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Author Topic: Hives: shade, height off the ground, predator proofing  (Read 2830 times)
Daddys Girl
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« on: March 28, 2008, 01:44:20 PM »

Hello All!

I am in the process of siting my first hive.  My bees arrive at the end of April, so I have some time to put my apiary together and set things up for the way I want to keep them for a long time to come.

We have chosen to put the hives in a 8' by 10' stockade fence enclosure, to encourage them to fly out and up, as a means to help minimize them being disturbed by mowing and kids playing in the yard.  The bottom will be lined with some old welded wire mesh tacked in to the bottom of the fence to prevent skunks from digging under and getting into the hive.

My first question is how high off the ground do I need to place the hive?  I was going to put the hive on a commercial hivestand from Betterbee, on top of landscaping timbers on the ground.  Will 8 inches be enough?  I watched the beemaster videos and saw he was using milk crates.  Is there an advantage to that height over closer to the ground?

Is there a passive way to protect against mice and rats?

I have also read differing opinions on the amount of shade for the hive.  My apiary is going to be in full sun, but I can erect a shading structure pretty easily.  It is a matter of understanding what the best answer is for summer in the Mid Atlantic.  My instincts tell me that partial shading would be helpful.  Opinions?

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Jerrymac
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2008, 02:00:59 PM »

My first question is how high off the ground do I need to place the hive?  I
Is there a passive way to protect against mice and rats?
I have also read differing opinions on the amount of shade for the hive. 

Where in the Mid Atlantic are you?

The hives can sit right on the ground on the bottom board. I usually put a couple of old 2x4s under them to keep them out of the dirt. As far as how high, Remember you might/could add a lot of supers on top and then you would have to lift the full ones off, and they get heavy. I had mine on a rack about 18 inches off the ground but I have now placed them all on 2x4s on the ground.

MICE!!!! You can place 1/4 inch wire mesh across the opening during the winter time. The mice don't usually try to invade during the summer. At least not a strong hive. The bees will defend it. Another way is to use top entrances. These also help with ventilation. And this leads to your next question.....

Full sun is great.  You can put some ventilation on the top and bottom if the bees should beard outside the hive a lot. Here in the Texas sun I have had no problem with full sun.
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2008, 02:32:26 PM »

Full sun if at all possible.  Mine are just bottom boards on landscape timbers on the ground.  It's harder to work the bottom boxes, but you don't have to lift the top boxes near as high when they're loaded with honey.
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danno
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2008, 02:56:08 PM »

if your going to bury wire for skunk exclusion, dig a trench 12" down and 12"out from the fence. Bury a 24" width heavy wire bent at a 90 deg angle stapled to the bottom edge running down 12" and away 12".  all digging animals start digging right at the edge of a structure.  If  they get down 12" they will be standing on the 12" pc running out
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2008, 04:47:33 PM »

Too much work for skunk. Tack carpet strip w/ those nails on front edge of landing board. Personally, i wouldn't be terribly conscerned about predators unlesss you have bear. For bear, do a search on this site.
As far as how high, depnds on how flexible and strong your back is. I'm over six feet,I prefer them raised about 18 inches. Its a preferance thing. Your boxes will rot if they touch the ground which is why Jerry uses 2x4's. Full sun is best, by a long shot. I worried about all of these things when I got my first bees b/c I live in a very polulated area. Only the water issue has come to pass. My bees like a neighbors pool, even though I provide water. As for mowing, kids, dogs -the bees just dont care. Occassionally one will hit your back as you walk by. They really dont mind lawn mowers nearly as much as you think they would. Just don't knibble when mowing. First cut right next to hive.
Have fun- full early sun is optimum. Its easier to ventilate them in august, then warm them in winter.
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2008, 06:17:18 PM »

>My first question is how high off the ground do I need to place the hive?

The bees would prefer about eight feet.  Since I can't lift that high, I go for 3 1/2".  But the entrance needs to be higher to keep out the skunks.

