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Author Topic: Ever heard of Yemen - style bazooka boxes  (Read 3467 times)
breakfin
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« on: May 01, 2009, 04:02:01 AM »

Hello all.

I live and raise bees in Yemen. Its a wonderful climate for beekeeping - its pretty much summer all year long and there is surprisingly a lot of vegetation for a desert. We have a lot less downtime than areas that have an actual winter so a little more work and a slightly larger yield are the end results.

The reason that I am writing is that I am not overly experienced and I need help with a lingering problem from my beginning. When I started keeping here in Yemen the only option that was readily available was the Yemen-style box. Its basically I rectangle that about 3 feet long and 1 foot high with a door on the front and back.

The most you can do with the boxes is watch them for when the bees swarm which they will because there is no way to control the population, add space, etc. You can hardly find the queen cells without a major disruption to the bees. There are of course no frames. The bees just build to the box so you can rarely see past the next to last comb.

Currently I have about 8 of these boxes in addition to modern style boxes. I would like to eliminate the Yemeni boxes completely. I am reticent to just open the door and start shaking bees into a modern box - I can see several possible downsides to this aside from a few thousand highly annoyed bees.

If anyone has experience with this style box or anything remotely similar and has a method for migrating from them it would be appreciated greatly.
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Keith13
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2009, 06:22:40 AM »

I do not have any experience with that style box but, it seems if you wanted to go to the langstrom style box a cut out is in order. Seems to me you could cut the combs out of your box and either tye them or rubberband them into some frames. The bees would take care of the rest.

Keith
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bailey
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2009, 10:45:06 PM »

keith is right, do a cutout on these and put them into modern style boxes, you wont be sorry.

if you need help with the cutout just start reading bee removal section, loads of great advise there.
bailey
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2009, 12:02:16 AM »

Read the posting on doing cutouts.  I wouldn't worry about the honey combs, harvest those.  But cut the brood combs into sections that will fit in the Langstroth frames and secure them with rubber bands or twine.  The bees will eat away the bands or twine but they will also secure the combs to the frames by building more comb in and around the cutout sections.
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bugleman
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2009, 12:47:18 PM »

I put a harty 3rd or 4th motion on the cut out.  I will add that when I do a cut out I brush the bees into the new box then lay the comb on a table ensuring the the top of the comb is up.  Then I lay the frame on the comb and use the frame as a guide for the knife.   I run my knife/razor blade around the inside of the frame and then tie it in.  The key is to get as much brood comb into the frame as possible.  Once the bees get going start inserting blank frames with a starter strip as a comb guide between the frames with capped brood.   Smiley
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justgojumpit
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2009, 07:59:22 AM »

Like they all said... cutout.

justgojumpit
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abeeco
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2009, 03:02:52 PM »

Also, if you did not feel like disturbing the bees so much/ or doing a "cutout" another possible option would be to cut the bottom off the boxes (cut a hole slightly smaller than the size of a "modern" super)

(carefully) flip the Yemen boxes upside down and add supers above the hole.  The slope of the cells will be wrong- so the bees will not want to use the upside down comb for storing honey and will tend to move up into the other boxes as soon as brood hatches.  Once it looks like the bees are establised in the top box, remove the old one and shake any bees out harvest any honey.

I would only suggest this if the Yemen style boxes were pretty full of comb/ did not have a lot of empty space.

question- what type of frames (foundation?) or top bars are you using?  This could make a difference.  I have a feeling you may be using "top bar hives" ?  It is a little bit more of a challenge to tie cut out comb to a top bar, but I have done it.


You could also just try to cut the bottom out of the Yemen style box and put these on top of a standard box.  If the bees needed the space, they would move down.  You could then either split the hive in two if you thought each box had brood, or remove the top box and harvest it at some point later when you thought that it only contained honey.
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Grandma_DOG
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2009, 04:28:33 AM »

I am actually quite familiar with Yemeni Beekeeping.  I know it to be the finest honey in the world, and the price it fetches proves it. The winter honey can sell for $100/kg.

You are blessed with your own adapted bee. I believe its reddish yellow in color, known as the Apis mellifera yemenitica. It is smaller than a European honeybee, and due to that it has an innate resistance to the varroa mite as well as adapted to the climate of Yemen. Stick with that bee, even though the European bees produce a bit more.

I believe sometimes a simple sun cover is placed over the hives to keep them from direct sun, too.

If I recall, much of Yemeni larger beekeepers follow the bloom and migrate a bit from wadi to wadi. They use to use camels, but know they use trucks. If you will be getting more hives and start doing that, you may want to go with the more modern langstroth box hive because it travels well. 

