temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?
Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Brooklyn, Connecticut
    Posts
    32

    Default temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    hello good sirs and misses,
    i am looking for ideas to help the bees (mostly returning queens) find their home in a sea of homes. the idea i tried so far was to staple some colored felt to the bottom of the hive to use as a landing board. this worked but two bees lost their legs and one died from getting stuck. this was unacceptable and i have aborted the idea. maybe i could paint something clear over the felt to limit its fuzzing.

    until i hear a better solution i will probably go with adding a piece of the colored felt which (~cost usd 10 cents) on the top and wrap it along the edge of the cover. this will allow the bees which predominantly descend from high above to see their box easier.

    any better ideas?

    i thought about stickers and if i can find some packs for a reasonable price (less than 50 cents per hive) i will move forward with that idea.

    what say you?

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    853

    Default Re: temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    Honey bees can only differentiate between the major categories of color, including yellow, blue-green, blue, violet, and ultraviolet. Why don't you paint the fronts, tops, or complete hives those different colors.

    Steve

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    New Haven, CT
    Posts
    402

    Default Re: temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    How about using the paint chip samples from the paint companies that have a range of blues, a range of yellows, etc. Just thumbtack an assortment of those onto the hives in different arrangements. Put three on the left on one hive, and two horizontal in the middle on the hive next to it, with three diagonally arranged ones next to that. Make 'X' s and other simple geometric shapes. The different colors and placements should help. Cost and temporary nature both achieved.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
    Posts
    1,485

    Default Re: temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    IMO a big thing to remember is that bees get confused after two hives. I arrange my yards so there’s two side by side then a two foot gap, this also gives me room to work from the sides of the hives too.
    Rod

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    2,749

    Default Re: temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    I have done the colors and shapes thing with poor results. What I found to work best is placing colonies in pairs with the entrances facing in different directions.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,092

    Default Re: temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    Stick colored masking tape to the landing board.
    Zone 5B

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Brooklyn, Connecticut
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    thank you for the replies!

    i had not considered the paint as i did not have the resources available to me at this time. upon second thought, i think this is the most logical solution. i will just paint the full hive body with contrasting ops paints for pennies on the dollars. i plan on having a large yard so i will need to buy more paint any way.

    as the image will illustrate, the yard is very clustered. i am not able to cut much more as it will reduce property value too much on some of the best assets. i will learn and evolve the craft till i can find a more permanent and better ecosystem.

    i just did 11 splits and will be happy if 6 are mated and laying on july 15th when i check again. i have 4 splits in two of the boxes on the left and 2 in the last (4/4/2); the last split i allowed the cell builder to try and become queenright. so they are very clustered but do have alternating entrances. time will tell how the queens find their way back. i did not see much actively today so i suspect most of the bees drifted back to original colonies or maybe there are few foragers in the splits. that or the black ants which i just addresses already caused the bees to possible abort the new house. i also gave them some wax mouth contaminated frames which they may not be strong enough to deal with even though i tried to scrap away all signs i know some remained. i am conflicted as i did not want to waste drawn frames as they should help with the aggressive expansion plan.

    thank you for the ideas and feedback!
    live long and prosper!

    this image was taken just before the splits so the entrances were sealed off to slow the carpenter ant advancing front. any mated and laying queens will be upgraded to divided 5 x 5 with opposite entrances later this month and be more spread out throughout the yard.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northwood Ohio
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    I paint my hives then let my 5 year old grandson touch them up with contrasting paint colors. Not scientifically sure if it makes a difference but there are no two hives that look the same. Not even close!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
    Posts
    1,140

    Default Re: temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    If you go buy the paint departments it is usually easy to find mistints. It is a great way to get a variety of colors. I use different colors for the brood boxes and landing boards and mix and match. This past painting, we added some paint "dots" by slinging the brush at the box of a different color. Makes them look decorative, but from what I've read the bees can tell the colors apart and discern patterns. Hopefully this will help prevent drift and the associated problems.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Brooklyn, Connecticut
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    an update
    6 out of the 11 splits worked; one of the 11 splits queen never hatched.

    i will be doing this again in a couple weeks and will address the following 3 criteria; the mating hives will be spread out to have about 3 feet between it and the next, i will have them each painted different colors, and i will have at least 2 queen cells in each split.

    i suspect the success will go up 15%+.

    the splits which were queenless, were just mixed in with the new established colonies; all these splits were from same colony. i did not want to waste a box and frames to do a newspaper vertical introduction as these bees came from the same mom just 3 weeks ago; appeared there was no fighting.

    i will be building some more boxes and painting in the interim.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    10,037

    Default Re: temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    Quote Originally Posted by logicallycompromised View Post
    i just did 11 splits and will be happy if 6 are mated and laying on july 15th when i check again.
    Quote Originally Posted by logicallycompromised View Post
    6 out of the 11 splits worked; one of the 11 splits queen never hatched.
    Sounds like you were on the money.

    Looking at your setup, you say the hives entrances are alternated, that will work quite well because there will be a middle and an edge nuc pointing each direction, and the queens will be able to tell the difference.
    Like some other posters have said, color is harder to prove definate results. But hey, it can't hurt. I did not have time to do elaborate colur schemes, but bees can recognise patterns, so what i sometimes did just with a slash of the paintbrush, would do a line going right to the entrance, then another nuc there would be a 1/2 circle around the entrance, then some other pattern on another nuc, and so on. Did it work? I really never had strong evidence that it did, but it was quick to do and didn't hurt any.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Brooklyn, Connecticut
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    small sample size, but for each deep box which had 4 (2 frame) splits, each entrance alternated, i only got one queen mated per side. i think there is a good chance at least one queen may have returned to an incorrect entrance as there was only 6" or 150mm between each other.

    i am going to do the same thing again here in a couple weeks and should have 2 more hives for 16 splits. i will make the aforementioned changes and update the thread again with the results.

    thank you for the feedback it helps keep the dream alive.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    253

    Default

    One of the guys in my bee club suggested nautical flags. They come packs or strings that can be cut up. The can be stapled to the front of the hive. Nautical flags patterns are specifically designed to be easy to differentiate at long distance and in unfavorable conditions.

    PS serves a duel purpose of numbering/lettering hives at the same time.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Brooklyn, Connecticut
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    that is a great solution and one i may still employ as i have an abundant of off white hives currently. the tops to my hive bodies are xps foam so i could stick in some mini flags, thank you for sharing!

    this yard is deep in woods and the bees mostly come and go by z axis flight paths. the goal is to have them notice from as far away as possible to reduce errors. this is a reason why i wanted to initially provide a solution to the top and front side of the hive body. i agree with popular opinion here, paint is the best solution provided you can find it inexpensively.


    my father was able to source some exterior paint from work so i will be painting the next 5 hives unique colors to help with the queens in mating section of the apiary first. i will eventually help the foragers out as well.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Houston, TX, USA
    Posts
    646

    Default Re: temporary and inexpensive solutions for coloring hive bodies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Madsen View Post
    One of the guys in my bee club suggested nautical flags. They come packs or strings that can be cut up. The can be stapled to the front of the hive. Nautical flags patterns are specifically designed to be easy to differentiate at long distance and in unfavorable conditions.

    PS serves a duel purpose of numbering/lettering hives at the same time.
    I have a set of laminated signal flags I tape onto the nucs. They are designed for people to recognize, but I hope there's enough for the bees to get. I also set them away from my regular hives. I tried requeening my full hives with dismal results, but luckily nucs were fairly good.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •