Bee-shed idea ... - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Thanks - it's good to hear that this stuff is of interest to somebody else ...

    An explanation of what I'm up to ...

    I have zero experience of bee-sheds - my hives having always been spread out far apart in the open air. And, although sites like https://www.honeyshop.co.uk/Bee.html are enthusiastic about the advantages of keeping bees in sheds, I still have a few concerns (in no particular order of importance):

    a) just how convenient is accessing frames from the back of a hive, compared with opening boxes at their tops ?

    b) airborn bees during inspections - just how much of a problem will this be ?

    c) will the use of smoke during inspections cause problems (for me) ?

    d) will the close proximity of so many colonies cause drifting of foragers ?

    And so I'm hoping that experimenting with the Caravan/Camper will provide answers to at least some of these questions.

    Judyv - thanks for flagging-up the ventilation & heat concerns. Although these had crossed my mind, I'd only been thinking in terms of Winter conditions rather than Summer, and so clearly need to give these a lot more thought - so thanks for the nudge - appreciated.

    Even though the honeyshop article is somewhat limited regarding disadvantages, it does contain a graphic which I found very useful:


    This being a picture of a Dutch open-fronted bee-house which, although more substantially built, uses the same basic principle as the wooden open stands which were used by Emile Warre in some of his apiaries:


    But - although I've known of Warre's stands for some time, they've never really appealed to me - whereas that Dutch Bee-Shed (which likewise eliminates the airborn bee problem, the smoke problem AND removes the need to change from using standard 'top-access' boxes has (dunno why) ...

    ... and the following 'doodles' have duly resulted. (Continued in the next post)
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    ... and the following 'doodles' have duly resulted:


    If the 'cavity hives' (as I'm now calling them) mentioned at the start of this thread should work out, then the diagram on the Left could work - if not, then the diagram on the Right would be more suitable. Although I've shown 'Warre' hives installed, any suitable vertical stacks could be used (8-framers would maximise the numbers of hives). The Nucs above them would be supported on removable shelves so that housing tall stacks would still be possible. (Even I can still dream of honey harvests one day ... !)

    Although most bee-shed designs feature windows which are hinged at the bottom, opening outwards at the top to let bees escape, I'm assuming that having closures of approx. 1/3rd the wall height which can be opened out to the horizontal (or near-horizontal) will do the same job, and allow in sufficient light for inspections. Indeed, having closures on opposing walls would then allow a through-draught with even the slightest breeze - so that looks to be very feasible (that is 'theoretically' ...).

    Each hive entrance would be protected from the weather by a coloured cowling, and guarded by an anti-robbing screen. Having a second upper entrance would certainly help with ventilation, and could be closed during the winter period.

    Another common practice appears to be to use the same shed for both equipment storage AND for housing working beehives - which surprises me, as the insulation/ventilation requirements are quite different for those two purposes - and - if the bee-shed were to be well insulated, then the hives inside could be made from the thinnest practical material. Anything from cardboard (suitably protected) upwards.

    So - if a working bee-shed were to be restricted to housing (say) 20 hives and 20 nucs, these could be housed in a shed 12-14 ft long, and around 6ft wide - the small size of which has surprised me. And, if mounted upon skids, such a bee-shed could very easily be loaded onto on a small trailer, and used to 'follow the crops'.

    However, there are still some issues to be addressed - for example, is Vapourising Oxalic Acid inside a bee-shed practicable from a Health and Safety point-of-view ? That's the kind of issue I'm hoping can be resolved during experiments with the caravan, as there's a helluva lot of stuff there that needs testing.

    Enough.

    Would appreciate hearing the views of others - positive or negative.
    'best
    LJ

    Greg - I like the idea of installing a bed - not sure if it's really me, but maybe I'll give that a go ...
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Greg - I like the idea of installing a bed - not sure if it's really me, but maybe I'll give that a go ...
    Many East Euro bloggers have them built and brag so to outdo each other, I guess.
    With your caravan it will be a little different but something maybe possible.
    You could do both - a bed and a wall somehow too.

    Give it a watch for the bed ideas (main criteria - a person lays down directly on the bee hives and feels the vibration, sounds, and the hive smells - supposedly high therapeutic effect)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyDTxX5Pw08
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RMz0pUOsLg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BErlMws9Xb0

    Here is an English video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMWf4nuayWs
    Last edited by GregV; 10-02-2019 at 10:23 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #24
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    There is an update on the Warre's.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiKiFmKIjHI
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Lighting LJ, I believe Seeley uses infrared lights in his studies to avoid disturbing the bees. I am running a crude, warmed closet test with a weak nuc ( helps generate questions). A short transparent hose is the exit to the outside sun-lite day but it is not connected to the nuc but close by. I have infrared light for observations and an open hive exit to the closet. Currently it is 40-45 F (4.5 C) in the closet and 22F (-5.5 C) outside and sunny. All bees remain clustered in their polystyrene box - for now. I also noted a curious, pleasant sweet smelling oder. Prime purpose is to see if I can save a small cluster by external temperature control and develop a sustainable observational colony-hive approach.

