Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
309 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I noticed a huge heaving, and sinking in the ground in one of the areas where I have my bees. I was wondering, does anyone (who lives up Northward) have a good system for getting around this? I am considering digging post holes, deep with cement, so i can fin tune leveling (I want to go foundation less so I need to be able to control leveling), and not have to make major adjustments. I want to keep up 4 hives and 4 nucs, so that is all the space I will need. I also want to keep my bees up a certain height to keep out mice and skunks.

Any ideas are welcomed, pictures appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
531 Posts
curious if you only see this swelling in the winter. does it return to normal in the spring when the ground starts to thaw?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,082 Posts
What kind of ground is it? Sounds like it might be wet and spongy? If it is chronically wet it may be a bad location for other reasons.

If I wanted stability I'd set posts down below the frost line, whatever that is in your area. I would not worry so much about setting the posts in concrete ... anything above the frost line would still be heaved with the soil. Just put a stone or paver at the bottom of the post hole, below the frost line, and rest the end of the post on that. Pack dirt around the post and that should be well enough set. But without some weight on it, if the soil freezes around the post it might still lift it. Maybe some gravel around the post would help.

Just last week I set the fence posts for my bear-resistant apiary cage. I rented a one-man auger and an 8" bit for the job, and set 10 fence posts and four hive stand posts in one weekend. Four days later I could move pretty well again. The one-man design won't throw you on the ground the way some other augers will, but it is still a beast to lift out of the hole. I think it gains 2 pounds for every hole it bores.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
13,203 Posts
My bee yard is in a low land with a lot of compost. It gets flooded in the spring when all the snow melts and gets mucky. You can buy a patio block that is about 2 inch thick and 2 ft x 16-18 inches. Lay that down in the muck and use wood to create an air space under the hive, something like a 4x4. If the patio block shifts you can shim the bottom board to keep it level. If it gets real bad you can reset the patio block right next to the hive so you are only moving the hive a couple of feet if that. I did this yesterday to one of my hives that was tipping sideways.

Edit: I have two other hives on a pallet. That works too. You can pick up the low side and shove rocks or boards under it until the ground hardens up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
535 Posts
I like to work my hives from the side so I only have two hives on a stand. Im an electrician and can sometimes come up with short pieces of Unistrut. I've also used other metal. These have a pipe welded in the corners with a 1/2" or 5/8" all thread rod going down to a treated 4x4 with shallow holes drilled in it to set the all thread in.

I adjust the nuts up or down to level. They need a little fine tuning about once a year.

Some of mine have a 12"x12"x2" thick paving block on the ground with another 8" or 4" block on that. Treated 2x6 frame on that with shims to level. As it settles I can get a jack under it to add shims if I can't pick it up.

By the end of the flow with only two hives if there's a soft spot under one corner it'll show up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
309 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the ideas all. I tried using pavers plus a smaller platform that holds two hives. Now I am thinking maybe I should have left the large platform together.

Phoebee - you are correct that the ground gets wet, but only in the spring. We go through what I call the mud season :) Basically winter doesn't want to give up, and there are a lot of melts during the day followed by freezes. Sounds like Ace has a similar ground to what I am dealing with. Oddly I didn't have any shifts until two days ago, but it was significant. about a 2.5-3 inch displacement.

Michael - I actually had been thinking of using your platform set up, and might have some lumber to do that with after I finish repairing my deck.

Cool idea wolfer!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
13,203 Posts
Michael - I actually had been thinking of using your platform set up, and might have some lumber to do that with after I finish repairing my deck.
You better go down three feet to get below the frost line or you will have the same shift. My method is a floating footing. It will take a while to get the pressure equalized but with diligence it will happen. You can't do it with individual small blocks. Well you can but you will be chasing your tail. You have to get the base wide which is why a pallet works. You can do it will plywood but you will have to replace it from time to time when it rots out.

