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Author Topic: Changing height of hive  (Read 1691 times)
gdoten
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« on: May 13, 2013, 11:07:58 AM »

The season has begun! Finally got a couple of packages yesterday up here in N.H. They were delayed twice coming up from Rossman Apiaries in Ga. I think the girls brought the cold with them. Yesterday only hit maybe 70°, it got into the high 30s/low 40s last night, and today it's a balmy 50° so far. There's still a bunch of bees hanging out in the package boxes, which I put in front of the hives, and hopefully they'll make their way into the hive. Thought I'd lose those that didn't go into the hive in the cold last night, but that doesn't seem to be the case. They are eating like little pigs from the top feeder.

Anyhow, I put these two hives on top of two cinder blocks tipped on their sides. That's probably high enough for the summertime but come winter I don't want the hives to get buried in snow, and want them to be able to get out for cleansing flights on their own. Also thinking it might be a bit low and the skunks will have a feast. So thought I should add at least one more level of cinder blocks (again, tipped on their side). Would it be an issue for them finding the closed down hive opening after adding the blocks? I'm thinking they wouldn't have a problem at all but that's just guessing, and am wondering if I should do the brush trick so they'll re-orient to the new location.

Last year, my first year at this, the one package I had, up and left the hive sometime in September. So I'm trying to be a little more careful in my decision making this year! Maybe I'm worrying too much about this small change with the hive height? Also going to try and catch a swarm using a pair of 5-frame medium hive bodies; we'll see how that goes!
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-glenn-
Moots
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2013, 11:22:11 AM »

What's a cinder block on end?  I'm thinking 8 inches....

That should be a none issue and the bees should easily adjust to the new location of the opening.  Can't imagine any need to do anything to assist them.
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2013, 11:24:26 AM »

No, add the blocks.  The bees will orient easily within about 18 inches.  Some may fly about confusedly for a bit, but will find the entrance in time.  Guard bees will fan at the entrance to help them.
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gdoten
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2013, 11:25:55 AM »

What's a cinder block on end?  I'm thinking 8 inches....

That should be a none issue and the bees should easily adjust to the new location of the opening.  Can't imagine any need to do anything to assist them.

Great, thanks Moots! Yes, they are placed lengthwise on the ground, so each block is about 8" high (though I had to dig down a bit to get them level).
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-glenn-
iddee
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2013, 11:32:00 AM »

For skunks, I agree. 16 inches is the norm.

For snow, the snow is good insulation and the entrance will clear itself before flying temps are reached.
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gdoten
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2013, 11:35:09 AM »

For skunks, I agree. 16 inches is the norm.

I imagine the 16" for the skunks is to force them to stand up to reach the landing board, which then exposes their underbelly, a nice place to sting, sting, sting.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2013, 11:35:51 AM »

Adding the cinder blocks won't be a problem. They might be a bit confused at first but it still looks the same and it is still in the same area. I have moved a hive 6' to the side. Bees piled up real heavy at first. Then they figured it out. For the next 3 weeks the returning bees would come in on the old hive site and make a big S to get to the new location. We used to stand there and laugh at the way the flew to their hive. They will get confused just changing from a small entrance hole to the medium entrance because it is in a few inch difference location but they will quickly figure it out.
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"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain
gdoten
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2013, 11:38:24 AM »

It amazes me they can locate (well, expect to locate) the old hive entrance in a situation like that. Some sort of built-in high-precision GPS I guess.
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-glenn-
Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2013, 12:39:58 PM »

After dealing with taking supers off with a ladder and hives blown over in the wind, I went lower, not higher, and top entrances to deal with skunks and snow... my stand are all 3 1/2" tall...
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Michael Bush
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2013, 01:16:59 PM »

I went with a single block. That along with the stand raised it to 12". I'll be relocating the hives in a month or so. When that happens, I'll add a top entrance. I just need to decide whether to add a shim or pick a box and drill a hole.
 You probably went to the same place I was going to go to pick up bees. After being delayed twice, I opted for 2 nucs from Vermont, which I got almost 2 weeks ago. Instead of a refund, I picked up enough supplies to cover the cost of the package.
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rober
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2013, 07:08:22 PM »

like michael said, lower is more better for your back. go to a top entrance & the snow & skunks won't be an issue. i use lower & upper entrances in the summer & top entrance in the winter. you can also tack some carpet installation strips to the bottom board at the entrance & that will deter the skunks as well. the best deterrent i've found for skunks is live trapping them & drowning them.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2013, 08:30:26 AM »

>like michael said, lower is more better for your back

I should point out that I work them from a stool when they are down low, and standing up when they are up high.  That way I'm not bending over for long periods of time.
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Michael Bush
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gdoten
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2013, 04:35:37 PM »

After dealing with taking supers off with a ladder and hives blown over in the wind, I went lower, not higher, and top entrances to deal with skunks and snow... my stand are all 3 1/2" tall...

OK, you've got me interested! I just read your “top entrance” web page and am left with two questions.

Is there a purpose for the landing boards?

How do you feed with a top entrance? Right now I'm using a top feeder, the short box type with the floating trays in them. Would the feeder go above the top entrance?
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-glenn-
Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2013, 12:22:15 PM »

>Is there a purpose for the landing boards?

The only purpose they serve is helping mice get into the hive... not one I approve of...

>How do you feed with a top entrance? Right now I'm using a top feeder, the short box type with the floating trays in them. Would the feeder go above the top entrance?

When I use a top feeder, I put a shim on each side to make the entrance.  Then I block the gap made down to what I think those bees require (usually by breaking a shim the appropriate length and inserting it).  But anymore I mostly use bottom board feeders rather than buy top feeders.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#BottomBoardFeeder
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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BAH
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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2013, 06:49:43 PM »

Both my hives sit on a pedestals approx 2' off the ground. The ground is gets pretty soggy when heavy rainfall occurs, also I went this high because I have chickens as well. They love it... it seems and I also have made a collapsible platform for behind the hive for me to inspect and work inside the hive. All in all it works great! Made it using cement blocks and decking boards Smiley The pedestals themselves are made up from 4x4 and concreted in the ground so animals can't climb inside, also sprinkled cinnamon at the base of it and ants can't get in.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2013, 09:40:15 AM »

>Both my hives sit on a pedestals approx 2' off the ground.

If my hives were 2' off the ground they all would have blown over three times this last weekend...
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
BAH
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« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2013, 10:11:25 PM »

Thank goodness my hives are just well placed then. We had some strong winds from the thunderstorms all weekend and hives are still in place. Then again all I have on there is 1 full brood box and the 2nd half full topped with the feeder and covers. Plus my hives sit in an area surround on 2 sides of 6' board fencing. You guys must have some strong wind. But all in all both hives are great. Might just be lucky, with that I do intend to add clamps once supers are added.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2013, 10:26:27 PM »

Is there a purpose for the landing boards?

For something that is deemed pointless, my bees sure use them a lot!  If the bees use them constantly, isn't it logical to think they like them?

I would definitely keep the entrance (whatever it might be) above the snow line.  In NH you can get some cleansing days in the middle of winter but the bees can't take advantage of that if they're buried under the NH snow.  If you want insulation, use foam, it's more reliable than snow.   
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gdoten
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« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2013, 10:36:39 PM »

I do enjoy watching all the activity on the board.
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-glenn-
Michael Bush
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« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2013, 08:56:04 AM »

>isn't it logical to think they like them?

I seriously doubt that bees think like that.  They just are.

If they can think like that, I'll bet when the mice crawl up them they hate them...
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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