However, It is my opinion from my knowledge of Yemeni beekeeping that for you, Top Bar hives would be much more appropriate than the traditional Yemeni hive. Top Bar Hives will produce more honey than the Yemeni hive as well.  Also, it will produce more honey per hive $ than both the Yemini and the Langstroth. Yes, a langstroth will produce more honey per hive, but $250 for a hive that makes 30kg vs $30 for a Top Bar that makes 20kg -- its obvious which one makes more sense for small scale production. The Top Bar will make more honey per hive $, and it will be very similar and easy to use for a typical Yemeni beekeeper.  Simple point, do you want 1 Langstroth or 8 Kenyan Top Bar Hives for your $250?  Oh and you'd have to buy a $300 extractor if you wanted to use the Langstroth properly. Top Bar Hive is the same harvest technique as the Yemeni hive.

I believe comb honey is more desired than extracted honey and sells at a premium in the middle east. The Top Bar hive will produce more and it is easy to harvest.  But I don't know if that's a factor here.

Migrating to a Langstroth Hive will be covered by other people. Migrating to a Kenyan Top Bar Hive is also easy once you build your Top Bar Hive - Attach Hair Clips to the top bars, then cut out the combs and clip them in the clips for the bees to reattached. There is a great webpage on it by a polish fellow, but I can't post links yet.

Hello all.

I live and raise bees in Yemen. Its a wonderful climate for beekeeping - its pretty much summer all year long and there is surprisingly a lot of vegetation for a desert. We have a lot less downtime than areas that have an actual winter so a little more work and a slightly larger yield are the end results.

The reason that I am writing is that I am not overly experienced and I need help with a lingering problem from my beginning. When I started keeping here in Yemen the only option that was readily available was the Yemen-style box. Its basically I rectangle that about 3 feet long and 1 foot high with a door on the front and back.

The most you can do with the boxes is watch them for when the bees swarm which they will because there is no way to control the population, add space, etc. You can hardly find the queen cells without a major disruption to the bees. There are of course no frames. The bees just build to the box so you can rarely see past the next to last comb.

Currently I have about 8 of these boxes in addition to modern style boxes. I would like to eliminate the Yemeni boxes completely. I am reticent to just open the door and start shaking bees into a modern box - I can see several possible downsides to this aside from a few thousand highly annoyed bees.

If anyone has experience with this style box or anything remotely similar and has a method for migrating from them it would be appreciated greatly.
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breakfin
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2009, 03:33:44 AM »

I'm very imrpessed and thankful for the information that you all replied with. We started moving away from the bazooka boxes with success. I think we started listening to the locals and that slowed our migration down a bit. A large number of Yemenis have knowledge of bees and rasising them - most people seem to either have a hive or two or have close relative who does. One person in our area has about 50-100 of the Yemeni style boxes. He is of the opinion that the modern style boxes are harder to manage but we intend to change his mind.

We still have a few of the old boxes and I'm glad as I want to try the migration method mentioned by "abeeco". Also the Kenyan Top bar Hive mentioned by "Grandma_DOG" needs to be looked into.

We are not so much worried about the cost of materials as you can put together a Langstroth hive for under $80 (which is still a lot more than $30). However the comb is a very important considereration and I'll try to find the site that was mentioned but could not yet be linked.
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Grandma_DOG
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2009, 07:39:36 PM »

Actually, you probably shouldn't change his mind, because he's right. His hive is simpler, but Langs produce more.

Make sure you add up the true cost of the Langstroth, Boxes, frames, wire, foundation, supers, supers, supers, frames for supers, the uncapping equiptment, and extractor.  Do make the informed choice with ALL the expenses.

The Top Bar Hive will require more attention during honey flow, as you can't super them, so you must remove honey or the bees get honeybound as they do in the Yemeni hives. But require less maintenance the rest of the year. 

The link to the polish guy's clamps are here:  http://homepage.interaccess.com/~netpol/POLISH/Ule/KlamraEN.html

-mt

I'm very imrpessed and thankful for the information that you all replied with. We started moving away from the bazooka boxes with success. I think we started listening to the locals and that slowed our migration down a bit. a large number of Yemenis have knowledge of bees and rasising them - most people seem to either have a hive or two or have close relative who does. One person in our area has about 50-100 of the Yemeni style boxes. He is of the opinion that the modern style boxes are harder to manage but we intend to change his mind.

We still have a few of the old boxes and I'm glad as I want to try the migration method mentioned by "abeeco". Also the Kenyan Top bar Hive mentioned by "Grandma_DOG" needs to be looked into.

We are not so much worried about the cost of materials as you can put together a Langstroth hive for under $80 (which is still a lot more than $30). However the comb is a very important considereration and I'll try to find the site that was mentioned but could not yet be linked.
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