>  I was going to put the hive on a commercial hivestand from Betterbee, on top of landscaping timbers on the ground.  Will 8 inches be enough?

IMO it's too much but I see stands on here all the time that look like about two feet...

> I watched the beemaster videos and saw he was using milk crates.  Is there an advantage to that height over closer to the ground?

It will protect better from skunks.  But top entrances would do just as well.

>Is there a passive way to protect against mice and rats?

Top entrance only.  Solved all my skunk and mice problems.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm


>I have also read differing opinions on the amount of shade for the hive.  My apiary is going to be in full sun, but I can erect a shading structure pretty easily.  It is a matter of understanding what the best answer is for summer in the Mid Atlantic.  My instincts tell me that partial shading would be helpful.  Opinions?

Full sun would always be my preference.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#locating
« Last Edit: March 29, 2008, 01:05:42 PM by Michael Bush » Logged

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Gil
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2008, 06:32:11 PM »



We have chosen to put the hives in a 8' by 10' stockade fence enclosure, to encourage them to fly out and up, as a means to help minimize them being disturbed by mowing and kids playing in the yard. 

I keep my hives strategically placed near some deciduous trees which give them some midday and afternoon shade in the summer when it can be hot and humid here in central Maryland.  When the leaves fall off in the winter, the hives get a little solar warming, enhanced by black tar paper wrapping.  The fence you plan to put up sounds great for a winter wind block, and keeping the bees flight path going up at a sharp angle and away from walk / play areas.  A more experienced bee keeper once told me to position the hives so that they get the earliest morning sun possible so that the bees get out earlier, thereby producing more honey.  So you may want to design your fence so that it is slotted on the east side allowing morning sun in.  While blocking winter wind should be helpful, I would try to design the fence so it could be adjusted to allow good ventilation during our hot humid summers.

Good luck with your first colonies.

Gil


My first question is how high off the ground do I need to place the hive?  I was going to put the hive on a commercial hivestand from Betterbee, on top of landscaping timbers on the ground.  Will 8 inches be enough?  I watched the beemaster videos and saw he was using milk crates.  Is there an advantage to that height over closer to the ground?


I have also read differing opinions on the amount of shade for the hive.  My apiary is going to be in full sun, but I can erect a shading structure pretty easily.  It is a matter of understanding what the best answer is for summer in the Mid Atlantic.  My instincts tell me that partial shading would be helpful.  Opinions?


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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2008, 09:43:37 PM »

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#locating
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Michael Bush
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johnnybigfish
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2008, 10:04:32 PM »

8X10...
 Seems roomy at first. I was considering making a little yard like that but never got around to it..It would have been 0k for 2 hives right next to each other. I've since found out that an area seems to get smaller when you're messing around with bees and equipment. The good part for you is that you dont have tree limbs to skin the top of your head off!( LIke ME!)
 You might get more hives later...Just something to think about.
your friend,
john
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Daddys Girl
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2008, 10:15:13 PM »

8X10...
 Seems roomy at first. I was considering making a little yard like that but never got around to it..It would have been 0k for 2 hives right next to each other. I've since found out that an area seems to get smaller when you're messing around with bees and equipment. The good part for you is that you dont have tree limbs to skin the top of your head off!( LIke ME!)
 You might get more hives later...Just something to think about.
your friend,
john

I built the space with the idea that more hives would follow later.  It might let me get three or four in there eventually, depending on how I lay things out.  We're building it so that I can have a portable shelf that can slide into place for laying out tools, and we're going to dig a hole to drop an old pond shell I have laying around into for providing water. 

We're also seeding the all around the edges of the property with red clover and wildflowers, plus anything I can find that that blooms late in the season for providing late season food.  I've been reading some of the stuff on CCD and the design is meant to address and eliminate some of the possible culprits through land and apiary management.

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bassman1977
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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2008, 11:02:01 PM »

Quote
My instincts tell me that partial shading would be helpful.  Opinions?

