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Author Topic: Perone Hives in Australia  (Read 3316 times)
PRYORDARNELL
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« on: January 01, 2014, 07:03:12 PM »

After looking around I stumbled across Perone style hives and I sort of liked the concept and ideals ( a big colony with minimal interference). I am not needing to produce a heap of honey. Mainly looking for polinators and enough honey for our family of 6.

Has anyone in AU been using this system and what do you think of it, how has it performed. I was also thinking I would try a few modifications like a queen excluder for the farmer box as well as a couple of other ideas i would like to try once it was up and running.
Thanks in advance
Trying to learn all i can before taking the plunge
Damian
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Oak
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2014, 09:08:42 PM »

This is interesting, to me it is unclear if any hive without removable frames is legal in Australia. For example:

Quote
The Act requires beekeepers to only keep hives that have easily and individually removable frames.


http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/about-agriculture/legislation-regulation/all-acts/beekeeping-livestock-disease-control-act

I would love to know more about this. Are foundationless frames the closest you can legally get to top bar hive systems in Australia?
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iddee
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2014, 10:35:11 PM »

Oak, the US has the same law. TBH have fully removable frames. Frames do not have to have sides and bottoms. They only have to be easily removed, one at a time, for inspecting.
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PRYORDARNELL
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2014, 01:42:04 AM »

I had read that in the US Perone hives needed top bars rather than the sticks that are put into normal Perones. I sort of thought that it may be the same here in Australia. I was thinking I would put Top bars in and let the bees do what they wanted. Would only need to go anywhere near them if I was inspected for some reason.

Still looking and learning before i commit to anything.
Cheers
Damian
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yantabulla
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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2014, 04:03:35 AM »

G'day Damian,

I have had a bit of a google search of the Perone hive.  It looks like they are advocating that there is a space where only the bees go. (the brood box).

Can I suggest that if you don't want to go into the brood chamber to inspect the brood occasionally (at least 3 to 4 times per year) you may want to reconsider beekeeping as a hobby.

American Foul Brood is endemic where I keep bees and I inspect brood very regularly.  I keep a keen eye on the brood when I am in there and I shake every bee off every frame of brood every three months to check for brood disease.

If you are relying on another person (e.g. Government inspector) to inspect the brood chamber you are doomed to failure.

Join a beekeeping club in your area and talk to other beekeepers.  You should seriously consider doing a beekeeping course.  A google search should turn something up for you in QLD.

The advice on this forum is useful once you have grasped the basics.

Some advice provided is very poor in my opinion.  The number of posts attributed to a person does not equate to beekeeping experience..

You are welcome to PM me.  

I think you are in the Toowoomba area.  My family is from Warwick however I have bees in Coffs Harbour.

So that's what I think of the Perone hive.

Good luck.

Yanta










« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 04:15:46 AM by yantabulla » Logged

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PRYORDARNELL
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2014, 05:50:58 AM »

Hi Yanta
Unfortunately you have misread my post and my intentions.
Thankyou for your advice anyway
Regards
Damian
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Oak
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2014, 07:27:21 AM »

Oak, the US has the same law. TBH have fully removable frames. Frames do not have to have sides and bottoms. They only have to be easily removed, one at a time, for inspecting.

Thanks Iddee. That has set me straight.
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PRYORDARNELL
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2014, 04:02:24 PM »

Thought I might clarify my reasoning for enquiring about Perone Hives.

It is my understanding that the theory underpinning Perone hives is that you let bees do what they naturally do and allow them to build numbers substantially in a large undisturbed space (around 280L). This theoretically creates a larger "healthier" colony that is more resistant to disease, predators, parasites etc. The keeper takes a comparatively small amount of honey and leaves the bees undisturbed as much as possible to minimise intrusion and stress.

This is not my theory ( i have never kept bees before so i dont have one).

I thought that AU laws would require access to the hives so I was planning on using top bars to give me some access if needed instead of dropping in sticks that allow bees to "freebuild" but limit access. If the most naturally viable way of housing bees requires me to access the brood  regularly then I am happy to do it, so long as it is the most naturally viable way.

My reasoning behind enquiring about Perone hives is that we grow everything on our little farm in a way that is as close to natural as is viable.
Our chickens dont have as much breast meat because they are a heritage breed not the broilers that will literally eat themselves to death by 16 weeks.
We lose quite a few tomatoes to grubs and parrots so we make sure we plant enough for them as well.  We happily eat Kale that has holes in the leaves.
We can only run a few dexter cattle at a time as much of our land is uncleared. The bettongs that are supposed to be locally extinct are happy about that though.

This all generally takes a little more work and means our yield is sometimes lessened or not of "shop quality" but we are happy to accept that in order to ensure we use no chemicals and all our animals have the best quality of life that we can manage. We only try to provide for our family of six.  

