Housel positioning - how to get it right?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Belluno, Italy

    Default Housel positioning - how to get it right?

    I am trying to figure out exactly how Housel positioning of the combs work.
    Unluckily I have not yet found any feral beehive and so I don't really understand how the combs are positioned in nature.
    What I do not understand is this: If I look at a comb against a source of light, I can see a "Y" shape or an "inverted Y" shape at the bottom of each cell, and thant's ok, but which side should be facing where?
    Housel positioning theory asserts that there is some kind of rule that bees put in practice when building the hive, so that from the center to the sides we should see always the same pattern.

    Let's imagine we are standing behind a hive (for instance a 10-comb hive) and we extract vertically a comb from the LEFT 5 combs. Friend "A" stands on the RIGHT of the hive -that is on our right- and looks at the comb (which has not been turned or flipped or anything, just raised up) while friend "B" stands at the left of the hive, so he is on our left, and looks at the comb. I have trouble understanding what they shoud see if the combs are Housel positioned, so I'm asking you which of the following is correct:

    1) A should see a "Y" and B should see an "inverted Y"
    2) A should see an "inverted Y" and "B" should see a "Y"

    My brain is just tangled by now....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA

    Default Re: Housel positioning - how to get it right?

    There are some diagrams at this page by Dee Lusby that you may find useful:

    FYI, I'm providing a link to an article. That does not imply endorsement of the material at that link.
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3

    Default Re: Housel positioning - how to get it right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    FYI, I'm providing a link to an article. [IMG]file:///C:\Users\Dan\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\cl ip_image001.gif[/IMG] That does not imply endorsement of the material at that link. [IMG]file:///C:\Users\Dan\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\cl ip_image002.gif[/IMG]
    Pretty much sums up my thinking on the subject.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Rib Lake WI

    Default Re: Housel positioning - how to get it right?

    Ha ha ha!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA

    Default Re: Housel positioning - how to get it right?

    My original bees were all cut out of long-occupied wall cavities, so I started beekeeping with continuous combs that were 2 feet wide and 10 feet high. I nearly went blind, or crazy, trying to reconcile what I saw on those completely natural combs with the theory of Housel positioning.

    At one point I had a dozen square yards of comb spread on every table in my house trying to figure this out.

    I still have half of a chest freezer filled with these combs. Bet I couldn't figure it out now, either.


  6. #6

    Default Re: Housel positioning - how to get it right?

    I do the housel position ( with foundations) but you canīt imitate the natural arrangements in a hive with this, because the central comb is missing.

    With the outer combs the Y points into different directions after some time, because the bees always work on combs and the combs which are sometimes heavier, sometimes lighter change their structure all the time.

    They say, that the bees are less defensive and will not swarm as often if you use this arrangement. I have not observed this in two years, the colonies differ among themselves in this behavior. This has to do with genetics.

    They say that a new queen will start laying on the center comb ( or combs). My new queens did not. I donīt know their priorities, but it may be the pollen store areas which influence this.

    As long as I will use foundations I will keep it up though because it makes me more sensitive to the broodnest arrangements. I like not to disturb the brood nests much and this helps.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    St. Albans, Vermont

    Default Re: Housel positioning - how to get it right?

    The Housel positioning of foundation assumes that there is a central comb which is different that the other combs in the cavity. The Y's are aligned "properly" against the central comb. Years ago, a commercial beekeeper in Scotland offered $10,000 to anyone sending him a central comb, or a photo of a central comb. Needless to say, a central comb hasn't materialized.

    The Housel position, according to Lusby, has the Y's facing down when toward that central comb. This Y creates a shelf that faces up, and when an egg is laid on that shelf, the egg is facing up...and that's how it should be. If the foundation is reversed, and the Y's face up, that creates a shelf that faces down, and the colony supersedes. But, remember that if the Y's...which are really only where 3 cells meet on the other side of the foundation...face up on one side of the frame, they face down on the other. So, does that mean that the bees supersede only on one side of the comb?

    Housel Position = Bogus

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