Bee-shed idea ...
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  1. #1
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    Default Bee-shed idea ...

    In the last few days a guy posted some info about the cavities which exist in older American timber-built houses - which I found intriguing. This immediately suggested to me that if bees really do find these cavities attractive, and if they go on to live in them successfully - then why not deliberately supply bees with something which approximates to those cavities ?

    So my first idea was to simply clamp a few stud-based cavities to the outside of a building, but this was quickly overtaken by the somewhat more practical idea of making a purpose-built bee-shed - using those stud-based cavities to support the roof.

    This in turn gave way to the idea of enlarging the cavity from 3-4" to 9" ... which brings us nicely into 5-Frame Nuc Box territory. And that's the basis of the current 'plan' - to build a small bee-shed with the walls made - essentially - from the equivalent of 7-foot stacks of nuc boxes with a horizontal section (external) of 18" x 9".

    Now although bees love nuc-stacks, I've never built one more than 4 boxes high - this limit having always been due to the lack of stability which grows with height - but in the case of this wacky bee-shed, these 7-foot stacks would be inherently supported by the shed structure itself. 4 deep boxes have a height of 3 feet, and equate to 20 frames - a reasonable enough sized colony by British standards - so that two such colonies could always be housed in one cavity by means of a mid-height horizontal divider.

    With the cavities forming the walls of the bee-shed, there's also the prospect of creating 'cupboard doors' on both inner and outer skins, such that colonies could be inspected either from the outside in good weather, or from the inside if conditions should warrant this.

    As to numbers - a 14ft x 6ft shed would house 21 colonies (on British National frames), or 42 if the cavities were half-height. And that's a helluva lot of weight for such a small shed !

    I'm sure there are many issues to be considered - one of these being lighting, which could be achieved by keeping the cavity height to (say) 6 feet, and having a one foot high 'ribbon' of windows running around the shed between the top of the cavities and the roof structure.

    The only significant 'negative' I can immediately see is that the frames (which could be of any height of course) will need to be placed 'face-on' within the cavities, so that all five will need to be removed in order to inspect each one - just as with the Alberti Hive (the fore-runner to the classic A-Z Hive). Is that going to be a major issue ?

    The reason I've posted in this sub-forum and not Hardware/Equipment, is that from an individual colony's point-of-view they are very much living in a compact vertical stack - it's just that there will be lots of them, all 'bolted together' under a common roof.

    Thoughts, criticisms etc - welcomed and encouraged.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    In the last few days a guy posted some info about the cavities which exist in older American timber-built houses - which I found intriguing. ............

    Thoughts, criticisms etc - welcomed and encouraged.
    LJ
    LJ,

    Look up the "bee wall" proposed by GG.
    I love the "minimally managed bee wall" idea.
    If I had an old building/shed/barn, I would implement the "bee-wall" in a heart beat.
    The stud-wall design is perfect as is, immediately.

    No frames even, none of that non-sense - we are talking slightly modified primitive bee trees battery integrated directly into the wall and proactively built-in doors for occasional access.
    What I would do.
    Completely wild.
    Completely primitive management (or mis-management, if up to the so-called "authorities").

    Somewhere here we discuss it, in case you missed:
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...11#post1750111
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Thanks for the link Greg - not only did I miss 'the bee wall', I still had great difficulty finding it even though I was searching for it ! But I did find GG's 'alleged' shed.
    Huh - shed ? More like a bl##dy work of art ! I couldn't build anything that good if I was being paid BIG bucks to do it ... Brings a whole new meaning to the word "shed". Absolutely superb. 100%. (page 12 of that thread for anyone reading this who also missed it)

    BTW - I also missed the Oil Seed Rape/ Canola stuff - yes, OSR is intended to be a self-pollinating crop, but insect pollinators can add significantly to the yield. I keep being pestered by local farmers to place my hives in their OSR fields - but it makes dreadful honey (and the hives are then at risk from the 2-legged foxes we sometimes get around here).
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    ........ But I did find GG's 'alleged' shed.
    Huh - shed ? More like a bl##dy work of art ! .....
    LJ
    Right.
    That's the "shed"!

