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Author Topic: Feral colonies and Hive designs  (Read 1061 times)
montauk170
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« on: January 10, 2011, 01:40:24 PM »

I'm starting this thread in the Bee Removal forum because I want to get comments from those who does bee removals.

Lately I've read many threads on wintering, hive ventilation and insulation.
For those folks here that remove bees or have seen where feral colonies live, what's your comments on 1) ventilation and 2) insulation?

From my removals, I don't see much or any ventilation on the locations some of these feral colonies lived.
Some probably had zero ventilation while I'm sure had some. So if the feral bees, especially those that have lived there for many years and have overwintered with no issues, why are we so worried about venting our hives?
How do feral bees in wall deal with moisture?

Insulation, living in walls and eves and such, is probably well insulated, at least better than our lang hives.

So why aren't we designing our hives to something like one that a feral colony has moved into, a wall or something that's well insulated without vent?
(Could still be designed with ease of management)
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Robo
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2011, 01:47:53 PM »

My experience has been very similar to yours with ferals.  That is why I don't fully buy into the ventilation is the answer position.   Ferals around here don't do it and I've seen hives try to close up all ventilation when given the opportunity.

There is an interesting book you might find interesting by Ed Clark called "Constructive Beekeeping".  His premise is that bees can not rely of evaporation to remove all the moisture from the hive.  He goes through the mathematics to prove it.  He believes they rely mainly on condensation and designed a hive based on that principle.

But,  keep in mind, most ferals are not being feed syrup either which adds a lot of moisture to the hive.

Rob..
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 08:12:23 AM by Robo » Logged

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iddee
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2011, 02:07:51 PM »

Ventilation.....Total hype, used to make up for lack of insulation.

Insulation... The more the merrier, removing the need for ventilation.
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montauk170
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2011, 01:36:58 AM »

But,  keep in mind, most ferals are not being feed syrup either which adds a lot of moisture to the hive.

Rob..

Have to agree about the syrup.
But let me ask another question.
If we feed syrup only during Spring, Summer, and Fall, maximum ventilation is done on the hive in the warm conditions.
Then stop feeding near mid-Fall and close up all vents and insulate like a feral colony, would you think we will have moisture issues?

Guess there's another question that's similar to the above, when bees intake syrup and then turn it into honey placed into the cells, is the water value the same or higher than say natural nectar turned into honey? (If same, moisture level would be equal. If more, of course then the sugar syrup honey would create more moisture)
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 08:12:39 AM by Robo » Logged

lmtfi
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2011, 10:24:34 PM »

But,  keep in mind, most ferals are not being feed syrup either which adds a lot of moisture to the hive.

Rob..

<snip>

Guess there's another question that's similar to the above, when bees intake syrup and then turn it into honey placed into the cells, is the water value the same or higher than say natural nectar turned into honey? (If same, moisture level would be equal. If more, of course then the sugar syrup honey would create more moisture)

I suppose that I assumed out of some things I was told that when fed syrup was stored that the bees - it was at essentially the same moisture level as stored naturally-gathered nectar.
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iddee
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2011, 10:31:16 PM »

Then stop feeding near mid-Fall and close up all vents and insulate like a feral colony, would you think we will have moisture issues?

Just remember most feral hives have 20 feet or more insulation on top. "tree"  It would be hard to imitate in a lang.
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JP
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2011, 10:01:42 AM »

Small entrances in just about any kind of void space. They seem to particularly like two story houses, between floor joists. I use solid bottom boards and know a beek in Brookhaven, Ms that keeps his on solids and keeps entrances reduced all year long. His bees are very strong.


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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2011, 10:43:19 AM »

Have to agree about the syrup.
But let me ask another question.
If we feed syrup only during Spring, Summer, and Fall, maximum ventilation is done on the hive in the warm conditions.
Then stop feeding near mid-Fall and close up all vents and insulate like a feral colony, would you think we will have moisture issues?

Perhaps.

I know I have posed this question before, but I'll do it again.   The general consensus of providing maximum ventilation assumes the bees rely of evaporation.   But what if that is not the case?   Not only do ferals try to limit ventilation,  but a lot of langstroth hives attempt to fight our efforts of providing ventilation.  Do we know better than they do?  Is their instinct to utilize condensation instead?  There is an interesting book out there by Ed Clark called "Constructive Beekeeping" where he actual goes through the mathematics and shows that evaporation can not account for all the moisture the bees must remove.  I would recommend everyone take a look at it and decide for themselves.

I also don't buy the feral is trees have a lot more insulation argument.  Most of the ferals I deal with are not in trees, and they manage the nest cavity in the same manner.  I have seen ferals survive in many different locations, even decades in the side of an abandoned house with clap board siding.

Now I'm not saying ventilation doesn't work as I know many are successful with it.  But,  bees are very adaptable and can survive despite the many thing we do to hinder them.  My only point is ventilation is not THE answer based upon what I have witnessed with ferals.
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