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Author Topic: Adding passageways to middle of comb?  (Read 3503 times)
windfall
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« on: December 21, 2010, 08:46:47 PM »

I am planning on building a horizontal hive for spring, sized to fit deeps.
As I gather info, many folks have  made claims about increased difficulty in overwintering since the cluster must move to the hive edge to proceed to the next comb. (others have said this doesn't matter). But I must admit it makes a certain amount of sense to this newbie that forcing the cluster to thin out at the cold edge seems like an additional challenge in our northern VT winters.
I came across some folks talking about drilling "communication holes" in through the center of combs in Lang hives to allow bees to jump across. This seems a bit aggressive/crude to me but it did bring another thought to mind:
I was probably going to make the frames for this hive. I am planning to go foundationless. I am now thinking that instead of running wires as as I was considering, That I might add an additional wooden bar running horizontally halfway down.  I can a think of a number of designs that allow me a 3/8" opening 6-8" long in the center of this bar. I had also considered ways to "wire in" a central wooden  "window"
I assume the bees would leave this beespace window/passage open?
Does anyone think it would aide the cluster movement?
Are there good reasons not to do this (other than additional work)... such as breaking up the brood nest?
Essentially I believe I would be making each deep frame into the rough equivalent to two shallows "stacked"
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Pink Cow
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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2010, 03:23:05 PM »

Speaking with less than one year experience here, so keep that in mind but they don't need a hole in the center. We've got both a topbar hive and Lang that is partially foundationless, and in it all of the holes the bees have left for themselves are on the edges. There are no holes in the TB as they've left themselves room around the edges. Especially since you are going foundationless, just let them do what they want. I would bet they'd fill your "window" with drone comb. If they needed the holes to be centered, they'd put them there.
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AllenF
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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2010, 07:51:24 PM »

Personally IMO I think you may be wasting your time trying to redesigning the frames for holes for the bees.   You may go through all that work and the bees may just fill the holes with comb.   I have seen the communication holes in foundation filled with wax before. 

But if you want to try it, document it.   Take some pics and let us all know so we can see how it goes.   
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2010, 07:56:47 PM »

My first thought is that the bees would burr it up all together making frame removals impossible.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2010, 08:18:52 PM »

Trying to outsmart bees usually fails.  If you have natural comb they can leave passages wherever they like already, unlike plastic foundation.
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windfall
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2010, 08:18:57 AM »

I don't doubt that you all are right and that it would well be a waste of time. But it would help me understand hive behavior better if folks could explain why.
Why would the bees be more prone to bridge and burr between a mid bar than they do on any others?

Michael, I am not trying to "outsmart the bees", that would be both foolish and arrogant for me to think I could. I firmly believe they are best left to thier own programming, it is one of the reasons I like the idea of natural comb.
 I was trying to imagine a way in which one could alleviate what seems to be a problem we create in forcing the hive configuration. I had gathered (perhaps wrongly) that when allowed to fill a long horizontal cavity on their own, the bees tended to lay the comb parallel to the length....which allows for a great deal of movement and circulation down through the center of the hive. Using comb guides and frames the beekeeper "tricks" the bees into running their comb perpendicular to the cavity...a much easier arrangement for the keeper to handle and manage, but one that forces all the movement to the perimeter. I had originally tried to sketch up a long hive that allowed three sets of standard frames running parallel to the long sides, but the frame ends and rests get pretty silly and short. so I started thing of ways a central passage could be introduced/encourgaed.

I am sure I am overcomplicating things...and others with much more experience have worked out the system that works best. I am just trying to understand why the "obvious" solutions (to a newbie/outsider) don't work or are even detrimental.

while I have your attention regarding foundationless frames. On your site you mention and show a number of frames with comb guide all around (side top and bottom) I assume you have found this unnecessary or excessive since I never see you reference it in the relevant archived threads?

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« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2010, 08:31:17 AM »


I am sure I am overcomplicating things...and others with much more experience have worked out the system that works best. I am just trying to understand why the "obvious" solutions (to a newbie/outsider) don't work or are even detrimental.

while I have your attention regarding foundationless frames. On your site you mention and show a number of frames with comb guide all around (side top and bottom) I assume you have found this unnecessary or excessive since I never see you reference it in the relevant archived threads?



Dont feel bad on the 'over complicating things'. Speaking for myself, I was guilty of doing the same whenever I first found this forum and began posting. I was guilty of trying to re-invent the wheel so-to-speak.

