Well for something to talk about. What do you guys think about keepings with combs perpendicular to the entrance vs. parallel? What are the pros and cons? Or do you think there's no difference, if so why?
The feral hives that I've seen all had their combs at an angle (about 45 degrees) to the entrance. Maybe this natural compromise gives the bees the easist access to all of their combs while providing some protection from drafts/cold.
I got the idea originally from David Eyre's DE hive and DE vent kits. His theory had nothing to do with drafts (that I know of) but was done to create a wider entrance for summer ventilation and because of the observation that we stand beside a hive to work it and gaurd bees see you. Working from the back makes more sense and is easier to do with the frames running paralell to the entrance.
Now that I'm considering a higher entrance, the draft issue comes up. It makes some sense that it would block drafts. Also, I figure the bees will make a path through the comb, if it's wax, wherever is convenient for them.
The hives I've seen in walls in houses and the natural built comb I've seen in a box hive did run diagnolly. I don't really remember on trees exactly. I'll have to pay more attention next time.
Maybe we should put the frames in diagnolly? (just kidding)
I read from a Russian site that wild bees prefer that arrangement, saying you would get less cross comb if the bottom board had the entrance on what is our side. I custom built a bottom board this way, and after a year or two of watching, they seemed to build the same amount of cross comb as normal.
I didn't see any difference... and with the entrance reducers off they don't appear to favor one side...
I think the Langstroth arrangement is best because the bees can walk up just about any frame instead of being confined to walking up an end frame.
Re the orientation of comb in feral or box hives; In the absence of starter strips or foundation the bees will align themselves with the longest axis of the hive. In a langstroth box that would be "catty- cornered", which is what they do. Same way in the walls of houses, catty-cornered. Give them a guide or a disturbance and they go off pattern.
I have in front of me an inner cover from a five frame nuc where the bees built wild comb in a miller feeder. The comb runs diagnally but not entirely from corner to corner. The first comb starts about five inces back from the front of the nuc and ends on the oppisite side about five inches from the back. This made about five combs that are 12 inches or so long and the rest are little ones in the corners.
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