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Offline Paraplegic Racehorse

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straw construction
« on: January 28, 2008, 12:41:32 AM »
I am planning on experimenting with straw hive-bodies this year. Unfortunately, I cannot find any descriptions (in English) of just how to go about compressing and shaping straw sheafs into boxes. Oddly, I CAN find descriptions - even a video! - of skep construction, but not bar-n-frame straw hive construction. Since this material is still used in many parts of Europe, I was hoping one of our friendly European contributors would be kind enough to post a how-to, preferably illustrated.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: straw construction
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2008, 07:47:33 AM »
If you want a straight thin wall made of straw I would investigate how to make straw mats.  That's basically what you're talking about isn't it?  A straw mat for each wall of the box?
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Offline Michael Bush

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline Cindi

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Re: straw construction
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2008, 11:32:18 AM »
Hmmm....think I am missing something here.  I thought in our part of the world that hives without "movable" frames were illegal, because of diseases of the hive or something like that.  Maybe that is why it is difficult to get plans.   But then Oxalic Acid is illegal in the states, the same as Thymol is illegal for use in Canada, and vise versa, strange world that we live in.  Best of a wonderful day.  Cindi
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Offline Paraplegic Racehorse

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Re: straw construction
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2008, 11:55:13 AM »
MB: No, not like straw mat, more like tightly packed hay bale. That link is a good starting point, but it assumes a certain level of knowledge commonly lacking in the industrialised world - BECAUSE of industrialisation. A proper and thorough description of how to pack and hold the straw, particularly at corners, is lacking and those areas are where I'm needing help.

Cindi: In fact, Alaska has NO laws regarding hive type at all. If I really want, I CAN keep bees in skeps. I'm not going to because they are labor intensive. I am going to build hive-bodies from straw, if I can find some useful instructions or, better, a teacher to help me out.
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The World Beehive Project - I endeavor to build at least one of every beehive in common use today and document the entire process.

Online JP

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Re: straw construction
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2008, 12:18:03 PM »
Just curious as to why you want to build them outta straw?

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Offline Paraplegic Racehorse

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Re: straw construction
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2008, 01:22:04 PM »
Just curious as to why you want to build them outta straw?

For exactly the same reasons you might want to build your house of straw: expense & insulation. Some of us live in places with longer, colder winters than you. :) Besides, I really can't think of a good reason NOT to build them from straw. During the 19th century, most books on the subject raved about the advantages straw bodies had over wood. Cost, insulation, longevity and ease of repair were very high on those lists.
I'm Paraplegic Racehorse.
Member in good standing: International Discordance of Kilted Apiarists, Local #994

The World Beehive Project - I endeavor to build at least one of every beehive in common use today and document the entire process.

Offline Cindi

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Re: straw construction
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2008, 08:56:59 AM »
Paraplegic Racehorse.  Well, what I will say is go, go, go.  I think that would be a very interesting thing to build and get up and going.  When you do it, please show us some pictures, it would be fun to see your accomplishment, yeah!!!  Good for you, have an awesome day, Cindi
There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service

Offline randydrivesabus

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Re: straw construction
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2008, 01:23:30 PM »
PR-can you start with a straw bale instead of just a pile of straw? i'm not sure of what you have in mind but if you have a tightly baled bale of straw you can remove the flakes (do you know what i mean by this?) and then use those flakes as walls. you would have to stitch them together somehow. i guess the object is to have a straw box into which you could even place standard frames. or do i have this all wrong?

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Re: straw construction
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2008, 01:51:05 PM »
Just curious as to why you want to build them outta straw?

For exactly the same reasons you might want to build your house of straw: expense & insulation. Some of us live in places with longer, colder winters than you. :) Besides, I really can't think of a good reason NOT to build them from straw. During the 19th century, most books on the subject raved about the advantages straw bodies had over wood. Cost, insulation, longevity and ease of repair were very high on those lists.


Was just curious. I get the insulation part.
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Offline Scadsobees

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Re: straw construction
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2008, 02:28:44 PM »
Hmm..your winters don't look much worse than ours...although darker and maybe longer and perhaps damper, although I wouldn't be the farm on it... :roll:

Sounds like an interesting experiment.  It would also help aleviate moisture problems inside the hive.  How to super them, and how do you keep water from getting in the straw and rotting it?  I can imagine that the bees would propolize the inside solid.

I assume that you don't have small hive beetle up there?  Do you have mice problems?

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Offline Paraplegic Racehorse

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Re: straw construction
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2008, 04:37:16 PM »
Almost garauntee our winters (or, rather, "dearth" period) is longer. We don't see any bloom until May and last blooms are done at the end of July. It makes for some pretty interesting beekeeping. :)

No SHB, and no mouse problems, but shrews are not uncommon (nasty little biters!!!). Still, I don't anticipate any real problem from them.
I'm Paraplegic Racehorse.
Member in good standing: International Discordance of Kilted Apiarists, Local #994

The World Beehive Project - I endeavor to build at least one of every beehive in common use today and document the entire process.