Log hive design
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Thread: Log hive design

  1. #1
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    Default Log hive design

    Hi all, I'm mainly a top bar hive keeper but as I'm looking for outyards to increase my numbers, I feel that top bars will be difficult to manage on an irregular basis. I happen to have a black cherry tree cut into rounds with various thicknesses from 14 to 24 inches in diameter. I'd love to make log hives out of them using my top bars to start them with nucs. I'd like to keep them treatment free and replace dead outs with either other log hives or my top bar shook swarms. If successful over years, I'll graft from some of these log hives to repopulate the rest of my hives. In that way I was planning on easing into treatment free until I get the numbers that I feel are sustainable. The log hives would be managed as langstroths with brood logs on the bottom that are rarely if ever inspected, and honey supers on top that are harvested by the box. The main things holding me back from this plan are 1) the weight of these logs and 2) hollowing them out without a chainsaw. I think I'll buy a chain saw and cut them in 4 pieces to hollow out a rectangular hollow, then screw them back together. Has anyone tried managing log hives for honey production without using frames? Is my choice of wood a poor choice for this endeavor?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Log hive design

    Quote Originally Posted by NJBeeVet View Post
    ....... Has anyone tried managing log hives for honey production without using frames? Is my choice of wood a poor choice for this endeavor?
    There is much to be discussed..

    NO - I have not used these for honey and have no plans (reasons are many).
    But - I totally have been using the "log hives" as swarm traps (somehow bees just like them).
    Plans going forward for my log hives - swarm trapping AND swarm generation.

    I will add more later; no time now.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #3
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    Default

    That's a great idea and probably a lot more practical than mine. Two questions, what internal volume are you using on these traps and what height are you setting them at?

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Log hive design

    Quote Originally Posted by NJBeeVet View Post
    That's a great idea and probably a lot more practical than mine. Two questions, what internal volume are you using on these traps and what height are you setting them at?
    Free standing.
    About 60litres - about the ideal.

    Technically, mine are hex hives that I scored a couple of years ago.
    So - man-made logs.
    20180523_172357_Mod.jpg
    But last year I also made multi-body log hives (the actual logs) - will be doing test run on these in 2019, swarm trapping.
    20180708_202324_Mod.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  6. #5
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    Default

    Nice hives. How did you hollow out your logs? Have you ever thought of the process of ever having to move the hives with an active colony in them?

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Log hive design

    Quote Originally Posted by NJBeeVet View Post
    Nice hives. How did you hollow out your logs? Have you ever thought of the process of ever having to move the hives with an active colony in them?
    Ya, they are so ugly it makes them really cool (the real log ones; the hex hives are indeed nice looking).

    How to hollow:
    - I stopped nearby and asked some people if I could have few rotten inside, cut up logs from their pile - they say " have at it".
    - I got me about ten pieces (one issue - the pieces did not match well - that added extra work - fitting them kinda snug)
    - so, the pieces were mostly hollow already, but I chose cut out rectangle shape through and through
    - the idea was to fit Lang medium frames through the hollow (so that I could pull out a settled swarm and re-hive it)
    - used cheap and dull electric chainsaw I borrowed; lots of slow cutting through the very hard wood (walnut) (lots of shavings - I saved those aside)
    - when cut - do use the natural oil for the chain (cheap canola works fine) - mineral oil splatted inside is not the best when you want to attract a swarm

    Pretty much it.
    I have 2 log hives made of 4 round pieces each.
    The pieces are secured by pegs/screws to each other.
    Some shoddy, propolised boards attached to a plywood square work as the roof.
    Some insulation under.
    Foundation-less Lang meds hanging inside for the swarm to settle onto.
    For compliance reasons (in WI anyhow) - you want "movable" frames inside - partially why good idea to use the repurposed frames inside.
    Two round entrances (1 inch and mouse-screened).
    A challenge - the pieces must be snugly fit and any cracks must be well caulked (slum gum works fine).
    The swarm like it tight and dark. I can not say I have it perfect (will review in spring to be sure).

