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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, All!

Saw this one on CL.
Inspired by Laur's half barrel wooden observation hive.
An idea came up to turn it into a bee hive. The cut in half
length wise 22 framer did not work out against the rains last time.
Though it is neat seeing the bees coming in and out of the barrel hole.
Any idea here or has anyone try it before?


Possible barrel hive:
 

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The first TBH I saw was a barrel cut in half lengthwise. I don't know what to think of the photo you show other than to say if one put bees in it, it has too many holes. Bees would have a hard time protecting the hive from robbing.

What's a virgin hive? You mention it in your tag line. I disagree with what you state. I shake bees in front of hives they don't come from and they crawl right in. No balling.
 

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The first bees I had was a small colony that had moved into an old hot water heater tank, half buried in heavy brush. they had some very old comb, & some not as old comb.
I was very new, & the beekeeping part was a sad story. I ended up splitting the tank lengthwise, & thinking the colony was probably bear proof, as it was very nearly beekeeper proof. (generally, bears are pretty rare in my area).
I rather imagine bees in a metal hive placed in full sun as we are told to do would make a somewhat inefficient solar wax melter.
you might try a 20 gallon drum for a more easily handled size. Good Luck ... CE
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Surely, it was a mistake and bad habits to put another
frame of bees from a different hive into the virgin queen
hive during her mating flight. I only repeated this once
this season. Will not do it again....or use the shake out method you
mentioned.

Yes, I would not use such a barrel with so many holes without wrapping it
first with the breathable landscape fabric. A solid drum cut in half is better but
has to be insulated against the rains first. In a bear country that is a different story
unless it is inside an electric fence.
How can I better insulate the top half-barrel hive because the rains got inside and killing the bees?
The original lid of the other half did not do a good job.


Half-barrel hive made:
 

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Check with patbeek on here he made a horzontal half barrell TBH one time and I dont believe he like it, if you look hard enough its on here somewhere
 

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quoting
"How can I better insulate the top half-barrel hive because the rains got inside and killing the bees?
The original lid of the other half did not do a good job."

I am not sure if you typed exactly what you meant to say, or exactly all the details of how you did this last time.
to help keep water out of the hive cut a horizontal slice off of the bottom half of the barrel so that the top is wider than the bottom. For the head ends, you might secure some plastic sheet "skirts" inside the top drum & outside the bottom drum. Actually, you could probably do this on the sides too, I just did not think of it first. If using a metal drum, you could maybe bend the edges to achieve some overhang. A screened section in the bottom would let out any water that got in & function as a ventilation & IPM tool also. or you could use a smaller drum cut in half for bottoms, & larger drums for tops ( & make 2 )
if you meant the term "insulate" as thermal insulation, simply use foam board to make an upside down "hog trough" over the top drum ( ridge pole type roof), or cut foam insulation in strips & glue to the inside, outside or both, of the top, or bottom.
IT should be noted that I am not a top bar hive bee keeper, & know very little about this.

