Re: Primitive beekeeping (bee trees, log hives, etc)
Primitive beekeeping gives zero control of bee genetics. This has obvious consequences for honey production potential. It is perhaps an ideal way to preserve genetics since the beekeeper does not exercise any selection.
The consequences of too small a cavity for the bees include potential to starve in a colder than normal winter and much increased propensity to swarm. I'm sure you have seen and calculated the relative capacity of a square Dadant hive and know that it gives 2.3 cubic feet (65 cubic liters) as compared to a Langstroth deep with 1.5 cubic feet (42 cubic liters). It is interesting that I get as much brood space with 14 frames in my Dadant hives as in a double deep Langstroth hive with 20 frames. This suggests a question should be asked about the way bees move within a cavity as the colony goes through a normal year. Would it be better for the bees to move up and down as in a hollow tree? or is there a benefit in working from front to rear as in a modern moveable frame hive?
NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest