated.
    So it will be kind of a breathing, thick, warm floor, possibly full of fauna (or not).
    I don't want it to be moldy and moist.

    Similar to this:
    https://beetreehives.com/products/bee-tree-hive-base
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Ukrainian frame experimentation.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    As an experiment, I kept 2 hives on solid floors over winter - one with a bottom entrance, one with top. On inspection, both hives - although the colonies survived - showed signs of having been very wet: frame lugs having turned black etc. The build-up of detritus on the solid bottom board had provided a breeding ground for wax moths. Regardless of the theory, I find that in practice, bees do not clear away debris from beehives.

    So - back to Open Mesh Floors, where the rubbish can fall out onto the ground, as well as providing much needed ventilation.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #23
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    But you say that was over winter, plus issues such as water show the bees were likely in a cluster. To properly test your belief you should surely do it over a whole season to see what bees will do when they can?

    Bees cleaning the bottom board is not a theory, it's something most of us observe regularly, and we will often see a build up of rubbish over winter, which bees will clean as best they can, once things warm up and enable them to do it. If they can, they will do it.
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

  5. #24
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    But you say that was over winter, plus issues such as water show the bees were likely in a cluster. To properly test your belief you should surely do it over a whole season to see what bees will do when they can?
    That would mean having solid bottom boards on all year long. Not a chance.

    In that post I was referring to just 2 hives I tested over winter. Over the years I've observed many other hives which have had partial OMF's (hence partial solid floors) within which there's always been a build-up of detritus on the solid floor area. Which is why 'bottom-board cleaning' has become such a necessary routine each any every season - and why I've gone to the trouble of designing a custom bottom-board assembly which facilitates bottom-board removal to make such cleaning as easy as possible (i.e. without shifting boxes).

    FWIW, much to my surprise (and delight) when I inspected one of my experimental 'National-Warre' hives a few days ago - the hive was "as clean as a whistle" and required no attention at all - but, it was fitted with a slatted-rack over a (50% area) OMF - the OMF being directly below the slats. And no sign of any excessive moisture over winter.

    I'm not making any claims ... only reporting what I have observed.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #25
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    to my surprise (and delight) when I inspected one of my experimental 'National-Warre' hives a few days ago - the hive was "as clean as a whistle"
    Why am i not surprised.
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

  7. #26
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    I may have an explanation ...

    It's all to do with particle size. If the particles of detritus can be kept separated, then the bees may indeed be physically able to shift it - but - if detritus collects on a solid floor and then has water added to it (as can happen when the bees are clustered during winter under conditions of inadequate ventilation) then mould quickly develops and a fairly 'solid' mass is duly formed. The bees are then - for all intents and purposes - unable to shift this, or at best can only 'pick at it' - and so the level of detritus continues to build up.

    When I later apply a scraper to this mass during routine maintenance, it comes away from the board in chunks, as a thick (circa 1/4" - 3/8") sheet (*) - there's no way bees could ever lift such a mass. Once this mass has been lifted clear of the board, only then does it tend to crumble into smaller pieces.

    With Open Mesh Floors, the detritus falls through the mesh whilst it is still of a small particle size, and any water descending to the floor passes though it anyway - so the problem never gets to manifest itself.

    Again, I'm only reporting what I observe and experience, and in this case hypothesise.
    LJ

    (*) I have seen detritus as much as an inch thick (i.e. in contact with the bottom bars) when salvaging badly neglected hives ... which have been fitted with solid floors.
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  8. #27
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    I'll go with that theory John. If the rubbish gets waterlogged and goes into a solid lump, once the weather improves and bees are active enough to get to it, they may do what they do with anything nasty they can't move, which is cover it with a coat of propolis. At that point it will feel hard, even to our touch.
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

  9. #28
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Maybe we need the right fungus and the right mites (Pseudoscorpions etc.) living in the detritis.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAw_Zzge49c&t=380s
    All of this is interesting, but especially look at 12:23

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-32194-8
    https://patents.google.com/patent/US9474776B2/en
    Last edited by Michael Bush; 05-01-2019 at 08:15 AM.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #29
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Bees cleaning the bottom board is not a theory, it's something most of us observe regularly,.........
    Disagreed.
    Again, you guys keep bees in Lang boxes with next to none of the under-frame buffer.

