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Author Topic: Hive in metal tank.  (Read 858 times)
OldMech
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« on: August 09, 2013, 08:32:14 PM »


   Not sure where this will go, as I am just looking for a bit of discussion on something I have found several times, but will use one instance as the basis...

   Not long after I began beekeeping, my mother called me in hysterics.. still laughing in fits...
   My father was cleaning the hill out at the farm, lugging all the stuff he could pick up to the trailer to haul it to the salvage yard..  apparently, she watched him grab an old well/water pressure tank, and head toward the trailer with it... he quickly dropped it.. jumped up in the air flailing wildly... then he started waving his cap about and took off at high speed across the yard..  dad is in his 60's, and doesnt often run.. but apparently he was making good time across the yard...
   Moms first reaction when she realized that he was getting attacked by bees was to shut, and lock the door...  thinking better of that, she ran for the bedroom and shut and locked that door, as dad came through the front door in excess of 80 MPH...
   Anyhow.. upon investigation, he was moving a tank I had known about for MANY years to have bees in it, but had LONG since forgotten about... I had found that tank many years ago looking for misc pieces of steel to build some project with..

   I picked it up gently, re oriented it so the right side was up, and placed it back where it had been.. I did not get stung...
   I waited until that evening when all the bees were back, screened over two entrances, and taped the other two shut. put it in my truck and brought it home..
   It was my first cutout.. the tank was about three feet long and about eighteen inches in diameter, made of galvanized steel. it had four inch holes in different locations. the tank had been left with the holes pointing between the nine and ten oclock position, with One hole straight up..
   When I cut the tank open.. I found it packed FULL of old brown and black comb. I carefully cut each piece of comb away, shook the bees into a deep body with a couple frames pulled out.. about 3/4 through cutting all the comb out, the bees started orienting on the hive, instead of the can, so i assume thats when the queen was shaken into the hive body..   I did the classic rubber band trick to attach their comb to four empty frames, and set those into the hive..  I still have this hive, and it is one of the gentlest and best producing hives I have. The bees are yellower, with yellow alternating with the black on their abdomens all the way to the tip.. most other bees I have, carniolans and itallians are not this yellow, or this small, and not as gentle.. They are more orange with black and white abdomens.
   Anyhow.. i often see discussions on Ventilation and swarm hive location, and this metal container could NOT have had good insulation or ventilation. It's location was also ON the ground, with the openings positioned so that rain most certainly got into them, if not in large amounts.
   The bottom of the canister had about an inch and a half of rust and debris in it, the rest of this hive was attached directly to the metal sides. This hive was also in full shade 100% of the time. Trees, brush, and a plenitude of metal debris from tractors and farm implements covering it..   Seeing discussions on hive ventilation and insulation makes me wonder how this hive ever survived.. much less survived for the thirteen years I am certain of...  Yes, it is possible it was constantly re filled by swarms from the hive in the big tree in the front.. but I also saw old queen cells, and new queen cells on some of the unused portions of the comb, so am relatively certain that this hive had overwintered many times...

    Jut trying to understand how bees can do everything wrong according to all I have read, and still survive...

   As a side mention.. I have taken hives from old cars, old farm equipment, an old steel tool box from a truck that had been in use for at least four years.  A combine tire, still on the rim that had a two inch gash in the side of it, was propped up against the side of a tree, and allowed to sit there for many years. And the most interesting one.. a LARGE hive in an old grinder mixer tank.. I liked that one.. the mixer had windows in the side of the tank so you could look in and see the bees working away..  I took the window out, and used a vac to get most of the bees..  Opened the top hatch and vacced the comb on that, and used a sawsall to cut open the side.. we took over 30 gallons of honey from that hive....

   Temps here in mid winter are usually around 0 - 20 F, with a two or three week period of -20. In summer, 80 -90, with two or three weeks of near or just over 100.

   SO...
   One, how can they survive in metal? Cold doesnt kill bees.. cold and WET kills bees? What about heat in full sun in metal?

