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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yet another day of continuous rain, and so my thoughts have turned to the small-footprint tall-stack hives I'll be installing into a converted caravan (camper) next year ...

These hives will presumably need to have solid floors which can be cleaned-out, rather than allowing detritus to fall through a mesh panel onto the caravan's floor, and so with ventilation in mind I thought it might be useful to consider an already proven design of 'bee-house beehive' - the A-Z.

Apart from it's front entrance, the A-Z hive is ventilated during the active season by mesh panels at it's rear:

... and regulated via flaps fitted at both top and bottom of a rear door.

Now I've seen quite a few videos of internal A-Z bee-house operations, but none have shown any evidence of this mesh having been propolised - which I find intriguing, for if that mesh was located directly above the frames I'm sure it would become propolised very quickly, and I'm really surprised that at least the upper area of the rear mesh panel doesn't become propolised, even after many years of use.

Can anybody throw any light on this ?

That's my principal reason for posting, but there is a secondary issue: in many videos I see beekeepers inserting a pad of insulating material into the cavity between the mesh panels and the outer rear door. It appears than this pad covers the mesh, and insodoing would block any ventilation which the mesh provides - that is, unless the pad were permeable. Again, can anybody throw any light on this one ?

Many thanks

Premium Member
2,764 Posts
LJ that pad placed behind the screen is open cell foam so there will be a certain ammount of ventilation but also a measure of insulation. I also find if the mesh is open to the light , if the door is not closed or a foam pad placed behind the mesh they will start to propolise the mesh especially in the winter months.

10,881 Posts
I think the bees have some sense where the propolization makes sense and worthwhile the effort. Or not.

For example, I am yet to see a documented case where the bees made entire nest out of propolise (like the wasps make theirs from paper).
There are many examples of the bees living out in the open; I myself took down such a swarm - they already had capped brood - right on the apple tree branch.
At the time of removal, they have not started building any propolis walls yet around there nest. :)
In fact, they never do, to my knowledge.
Why not? Why not just build the entire enclosure out of propolis?
Because it is a very unpractical proposition (a very expensive proposition at that).

I think this has some connection to do with those meshes in AZ hives going.
They are not considered the boundary of the hive - so to invest lots of effort and resources into propolizing them.
In fact, let me guess, the distance from the mesh to the frames is large enough so to remove the mesh far away so it is outside of the perceived boundary of the bee nest.
I say, some 2-3-4 inch spacing between the frames and the mesh will virtually guaranty - your mesh will not be propolised.
The mesh being fully ventilated through is also not really considered a good substrate to attach the combs to (especially removed from the entrance to the farthest possible location - bees just don't like building the combs so far removed from the main entrance way)
The frames on the back of the hive, on the other hand, should logically be well glued to each other - that I don't know.
But obviously the frame woodwork is spread apart far enough on purpose - so the frames are not glued to each other (mandatory for the AZ designs).
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