    Anyway, so GG is going to build-in some "bee-walls" into the "shed".
    I am pretty sure he will.
    Stay tuned.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    There's a fellow in Canada using poly hive sheds for his bees. You might enjoy it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7g-zcvDuAU&t=39s

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by judyv47954 View Post
    There's a fellow in Canada using poly hive sheds for his bees. You might enjoy it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7g-zcvDuAU&t=39s
    This is just an AZ hive variation, in the Canada case.
    As soon you start playing with the frames and such - might as well just recycle some of the AZ hive designs.

    Though the entire thing is over-engineered, IMO.
    The beauty of the "shed bee-wall" - it can truly be primitive and near-zero investment and maintenance.

    I would not call this Canadian hive shed "the future of the beekeeping" as claimed on the video.
    The same old over-centralization problem with the inherent issues arising from it.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by judyv47954 View Post
    There's a fellow in Canada using poly hive sheds for his bees. You might enjoy it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7g-zcvDuAU&t=39s
    Thanks for posting that link - appreciated - it's a little different from what I had in mind myself, but it's always good to see what other people are up to.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    FWIW - that guy has produced more videos related to his system, and I suspect he may have lost at least part of the basic plot along the way. In the first video (link as above) he mentions that these units are to be used for pollination, and will be easy to load on and off a trailer for that purpose.

    Well - he's since made a much larger unit, and I'd say that these are quite unsuitable for migratory beekeeping - imo it would have been better to have built them on a trailer and have incorporated corner stands to accommodate the weight, which will be substantial even before a honey crop is on-board.

    In the later videos there are shots of his conventional apiary, which appears to run to around 50 hives or so, and he's looking at another 50 in the Mk.2 unit, plus those already housed in the Mk.I - so he must have some really good forage in his locality to support those numbers in what appears to be a static set-up.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmWpUD9X17o
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UzDKx5xo9E

    He's also into Warre Hives - here's his playlist:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCra...PYFPsxrzMLNSmg

    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Not an AZ style, it uses standard Lang frames. There are a lot of people using that system but most of the videos you see will be in Russian and it's advantages are that you don't have to pull off the top boxes to get to the lower ones and you CAN take whole layers out and swap em if you want, whereas an AZ hive is just frame by frame.
    46.91 N

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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthMaine View Post
    Not an AZ style, it uses standard Lang frames. .....whereas an AZ hive is just frame by frame.
    The frame size is not principal at all.
    Few millimeters do not matter - in general it is the same size and proportion.

    Working the sets is just a normal evolution of frame by a frame.
    You don't even know what is better at times and it depends.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Size of frame is irrelevant. DESIGN of frame is different. AZ frames don't have tabs to hold them up and rest on rails with a radius cut on the top and bottom bars to disuade the bees from propolizing it down. Langstroth frames are what most of us know and use every day, size irrelevant, they have tabs on the end to suspend the frames that would prevent closing the AZ hives and a violation of bee space in that style of hive.

    BIG difference in having the option to go in and remove the equivalent of an entire box of honey frames for extraction compared to being forced to go frame by frame which the AZ style hives will require as there is no method in being able to grab a level off an AZ hive. The 'polyhive' as he calls it or Cassette hive as the Russians call it (through translation anyways) work very similarly to our standard hives except there is no requirement to disassemble the entire hive like a lang is going to require to get to the broodnest. Want to find the queen, just pull out that drawer below the queen excluder and no strain on your back.

    You might want to take a closer look at those hives, they are not as close as you presume. Once again, frame SIZE is irrelevant and is more just a convenience for obtaining foundation or extractors, etc. AZ style hives the frame sizes are all over the place, in my opinion to force you to buy the 'hive' from the same guy. The poly hive as that guy in Canada calls it is more like a filing cabinet with removable drawers compared to a stack of bankers boxes. Much easier to deal with a filing cabinet to find something than a stack of bankers boxes.
    46.91 N

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    FWIW - that guy has produced more videos related to his system........