I am not looking for advice on how to get advice. I was simply enquiring about an alternative method of housing bees.

 I was hoping, and still hope, to gain some locally relevent knowledge about the possible pitfalls and benefits before I made any decisions on which way to go.

So if anyone has any experience using a Perone style hive or something similar (good or bad) I would love to hear about it.

I really do appreciate the advice
Regards
Damian




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amun-ra
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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2014, 05:22:58 PM »

Damian if you use a perone hive and build up a huge brood box is great but if you inspect and find and confirm AFB you will have to destroy the bees and all your woodware by burning and burying as per DPI if you go for 2-3 langs one may pick up afb the others might be fine so you destroy the sick hive but still have 2 healthy hives to go on with and maybe split to come back up to strength.Though i like the idea of perone hive I think they are more for bee havers than bee keepers and we need to bee bee keepers for their own sake.
Mick.
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yantabulla
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2014, 04:16:13 AM »

Thanks Mick,

Definitely a hive for a bee haver.

Yanta.
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PRYORDARNELL
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2014, 06:32:14 AM »

Thanks Mick
Still researching and have dug in a few different areas following your helpful reply. The more i read about AFB the more it scares the $h!t out of me. 
Still looking and learning. I think i might end up with standard langs as you suggested and just use management techniques that are as natural as possible while still giving me the access to be appropriately vigilant for pests and parasites.

I think I would prefer to use foundationless. Am i right in the understanding that using foundationless will allow bees to create comb that will produce a more "natural" size of offspring?  Does this usually lead to a hive that is able to be inspected without too much difficulty/damage? I have read some swear against foundationless and some say its the only way to go (more natural/ humane??).

Thanks for the help
Cheers
Damian
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Oak
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2014, 07:52:28 AM »

Am i right in the understanding that using foundationless will allow bees to create comb that will produce a more "natural" size of offspring?

Yes

Does this usually lead to a hive that is able to be inspected without too much difficulty/damage?

So far mine have been fine (three months experience). Some people have run into trouble with cross-comb in their supers but I seem to get around that by opening up the broodnest.

I have read some swear against foundationless and some say its the only way to go (more natural/ humane??).

I don't think it is more humane. Wax takes energy to make and foundation gives them a head start. I started foundationless because it sounded interesting. It's a backyard hobby for me and I like to experiment. It is more natural and quite beautiful seeing them draw wax.

If you start with a swarm or a cut out you should be fine. I have heard that converting conventional colonies can be tricky because the bees finally have a chance to build drone sized cells and go nuts. Michael Bush's website is probably the best source of information for issues with managing foundationless colonies.
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PRYORDARNELL
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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2014, 08:18:44 AM »

Thanks Oak
Have made myself a coffee and started reading the site. With all the searching I have been doing I cant believe I didnt find Micheal's site sooner.
Thanks fpr the direction.
Cheers
Damo
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prestonpaul
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2014, 11:27:43 PM »

I think Oak is in the right track, langstroth hives with foundationless frames would give you what is essentially a Perone hive with top bars. The only difference is the top bars have sides and a bottom as well. On top of that it will be easier to manage and inspect and will meet legal requirements. You will be able to make the brood nest as deep as you like (or more importantly as deep as the bees like) by adding more supers. Equipment is readily available and your hives will be compatible should you choose to buy a nucleus hive from someone.
Go to YouTube and search for JP the bee man's removal videos. They are entertaining to watch and you will soon see that the bees don't care how deep or shallow their combs are. They are very adaptable and will quite happily use whatever space is available to them.
Perhaps have a look at Kenyan top bar hives as well.
Oh, and welcome to the world of beekeeping where everyone has an opinion  grin
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ugcheleuce
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« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2014, 04:41:28 AM »

This is interesting, to me it is unclear if any hive without removable frames is legal in Australia.


Different states in Australia have different laws.  The Victoria law, for example, states that frames should be removable without cutting or tearing (i.e. in a top-bar hive the comb must not get stuck to the walls of the hive, even if you can easily tear or cut it).  Queensland law (where the OP seems to be from) does not seem to have that particular requirement.  Also, Victoria law says that you must use frames in both the brood box and honey super, whereas Queensland law says you can go frame-less in the honey supers, but only if the queen is excluded from accessing that super.

The Queensland law is here:
https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/A/ApiariesA82.pdf

Sadly, the booklet for beekeepers published by Queensland's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry contain information that would seem rather imprecisely written (or written by a non-beekeeper who used only Wikipedia):
http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/62512/Guidelines-for-keeping-bees-in-Queensland.pdf
For example, the booklet defines "super" as any box with frames in it, so the booklet authors don't use the word "super" for honey boxes exclusively.  And for example, the booklet defines "honeybee comb" as the actual frames that [may] contain the comb.  The actual law doesn't use the terms like this.
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ugcheleuce
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« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2014, 05:17:49 AM »

It is my understanding that the theory underpinning Perone hives is that you let bees do what they naturally do and allow them to build numbers substantially in a large undisturbed space (around 280L).


