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Author Topic: Modified Bee Tree Hive System  (Read 563 times)
Variable
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« on: December 17, 2013, 01:01:14 AM »

While looking about for local bees, to get this spring, I came across Olympic Wilderness Apiary. I read most of the site but this page left me with questions.

http://www.wildernessbees.com/?p=content&c=0&i=31

It looks like they are leaving an empty bottom box to aid in a bunch of things. If anyone wants to take a quick look and let me know your thoughts.....

A screened bottom board would do most of what they are using this box for... maybe... what am I missing? Wouldn't the bees just draw comb on the bottom of the frame above the empty box? I have heard of some kind of extra space between the bottom board and the bottom box....

Has anybody ever worked with them or their bees?
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I want to beelieve.
WA Apiary ID WA14-077
chux
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2013, 08:12:10 AM »

From what the article says, they have observed that bees in the wild tend to leave "dead space" below the brood chamber. In the wall-cutouts I did this year, I saw the same thing. The bees entered the wall low, and the brood comb was a few feet higher. So they enter the dead space, then climb to the brood comb. In our langs, the bees enter the hive at the same level as brood comb. These guys are saying it more closely resembles a natural situation when the bees enter low, then climb to reach the brood comb. An empty box on the bottom would do that. As long as they have room above, it is not usual for the bees to go down to build. They work up. So they probably will not build comb below the frames. 

Sounds like they believe the "dead space" has the advantage of giving insulation to the colony. A screened bottom board would not do this as well. Nor would it leave a gap between the entry area and the brood comb. Just my thoughts. I enjoyed reading the article. Thanks for posting.
   
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derekm
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2013, 08:35:48 AM »

From what the article says, they have observed that bees in the wild tend to leave "dead space" below the brood chamber. In the wall-cutouts I did this year, I saw the same thing. The bees entered the wall low, and the brood comb was a few feet higher. So they enter the dead space, then climb to the brood comb. In our langs, the bees enter the hive at the same level as brood comb. These guys are saying it more closely resembles a natural situation when the bees enter low, then climb to reach the brood comb. An empty box on the bottom would do that. As long as they have room above, it is not usual for the bees to go down to build. They work up. So they probably will not build comb below the frames.  

Sounds like they believe the "dead space" has the advantage of giving insulation to the colony. A screened bottom board would not do this as well. Nor would it leave a gap between the entry area and the brood comb. Just my thoughts. I enjoyed reading the article. Thanks for posting.
  

its not insulation, if you measure this there is no direct thermal advantage in a bottom entry box. Draft exclusion is the only real advantage,
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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?
iddee
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2013, 09:03:34 AM »

""As a result, we now include an empty bottom box, modifying the modern Langstrom Hive system to more closely duplicate the conditions found in a natural “bee tree”.""

First, if they were doing bee research for thirty years, you would think they would know L.L. Langstroth was NOT Langstrom. It was not a typo, they referred to it the same later in the article.

""While we used to include "Selective Drone Removal" as an advantage of our system,we have become aware that some beekeepers employing our method have not removed the hanging drone comb in the bottom empty box in a timely manner, resulting in an increase in their mite loads!""

They tell you the bees will draw comb from the bottom of the frames, and recommend cutting it off regularly. If you don't, they say it will INCREASE your mite load.

In my experience of cutouts from buildings, They build from the top to the bottom, if the hive is old enough and strong enough. My opinion, and only an opinion, is they are going to cause more headache and disappointment than help with that article.



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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2013, 09:07:48 AM »

   Bees WILL build in the bottom area, but only after they have worked their way down to it..  If you look at natural comb in a decent space, the center comb is larger, the outer combs smaller, in effect they shape it like a ball to start out with..  as they fill the center area, they will continue under the center frame or they may continue to fill the side combs.. eventually YES, they would build comb under the frames..  As you can see they are cutting away the comb that is built down there...   I am unsure of their intent with this, other than to use it as IPM??  Even with an excluder I would think they would build comb in the empty box, just like they do in a honey super OVER an excluder, it just wouldnt get eggs in it...
  Iddeee beat me to the post.. I have to agree with him.

   Good read! Thanks!!!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013, 06:39:13 AM »

I've done extra space at the bottom.  They just fill it with comb.  So apparently the bees disagree with leaving empty space... I've also left an empty box with screen to keep the bees out of it.  I didn't see any advantage.  It's true the bees in a tree usually have a pile of detritus at the bottom and a few inches between that and the bottom of the combs, but not a whole box.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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chux
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2013, 08:02:10 AM »

In my cutouts this year, there was a gap between entrance and comb. I'm sure you guys are right though. Given time, they would have built down to the level of the entrance, and farther. They build down. How should this knowledge influence my hive manipulation?

If I wanted to give the colony room to enlarge the brood chamber next spring, would it be more "natural" to put an empty box below the current deep brood chamber? Right now my young colonies are one deep brood and one medium super for honey. I am using foundationless frames. If I left the deep and medium alone, but put a new empty medium below, would that be the best way to have them build new comb and make it a brood chamber?   
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iddee
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2013, 08:15:04 AM »

They would not touch it until the deep and medium were totally full. Then they would, as always, put the brood chamber in the bottom section of the honey, where ever that may be.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
OldMech
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2013, 09:41:13 PM »

In my experience they DO build down naturally, so as posted by Iddee they would use it if you put a box under, but they will also use a box put OVER just as well.. the difference is that YOU have a harder time CHECKING on that box you put UNDER to see if it was full and if they needed another box added.. where as the box on top just requires a pop of the covers to see how they are getting along...   Adding the box on top is more convenient to YOU.. and in my limited experience makes no difference to the bees either way so long as they GET the room they need.
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39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.
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