I think your instincts are right on.  Last year, I was finding frames full of water in the middle of summer.  In the upper most super.  I don't have top entrances but I do have SBBs.  I am sure more shade and ventilation would have been beneficial.
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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2008, 11:14:51 PM »

Sounds like one of the nicest bee yards I might see!
 Post some pics when you have it all done.
West Virginia I think is an easier place to grow nice green plants like you're talking about..Not like down here.
 Although, last year i planted some "Wildflower mix" for this area and had some kind of flowers all the time in summer!
What I meant about "Equipment" was something like a wheelbarrow.
 I use one of these more times than I ever expected..Like when I'm gathering frames and boxes to move to my deck for extraction..or. liike just a few days ago when I was mixing cement to pour into the holes for my new bee stand bases.

Ok,...Just to show you the "Scalp Eating Limbs"....I ran out and took this pic!

It was dark, as you can see,.... shocked
 And, while looking for an angle to take the pic from.....YOU GUESSED IT!...I skint my head!

your friend,
john


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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2008, 02:26:27 PM »

hey john awesome looking bee yard !
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2008, 04:06:00 PM »

>What I meant about "Equipment" was something like a wheelbarrow.

Or these?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beescarts.htm
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2008, 07:09:01 PM »

Thanks steve!
 I am kinda proud of the way its coming along. Only 5 boxes in the pic have bees in them.
Also, Like daddysgirl,I plan on making a small fountain/pond out there instead of the water jug...I have the stuff to do it(except for a pump I can use with a solar battery) but havent done it yet.
 Soon there will be leaves on those trees, and grass on the ground....and wildflowers hopefully will come back again from last summers plants I'll get a pic posted as soon as this happens(kinda like the back of my house, right?)
 Hey Michael.....Great devices!!!...I really DO need to come up with something better than a wheelbarrow!. Especially when it starts to topple!..One day I'm not gonna be able to recover the "Toppler" and dump my loads all over the place..Dumping honey or bees isnt the same as dumping firewood or dirt, 'eh?

your friend,
john
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BenC
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« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2008, 11:33:00 PM »

Hmmm, you're not that far away...

     On height, I feel that the handle of the top brood box should be where your hand is when standing upright.  I feel it's better to kneel and work if necessary, than it is to handle a heavy load at shoulder level or higher.  As far as shading is concerned-  I see on average 2 Small hive beetle (SHB) per hive, per year.  The pressure for problems is definitely there.  I've read that shading may increase the problems associated with SHB, and that's enough for me to shy away from shading hives.  My boxes are in full sun as it's a problem I don't have and don't want to get started.  With screened bottoms and a top entrance/ vent, bees seem to handle the temps here just fine.  I don't get too concerned about mice as all of my hive bottoms are built to allow a 3/8inch opening.  Full box width in summer, 2 inches wide in winter.  8X10 should be alright for up to 4 colonies, after that you're going to be cramped.  You're not putting the pond liner in that area are you? that could make for an amusing story down the road.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2008, 06:44:04 AM »

You should all build or buy a stool, or just nail a bottom on that nuc and use it for a stool.  You'll stop wanting your hives so high off the ground.  Especially when you go to get a full super off of an eight foot high hive in a year with a bumper crop...
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Michael Bush
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Kimbrell
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« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2008, 01:25:32 PM »

Lowe's carries a plastic cart that works like a wheel barrow, but has four wheels.  It won't tip over and it has sides about 18" high.  The dimensions inside are just right to hold my supers.  It also has a small tray by the handle that holds my hive tool and other small necessities.  I bought it years ago for gardening.  I use it every time I go to the beeyard.
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« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2008, 02:24:52 PM »

My hives are in full sun in Texas.  We are hot and humid.  I had hives with afternoon shade for awhile thinking that would help the bees.  It didn't.  Those hives never thrived like the ones in full sun, that is until I moved them into full sun.  If you think your hives are too hot (not likely for most of you) simply slip a 1/4 inch stick under the edge of the lid.  Heat rises.  Let it out the top.  It also helps the bees dry the honey.  You'll have far less problems with SHB, moldy frames, etc in full sun.
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« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2008, 10:13:48 PM »

