Hi wasabi. I somehow missed all the commentary regarding my previous post and I would like to apologize for coming across as harshly negative. I thumb type all my comments on a cell phone so I try to get straight to the point instead of being eloquently verbose. I guess my biggest "workability" issue is how the components come apart once the bees glue everything together. My bees produce a LOT of propolis. The baffle board and waffle board slide in grooves. The dividers in my queen castles do too. After just two months, the dividers are extremely difficult to remove. Other concerns involve weight distribution once the supers are full, ease of removing frames for hive inspections, and SHB control. You may also wish to address how the hexagonal frames can be used in traditional extracting equipment, as most beeks are not crush and strain. You have created a hive that is both unique and aesthetically appealing. But the real question remains. Can you keep bees in it? I for one, would love to see one of your hives that has had a full-sized colony in it for at least several months and watch a video of the inspection. That may allay a lot of trepidation that I ,and I am sure other beekeepers, have regarding your product.
The better mousetrap comment was referring to the quote, "build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." If your "mousetrap" does solve a problem or two, sales will surely follow.
Good luck and I hope to hear more about this hive in the coming months.
I've got three colonies in three different prototype hives. All are doing reasonably well. No bees yet in the hives shown in the above video and it is 5th Gen that I just made in our farm shop mid August to display at EAS bee conference. I may get fall packages to experiment with overwintering, but bees have yet to inhabit the newest versions.
I've got some rough footage of bees in earlier prototypes that I will clean up and post. Bees really like the confined spaces.
Agree propolis can be a sticky problem. I'm looking into slips of very "slippery" plastic to help alleviate.
Weight distribution is eased (by half) with the hinging mechanism.
The universe seems to have conspired to make sure I thoroughly learn bee lessons
2014 - Year 1 - 2 Spring Packages - Langstroth Hives - Lost them to swarming due to ignorance
2015 - Year 2 - 2 Spring Packages - Langstroth Hives - Did well but lost during winter - likely condensation/freezing
2016 - Year 3 - 2 Spring Packages - Prototype Hives - Thrived - then freak winds blew roofs off, rained on the girls and then got seriously cold
2017 - Year 4 - 3 Spring Packages - Prototype Hives - Two thrived until late fall when a huge black bear turned hives into kindling
2018 - Year 5 - 3 Spring Packages - Prototype Hives - built a bee penitentiary to keep bears away. All three doing fine on foundation-less frames
The hives in the video are generation 5 - We have had bees in three previous gens, but these have yet to house bees as I just made them mud August to introduce at the 2018 meeting of EAS in Hampton VA, We do have bees doing well in and I've got some rough video footage I'll post soon.
Thank you for your observations, suggestions and kind comments
What is the hardware made of? Is everything either galvanized or stainless steel? That is a must for outdoors in my climate.
I see that you have focused on handling cold winters, but wonder how extreme heat and humidity of Florida summers will impact it. The width of the combs appears more like what I saw doing three cut outs this summer. However, I wonder why we keep building the comb to be horizontal when bees build it to be vertical.
The tipping of frames is still a concern for me, especially when building up a hive. Have you considered a hinge style that won't cause so much rotation? I was in build up mode this year and constantly in the hives to split them out, move brood from strong hive to newer hive, ensure queen rearing hives had plenty of stores, etc.
How will you provide useful boxes for queen rearing and nuc size building? I can see starting a hive in one box, but around here I don't like to have empty boxes that can't be defended and it looks like multiple boxes are needed to put a feeder on. Too many palmetto bug, german roaches, etc. like to call them home. The thought of the nasty bacterial and disease they carry getting into my honey hives is not a pleasant one.
How are you overcoming the problems that some people see where bees won't cross a queen excluder, which looks like it may be an issue with the slits as passage between boxes. How much space is needed between hives?
Even quality exterior plywood concerns me in this environment. Constant rain, heat, and humidity usually destroy it rather quickly. What type of rating does it have for en environment like mine where it will be exposed to the elements, not covered by vinyl to protect it. Paint helps some, not not as much as one might think. Having painted surfaces stacked on each other will glue them together worse than propolis in the summer.
These don't look like they will stack well compared to langs on a pallet, so commercial beeks are off the menu. Your 3 hive backyard, keep it aesthetic looking crowd is probably your best target group.
Thanks for a wealth of insightful observations and questions. I'll address them one at a time
1) Hardware: Yes, all hinges, pins and screws and fasteners are stainless steel or galvanized.
2) Ventilation: Air moves gently through all boxes via thru holes and bee channels to exit through roof vents in Cupola or Attic Tops
3) Rotation: This system is designed for easy swapping of frames between Fold-Hive boxes and or any of the other Honeycomb Hive Types.
Folding action means hive boxes are only open for inspections or maintenance tasks which typically last only about five minutes.
4) Box sizing. Great question - Our hive boxes all feature dividers so that all can be sectioned into nuc sized chambers. This means, for the 3X Fold-Hive,
for example, that it is possible to section it into six nuc sized chambers with seven entrances. Similarly a Honeycomb starter hive can be divided into
two chambers with two entrances, a Honeycomb Flex hive 3 and a Honeycomb Long-Hive four. 7X Honeycomb Fold-Hive, The Ultimate Garden Beehive
can be divided into 14 separate chambers for queen raising or overwintering nuc sized colonies with up to 17 entrances. All chamber accept 15 frames.
5) Feeder Tops: All 7 Honeycomb Hive Types except the Nuc-Boxes offer Cupola or In-Hive Attic Top Feeders. Divider Feeders are also under development.
6) Bee Transit: The 3/4" holes and Bee-ways in the Waffle Boards separating hive boxes allow free bee and air movement between Fold-Hive hive boxes. Standard queen excluders (cut to size- 2 per) also easily slip into the grooves for Baffle or Waffle Boards so each hive box can keep the queen isolated to that box but leaves the workers free to migrate into cooperative honey production areas. The space between hives is limited to bee space to avoid wonky comb buildup.
7) Construction: Void-free high quality exterior plywood, precisely machined, carefully engineered parts, ensures tight construction and good fitting boxes and parts.
This makes Honeycomb Hives not only affordable...it also means each modular hive box can be re-purposed or resized per beekeeper's preference.
8) Hive Stacking: Great for gardens or backyard apiaries, our hives are not designed for commercial use nor oriented to be swap typical rectangular frames.
Hope this helps clarify. Thanks again for your insights! Doug
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