You can easily make your own patio block out of concrete mix with just a 2x4 frame on plywood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,604 Posts
I have all my hives set up on cinder blocks. Under the blocks I dug out about 4" of dirt and added compacted limestone screenings. Keep adding the limestone material and tamp until you get it level. Set the blocks on the limestone base and you are good to go. Some of mine have been in place for years and have not moved at all. We get a lot of freeze thaw heaving here too. The limestone base keeps the blocks from shifting. It's the same stone they use for road base material. Find your local limestone supplier and see if they will sell you a few 5 gallon buckets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
Double H hive stands made out of 2X8s work well. Eight foot in length will handle 4 hives.

Mice climb. They don't care how high you put them. Skunks and racoons too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,540 Posts
I agree with Mark,

For the past two days around 11:30 a.m. just when I am unpacking my hives from their nighttime blankets a fat deer mouse scuttles around underneath the hives searching for any dead bees that have been flung out.

This wouldn't seem odd unless you knew that my hives are on a platform about two feet in the air with the platform hanging out about six inches from the supports all around. I am careful not leave any place where he can climb up from the ground and he is not staying under the hives. Somehow he is climbing the sides and then crawling out on the underside of the cantilevered plywood. I haven't set a trap yet, because I'm trying to figure out how he does it.

My winter hivestand is made of stacked pallets, each indidvidually shimmed to level and with the down slope side set on a variety of cinder blocks and cribbing. I have all the hives set on a floor of plywood to combine the downward pressure on the pallets. And each hive is further set on a short section of metal grid that extends outward front and back and keeps the hive bottoms from direct contact with anything except air (and the backside of that annoying mouse). I tweak/shim the metal grid as the final adjustment with bits of wood to keep things on the straight and level.

My ground underneath is a gravelly silt loam with (usually) a perched water table in the Spring so I haven't seen the worst of mudseason, yet. And this is the first time my hives have beeen in this location so I may not like it as well as I hoped. Time will tell.

Enj.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
255 Posts
Beelosopher, I'm right next to you in Pompey, NY and use natural comb. I use two 4" x 8" x 16" concrete blocks (solid cinder blocks) and level them into the ground once mud season ends sometime in May. I use one for the front end of the hive and one for the back end since hives are 16 1/4" wide and the blocks are 16" wide. I place hive stands that are 16" high and made out of 2x4s and 1"x decking on top. Hives stay very level. I check each hive in the spring to make sure they are still level. Each year I adjust a few by adding some soil or gravel under the blocks where necessary. I do this about the time I reverse boxes, before the first major flow begins. During the season, if a tall high gets slightly out of plumb I just slip a cedar shim under the necessary leg of the hive stand. That works great for the rest of the year and allows me to quickly zero in on those bases needing adjustment the following spring.

ekrouse
[email protected]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
309 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Great ideas all. Thanks for your time and suggestions. Was hoping to do some of this this weekend, but it looks like another cold rainy possibly freezing mess. We need a break from this weather, can't seem to get anything done!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,082 Posts
Maybe I'll get the ant guards on my pipe hive stand legs this weekend and post pics. I've got four 1" steel pipes sunk in the ground to below the frost line to support a 6' long platform. PVC pipe fittings are used with grease to block ants. It should avoid frost heaving and be well anchored against wind. I found the original ant blocking idea on YouTube, and Rader S uses that same system. Mine should be slightly sturdier and easier to re-grease.

I doubt the ant-blockers would stop mice. They can jump high enough to reach the platform. I intend to always have hardware cloth on my entrances. The mice are welcome to dead bees, if they'll be on the watch for SHB. I'm expecting a few of the local skinks will take up residence there as well, and providing they don't eat too many bees, they are welcome.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
Float them. Water stays level. Build a barge or raft and float it in a pond or swimming pool. No ants or mice. I don't know if skunks will swim or not. Have openings under the hives so mites and beetles fall through the screen into the water and feed the fish. Be sure to get video of working your hives from a canoe.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,057 Posts
PVC pipe fittings are used with grease to block ants. It should avoid frost heaving and be well anchored against wind. I found the original ant blocking idea on YouTube, and Rader S uses that same system.
The posts using this system that I have linked in the past were actually by Charlie B.
http://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...e-Stand-Actually-Works!&highlight=stand+works

My hives are simply setting on concrete blocks. There are ants around here but so far they haven't been a serious issue.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top