Floating Hive Stand
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    Enfield,Ct.
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    543

    Default Floating Hive Stand

    I am working on a beekeeping program with a local high school and due to site availability we are forced to locate the apiary in an area prone to spring flooding.Other than flooding 50% of the years,this is an ideal site.
    We are planning on building a floating platform similar to a floating dock or raft using 55 gal plastic drums similar to this:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Floa...-with-Barrels/

    So we are looking for anyone with experience/ suggestions.
    Thoughts are to excavate a hole the same size to bring down the height so we can easily work the hives during the rest of the year.We have access to a payloader with forks to dig and move the raft around.
    We are going to do a layout this afternoon to determine size.Thinking 10x10 or 10x12 for 6-8 hives.
    Thanks

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Derry, New Hampshire
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    2,222

    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    I've never built a deck like that but some issues come to mind. hive weight could be over 1200 pounds depending on time of year so 4 barrels i'm not sure would be enough.
    guessing this is classified as wetlands so you can't just build a raised deck with piers in the ground? how much does it flood? Are there increased mosquitos the rest of the year due to the location?
    Terrence

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    Enfield,Ct.
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    543

    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    Ha! Wish they weighed that much! Flooding is in early spring so these would be over wintered colonies,3-4 meds and nucs.Thinking 6 barrels.
    Not just wetlands but floodplain.A few times over the last 100 yrs over 10 ft of water. Many years it didn't flood at all.It all depends on snowpack up north,spring rains and warm temps.
    Mosquitos are a fact of life in the CT river valley.Standing water within 500 ft of site.You learn to deal with it.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Sedgwick Co. KS
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    1,053

    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    Surely there's a place that doesn't flood somewhere that could be used. I hate flood water and areas that can be covered by it, and I avoid those with a passion. My opinion is that you're looking for trouble with a floating hive stand. I rather build a platform high enough to keep the hive dry.

  6. #5
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    Mar 2015
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    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Grimshaw View Post
    Ha! Wish they weighed that much! Flooding is in early spring so these would be over wintered colonies,3-4 meds and nucs.Thinking 6 barrels.
    Not just wetlands but floodplain.A few times over the last 100 yrs over 10 ft of water. Many years it didn't flood at all.It all depends on snowpack up north,spring rains and warm temps.
    Mosquitos are a fact of life in the CT river valley.Standing water within 500 ft of site.You learn to deal with it.
    Really? Mine going into winter are targeted for at least that.
    Another thought is the barrels imprinting into the ground, iced in, and stuck in the mud. not sure if buoyancy will win out against surface tension of the barrels.
    Terrence

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Cullman, Alabama, USA
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    1,240

    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Grimshaw View Post
    So we are looking for anyone with experience/ suggestions.
    Thoughts are to excavate a hole the same size to bring down the height so we can easily work the hives during the rest of the year.
    Thanks
    I have no experience with floating hives, but, I would probably look at the "trailer mounted hive" schemes, I think some of them lined up the hives facing outward, with an aisle (sp?) to work down the center, working the hives from the back.
    As to digging a hole , I would be concerned the raft might come to rest half in the hole & half out, at an unlevel angle. would the site (& equipment) be accessable to strajghten things up promptly?
    would you end up with a raft sitting in a hole full of shaded water? umm, do you have snakes in Conneticut?
    ( I think I would try for a level pad, & bring a small ladder if needed to work the bees.)
    Is there much current in this flood plain? are the bees likely to float away? ( _maybe_ build a round a central piling or pole to locate the floating platform?)
    I hate to be all "doom & gloom", butI think I would look for a site with less flooding.
    What ever you decide, good luck with your bees. CE
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    North Alabama
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    124

    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    Another thing to consider is debris being brought in by the flood and taking out the raft. I have metal ladder stands strapped to trees near a small river that floods several times a year. I have lost several of them over the years after a flood, which I can only guess is to logs, limbs etc... floating down the flood and taking out the lower sections of the stand. Flood water is very powerful. If I was going to do it, I would drive telephone poles in the ground about 6 feet, and then build the platform so that it can float up and down the pole height and hope that nothing comes to rest under the platform when it comes back down to ground level.