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Holcombe View Post
    I am running a crude, warmed closet test with a weak nuc ( helps generate questions). [...] Prime purpose is to see if I can save a small cluster by external temperature control
    FWIW, this certainly can be done - assuming there's a good-enough reason for doing it. My own motivation for doing just this was that my all-time favourite queen was over-wintering in one half of a Deep Dual-Colony Long Hive, when I noticed during one of those warm sunny days in mid-Winter we sometimes get, that her colony wasn't putting any bees into the air for a clearance flight, which all the other colonies were doing. So I took a peek inside (lack of flyers being the only reason I would ever look inside a hive during Winter) and found only around 100-200 bees there. On a hunch I checked the adjoining half of the hive, which I found to be bursting at the seams - so it appeared that my venerable old queen's bees had deserted her for a much younger monarch. I can't fault their logic from a survival point-of-view, but I badly wanted to take a few more daughters from that 'venerable old lady'.

    To make matters worse, not only was there then only an eggcup-full of bees in a 16-frame box 12" deep, but the Met Office were warning of a serious weather front moving in from the East - coming pretty-much directly from Siberia - and I'm located on Britain's East Coast which is as flat as a pancake, so there's nothing much to protect Yours Truly between here and Siberia.

    So I cobbled together an emergency rig: dummied down the box space with a thermal curtain, installed a 20W heater-frame, and a good cupful of fondant was knifed onto the top-bars. A snow board was placed against the hive entrance (which just had to be facing East, didn't it !) mainly to deflect the expected high winds, and the Open Mesh Floor was duly sealed-up.

    The weather system which eventually hit us was so severe that somebody has considered it worthy of a Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_G...land_cold_wave

    It consisted of 3 parts: firstly the 'beast' itself arrived which caused the temperature to drop through the floor with a severe (by our standards) snowfall; this was immediately followed by a storm front with hurricane strength winds which caused massive drifting of snow (and in my area, scouring of soil from the frozen earth, such that the snow turned a ruddy-brown colour); then finally, just as we thought it was all over, a second 'mini-beast from the east' arrived, but fortunately this one was far less severe and much shorter lived. And - during all of this time - I had a valuable queen and miniature colony in an exposed apiary on 'life-support' !

    But - it worked - and by late April I'd taken another half dozen daughters from her, and a month or so later she finally joined that great Apiary up there in the sky.

    In essence, all I'd done was significantly reduce the cavity size, supply a good surplus of fondant, and maintain the temperature at around 25-26 deg C for around 3 months to avoid clustering. During the worst days of 'the Beast', the temperature did drop to 15-16 deg C for a few days (as that hive was never designed to be artificially heated), but it was impractical at the time to increase the heater wattage under such dire weather conditions.

    So - good luck - my guess your own project will work out ok. Hope so.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Thanks LJ, Nice to hear of a good experience and a "just do it" attitutde. I am very interested in the temperature you defined as "around 25 -26 C" . Where and how did you measure that value? Did the little colony resume significant brood rearing by "avoiding" the typical commercial bee storage clustering temperatures of 4.5C) for the winter winter? Right now they are quietly clustered and I am about to perform an inspection inside the closet .

    I misjudged the queen's characteristics but had removed her in a medium with brood and nurse bees in early Sept. The dearth started about a week later and attendant robbing. She was attacked and heavily robbed by one or more strong hives. ( Curious my nuc was untouched.) I saved her by moving her inside for a three days they back out to a new. solitary location. It worked but the colony is small, about 500 - 1000 bees. I decided to shrink her environment by putting her in a poly nuc and feeding syrup. Currently I have controlled the nucs external environmental temperature in the "strorage" range.

  9. #28
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    Default Re: Bee-shed idea ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Holcombe View Post
    Thanks LJ, Nice to hear of a good experience and a "just do it" attitutde. I am very interested in the temperature you defined as "around 25 -26 C" . Where and how did you measure that value? Did the little colony resume significant brood rearing by "avoiding" the typical commercial bee storage clustering temperatures of 4.5C) for the winter winter?
    The situation I found myself in was one in which I could see no way such a micro-colony would survive in the sub-zero temperatures which were being forecast, and that they would simply have huddled together on one area of stores until that became depleted, and then either starve or freeze to death. So, I had to prevent them from clustering and keep them mobile whilst at the same time supplying them with plenty of low-residue food in the form of fondant.

    Because of the short time available to rig something up, and the crude equipment which was employed, I had no way of establishing what the temperature gradient would be within the reduced cavity which was then created - so I settled for maintaining 'high 70's' (F) when measured at the top, with an assumption that 60's would probably exist 3 or 4 inches lower down. 100% guesswork, of course.

    I doubt that they would have raised any brood, as these were Carnies who's brood-raising tends to be influenced by pollen and nectar flow coming into the hive (or not) - but that colony was never checked again once the hive had been put back together - my only concern being whether the queen herself would survive, and I didn't finally discover that until some time in March, if memory serves.
    'best,
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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