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  1. #221
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    I both like and dislike Seeley.
    While interesting reads and very many original facts and ideas documented, some conclusions are made hastily and are questionable (and yet quoted right and left as if axioms).
    I do mean to study his latest work iteration - it maybe a better one, granted he is an older, more seasoned and better informed person now.

    To be sure, I am only an informed consumer, not a content producer/competitor to Seeley and similar authors.
    But being a consumer, I have certain freedoms and use them at my will.
    Because I can.


    Anyway, the reindeer..
    I think the real point of appropriate spacing is NOT about having certain # of meters/feet between the hives.

    The real point is - to minimize random drifting to the lowest possible level (thus minimizing the horizontal spread infection/parasites).

    700-1000 meters between single hives is not mandatory or even possible most times.
    Who has the unlimited time and space? I don't.
    Distances between the distinct mini-yards can be much shorter.
    But the hive separation WITHIN the yard must be very well de-marked.

    I would say that the organization of a mini-yard itself is important (a mini-yard, to reiterate).

    A row of 10 near-identical white stacks sitting on a single stand, wall by wall, and facing the same way - about the worst possible case.
    This is what people do commonly for convenience.
    Basically, this is a case of ALL eggs put into the SAME basket to the worst possible extent.
    This setup is basically just waiting for a catastrophe to happen (only a matter of time).

    Mini-yards of 2-3 units should be similar to this picture.
    Probably the best case I had (until the recent splitting/bee moves; to be refactored again due to the overcrowding now - 7 hives in the same grove).
    The plot owner is still confused why I chose this mosquito-infested, over-grown tree grove - but I do mean to be bush-whacking.
    I got the bee jacket too - works great against the mosquitoes.
    I like the afternoon shade even better.
    A perfect location to have distinctly separate units with 5-10 meters between, clearly de-marked by the trees and shrubs, and with well defined, separate flight paths in the forest canopy.
    Attachment 49891

    Of course, Seeley again, pictures this row of hives in an open space with 100 meters in between (I have seen his pictures).
    Gee, just sit them around in some scrappy bushes or woods already and forget the "Seeley spacing".
    Just one example of many that irk me.

    PS: I did not forget about the robbing (vs. random drifting);
    well - with the robbing, 1000 meter distance is no help whatsoever and is irrelevant;
    bees will deliberately come to rob 2000-3000-4000... meters away - the distance is only limited by the bee flying range (typical for any foraging flight - robbing is just a kind of foraging work);
    so, the robbing is to be dealt differently - unit strength/entrance configuration/etc, etc - but not by hive separation distances;

    I am with you on the Seeley points. In the swarming study the bees first picked the chimney, which was "blocked" then the "swarm" was a shook swarm of small size like 1/2 to 1 pound. So then an extensive study was done when the first choice was removed and on an Island only other choices were controlled. This not gospel this is an experiment. So we do not set out to capture a shook 1/2 pound swarm on an Island. I realize the controls need to be in place to have a repeatable experiment. But in an open environment with a 5 pound real swarm, the outcome can be very different. I do love to read his studies and articles, but I take the granularity with a grain of salt. My latest Site is spaced better, most are min 35 paces apart like 90 feet. I like SE facing Open, and a shade for the after noon sun. SE side of a Pine works for me. Also use different colors if I can. I can understand the need to keep drifting down. the pic with both, then has each up close., the third pic shows a second one in the background.
    GG
    Attached Images Attached Images

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  3. #222
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Some of my sites just like yours, GG.
    Everywhere I have afternoon shade - mostly for my own benefit.
    I need to pic/post them.

    Basically, I target to:
    1)drive up as close as possible;
    2)unload the gear to a central spot within the mini-yard;
    3)be able to work the mini-yard as a single project - move frames/nucs between - move tools/equipment - relight the smoker - working radius of 10-20 yards/meters allows this fine.
    (I don't want to be lagging all things 100-200-.... meters hive to a hive to a hive - over and over and over - just a non-starter for lots of practical reasons).

