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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I call this my German Hive Bottom Box Project. It's a project I started which was derived from a German beekeeper. There was no plans/design nor even a description of how it worked, but after watching it in use, I derived enough information to attempt to copy the design based on images from various angles.

I have not used this yet....but I look forward to doing so.

This project intrigued me due to the versatility of this bottom box. I will state that this is NOT a project for everyone, but it so intrigued me I had to give it a try. The versatility to being able to close it up for moving the hive to a new location; adjustability of the entrance based on the time of year and strength of the hive; ability to feed the hive from the bottom without disturbing the bees; Ability to close off the apiary entrances while you remove honey supers to stop robbing while you take off your honey; ability for the bees to hang out in a space inside the hive to keep cool on hot days/nights; ability to do a quick hive inspection without having to remove any feed you might have on the hive.

I made 6. Only 5 came out with the 6th being out of square which I scrapped.
I am not selling this idea to anyone nor will I attempt to defend it.
It is what it is. I will answer simple design or use questions to my best ability.

I went with the premise that these boxes were the size of a medium super, so that was my basis...my first two were exactly 6 5/8" deep, but the next 4 were 7 3/8" deep to make up for the 3/4" bottom board.
In the following photo's I will attempt to describe what you are looking at.



German Hive Bottom Box with removable screened front


Screened removable front made of 3/4" x 3/4" frame and #8 screen.
You would use this when moving your hives to new locations.
You would also install this on all hives in the apiary when you are removing honey supers. You can work without concern for robbing. Just take them off when you are finished pulling your honey.




Front entrance showing reversible entrance reducer down.
This configuration is for Fall or Winter and also a medium strength hive when you may be feeding.



This is the upper entrance reducer configuration.
Front reducer is flipped upside down to close off the lower entrance and rear reducer is flipped to expose the smaller entrance.
This is used for weak colonies or new packages.



This is the OPEN configuration. Used when there is a honey flow or when it is very hot outside. Gives an area for bees to hang out and cluster to keep cool. (notice the back reducer is gone...you can just lay it down in the back out of the way until you need it.
You would not use this when feeding your bees as the area is too big to defend against robbing.




Rear removable access panel



Rear removable access panels.



Rear access panel removed to access the back end when you want to feed or whatever.



Showing a feeder installed....this is just a paint roller pan...oddly enough it will hold 1 1/4 gallons of syrup....but realistically, you can use a larger resevoir with straw...probably up to 3 gallons



You don't have to pull the entire pan out to refill the reservoir with syrup.



This is the removable floor board. Made of 1/4:" hardboard. You can also see where the bees come and go thru the spacers.



Floorboard removed so you can see the feeder underneath.



Floorboard is removed. The only real time you will remove this floorboard is late Fall and winter. Allows the bees a cavity to hang and cluster while being in a protected, vented and insulated environment.
During late fall after you remove the floor, you can do your OA dribble, lay down a sheet of paper with screen and do a mite drop check.
If you are installing a package, you dump your bees in here, place the floorboard back on, install your deep hive body with frames and caged queen....the bees will migrate up to the queen quickly.



Floorboard installed and you can see the bee entrance at the spacers.




The reversible entrance reducers are colored as a target to differentiate the hive ID to the colony...(or a virgin queen) from the rest of your hives.

Just a quick note..these are hive bottoms...they are just shown stacked here for storage...one bottom per hive...10 frame langstroth boxes are installed over these bottom boxes.



If you are interested, I also made a video before I painted the boxes:
 

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Nice. I've seen these in German beekeeping videos. Let us know how you like it after it's been in use for a while.
 

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Nice. I've seen these in German beekeeping videos. Let us know how you like it after it's been in use for a while.
As well as in many Russian videos.
It is nice for vertical/narrow hives - but I have neither time nor vertical hives at the moment
 

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Now, that is the neatest new bee thing that I have seen in a long time! Thank you for posting the pictures of it.

I am so intrigued by the idea of a dedicated "entrance vestibule" box. I can even see a way to combine my need for screened bottom over a mite board as the floor assembly in my hive, combined with all of the concepts of your wonderful entrance box, including the feeder below. Bees in natural cavities that I have studied often have some distance between the external entrance point and their hive furnishings. That was what made me brave enough to add a 2" high shim below my lowest box, which is peanuts compared to what you have made. I pity bees that have their enormous front doors opening directly into their private spaces.

I will be very keen to hear how these work out over the summer. I hope you will keep us up to date, especially with more pictures. I think your bees are very lucky to have such well-thought-out entrance boxes.

I am a little confused, though, about how having the front entrance screens in place stops robbing while pulling supers. Can't the bees (and potential robbers) just go in from the open tops?

Nancy
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Now, that is the neatest new bee thing that I have seen in a long time! Thank you for posting the pictures of it.

I am so intrigued by the idea of a dedicated "entrance vestibule" box. I can even see a way to combine my need for screened bottom over a mite board as the floor assembly in my hive, combined with all of the concepts of your wonderful entrance box, including the feeder below. Bees in natural cavities that I have studied often have some distance between the external entrance point and their hive furnishings. That was what made me brave enough to add a 2" high shim below my lowest box, which is peanuts compared to what you have made. I pity bees that have their enormous front doors opening directly into their private spaces.

I will be very keen to hear how these work out over the summer. I hope you will keep us up to date, especially with more pictures. I think your bees are very lucky to have such well-thought-out entrance boxes.


Nancy
Easily can use a screened floor in lieu of that hardboard....I've thought of that when I do OA dribble and can put sticky paper under for mite drop in late fall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am a little confused, though, about how having the front entrance screens in place stops robbing while pulling supers. Can't the bees (and potential robbers) just go in from the open tops?

Nancy
The idea is no other hives will be robbing the supers as you pull honey off the hive you are working. A smart beekeeper will pull their honey supers off a hive quickly, then cover the hive back up...all bees are locked in behind the screen and any foragers are knocking on the screens to get in and can't communicate the location of all the free honey. Then you can do what you do and sweep off bees from frames, box it up, etc. Then before you are done, remove all the screened fronts, jump in your truck and head out!
 
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