    However, once the under-frame buffer is deep enough, that space starts crossing into the "outside" zone - bees ignore it.

    How do I know?
    Because I do it in my horizontal hives (the deep enough space).

    There is always "inside" and "outside" (part of the cavity is "outside" very often - in proportion to the currently occupied space).
    Here is a documented case in old pear-tree used by bees (until the tree fell over) - you can the "outside" area below the nest, depicted very well.
    Basically - a dumpster full of flora and fauna. No one ever is going to clean that "bottom board".
    BeeTreeTypical2.jpg
    Last edited by GregV; 05-01-2019 at 08:31 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Ukrainian frame experimentation.

  11. #30

    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Disagreed.
    Again, you guys keep bees in Lang boxes with next to none of the under-frame buffer.
    Errrm, Greg...this is plain wrong what you theorize...

    How do I know? I keep bees in all sorts of hives. Including many fixed comb hives with very deep floors...and yes: bees keep the floor tidy, if you let them!

    But continue to dump compost into your hives, if it doesn't help the bees, it might help the beekeeper (you) to a better feeling. Whatever. I just don't understand why the whole world is adopting such a thing as an "eco-floor"... Is there really no-one out there actually watching and observing their bees anymore? Hey, what is wrong with letting the bees tell you? Why everyone seems to put his world view (or others opinions...from the internet/web) onto the bees, and tell the bees how they have to be? Most of the glamorous theories – and there are a lot(!) of them – proofed to be wrong in the real world. Welcome to reality.

  12. #31

    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Maybe we need the right fungus and the right mites (Pseudoscorpions etc.) living in the detritis.
    Maybe. Doubt it.

    In 2013 I was breeding pseudoscorpions as varroa control and released them into hives, also into the two hives living in my house. I never again saw a scorpion for years up right now. A couple of weeks ago I was astonished to see a pseudoscorpion crawling in my bathroom.

    LkTAoP2fS6uRO6F1iAWDRg_thumb_e621.jpg

    UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_e61d.jpg

    XhvUXaL6QuKJ+sFcw4ewOw_thumb_e61e.jpg

    ZMsiv6NuRxCXAtRJOt8I1g_thumb_e61f.jpg

    pe8s8diURqSsGt7BXEp+2g_thumb_e61a.jpg


    Didn't help much with varroa, though. You need hundreds of them for a slight effect on varroa. Since those scorpions mate once a year and need two years to ripe into an adult, breedings hundreds of them for a single hive is simply impossible.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Wow that's pretty amazing Bernhard, must have needed considerable skill to breed them! What did you feed them?
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

  14. #33
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    Errrm, Greg...this is plain wrong what you theorize...
    ...... Welcome to reality.
    Darn thing, just now read this.

    I should have taken picture yesterday, while splitting a hive.
    Will do the next time - the floor is FULL of trash they pulled out of the meshed walls (that I am testing) and dumped on the floor.

    But the trash will be right there, on the floor, next time I will look into it in 2-3 weeks.
    Will take a photo and hang right here to show you.

    Deep frame (Layens or deeper) and deep floor under it - they will not clean.
    This is not a theory - this is the real observation.
    In fact, this is a common complain about traditional Spanish beekeeping ways (which the Gov is trying to eradicate and so far failing).
    The Spaniards traditionally keep their bees in "dirty" Layens hives where hive floor hygiene very difficult to maintain.
    Guess what, the bees do not care to clean the floors in the proper deep hives.

    All I am saying - living in excessively sterile environment is bad for everyone (people, dogs, bees, what have you).
    This is a wider topic and well researched by now.

    But continue to dump compost into your hives, if it doesn't help the bees, it might help the beekeeper (you) to a better feeling.
    PS: to be sure - compost (i.e. rotten vegetable remains) belongs in my veggie garden (which is where I dump it, appropriately).
    Last edited by GregV; 05-06-2019 at 10:41 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Ukrainian frame experimentation.

  15. #34

    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Deep frame (Layens or deeper) and deep floor under it - they will not clean.
    This is not a theory - this is the real observation.
    Wait until the second year before you come to conclusions...bees don't do much cleaning before they are fully established in that hive.


    PS: I have my own veggie garden since I am ten years old. And of course I use compost myself for growing veggies. Not only that I understand that compost is not humus. And if you understand the organics of humus vs. compost you probably won't dump it into your hives.