    No - these are NOT for transporting with the bees. I made no intent for it.
    With the frames inside, I could if in the pinch; I would move log horizontaly (with the combs inside positioned vertically).
    I hope I don't get into this line of business - moving the log hives.

    Swarm generation - I mean to keep the actual log files as active "bee trees" if/when any swarms settle into them.
    The logs are small enough to generate natural swarms regularly (if the bees are any good to survive).
    So the standard traps will be in the area to hopefully intercept those.
    Check the "primitive beekeeping" topic; pretty sure I have a video of people doing exactly this - swarm generating log hives.
    You basically set it and forget it - just keep catching the swarms out of the logs - that is the plan.
    This is how it all fits into the TF model - a way to imitate feral bee tree ways of life and create a pseudo-feral population.
    logs01.jpg
    Last edited by GregV; 02-26-2019 at 01:27 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Log hive design

    Here is a good demo why I do NOT prefer to have hex OR octo OR round cavity.
    20180729_192900.jpg

    Basically, this makes it harder to work when re-hiving a swarm as you are asking bees for free-comb so to give you extra fun.
    Of course, those pockets can be blocked off by an end board and not a show-stopper.
    Or just ignore it and handle free comb as needed - pretty easy surgery anyway (case by case).
    In the case pictured, I just did cut-and-paste if I recall.

    Anyways, this is the main reason I cut my cavities in the real log hives to be ~rectangular.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  9. #8
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    Default

    Yup rectangular seems the way to go. Which leaves burning out a log or rotten inner logs as less than ideal. I think part of the appeal of the log hives is the levels of insulation you can get on the sides without using foam boards. If you can set them in their final destination and not have to manipulate them you wouldnt have to worry about excessive weight other than the initial placement. I'm sure they'd be hard to knock down in a windstorm too. Wonder if mushrooms would end up eating through the would with time if not kept sufficiently dry

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Log hive design

    Quote Originally Posted by NJBeeVet View Post
    Yup rectangular seems the way to go. Which leaves burning out a log or rotten inner logs as less than ideal. I think part of the appeal of the log hives is the levels of insulation you can get on the sides without using foam boards. If you can set them in their final destination and not have to manipulate them you wouldnt have to worry about excessive weight other than the initial placement. I'm sure they'd be hard to knock down in a windstorm too. Wonder if mushrooms would end up eating through the would with time if not kept sufficiently dry
    I am not worried of the shrooms.
    Surely, weather will get to the stuff, all the more natural.

    But yeah, working the logs can be painful, while still fun.
    I really want the bees in my logs no matter.
    Just the observing them living in natural setting will be fun and surely useful.
    The ability to watch them doing what they really want to be doing - priceless, as for me.
    So the pseudo-feral bee idea comes along.

    PS: for more practical swarm trapping convenience, I want to build Warre-like 300mmx300mm square and tall, thick-walled, multi-body hive fitting my standard frames; these can be free standing, transportable, usable as hives directly, and work pretty much the same as the log hives. But these will not be true and pure logs.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #10
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    Hey Greg I was reading your other thread about taking your honey from your dead outs. Have you done that with log hive dead outs as it seems like a good way of having treatment free hives as swarm sources and potentially as a source of dead out honey in late fall/early spring prior to either attracting a local swarm again or repopulating with a nuc?

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Log hive design

    Quote Originally Posted by NJBeeVet View Post
    Hey Greg I was reading your other thread about taking your honey from your dead outs. Have you done that with log hive dead outs as it seems like a good way of having treatment free hives as swarm sources and potentially as a source of dead out honey in late fall/early spring prior to either attracting a local swarm again or repopulating with a nuc?
    NJBV:
    I have not attempted yet to winter bees in a log hive.
    "God willing", I will try it this year.
    Letting them winter in a log hive would have lots of benefits:
    - if they live - great; I will keep watching them and then try to get some swarms out of them
    - if they die - also great; I will then dissect the hive (get some honey maybe) and study the natural ways of bee nest organization (and learn from it)

    Not much to loose, really.
    Granted some random swarm just settles in, what is there to loose?
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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