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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My soon-to-be bee yard is at the back edge of my lawn, where woods -- primarily of locust -- start. It'll be in an old dog run with the front facing south and terrific thorn bushes and 8' high chain link fence around it: an almost perfect setting, by my reckoning. The one drawback that has me concerned is that a lot of branches and other debris fall to the ground in those woods. The recent snowstorm here in the Hudson Valley snapped limbs and uprooted trees, any one of which would bust a hive like it was made of balsa wood.

My idea to address that? I'm thinking of building a shelter for the hives to prevent damage from heavy branches falling, and also from hard rain and snow: basically a peaked roof made of plywood with asphalt shingles, with a roughly 7 1/2 feet head clearance. I plan to support it with four pressure treated posts.

I suppose I have a few questions:

  • I don't see many pictures or discussions about roof/shelter for hives. Is it unusual? Is there any reason it would be a bad idea?
  • Are pressure-treated posts any cause for concern?

  • How tall do hives get, when they're stacked at peak season? Aside from a deep brood box, I'll be using all mediums, set on a platform some 2' off the ground.

Many thanks for your thoughts.


Mig
 

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I wouldn't say it's very unusual but most of us depend on the outer cover as the only roof needed. If you feel that there is a high probability of your hives getting hitting fairly often by falling branches, etc., then maybe the location isn't ideal. Assuming that you do want more protection, I would go for a simple lean-to type of arrangement. Have the roof slope towards the back of the hives and make the angle steep enough so that you're not creating too much shade. Bees like sun. I wouldn't worry about pressure treated posts. I think there's generally too much concern about pressure treated materials to begin with much less posts that aren't part of the hive. Hives can get quite tall. Do the math. Your platform is two feet. Add a bit for a bottom board, say four inches. Your deeps are around 9 1/2" and your shallows are about 6 1/2". Round up and call it 10" for every deep and 7" for every medium. This math accommodates spacers, excluders, etc. So, if you have a single deep (I wonder if you should be running two) and three supers you have about five feet of height right there..maybe a bit more with the covers on top. Add another 10" if you run a second hive body. Now you're pushing six feet.

Does that help?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, very helpful -- thank you.

I think you're right that a single flat roof, perhaps 3' wide, on a steep angle, and up high, would work. I plan for very little overhang in front, so there will be minimal shading except for midday sun during late June and early July, when it'll probably be beneficial.

My experience with the recent storm has probably left me apprehensive, and overstating hazards about downed branches and limbs -- but it does only take one! I'm most concerned with the occasional larger branch, especially in mid-winter, when it could cause severe damage that I may not observe for a few days.

On the positive side, one perfect pole-like tree fell right across the top of chain link fence, creating a sturdy bar above where the hive(s) will be, and amusingly, that will meet my needs for now.

For what it's worth, I plan on using a deep and two mediums for brood, and all mediums for supers. My bees are coming in deep frames, so while I'm probably not stuck with that -- I'm sure there are ingenious ways explained here somewhere to switch those deep frames over to mediums -- for the time being I'm not going to tackle that until my knowledge is greater.

Today I go get the cinderblocks that will be the base of the hive stand. Funny how even silly little activities like that add to the excitement. ; )
 

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If you set your posts in the ground, you can easily run a couple of 2xs between them for use as a hive stand. My friend has a stand built like this with a tin roof made from scrap. It is some of his best producing hives. (He built it wide enough to hold two hives and still work between)
 

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ovekill, but do what you want, if these offending branches are that heavy a plywood roof isn't gonna stop them anyway. I mean a standard langstroth hive is like a cylinder and they can support huge loads from the top. take a pop can and stand on it, then put it on it's side and stand on it, now do you see the differance?
 

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This may be a really good idea, or it might be a really daft one.:scratch:

How about running ropes from side to side or crisscrossing at the top of the fence?

It would be easy to assemble, and since the ropes would flex, they should be able to take some pounding. If something goes trough, it's probably gonna be small stuff that wont hurt your hives unless they are too close to the ropes.

The weather-protection would be minimal though. But regarding snow, it should be better with hives covered in snow as insulation. It was a record-cold winter here - but this year I had no trouble with the well, as the ground were well insulated. (The pipes would have frozen for sure without the snow.)

It depends quite a bit on weather or not you have bars/rods on top of your fence. And if a branch hits only a single rope, it may bend the bar/rod it's fastened to.

Guess you will have to do the pros and cons about the ropes.:)
 

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Is it practical for you to fell the most offending trees, or remove the most offending branches? As a beek there is plenty to worry about already without having to constantly worry about branches and trees falling on your bees. Adrian.
 

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If the falling limbs are big enough to smash a beehive like balsa, any roof you build will likely be smashed like balsa as well.

My advice would be to not worry about building a roof. If a big limb does fall, a smashed roof will just be that many more pieces of kindling to pick up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've taken your suggestions into account.

Thank you.

I think that rather than a roof, what I'm going to try is to set up some kind of sturdy pipes that go well above the hive boxes (like 8' off the ground) that should allow me sufficient access to, and clearance for, the boxes. They should also keeping heavier items -- the larger trees and falling limbs -- from (potentially) smashing the hive(s). Rain and snow, leaves, and smaller branches will generally fall as they may.

If nothing else, I'll be able to rest a little easier, then. ; )


Many thanks again!


Mig
 
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