    LJ
    I watches some.

    Pluses and minuses - nothing new.

    One minus - I prefer all my work to be happening somewhere between my waist and my chest height.
    In his case, there are many units you need to be working by actually standing your knees OR bent down to the floor.
    Eventually - this will get old.
    The same - some units you need to be reaching up and up and up; eventually that gets very old.

    Another thing - what happens if your bees are manageable by smoke.
    Imagine that enclosure full of smoke; no forced ventilation that I noticed and even that....
    This setup is highly dependent upon zero-defensive bee (which I don't want be dependent upon).

    Yes - you can work them in the rain and keep lots of bees on a small foot-print.

    As for me - many claimed positives are largely killed off by the actual negatives.
    As for me - the beekeeping by and large is an out doors activity, not a pseudo-indoors activity.

    Pluses and minuses - nothing new.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthMaine View Post
    .... The 'polyhive' as he calls it or Cassette hive as the Russians call it ....
    Funny but the owner of the Vladimirski hive business (a very large long hive) and a Youtube personality used to run the "Cassette hives".
    He dumped them and never looked back.
    He has not much good to say about them.

    Let me look and find his exact video where he compares his current system (the long hives) to the Dadants and the "Cassette hives".
    Even though, it is in Russian, I just want to demo - the Cassette hives are old news and some of those who actually ran them - dumped them by now (as over-engineered) and simplified away from them.

    Here, the original video about the Vladimirski long hives side by side with Cassette hive (feel free to click along and see how he demonstrates manipulating the cassettes, closer to the end):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlPUWoZUuMk

    Short-resume, the author got tired of the Cassette hives - they are too much work and over-engineered and the ergonomy is not great (an example he said - try to slide out a cassette full of honey frames - that will get old soon, meanwhile the bees get very irritated since the sliding in and out squashes lots of bees).
    He kept those Cassette hives for about 15 years and gave up on them (he stated on the video).

    Added: since he did keep them for about 15 years, keeping the bees in the shed in bad climate obviously had some positives to it;
    somehow, he put up with the hives and the bees for that long - there could be something good in that - to tolerate for that long;

    PS: granted, there are good use-cases for the Cassette hives I am sure; say - small nuc production and management may be a good case; this is not black and white.

    PPS: the Vladimirski hive fellow also double-stated - the Cassette hives absolutely depend on mild bees;
    keeping the defensive Russian/AMM bees in them is highly undesirable - hard to manage (just as I stated above)..
    he ran the Cassette hives exactly as discussed here - in a shed walls;
    later he moved to a different place and left behind his shed and his Cassette hives behind too, to never use them again (except for 3-4 units, like the one in the video);

    now days he runs pretty defensive local, treatment-free mutts in his large and long hives and advocates his current ways
    Last edited by GregV; 09-12-2019 at 09:48 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthMaine View Post
    Size of frame is irrelevant. DESIGN of frame is different. AZ frames don't have tabs .......
    You know, as soon I see the discussion turn into the tabs and bars and the millimeters - I get less and less excited.
    The more these details involved screams one thing - over-engineered.
    The fewer critically important details, the larger tolerances of the equipment - the better for everyone envolved.
    My bees don't care either.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    I watches some.