  16. #35
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    Wait until the second year before you come to conclusions...bees don't do much cleaning before they are fully established in that hive.


    PS: I have my own veggie garden since I am ten years old. And of course I use compost myself for growing veggies. Not only that I understand that compost is not humus. And if you understand the organics of humus vs. compost you probably won't dump it into your hives.
    Just fyi I keep my bees in Layen's the 4th season now.
    But fine.

    Appreciate the advice about compost vs. humus.
    Agronomist by former training and a long-time homesteader here (well, born into a homestead), if comes to it.
    Last year's potato crop - all compost; no chems whatsoever.
    20171111_162535.jpg



    PS: all I said I was going to try out the eco-floor this season - no religious preaching in that;
    in fact, a version of ventilated bottom - what it is;
    unsure how ended up with the "humus" talks.
    Last edited by GregV; 05-06-2019 at 01:05 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Ukrainian frame experimentation.

  17. #36
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Deep frame (Layens or deeper) and deep floor under it - they will not clean.
    Greg what is this "deep floor"? Something with quite a distance from the combs?
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

  18. #37

    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Looks like this is your first potato harvest? Good for a first try. Keep on trying and get self sufficient, it is a good thing to produce your own food. So you don't eat other people's food.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Just fyi I keep my bees in Layen's the 4th season now.
    Are those among the 4 survivors? => https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...71#post1714971


    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    PS: all I said I was going to try out the eco-floor this season - no religious preaching in that;
    in fact, a version of ventilated bottom - what it is;
    unsure how ended up with the "humus" talks.
    Now you are unsure. But once you understand how biology works, especially microbiology/microbiom, you will not be unsure but very sure what the two things connects.

  19. #38
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    I've been doing cutouts and removals for 45 years. Any colony that has been there very long has a layer of wax cappings etc. and is full of wax moth worms, ants, debris beetles, ants etc. The bees were doing fine and ignoring them. The first time I did a removal I was shocked by this and thought it was a bad sign, but the bees were fine and they did fine after I removed them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  20. #39
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    That would mean having solid bottom boards on all year long. Not a chance.

    In that post I was referring to just 2 hives I tested over winter. Over the years I've observed many other hives which have had partial OMF's (hence partial solid floors) within which there's always been a build-up of detritus on the solid floor area. Which is why 'bottom-board cleaning' has become such a necessary routine each any every season - and why I've gone to the trouble of designing a custom bottom-board assembly which facilitates bottom-board removal to make such cleaning as easy as possible (i.e. without shifting boxes).

    FWIW, much to my surprise (and delight) when I inspected one of my experimental 'National-Warre' hives a few days ago - the hive was "as clean as a whistle" and required no attention at all - but, it was fitted with a slatted-rack over a (50% area) OMF - the OMF being directly below the slats. And no sign of any excessive moisture over winter.

    I'm not making any claims ... only reporting what I have observed.
    LJ
    sorry for the silly question, I am trying to follow. What is OMF?

    Ok editing OMF Open Mesh Floors. So I finished the thread. I always go back to "1000" years ago,,,Bernard, No One cleaned the bottoms of the trees out, so Bees evolved with in spaces where Homo Sapiens did not need to shovel out the base of the tree. So the bees "can" have debris, as they have for 1000's of years. Greg fast forward 50 years and your hive would be 1/2 full... So I agree with you that bees are ok with some debris on the bottom of the "hive" , so presumably in the wild they would eventually fill the space, dead out and move on, to other trees, VIA swarming. SO We are debating A concept in a very small time line, expand the time line and the inevitable becomes more apparent. In A way you are both correct, at some point if the tree/Hive is to stay in use, some removal may be necessary, And a year or 5 of "stuff" is likely not life threatening to the Colony. Now for me Would I "Pay" for the Eco floor which IMO is a 8-12 years head start on the fill up of my hive, Not likely, I'd rather spent the 125 on some good Vodka if you follow my drift. Later,, respectfully,
    GG
    Last edited by Gray Goose; 05-08-2019 at 09:16 AM.

  21. #40
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    Default Re: the "eco floor"

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    Looks like this is your first potato harvest?.... .
    Not sure why the talking down..
    I will not respond to this anymore.
    I will not brag of my potato growing project either. Should have just stayed quiet.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Ukrainian frame experimentation.

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