  9. #8
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    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    Thoughts are to excavate a hole the same size to bring down the height so we can easily work the hives during the rest of the year
    What do you do when the raft floats out of the hole ?
    hive weight could be over 1200 pounds
    Mine going into winter are targeted for at least that.
    that seem an amazingly large winter weight

    looking at the CT river patterns the last few years
    (1) 17.16 ft on 04/09/2017
    (2) 16.09 ft on 02/28/2017
    (3) 19.21 ft on 02/27/2016
    (4) 20.05 ft on 04/18/2014
    (5) 18.60 ft on 06/15/2013
    (6) 18.57 ft on 06/15/2013
    (7) 15.60 ft on 12/09/2011
    (8) 21.55 ft on 09/09/2011
    (9) 24.78 ft on 08/31/2011
    (10) 17.08 ft on 05/01/2011
    (11) 20.16 ft on 04/18/2011
    (12) 16.93 ft on 03/21/2011
    (13) 17.78 ft on 03/13/2011
    (14) 19.41 ft on 03/09/2011
    I think you might be better off trying to put them on the school roof. That raft might end up on the beach in Long Island, Not the kind of drifting problems most beekeepers have...
    An out side the box idea would be to approach the cemetery, thats being done out here and other places

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Houston, TX, USA
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    628

    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    Sink 4 telephone poles and brace them well. Put 4 2 ton manual chain hoists at the top to raise and lower a lightweight platform as necessary. Even if you hives ever got to 1200 lbs, you would still have capacity. I can't imagine the sugar required to get to that weight, but I think it was a typo.

    In any case, all of this sounds like a lot of cost for a high school program. It isn't Texas football and I'm sure you have a limited budget.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    Enfield,Ct.
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    543

    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    Thanks for all the replies.
    This is a boarding school with multiple buildings on the banks of the CT river and most of the property(including most of the athletic fields) are subject to spring flooding.It has been an uphill fight to find an apiary location.With a super paranoid administration,multiple athletic venues and future construction plans,we have been pushed to the campus edge.
    The site is about 1/4 mi from the rivers and buffered by 2 causeways and several groves of trees so flood debris is not an issue.
    I did consider the half in the hole scenario.The hole would only be about a foot deep so half in would not be much of an angle.The plan is to make the tether long enough sothat the raft would float free of the hole.Still thinking this part.

    Keep the suggestions/ worst cases coming

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Champaign, Illinois
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    2,461

    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    What you really need are two boats. First get a pontoon boat for the bees and then get a jon boat for the kids to run out and check the bees in. Should only cost around $15-20k. You'll need to register, possibly insure the watercraft, and keep PFD's on them both. Some states have laws that require boater safety classes for people born after a certain day so you better get qualified to teach that too.

    Getting the liability waivers signed shouldn't be an issue. @
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  13. #12
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    Sep 2005
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    3,406

    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    When it floods, how fast does it flood? A slow tide moving in isn't much of a concern, but a massive rush of water would bother me. Fast moving water could cause even a stable platform to rock slightly. The hive could easily tip over under such conditions (or if the raft doesn't float back down to the same foot deep hole). It would be wise to strap the hive down to the raft.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post

    that seem an amazingly large winter weight
    really? i'm satisfied at 140 but would like more. 2 deeps and a super hopefully gets to that amount with equipment.
    What does Colorado shoot for?
    op will have to calc in the wood to figure in the buoyancy on those barrels as well. that will be at least 500 pounds fully decked.......guessing more towards 1000
    Terrence

  15. #14
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    Jul 2013
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    Cullman, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    Would usng the pay loader to pile up a hill approx 12 feet high be an option? ( I am obviously not an
    'earth moving guy") . If you are biulding the wooden ware in shop class, & can find a supportive local beekeeper to restart from occaisionally, costs should be low. Just accept the occaisional loss, try to plan for it & deal with it as it comes.
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