    If a hives setup as a cluster (not a row), you can then easily work them within short-distance (using the center of the cluster as your base).
    Pretty ergonomic/efficient; and yet the hives are well separated.
    This will often require placing some hives into the bush/trees so you have a kind of a polygon shape organization, not a row.
    Most often people will try to follow the tree line - well, not required and just adds to the work mileage - plugging a hive nearby, behind a bush/tree is just as good and bees don't mind.
    Last edited by GregV; 07-09-2019 at 09:50 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #223
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    I guess, I meant to post a picture of my current setup (down to 6 mini-yards now).
    The main base and the center of the 5-point "star" is my home.
    1 mile unit is visible on the Google map - for a scale.
    I just lost one of the "north" locations, about 1 mile SE from my home base.

    YardLocations.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #224
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    GregV so far it is working well, I use a wheelbarrow to fill with stuff and then go hive to hive, So far the thing I like best is the separation helps with the aggravated bees. the old site if you happen to open a queenless or aggressive hive first those angry bees are buzzing around for all the rest of the hive inspections. here as you move off those bees are not following. These hives are basically around the edge of the back, front yard yard. I have 10 here today. I have 10 acres so with a gator or small ATV trailer I can also expand them apart even more. So far they are all 300 feet from my shed where all the hive stuff is kept. Only downer I see is I need to keep the shed closed tight as they will find and start to rob out the honey in the frames in the shed.
    I currently do work from Home so at lunch I am out to have a quick look at several or add a super of check for a queen being mated. SO far I Like the backyard, spread out approach. I'll see how they winter here. All 3 in the pics were swarms Hived in the last 5 weeks. I have 3 more trees picked out, weed wacker and 15 min for site prep
    My site separation is 4 hour drive this is what drove getting this new place. production hives up north NUCs and breeders in the back yard.
    I took a NUC up last weekend and set it up for production, for the "test" run, Closed it up in pre dawn and hit the road with the AC on, crude but it worked. Was heading up to super any way.
    GG

  6. #225
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    GregV ... I have 10 acres so with a gator or small ATV trailer ..GG
    Well, gee!
    I can only dream of 10 acres.
    Sitting on a suburban lot of 0.25 acre/6 hive max limitation.
    With 10 acres in the pocket, I am sure I would redesign some of my gymnastics.
    On the other hand, my limitations maybe the diamond in disguise - forcing me into this variation of the "Darwinian model" for the better.

    But also, being a "gamer", I am kinda trying to "outplay and survive" all the random beeks and other factors around me.
    So this is a real survival game played over several square miles - live (NOT virtual) - keeps me interested.
    So is that part too.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #226
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    The real point is - to minimize random drifting to the lowest possible level (thus minimizing the horizontal spread infection/parasites).

    PS: I did not forget about the robbing (vs. random drifting);
    well - with the robbing, 1000 meter distance is no help whatsoever and is irrelevant;
    bees will deliberately come to rob 2000-3000-4000... meters away - the distance is only limited by the bee flying range (typical for any foraging flight - robbing is just a kind of foraging work);
    so, the robbing is to be dealt differently - unit strength/entrance configuration/etc, etc - but not by hive separation distances;
    GregV and GG:

    I enjoyed reading your discussion here on this topic and your approaches make sense to me. It seems that the most critical factors in apiary design might include, but not be limited to (taking one's specific situation into account):

    1. Minimizing drift by appropriate colony placement (as opposed to strictly distance).

    2. Minimizing robbing by appropriate management (i.e. entrance quantity, size and protection).

    3. Maximizing beekeeper access efficiency.

    4. Maximizing resource sharing (i.e. maybe two colonies per location or production/nuc/trap set-up like GregV).

    5. Minimizing theft, nuisance calls, zoning problems, etc.

  8. #227
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Few pics of my "congested" mini-yard at 7 live units plus a trap.
    This AM I moved nucs around some to re-balance the pop and to gradually move them apart.
    If all nucs manage to mate well, will move 3 units to different yards.