    Pluses and minuses - nothing new.
    BTW - I found his video "Warre Hive going strong ..." very interesting. I'd made the assumption from his accent that the guy was Indian (as in 'from India', not a North American Indian), but in that Warre video at 3:48 there's a shot of the guy's face - so I'm now guessing Russian, or maybe Eastern European - but wherever the guy comes from, I reckon there's a lot more to him than at first appears. I'd say he's a very competent beekeeper and I intend keeping a watching brief on his video channel - more for the Warre Hive stuff than his multi-units - but thanks again to judyv47954 for posting the earlier link.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    BTW - I found his video "Warre Hive going strong ..." very interesting. I'd made the assumption from his accent that the guy was Indian (as in 'from India', not a North American Indian), but in that Warre video at 3:48 there's a shot of the guy's face - so I'm now guessing Russian, or maybe Eastern European - but wherever the guy comes from, I reckon there's a lot more to him than at first appears. I'd say he's a very competent beekeeper and I intend keeping a watching brief on his video channel - more for the Warre Hive stuff than his multi-units - but thanks again to judyv47954 for posting the earlier link.
    LJ
    Eastern Euro, pretty sure.
    But not Russian.
    More like Southern East-Euro - former Yugoslavia and such.
    Folks down there like the shed-beekeeping a lot traditionally and have mild bees too - a good fit.
    Notice how much emphasis he puts onto his mild bees - made a point to repeat this few times.
    Only makes sense how he took the prevailing N. American equipment and created something of his traditional style.


    Good find, LJ.
    I do review much Warre-formatted system materials myself so to avoid the pitfalls when reinventing the bicycle for own use.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    ...

    Good find, LJ.
    I do review much Warre-formatted system materials myself so to avoid the pitfalls when reinventing the bicycle for own use.
    This is a good darn find, LJ.
    I now got into watching more of his Warre hive episodes.
    This fits really well with the Russian-style UDAV hives I also watch.
    I really like the simple, non-flashy boxes slapped together and standing as they may, and yet all the bees!
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Update: I've recently scrounged a caravan (camper ?) similar to this:



    "Free" being my favourite word.

    'Tis the same model (internally 15ft long, 7ft wide, 6ft 2in high) only without windows, door or internal fittings - ideal for making a proto-bee-shed-van, as I can now test-out the keeping of a few hives inside and see how things pan out within a structure of this size, and then take it from there - or not, as the case may be. Even if this project should hit the buffers, the chassis's good for a ton and a half, and there's enough usable ally to make a dozen hive roofs.

    Right now I'm stripping-out the interior completely, and making the bare shell as weather-tight as possible. The current plan is to use this facility for bee-box storage until Spring, and then install a handful of test hives - tall(ish) with a small footprint - variations on the Warre theme etc., and see how well they perform when housed under cover.

    Looking forward to next season with renewed enthusiasm ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Update: I've recently scrounged a caravan (camper ?) similar to this:



    "Free" being my favourite word.

    'Tis the same model (internally 15ft long, 7ft wide, 6ft 2in high) only without windows, door or internal fittings - ideal for making a proto-bee-shed-van, as I can now test-out the keeping of a few hives inside and see how things pan out within a structure of this size, and then take it from there - or not, as the case may be. Even if this project should hit the buffers, the chassis's good for a ton and a half, and there's enough usable ally to make a dozen hive roofs.

    Right now I'm stripping-out the interior completely, and making the bare shell as weather-tight as possible. The current plan is to use this facility for bee-box storage until Spring, and then install a handful of test hives - tall(ish) with a small footprint - variations on the Warre theme etc., and see how well they perform when housed under cover.

    Looking forward to next season with renewed enthusiasm ...
    LJ
    Little_John,

    Good score! Keep us informed on progress of your trailer. i would be most interested in ventilation and heat in your bee shed. Mine has been postponed in favor for a new greenhouse this fall, so my girls will have to handle unbridled winter one more year. The most help they will get will be insulation under the lids, wrapping, and windbreaks on all sides.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Update: I've recently scrounged a caravan (camper ?) similar to this:
    ........
    Looking forward to next season with renewed enthusiasm ...
    LJ
    Very cool; a good scrounge.
    I imagine, windows can be open if need to smoke the bees.
    Lots of light - very good.
    Next thing - would make a bed there so you can sleep on top of the bees.
    People pay good money to sleep on bees - I am dead serious.
    Consider.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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