  16. #15
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    Dec 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    7,861

    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    Two barrels to a hive platform all chain linked them together to release them into the water. Good for
    raising nucs for sale. So instead of growing oysters you are growing nuc hives. Don't forget to ratchet tie down the 4 deep high nucs to the platform too. You have to work out the buoyancy and how high
    each platform can support. How far can you go out?
    Last edited by beepro; 09-05-2017 at 07:22 PM.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Cazadero, California
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    364

    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    Someone above jokingly mentioned boats, but that's really what you should be looking at; cheap used aluminum row boats.

    If you put a bunch of weight on top of a funky barrel raft and tether it to the ground, the tiniest eddie current will dump your hives.

    A boat can handle the weight and, most importantly, it can the current. If you're set on building a deck, do it across two row boats.

  18. #17
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    I really liked the pontoon boat idea mentioned earlier. Older ones with no motor can be had for very little and it would certainly handle the weight of several hives. eBay has just the ticket, a 1987 20' with a non working motor. Current bid is $280.00 and its in NJ. No trailer.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    satisfied at 140 but would like more
    the word "hive", not "combined weight of the hives" threw me off.

    hmm I had it pegged as EHS, now I am cirrus, I grew up in Ellington

    I would look for a different solution

    For your worried Admins, maby show them the back yard hive movement, any yard in downtown denver (or roof top) can have 2...
    if you put up fly way fencing (6') the bees fly up, and travel up and over peoples heads, at that point there is little difference being 20' away from the fence or 500' .. I can't find the reference but IIRR the CA bee club Randy Oliver is with sets ups hives this way at a county fair with see threw netting and does live hive inspection demos in side. If people can put hives in the middle of a country fair, or in the middle of the city, you can find a patch of dry land. at one of my out yards I started with put a hive behind a bush and up against a fence 75' from the landowners house, the husband had no clue till the wife asked him 3 weeks later if he had seen "any more bees lately"... he said no, so she showed him
    Four 8'x6' fence panels in a square and a way in, were the hives will stay dry, would cover the the hive count , as long as it far enough a person cant see a bee at that distance no one would know

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    lyons
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    8

    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    What stops the rain water from filling the boats? I think 1012 is a big enough area to be stable. I would use two poles, one in the middle at each end, using big U-bolts to go around poles and fasten to dec.don't know how many barrels you would need for that weight though. Good luck you can do it!

  21. #20
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    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
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    Default Re: Floating Hive Stand

    Final size determined to be10x12 with 6 barrels.Each barrel supposedly wil support aprox 450 lbs.

    Here follows the "grey" area:
    The site is considered flood plain by the school,even though the elevation is 30 ft above sea level(est. by topo map).Basically a hump surrounded by swamp.All work on flood plain is controled by Army Corp of Eng. No construction or excavation deeper than 6 in (plow depth) without permit.Not going that route.

    So no 10x12 hole but we will find 6 natural depressions that just happen to correspond to the location of the barrels.

    Normal spring high water denies access so no one really knows how often this area floods.Similar elevations on campus last flooded in 1984.

    Thanks msl for bring up river flood data.Did some research and river crests surpased 30 ft only 4 times in recorded history.Which of course means nothing concerning the future.

    CT River at Hartford
    Historic Crests
    (1) 37.60 ft on 03/21/1936
    (2) 35.40 ft on 09/23/1938
    (3) 30.74 ft on 06/01/1984
    (4) 30.60 ft on 08/20/1955

    Rooftop hives rejected because of student liability issue.
    Fenced area rejected because of percieved sting threat.Any sting within 1000 ft would be a honey bee,even if the "bee" was black with a white face.

    I like the boat idea,esp. pontoon.Could do some riverside pollination contracts or follow the(nectar) flow.

    Thanks again

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