Thank you for the very generous offer- I really appreciate that, and might just take you up on it.
If pressed today, I think I would continue to remain standardized around the 8-frame Langstroth Medium dimensions, maybe out of no other reason but stubbornness. That said, I have been pleasantly surprised with several (but not all) the aspects of the homemade Warre hives I picked-up this year, namely:
Standard non-painted 2X lumber. Looks like one could abstract this for standard Langstroth Mediums using #2 Grade 2X8's. The bodies themselves are butt-jointed and fastened together with deck screws and your frame ledge would be the only dado cut you would have to make.
Standard 1/2 plywood for bottom board and inner cover- maybe ditch the inner cover in favor of propolized burlap.
Single round entrance opening drilled in the middle front face of each hive body, sloped slightly downward.
For a lid- maybe a modified migratory lid (possibly with aluminum sheathing) with extra depth for rigid foam and/or the possibility of adjustable top ventilation.
That said, I am going to focus first on filling-up the woodenware I have now... which might take awhile.
Thanks again for the advice and offer of help. I do appreciate it.
Have a great weekend.
6/14/19 Hive Report
Three hives were opened. Piper (1803) was harvested taking advantage of an usually cool morning of 54 degrees to utilize an escape board. The escape was on for only 18 hours. About 30% of the bees remained in the supers when they were removed. Only 3 supers were taken off, one being 1/2 full.
Four honey frames were harvested from Paradise (1811).
Piper yielded 63 lbs, and Paradise, 12 lbs.
The honey from both hives was at 16% H2O. My trainee brought two frames from his hives which measured 20%. We decided to harvest his frames, and after mixing in the extractor the honey came out at 18.5%. Hopefully, it won't ferment. It is interesting that his honey was taken from non-insulated hives. Piper and Paradise are both insulated top to bottom. Perhaps the insulation really does help in drying the nectar.
This year I tried putting the extractor on a four-wheeled dolly, with an elevated clamped on top. It worked better than expected.
Extractor Buggy 2.jpg
The other hive inspected was 1901 (Westley). The telescoping lid had been pulled off a couple times in the last 10 days, but every time it was raised, the bees would come boiling out of the standard inner cover. These bees seemed mean. I was suited up head to toe this time, so I decided to take a look again. Again, they boiled out, and managed to sting me in the ankle after only being open for 10 seconds. These bees are mean. I had honey to spin out, so I closed it back up. It looks like I will need to requeen this one.
This is the best honey harvest I have had, so I am very thankful. Next year I hope to extract in the 200-300 lb range.
Good update- looks like you had some capable help with your extraction efforts. Glad to see it is a family venture.
Best of luck in the second half of the season.
I don't post too much in the way of research, but my wife sent me an interesting link this morning concerning the role of RNA in honey bee colonies. I think it might have implications regarding treatment-free beekeeping, and queen-rearing. I'm still trying to digest it and understand it. I haven't read the source documents yet, but here it is: If anyone one cares to write a summary on it, please be my guest! :-)
Ingested miRNAs could confer immunity not only to the bees that ingested it but also to the entire hive. It could be spread to both other adult bees and the larval brood by trophallaxis.
Larvae fed on beebread are destined to become sterile worker bees. It turns out that these plant miRNAs in the beebread are preventing the larvae from developing into queens.
For my part, it is hard not to observe the fingerprints of creative influence while participating in even a casual study of biology.
7/6/19 Hive Report
Went out to the beeyard with the intent to locate the queen in Piper. The plan was to mark her and move some eggs into an 8-frame nuc to make some queen cells. There was a fair amount of closed brood, but no open brood. 75% of the frames in the brood chamber were examined. Each of the other hives I investigated had open brood. Apparently, the queen is taking a break
Westley, the "mean" hive was much better behaved today, so it gets to keep its queen for now.
Has Westley been persistently 'mean' or is this a recent occurrence?
Good luck to you in the second half of the year.
Chris, I had a similar experience this weekend in one of the hives I inspected. Capped brood on several frames and eggs everywhere, but very little open brood, maybe half a frame total. Figure she took a breather as the flow tapered off. Never seen so many eggs in one hive before. Put feeders on several of the hives and set out the pollen sub to help get things going again.
Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.
Thanks for the good wishes.
Westley was mean for about 6 weeks running. As soon as I would lift the tele-cover the bees would come boiling out and start pinging me. I've detected faint skunk smells around the beeyard, but no signs of skunks in the beeyard. The last inspection, I used a little smoke, and they were fine.
Glad to hear that Westley has settled-down- maybe it was in fact as straightforward as pest stress?
I just got a chance to look at this thread. I haven't gotten to read the paper yet.
The paper reminded me of two things.
My trainee just did a mite wash on his two hives which are descendants of my longest-surviving queen. (Elijah) Both hives came in at 1% mites.
I also built and installed my first prototype robber screen in preparation for the dearth. It was installed late in the evening. Five minutes later there was a bee hauling a cockroach up the screen. The roach must have been 3x longer than the bee.
Nice turn-of-phrase- good to hear your progeny is expressing low mite counts. Bodes well for your efforts.
I too am looking forward to reading the 'mite bomb' article. When you get a few robbing screens built, you should post a couple of pictures for ideas.
Keep up the good work-
This spring, I checkerboarded hive #1803 Piper, using Walt Wright’s method, and inserted a couple frames using Matt Davey’s OSBN technique . One of the things Walt Wright observed, was that often the queen was superseded during the process; even if the queen was laying well.
Last Saturday, I attempted to find the queen in Piper. This was the fourth time I had tried this season. She was finally located on the last frame inspected – a honey frame. The queen was unmarked. Finding the queen had been replaced was confirmation of another of Mr. Wright’s observations.
One of the consequences was that the hive was open for a long time. Between 20-30 minutes. A robbing frenzy erupted. It was alarming. I installed a robbing screen I had made on the most vulnerable hive (I'll include pics in another post), and proceeded to cover every hive with tarps and sheets. It was eerie how when one hive was covered, the cloud of robbers would quickly converge on an adjacent hive. This would be one argument for widely-spaced hives. My hives are behind a bear fence, so I’ll continue to keep them in one area, but I may at least reconfigure the yard for better spacing.
Robber screen and hive body:
The robber screen referenced in post #177 is below:
Robber Screen 1.jpgRobber Screen doors.jpgRobber screen inside.jpg
I'm not satisfied with the doors. I would like one that slides, but I haven't figured out how to do it yet.
I've also attached a picture of the roughed-up interior of a hive body that has been on a hive for 3 months. There really isn't very much propolis. The bees only coated the areas that have scaly or "hairy" surfaces. It was roughed up with 24-grit sanding disk. If anyone has suggestions on how to rough up the walls so that the bees are more inclined to deposit propolis, I would be grateful.
Hive body propolis.jpg
Last edited by clong; 07-30-2019 at 01:05 PM.
Good to hear your update- and sorry about the robbing. This is a very disconcerting thing to see first-hand.
I could not open your photos, so you may have to reattach them?
Regarding encouraging a propolis envelope, have you read the following paper? In it the researchers test various approaches and report the results:
I've read that paper. What I am failing to do is to get the surface roughed up properly. I think it is the hairy surface that gets the bees busy. The propolis photo I included show that the smooth-sided gouges don't get any attention. If I can ever find a cheap supply of rough-cut lumber, I'll be in business!
I moved the photo links around. Apparently, that messes up the links. It should be fixed now. Thanks for pointing it out.