I know your foundationless frame question was directed towards MB but no you do not have to use a comb guide around the perimeter of a frame. I used the wood wedge strip turned at a 90 degree angle at the top of my frame. Worked like a charm.  (I got my foundationless info from MB's site too). Just make sure that if you plan to do this, make sure that your hives are completely level or you will open it up to a terrible mess.
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AllenF
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« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2010, 08:44:48 AM »

I still say if you want to do it.   Document it.   Take pics and show us.   Data and info go a long way around here.
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windfall
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« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2010, 09:10:08 AM »

K9,
I suspect "reinventing the wheel" is pretty common to most newbies. I laugh at myself for doing it. I used to teach my trade (traditional boatbuilding) and I can't tell you how many times a new student would start making simple tasks complicated in an effort to improve something...I would always tell them "folks have been doing this for HUNDREDS of years, many of them much brighter than you or I. Learn first what their experience has passed to us, then go play around with it if you want" Obviously I can't take my own advice! But every once in awhile someone would come along from another trade and see a whole new angle on something...usually this would be an improvement on process or technique not end product. There is a certain value in not being taught by tradition...sometimes we keep doing something a particular way just because that's how we were taught to do it...and it works good enough.

ALLenF,
 "Data and info go a long way around here"   As they should! theories are a dime a dozen or cheaper, everyone has a whole bunch. If I get the impression from those with experience that I won't be harming the hive...just wasting my time, I may well give it a try. (I am now thinking a vertical bar would be better/less comb interuption, and easier to remove when the whole thing proves a mess) If I do it I will certainly document any success or failure.
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Tommyt
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« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2010, 01:49:52 PM »

I say go for it and next fall before you close the hive, Clear the holes to wish them to use, to
Migrate through,It should be late enough that they won't bother to fill them in, maybe they will end up
 using the short cut,If they don't nothing lost.If they do your an inventor.


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« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2010, 01:53:03 PM »

Dadant, Duragilt Foundations, have a 1/2 diameter hole in each lower corner.
They call them Communication Holes, been around for years.

They are available in the 2010 Dadant Catalog, page 14.

Do the bees close them, I don't know, I've only seen a couple of them in use, and I don't remember.   huh
Course must have been open or I would not have seen them. huh   huh

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« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2010, 12:52:32 AM »

>while I have your attention regarding foundationless frames. On your site you mention and show a number of frames with comb guide all around (side top and bottom) I assume you have found this unnecessary or excessive since I never see you reference it in the relevant archived threads?

I've only used them on the Dadant Deep frames as they are the hardest to support (11 1/4" frames).  On the mediums I haven't found them worth the trouble.
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Michael Bush
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windfall
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2011, 07:23:48 PM »

I wanted to follow up on this post, showing what I had in mind and see if I could get any more input,

A few weeks ago I ran off 60 foundationless frames, half at 1.25" and half at 1 3/8"
After assembling them, I just modified this one to see what folks would have to say....I am looking for any feedback, but particularly any negative like this is a bad idea because:
Breaks up brood nest?
will actually create a "barrier" rather than promote ease of winter cluster movement
etc.



I had just about abandoned the idea after the my initial posting here. But then I saw a comment Michael B made elsewhere regarding his belief/experience that mediums winter slightly better because the individual cluster "slices" were less isolated, and seemed not to have small groups left behind as often.
And I have continued to find references to the greater ease with which wintering bees move vertically rather than horizontally...but I want to run a horizontal hive.
It makes sense to me as I imagine the ball of bees moving through the hive that more "conduits" would make it easier for them to maintain a compact mass in a northern climate.....but for me it's all theory and I could easily be overlooking or misunderstanding a great many things! As I said before, I don't mind wasting a bit of time on something that probably won't help...but I really don't want to make things worse overthinking how to improve them (I have certainly been known to do that before).
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AllenF
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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2011, 08:13:17 PM »

I would like to see how the bees make comb in the frames with it being foundationless. 
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windfall
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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2011, 08:48:29 PM »

These frames in particular or foundationless in general? I have seen a lot of phots of foundationless comb in frames both here and researching around the web.
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AllenF
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2011, 09:38:54 PM »

Your frames with the middle passage.
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windfall
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« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2011, 09:48:25 AM »

I would like to see it too! But with just 2 colonies I am leary of experimenting too much....enough challenges face a begginer. Hopefully in a year or two we will be up to 4-6 and then I wouldn't hesitate to try it. Still, no one has jumped in to say this is a truly foolish notion.....
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AllenF
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« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2011, 09:53:22 AM »

Something you could do for a middle passage is after they have drawn out the brood comb, you could cut out an inch hole in the middle of it and see if they use that hole for a passage way or if they just refill it with comb.  No frame modification needed. 
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windfall
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« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2011, 10:23:14 AM »

Allen I have thought about that. In fact one of the things that got me thinking about this whole Idea was a heard a couple of more experienced keepers in Michigan talking about drilling a 1" hole straight through the whole Boxwith a long auger on a standard lang inthe fall for that purpose. and then they would just plug the holes in the wood with corks....that sounded pretty rough to me, and seemed like a good way to smoosh the queen with just a bit of bad luck. But I could do it in a more controlled frame by frame manner.
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AllenF
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« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2011, 12:22:57 PM »

I am willing to bet that the bees would just refill the holes with comb every spring.
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