Africanized Beehive ? Someone has tried ?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Saint-Denis de La Réunion (France Indian Ocean)

    Default Africanized Beehive ? Someone has tried ?

    has anybody ever tried to keep Africanized bees in real African beehives like this one (smaller boxes smaller bee space (ie: frame spacing 31-32mm)), are the Africanized bees allergic to Imperial measurement system? ( 1,22" - 1,2598")

    Designed by the Belgian professor Roch Domerengo, it is a hive specifically designed for the African bee and one of the most recent hive drawings since it dates from 1980 in Rwanda.

    Dimensions (internal): 320mm cube 10 frames at 31-32mm spacing

    the reduction of the "bee-space" seems to be the key to a peaceful beekeeping of the African bee

    The Adansonian hive on Apiservices

    Or (with the modern adaptation of the frame width) the modified Congolese hive (1925) (35 mm then)

    Father Rueher's modified Congolese and France-Congo hive

    which can be found here : Les abeilles de l'Afrique équatoriale française : leurs moeurs, leur culture(The bees of French Equatorial Africa: their behavior, their keeping)

    We note a frame spacing of 35mm (1920 we had not yet understood that forAfrican bees it is between 31 and 32 mm) and that he then named the Top bars as "comb carrier"

    "The primitive Congolese, which dates back to 1920, was modified on August 1926. The innovations made to this last model (fig. 16) only concern the roof and the bottom. The hive body does not change anything: it is placed on the tray where it is held by means of four trunnions."
    "The roof is flat, formed by 15 mm. thick assembled planks and covered with a sheet of zinc or sheet metal. It protrudes 2 cm from the body. ½ sideways, which are taken by a frame 2 cm. high. So the tent fits on the hive, and does not give access to spiders and moths."
    "The bottom, instead of being flat, has the shape of an inverted triangle, whose inner height is 12 cm., or a third of the base. It increases the volume of the hive by about 12 liters. The tray, being inclined, is at the same time made self-cleaning, but remains mobile or removable."
    "1° The hive always remains clean, since the evacuation of waste and condensation water is accomplished by itself, thanks to the flared and inclined bottom."
    "2° For bees: more space and more air. Instead of cluttering the tray and flight board, during rest, the workers remain in the hive and hang under the frames."
    " 3° Given this particularity, an inspection or operation is easy to do: there are virtually no bees left on the combs."
    "4° The entrance, made along the entire length of the hive, gives wide ventilation with the ventilation openings at the back. In addition, it is protected from the sun and guaranteed from the rain."
    "5° Finally, thanks to the vacuum of "inner tube" ("chambre a air" en français dans le texte) under the frames, the workers, especially those of a large swarm, form the cluster for the production of wax for the construction of combs. We have seen this, and this is a very great advantage in itself."

    Extract from: Rueher, J.-B. "Les Abeilles de l'Afrique équatoriale française. Their morals, their culture. Practical and easy instructions and methods for rational and modern beekeeping (1929).»

    The "France Congo" Beehive

    we find a new modification for the Metropolitan adaptation inThe Beekeeper of 1932 -02

    Or here in PDF and again a description in the beekeeper (L'Apiculteur) 1931 on the colonial exhibition in Paris

    .../...Then it's the technical drawings of my new hive:
    "France-Congo" model 1931 - possibly the "Congolese 1925" transformed for the European climate.
    At the bottom, - on its base, rests the hive with its frames. A large table shows its main characteristics,
    as follows: Illuminated horizontal hive -
    Mobilist system with
    1° One or two bodies.
    2° Cold buildings for hot countries,
    3° Hot buildings for cold countries.
    Indeed, this hive can be instantly converted into one or the other system.
    4° Mobile frame divider-door in perforated zinc, dividing the body into honey and brood compartments.
    5° Inner tube for summer.
    6° Moving floor suppressing this
    room for the winter.
    7° Mobile frame partition reducing
    the hive by half for wintering.
    8° Triangular bottom with automatic cleaning.
    9° Impropolisable "R" frame-closure system.
    10° Metal frame holder system.
    These are many combinations! And yet nothing complicated, as one would be tempted to believe; on the contrary, everything is childishly simple. Already, despite a certain originality, my hive and its systems are very noticed, especially by foreigners.
    Despite advantageous offers, which I have refused, I want my invention, if there is any invention, to remain in the public domain. At the very most, I wanted to safeguard, out of patriotism, at least the name and origin of the hive, by depositing the model.
    J.-B. RUEHER
    Missionary in French Congo
    Note that he named his top bars system "Umpropolisable "R" closing frame system" !

    Overall it is our "Congolese 1925", somewhat modified for the climate of Europe.
    on the advice of beekeepers
    our tropical 30x31 cm frame in work, which seems too small,
    Our primitive framework (1920)
    and when we modified it, we were unaware of the existence of the Voirnot frame 33x33 cm
    By substituting the latter for ours....