    This is the center of the mini-yard where I usually carry-in my stuff, drop it here, light up smoker, and get to work.
    20190710_083834.jpg

    Moved the strongest nuc here this AM so it shares away some of its pop with the smaller units (which took its place).
    20190710_083922.jpg

    These two units are the "lazy" bees I moved here over the weekend from the discontinued location.
    The big hive - messy frame cleaners (all they want to do so far - reprocess the old honey vs. be bringing the new honey; I guess someone needs to be a cleaner too).
    The nuc - trying to mate out a potential replacement for the "lazy" queen.
    20190710_084225.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  9. #228
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    The backyard situation - The Grey Mother hive (subject to the fly-back project) and 4 mating nucs that came out of that.

    20190710_085325.jpg

    Plenty of physical obstacles and clues so to make the hives distinct (not need for 100 meter spacing out - impossible here anyway).

    20190710_085354.jpg

    My childhood bee yard was basically a berry plantation and orchard with the hives intermixed with the berry bushes and apple trees.
    Trying the same in my backyard.
    Forcing the bees to fly around/over/through the vegetation and objects is nothing but good for everyone.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  10. #229
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    My childhood bee yard was basically a berry plantation and orchard with the hives intermixed with the berry bushes and apple trees.
    Trying the same in my backyard.
    Forcing the bees to fly around/over/through the vegetation and objects is nothing but good for everyone.
    For my part, I think you have the right idea, Greg. Attempting to create something similar in my own yard, while also trying to keep all entrances facing South and East as our storms here almost always come out of the Northwest.

  11. #230
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    For my part, I think you have the right idea, Greg. Attempting to create something similar in my own yard, while also trying to keep all entrances facing South and East as our storms here almost always come out of the Northwest.
    Same here.
    Most all winds here (winter for sure) come from the Northwest quadrant.
    So I play with my entrances to be facing the Southeast quadrant - which gives plenty of options having 90 degrees to play with.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  12. #231
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Most all winds here (winter for sure) come from the Northwest quadrant.
    The one exception here being the hurricane remnants which come up from the gulf from time-to-time and can wreak havoc- these tend to come straight from the South so I do try to orient openings East of South to avoid the direct wind/rain entry.

  13. #232
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Do you folks notice significant differences in outcomes based on hive orientation? I run roughly half on bottom boards and half on pallets. Virtually no rhyme or reason to direction they face, general randomness. I've wondered sometimes about avoiding certain directions due to winter winds but in the end I dont see where it matters alot. We get hit with plenty of northwest winter wind but some of the worst storms can pound us from the east so not sure one direction is better than another for me. More often than not we have at least enough winter snow to block and insulate the bottom entrances; perhaps that takes some of the wind factor out of the equation. However, i dont disagree that wind can be an issue. In decades past when a good chunk of our operation wintered not too far off lake michigan there was always some difference in overwintering success compared to the portion that wintered 30-70 miles inland. However, cant say that i could say that direction hive faced was ever noted, Not sure if I was to winter off the lake now whether I'd insulate/wrap or not. It's probably as windy here in mid state as by lake and I've opted to avoid wrapping hassles so far

  14. #233
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlackBirds View Post
    Do you folks notice significant differences in outcomes based on hive orientation? ....
    Donno, BBB.

    All I can say - I will hate turning a darn-heavy hive in fall so the winter winds don't blow in.
    Might as well set it once and forget it the same way.
    With that I just point them anywhere in Southeast quadrant and call it done.
    One exception - mating nucs I even had facing West temporarily.

    But also - ALL my yards are set to be in the afternoon shade anyway (for my own work convenience) - this generally means they have to look somewhere in Southeast direction.
    Some of them fly up East, then turn 180 degrees, and fly over the woods towards West (because a big pasture is there).
    I could have just set them on the West side of the grove - but then I would be baked alive in the PM Sun - not smart.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  15. #234
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    But also - ALL my yards are set to be in the afternoon shade anyway (for my own work convenience) - this generally means they have to look somewhere in Southeast direction.
    BBB:

    I don't have the experience in years to know whether entrance orientation makes an impact on overwintering success or not, but I have followed the same line of logic that GregV has, namely:

    1. An entrance facing East-South-East is permanently protected from direct wind/rain entry in my locale.

    2. Colonies on the East edge of a tree lot have the benefit of early direct sun (for foraging efficiency) and afternoon shade (for beekeeper benefit).

