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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

We have here in finland few beekeepers who have developed their own special way of keeping bees. I wouldnt say its most natural way, but they have done it for several decades with succes.

With this method you dont need to prevent swarming separately, you dont need to move boxes at all until harvest, you allways have easy acces to brood and queen, its very easy to bred new queens, honey crop is ok and top of all it helps with mites. Also with this way its very easy to get new frames drawn. Bonus - half of the hives grow second queen under exluder during the season that you can use for requeening or nuc. I havent tried it yet but there is some beeks here who couldnt imagine doing it other way so it must have some idea atleast. So i like to hear what you think about this extraordinary style of beekeeping. Method goes ruffly like this:

At the spring when youre adding new super, you move queen with all open brood to upper box. Put foundation. Rest of the frames in upper box drawn comb or foundation. Between the boxes you put QE with small entrance for queen (so she wont feel like jail). Other entrance is at bottom. When upper box is full of brood and honey, move queen with open brood to new thirdh box and move QE under that. So that way you keep moving queen up allways when the upper brood box is full. Upper box is also warm so mites dont like it very much.

They claim it is the easyest way to keep bees. Basically no swarming and lots of honey. Bonus automatic extra queen from every second hive.

Comments?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I heard that it WILL be high. And lots of pollen below. In finland summer is short so maybe eight-ten deeps is enogh. More south its maybe not possible. How many boxes you can stack without risk of crashing...
 

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We see pros and cons from the standpoint of bee natural instincts.
You don't tell us how supering is done. Does the broodnest stay at the top for the full season? Or, honey supering above?
At first look, I think I like it.
Walt
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Hi Walt,

There is no separate super for honey. Queen will stay at top for whole season. Eahc time when queen fills the top box with brood and workers fill it with honey we move queen with all open brood fames no new box that comes to the top. Allways move QE in between. Main entrance is at bottom and drones fly from there also. Some honey they bring to top box above the brood, but mostly to bottom boxes. Only open brood is moved to top box with queen and nurse bees. Often it happens that bees down below will grow new queen for themself because they feel separted from her. It only happens to every other hive.

This works in finland where we have extreamily short summer. I dont know how it works at south.
 

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Sounds like a great way to find the queen when you want to. You don't have to keep lifting off all those additional boxes. I have at times considered keeping the breeder queens in a top bar hive for that same reason.

I am wondering if you end up with a lot of pollen mixed in with the honey this way? As I understand it bees are prone to storing the pollen below the brood if there is space their.
 

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It does work. I got QCs that were more supercedure than emergency. Tried from a MB observation that the other side made a new queen. You will get more QCs by adding an extra body between the lower brood and the excluder. top entrance and bottom entrance do not need to be any different than normal.
It does require frequent tending to move frames and bodies to not limit laying, though 2 brood boxes should work also.
I move frames down and add empties in the brood nest, a little more laying than by the box in spite of disruption, but that is pretty subjective observation. Choice is to lift honey to check brood or lift brood to add supers. Only makes a big difference if you have multiple supers.
Stacking is no more of a deal than any other way. Are you really having a problem with the thought of too many honey boxes?
 

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Sounds interesting. I have a couple of questions.

You said "..put QE with small entrance for queen (so she wont feel like jail)." Do you mean modify the queen excluder to allow the queen to pass through, OR do you mean provide an outside entrance for the queen?

Also do you have BOTH a bottom entrance AND a top entrance with this method?

Thank you, PHIL
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes two entrances. At the bottom there is the mainntrance and in the box where queen resides is small entrance that will be used by few workers. That should be there even queen wont fly anywhere but she has to know that she is not prisoned in the hive. Otherwise she will get disturbed or something.

Stack will be high, but atleast north here its working well. Im going to try it this year since it sounds so easy. This is my thirdh season coming and slowly im starting to get some idea how bees are working. Thanks to this forum and all the pioneers who are willing to share their secrets.

I think in this style of hive manageent you can have many different varieties. Have to experiment.
 

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Finland may have short summers but it has very long summer days compared to most of the US. That may make a difference, but this is an interesting concept.

I recall some info about the dampening effect on varroa of increased temps but I wonder if increased temps high enought effect the varroa beasts might also be detrimental to brood.

Before I became a beekeeper I observed (for about two decades) feral honeybees living in my barn walls. They always used top entrances for most of their activity, but built ranks and ranks of comb below. As the years went by they would find newer, higher entrance points (cracks in the siding, knot holes and chewed-open places) each year. By the time I hived the new swarms last spring, the bees (collectively over this time) had filled wall cavity sections ten feet high with comb.

Last year before the cut-outs IR heat sensing showed us that they were active only in the tops of these columns of honey-filled comb, even though they were also using lower (formerly main entrances) to some degree.

Enj.

Enj.
 

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It sounds like the bottom boxes are already filled so why wouldn't the queen in the bottom boxes swarm? If the queen is in the top box why can't you keep pulling out the bottom boxes and harvest the honey so the hive doesn't get too tall? I am always looking for the easiest way but this way doesn't look to easy to me. It looks very labor intensive.
 

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Ace,
Your suggestion would make it labor intensive. I think a few minutes, periodically, would be worth a deep of honey to most anyone.
Walt
 

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Maybe I missed something, but if you keep moving all the open brood above the queen excluder, there won't be any appropriately aged larva for queen/queen cell production in "every other hive." So can I assume you leave a frame of eggs/open brood in "every other hive?"

How are the hives prepared and boxes arranged for winter?
 

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Steve, open brood would not be eggs or else you are right.

Walt, the labor intensive is fiddling with two boxes and finding the queen every time you need to add a box to the hive. Forget about pulling anything out from underneath. In the standard configuration you can just throw on boxes and walk away if they are drawn comb. If it is foundation you need to pull a couple of frames up. It is so easy even a cave... wait a minute, I can do it.
 

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I like it!
I should have though of it tho :scratch:
Thanks for sharing the idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Steve, after harvesting at fall you remove QE and prepare them for wintering as you like. I think the idea is not to get second queen below, but sometimes it happens. Maybe you accidentally leave eggs to underside, thats only way i can understand it could happen. Unless worers carry eggs as some people believe.

Ace, finding queen from top box takes just a moment. It shouldnt be a problem.
 

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Ace, finding queen from top box takes just a moment. It shouldnt be a problem.
For some, for others it is a huge problem and you have to do it every time you add another box and you have to totally disrupt the brood nest every time you add another box. So all this additional work and what is the gain? Bees can adapt to the most unnatural methods of a beekeeper. Another thing that people (not me) might object to is it guarantees that all your honey is in brood comb.

Queen in top box, yes. Easiest way to keep bees, no.
 
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