    The hive body has an internal volume of 75 x 37 1/2 x 37 1/2 c/m, or a capacity of 1o5 litres.
    The 80 x 20 (17 at inner corners) x 2 1/2) c/m front panel, notched below 10 m/m over a length of
    75 c/m, i. e. the distance between the two short sides: it is the actual flight hole

    The 80x45x2 1/2 c/m bottom thus assembled forms a vacuum or inner tube, under the frames, which, being square, do not descend into it. This room has a capacity of seventeen and a half litres. It provides the laplace bees with clean air that is constantly renewed, it avoids swarming and beards.

    For the "France-Congo", note that the bars were 36mm wide
    Last edited by DocBB; 09-08-2019 at 02:32 AM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Re: Africanized Beehive ? Someone has tried ?

    Havent tried and dont intend to.I like tending to mine wearing only T shirts in our heat here.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Houston, TX, USA

    Default Re: Africanized Beehive ? Someone has tried ?

    African bees I can't speak to, but what we deal with are not pure.

    If beespace were that important to Africanized bees then I would think the natural comb they create would use it. My observation is that they do not care. Both bees and comb come in small to large sizes and spacing.

    They do seem to create a lot of drones; maybe all the boys cause the aggravation and aggression... I've thought that maybe part of why they spread so quickly.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Dane County, WI, USA

    Default Re: Africanized Beehive ? Someone has tried ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DocBB View Post
    has anybody ever tried to keep Africanized bees in real African beehives like this one .............
    I find this sloped floor an interesting idea and useful in some settings.
    I like the frames too.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Africanized Beehive ? Someone has tried ?

    My first exposure to beekeeping was in Cameroon as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I only saw top bar hives, they called them Kenyan Top Bar Hives, or KTB's. The blueprints you attached were interesting as was the link to the book from the 20's. But my impression is that those were hives used by French colonialists - with the limited resources in rural West Africa (well milled lumber, tools, hardware, etc) I'd be surprised if locals used anything close to as complicated as that hive. Especially when the top-bar is so effective and easy to build. For example, i only saw 1 homemade smoker that used tin and an inner tube from a car tire. Every other "smoker" was a bunch of tried grass and palm fronds bound tightly together, lit, and waived over and around a hive. No bellows or way to direct the smoke.

    Looking back on the beekeeping techniques they used I really scratch my head. For example, they preferred to do their beekeeping at night because the bees were more docile then! Was it true? I have no idea. But I did observe many nighttime inspections and never saw the aggressiveness that we associate with africanized bees. I've wondered if the African hives that escaped in Brazil decades ago were just really nasty mofo's that were outliers even in Africa. I'm sure that's wrong, but now that I'm a hobbyist, it's hard to square what I saw with what I now know.

    DocBB, I know this is not answering your question. Just wanted to share my observations from many, many years ago. BTW, I see that you're in Reunion. Do you have Varroa there?
    Last edited by wnpost415; 09-09-2019 at 02:48 PM. Reason: adding a question.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Somerset, NJ

    Default Re: Africanized Beehive ? Someone has tried ?

    I remember reading an article a couple of years ago regarding the genetics of Africanized bees which identified the gene responsible for their aggression as coming from the European part of the cross. I think the answer is that the pure African bees are not particularly aggressive. The different hive type isn't the answer.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Hamilton, Alabama

    Default Re: Africanized Beehive ? Someone has tried ?

    Look up the Jackson Horizontal Hive. Honey can be removed without disturbing the brood next. There is also a port at the back of hive so smoke can be puffed in without opening the hive. It was designed by a man and his son who managed several hundred hives in a migratory operation in Africa.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Dane County, WI, USA

    Default Re: Africanized Beehive ? Someone has tried ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    Look up the Jackson Horizontal Hive. Honey can be removed without disturbing the brood next....
    In warm climate, I'd just do the cheapest, lowest tech horizontal hives and be done.
    Be it Jackson HH or a classic top bar.

    Vertical hives are not needed in tropics and really are over-engineered/over-complicated devices with no real advantages (with management of defensive bees is disadvantage).
    No real wintering is required (where vertical bee movements are an advantage of vertical hives).

    Horizontal hives work great in warm climates.
    Here is a perfect example:

    Am very happy with my long hives from the management prospective.
    If the bee is defensive - the long hives can be the life saver - there is exists clear advantage in defensive bee management.

    The cold climate does bring in some hive modifications, however - deeper frame is good.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    England, UK

    Default Re: Africanized Beehive ? Someone has tried ?

    At least one relevant source ("a beehive design for the tropics") shows horizontal hives being slung from underneath trees - presumably to keep honey badgers and termites away from the hives. It would be a bit difficult to do this with a vertical stack of boxes ...
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Erin, NY /Florence SC

    Default Re: Africanized Beehive ? Someone has tried ?

    Quote Originally Posted by wnpost415 View Post
    My first exposure to beekeeping was in Cameroon as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
    I think you really should get on the ball wnpost415 and start sharing some of your exceptional experiences...I have a couple of acquaintances who did this and the challenges they had to overcome with communication, finding equipment, marketing, the culture, were all good stories, very fun and interesting to hear. I bet there are many like me who would love to live, even if vicariously, through your experiences….we're listening!


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