    Beyond that, I do have some colonies with entrances that face straight South with no shade and I don't observe a significant difference in how the colonies go about their day relative to the East facing colonies.

    Others with more experience under their belts might have some anecdotal observations regarding entrance orientation and overwintering success. I would certainly be interested in hearing about it too.

    Russ

  16. #235
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    BBB:

    I don't have the experience in years to know whether entrance orientation makes an impact on overwintering success or not, but I have followed the same line of logic that GregV has, namely:

    1. An entrance facing East-South-East is permanently protected from direct wind/rain entry in my locale.

    2. Colonies on the East edge of a tree lot have the benefit of early direct sun (for foraging efficiency) and afternoon shade (for beekeeper benefit).

    Beyond that, I do have some colonies with entrances that face straight South with no shade and I don't observe a significant difference in how the colonies go about their day relative to the East facing colonies.

    Others with more experience under their belts might have some anecdotal observations regarding entrance orientation and overwintering success. I would certainly be interested in hearing about it too.

    Russ
    Lately I have been wintering in a Shed for my way up north hives, The entrance faces East, do to open fields from the west and lots of winter wind.
    I close the 4 x 4 opening by 3/4. I set 2 hives side by side so each has a "warm" side and put 1 inch foam on top with a quad folded shipping blanket over the top that reaches down the sides 1/2 way. So in a nut shell , no ground moisture , very reduced wind, no rain and sleet and snow. i was 7 out of 9 in the shed last winter. IMO the shelter , what ever you can provide does help. I also up there use Quilt boxes with 3/8 x 2 inch upper entrance. The shed hold a dozen hives well, 15 in a pinch. I shingled the walls as in my deer blinds I find the shingled ones warmer and dryer.
    GG
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  17. #236
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    Lately I have been wintering in a Shed for my way up north hives...
    GG:

    Now that is one cool bee shed- I won't lie, I'm a little jealous...

    I suppose if you buttoned-up the bottom section you could use this as your honey house and all you would have to do would be to bring the supers down one level, extract them and put them right back on.

    I am making a mental note of this for a good retirement project.

  18. #237
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    GG:
    Now that is one cool bee shed- I won't lie, I'm a little jealous...
    .
    +100!
    A dream shed.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  19. #238
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    GG:

    Now that is one cool bee shed- I won't lie, I'm a little jealous...

    I suppose if you buttoned-up the bottom section you could use this as your honey house and all you would have to do would be to bring the supers down one level, extract them and put them right back on.

    I am making a mental note of this for a good retirement project.
    Very astute, that is the long term plan, driving a point for water this fall need water to do an extract IMO
    took only 6 or so weekends we basically had the wood and it was use it or loose it. My Uncle has a sawmill across the road from this property.
    the wood was 3 years in the stacks, some was going bad.
    GG

  20. #239
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    +100!
    A dream shed.
    14 X 20 We had some left over 14 foot 2x10 and a pile of various species Inch lumber. Maple 1x8 on the floor mostly pine and spruce on the walls and roof.
    I did buy some 4x6 treated, and the nails and shingles.
    It has 4 --4X4 windows on the east side and 1 4X4 on the south and north. a lean to on each side from left over 16 foot 2x8
    I have 4x4 and 2x4 chunks of 1/2 inch plywood as hole covers. ( windows made to be 4 foot ready) Awnings go down nov 1, holes are covered durring deer season nov 15th ish.
    Holes are uncovered when it gest to melting the snow in spring, awnings up when the snow is gone. North and south windows opened when cooling is needed, for better ventilation.
    So far it is working good.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  21. #240
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    My Uncle has a sawmill across the road from this property.
    the wood was 3 years in the stacks, some was going bad.
    GG
    Well I am impressed- seems well-thought-out and a good use of what would otherwise be wasted resources.

    I sincerely hope that it ends up exceeding your expectations, and I will look forward to progress photos if you are willing...

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