I use a milk crate to sit on while watching my bees..I'd sit right on the ground but there are stickers..I'm hoping that the stickers wont be here this season.
your friend,
john
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« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2008, 11:44:27 PM »

John, OK, what are stickers?  I bet you will tell us with a very funnnnnneeeee story to go along with it.  I should just let my imagination run wild, on second thought, nope, I would rather you just tell us what stickers are, hee, hee.  Have the best day.  Cindi
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« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2008, 06:14:42 AM »

Stickers -- Texas term for grassburrs. 
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« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2008, 09:09:11 AM »

Ross, awesome, now I know.  We have burrs, but they grow on a low bush type plant, man are they nasty things.  They used to always get caught in the tails and forelocks of our horses, what a pain to get out, couldn't imagine sitting down on one, hee, hee.  Beautiful and awesomely great day, Cindi
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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
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« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2008, 11:23:20 PM »

Stickers....Any form of pokey stuff that sticks to your knees, elbows and arse..and hands too!..It migrates from these listed places into you couch, carpet, truck floor mats, wifes car floormats, then from these places it get picked up by other people to go and move into their yards!
to the best of my knowledge, the stickers I'm referring to this year is perhaps "Pigweed" or a variation of it.(That what the Smiths man told me last year)...Most all my bremuda grass has been taken over by pgweed last summer..My Zoysia has bee holding its own so far.
We also have "Beggars Lice"..At first you might think that beggars lice are ""sticky"...They are more like "Velcro Balls"
 We also have :"Goatheads", grass burrs, and a few more that i cant remember right now,,,....Then theres the trusty "Mesquite Thorn"..You can trust it to tear your scalp open when in the middle of mowing your land!

The "Pigweed" is what keeps me off the groung last season. I used a pre emergence this year and so far I see no new plants.
 In California, there was something we called "Stinging Nettle" It was viny and grew in the small ravines we would run around in..You would be all scratched after entering into a world of this stuff

well,...these are stickers..... Smiley

your friend,
john
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« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2008, 12:56:02 AM »

We have the wild & wiley blackberrys..OWIEEE do they hurt! They make huge masses, acres & acres & if you lay boxes down you can walk on it & clear out hidey-holes in the middle, great secret camps that no one else can get into!
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Daddys Girl
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« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2008, 09:44:29 AM »

Hmmm, you're not that far away...

     On height, I feel that the handle of the top brood box should be where your hand is when standing upright.  I feel it's better to kneel and work if necessary, than it is to handle a heavy load at shoulder level or higher.

Thank you.  That makes a LOT of sense.

Quote
As far as shading is concerned-  I see on average 2 Small hive beetle (SHB) per hive, per year.  The pressure for problems is definitely there.  I've read that shading may increase the problems associated with SHB, and that's enough for me to shy away from shading hives.  My boxes are in full sun as it's a problem I don't have and don't want to get started.  With screened bottoms and a top entrance/ vent, bees seem to handle the temps here just fine.

I'm going to have to see some pictures of how a hive changes when going from bottom to top entrance.  I'll start another thread in a moment for that.

Quote
I don't get too concerned about mice as all of my hive bottoms are built to allow a 3/8inch opening.  Full box width in summer, 2 inches wide in winter.

Pictures?  Please?  Smiley 

Quote
8X10 should be alright for up to 4 colonies, after that you're going to be cramped.  You're not putting the pond liner in that area are you? that could make for an amusing story down the road.

I figured that 8 by 10 was all the bee yard that I would want.  Even considering what Mike Bush is saying about maintenance and such, 4 hives will be a lot of work, and I really don't want to expand beyond that unless I have a place to expand into.
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« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2008, 12:24:27 AM »

We have the wild & wiley blackberrys..OWIEEE do they hurt! They make huge masses, acres & acres & if you lay boxes down you can walk on it & clear out hidey-holes in the middle, great secret camps that no one else can get into!
I bet they also make great honey!
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