   Two, Ventilation..  VERY little in some of the hives I cut out, especially the combine tire.. ONE hole, black tire.. I wonder why the comb didnt melt when the temps were over 100 and the sun was shining on it...

    Three, what was the most interesting thing you found bees in?
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2013, 09:15:08 PM »

To answer question number 3:
I received a call to remove bees that were in a small truck tool box. It had been buried in the bushes for a very long time. It was very heavy. Took it home and had to cut it open from the side after drilling out the lock and removing the hinge. The comb was attached to the top and was to heavy to pick up. The first thing I found was a broke bag of seven dusts. The bottom of the box had 3 inches  of dead bees. It was full of bees and had tons of honey and brood. I sealed the honey up and threw it away. It wintered over real well and I still have that hive and it has 6 super on it right now.
Jim
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hiram.ga.bee.man
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2013, 09:43:47 PM »

The first hive i ever had was removed from a cavity in a poplar tree. The second hive was taken out of a water heater tank, which had been laying on its side for years in the woods and in the shade. Literally no insulation and extremely moist environment. One thing i will say is the conditions that feral bees seem to thrive is with a larger cavity.  Perhaps this larger cavity affords them greater flexibility in ventilation and humidity regulation, which at this point we don't fully comprehend the advantages. Great topic by the way.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2013, 10:41:00 PM »

As I explain in my upcoming book, the modern bee is of a size created by man.  According to my mentor, who began beekeeping in the 1890's, the bee industry, after the advent of the Langstroth hive, decided that a larger bee would be able to carry more nectar back to the hive so honey could be harvested that much more.  As a result they designed the molds and presses for wax foundation to be 5.3mm instead of the 4.8-5.0mm that was found in feral, skep, and gum hives up to that time.  So small cell beekeeping with a 4.9mm foundation is merely a return to the orginal size of bee as your feral stock demonstrates.

Honey bees, according to Dr. Emile Warre, will build a hive (permanent home) in any cavity that is 12X12X8 inches or larger.  Material the cavity is made out of is pretty much immaterial as the insides are coated with propolis which protects the bees from chemical hazards. 

It's not the bees doing everything wrong, it's man placing his own demands on the bees and forcing them to comply.
It is wet plus cold that kills the bees it sounds like that hive was well vented with a hole straight up.
If natural ventilation is lacking the bees provide it, bearding gets excess population out of the hive in order to lower temperatures and the bearded bees then force air through the hive by fanning it with their wings.  Ventilating a hive with only one opening uses up a lot of bee power and shortens wing life.

Most interesting place to find a colony of bees, an old abandoned septic tank.
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hiram.ga.bee.man
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 11:50:02 PM »

Well said: "It's not the bees doing everything wrong, it's man placing his own demands on the bees and forcing them to comply."  I wholeheartedly agree.
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You ever notice that prices are inflating, but wages are deflating?
Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 02:14:11 PM »

>  Two, Ventilation..  VERY little in some of the hives I cut out

I think you'll find natural hives usually have very small openings (with some exceptions).  If they are not the bees usually try to reduce the opening with propolis until it's quite small.  Huber's research would indicate they can ventilate BETTER with one small opening than with multiple openings.

"We tried increasing the number of openings in the side of the box, but were not successful.  One of the two candles went out at the end of 8 minutes.  The other kept alight as long as the ventilator was in motion.  I had there-fore not obtained a stronger current by multiplying the openings.

"These experiments show that in a place with an opening only on one side, air can renew itself when there is some mechanical cause tending to displace it, and this seems to confirm our conjectures on the effect which the fanning of bees has on the hive."--Francis Huber, New Observations Upon Bees, Vol II, Chapter VIII, 5th Experiment:  Increase in openings decreased  ventilation. Pg 539 of the 2012 edition.
 
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Michael Bush
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derekm
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2013, 10:34:57 AM »

bees will try to find the best nest site available... some times the best site available  is pretty awful.
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
OldMech
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« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2013, 11:39:33 PM »

hehe, well, I will have to try to make sure there are plenty of less awful places available Smiley
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39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.
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