Some questions for my education .... Are the top bars just laid across the top edges of the drum/hive box ?
"Normally" is there an additional top cover board? If a "top cover board" is used, is beespace observed between the top bars & the "top cover board" ?
so when you put the top half drum over it, is that just empty space?
If the top drum is empty space, is this space attractive for spiders & paper wasps?
How might it work to just use the bottom half of the drum for hive body & construct a shallow box out of rigid foam insulation to invert over the drum similar to a telescoping cover in a long langstroth, or some thing?
Let us know if any of these suggestions make sense, if they actually work for you, please.
Good Luck! ... CE
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Not knowing that the time has passed, this barrel hive was made
almost 4 years ago on the last rainy days we had. Thanks you for
the many ideas and clarification on how to insulate this hive. I
will find out which method should work on a test since we have
many more rainy days to go this coming year. I decided to use
aluminum tape as the skirt and foam with foam sealant to try to keep
the rain water out. Will test it out using the tap water to see if it will work or not.
The idea of opening the bottom screened should allow the water to go out. Both the
top and bottom edges of the drum should be foam insulated.
This barrel hive works wonderfully during the summer time before but not in the winter rainy days.
Your ideas will give it a new face lift for a usable bee hive.
So to answer your questions:
1) Are the top bars just laid across the top edges of the drum/hive box ?
Yes, but they all hang on 2 pieces of 1x1" wood bars on either side across the length of the drum screwed
onto the edge.
2) "Normally" is there an additional top cover board? If a "top cover board" is used, is beespace observed between the top bars & the "top cover board" ?
so when you put the top half drum over it, is that just empty space?
No cover board is used just empty space above the top bars. I use painter's plastic sheet or foam sheets to filled in this
empty space.
3) If the top drum is empty space, is this space attractive for spiders & paper wasps? With a small heat pad
on all winter long at 80F no critters want to live there. Maybe some ****roaches will. But they don't bother the bees
at all. The top bars are covered with a piece of blanket or the foam sheets on top.
4) How might it work to just use the bottom half of the drum for hive body & construct a shallow box out of rigid foam insulation to invert over the drum similar to a telescoping cover in a long langstroth, or some thing?
After seeing Lauri's long langs, this should work perfectly as additional honey supers can be added on during the flow or to make additional hive boxes
to house more production queens. There are many more ideas and improvement that can be made for this hive set up.
I just got discouraged by the rains killing too many bees back then. Will let you know how this improvement will work out.
So stay tuned.....
 

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Surely, it was a mistake and bad habits to put another
frame of bees from a different hive into the virgin queen
hive during her mating flight. I only repeated this once
this season. Will not do it again....or use the shake out method you
mentioned.

Yes, I would not use such a barrel with so many holes without wrapping it
first with the breathable landscape fabric. A solid drum cut in half is better but
has to be insulated against the rains first. In a bear country that is a different story
unless it is inside an electric fence.
How can I better insulate the top half-barrel hive because the rains got inside and killing the bees?
The original lid of the other half did not do a good job.


Half-barrel hive made:
If your intention in putting a frame of brood and bees into a nuc while a virgin queen was on her mating flight was to boost the population of bees you could have shaken the frame one time when removing it from the original hive, thereby leaving almost only nurse bees on the comb. I'm not sure what your original idea was.

Did you see the queen getting balled or is that an assumption on your part? What led you to think the queen got balled?

The half barrel hive I was familiar with was in Ohio. It was not set up like yours. It was only half a barrel, not two halves. The roof was a piece of sheet metal, with a cinder block as weight so it would not get blown away. With the bars themselves that appeared to be all the roof necessary.
 

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Is there a bung hole in the side of the barrel? If you cut the barrel in half so you can use the bung hole in the top of the barrel for an entrance is the side bung hole still on that half? If so, remove the cap in the bung hole on the side and any/most water in the hive will run out.

Do TBH beekeepers usually insulate their hives? I know TBH beekeepers here in Northern NY who place a sheet of foam insulation on top of their hives, but the don't insulate the sides. Are you trying to keep your TBH from loosing warmth? Or trying to water proof it? To keep rain out. I don't understand how rain is getting in.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Or trying to water proof it?

The virgin queen situation was that once you have
an established mating nuc, you cannot add a foreign
frame of bees from another hive into it. If you do then the
foreign workers will balled the virgin or mated queen during the
queen rearing season. So my little note reminds me to not make the
same mistakes the next time. Yes, I saw them balled the virgin queens when I
actively monitored the mating nucs. It was quite a learning experience for me.

Because the barrel is cut into half length wise, the seam is not
that close so the rain water will go in. I need to find a way
to waterproof the entire perimeter of the barrel. Lining the
barrel with the foam and aluminum tape on the side should solve the water issue.
 

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people boost mating nucs with frames of bees all the time, Like Sqkcrk said give it a little shake if you think there may be to many foragers on it and stick them in, nurse bees are readily accepted anywhere and will readily accept a new queen as well.
 
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