If I understand the Perone Hive document correctly (page 5), the "280 litre" figure refers to the entire hive, i.e. the 5/8ths of "bee's part" and the 3/8th's "beekeeper's part" together.  The "bee's part" is a perfect cube of about 175 litres (internal dimensions of about 56 cm per side).  The "280 litre" figure is the "ideal" but does not seem to be essential.

If I understand the Perone principle, the "golden ratio" is very important, and it is important that the box is square when viewed from above.  This means that if you're going to use Langstroth frames, you'd have to stack two Langstroth brood boxes on top of each other, with 12 frames per box, for the "bee's part", and two Langstroth honey supers for the "beekeeper's part".

Anyway, good luck with the hive.  I suspect that the requirement to use frames will result in a hive that takes so much skill to build that it may be easier to simply use existing bee hive equipment and make sure you have a very big hive.

Samuel

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Samuel Murray, Ugchelen, Netherlands
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Lone
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« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2014, 08:58:24 AM »

Hello,

I've never heard of perone hives before.  Maybe Mr Perone is the best person to speak to for insight.

Damian, the old beeks here say they used to boast about how old and black their comb was.  A lot had double brood boxes so the bees had their own reserves, but they rarely inspected.  That was before the importation of many diseases.  But now you are obliged when you register to be able to inspect and recognise disease and act on it.  Opening the hive all the time can also create problems, so there is a balance.  But doing it as "close to natural as is viable" is impossible!  Maybe you are defining "natural" as no chemicals, or minimal handling, or self sustaining?  It would cause less confusion if you were specific in your interpretation of "natural".  I guess I cannot see anything natural about your farming. European bees are not natural to this country, nor are dexters or tomatoes.  For some odd reason we are not allowed to farm most animals that are native to here.  And do you not have some control/ fences/feeding/man-made woodwork for your hives? 

I know I'm being picky.  I got that from ugcheleuce  Smiley  I also noticed that the Victorian Guidelines were mentioned.  I couldn't recall that we have to use removable frames in QLD.  If you do wish to pursue this, I'd suggest speaking with your local apiary inspector.  Maybe there are other options.

Quote
Sadly, the booklet for beekeepers published by Queensland's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry contain information that would seem rather imprecisely written (or written by a non-beekeeper who used only Wikipedia):

Not at all.  Very experienced beekeepers amongst others were involved in writing or consultation for the document.

Quote
For example, the booklet defines "super" as any box with frames in it, so the booklet authors don't use the word "super" for honey boxes exclusively.  And for example, the booklet defines "honeybee comb" as the actual frames that [may] contain the comb.  The actual law doesn't use the terms like this.

Some people do not use super for honey box exclusively, perhaps because they can be interchangable.  What if your queen were laying in the top super amongst the honey which you harvest?  The terms are defined for the reading of the document, not to provide a dictionary of every meaning of a word.  It is also written in a simple fashion, not because the authors are simple.  I guess they are anticipating their readers  grin

In the second example of honeybee comb, you have misquoted the document.  It doesn't say "may", it says that [do] contain honey, pollen and/or brood.  You also missed out the part about wax cells.


I can't open the perone hive document. Does it say why 280L and square is ideal?

I'll be reading your stories Damian to see what eventuates.  Pictures would help!

Lone

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ugcheleuce
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« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2014, 09:43:46 AM »

But doing it as "close to natural as is viable" is impossible! ... It would cause less confusion if you were specific in your interpretation of "natural".


Well, my guess concerning Mr Perone's interpretation of "natural" is that it is an attribute that was later tacked onto the original idea, to woo those from the "natural beekeeping" camp.  The Perone Hive is anything but natural (for one, it is a huuuuuge hive).  But it does seem to work for Mr Perone and for everyone else who's using it in South America.

The Perone Hive's principles are basically (a) you interfere with the brood section as little as possible (ideally "not at all") and (b) you only harvest once per year and (c) you give bees a lot of room.  Mr Perone is not against the use of frames, but logically speaking if you never open the brood box (and I mean never, for that is Mr Perone's ideal) then it frames aren't really necessary.

Quote
Quote
For example, the booklet defines "honeybee comb" as the actual frames that [may] contain the comb.  The actual law doesn't use the terms like this.

In the second example of honeybee comb, you have misquoted the document.  It doesn't say "may", it says that [do] contain...

Now you and I both are misquoting it (and each interpreting it differently). smiley  It says:
Honeybee comb – removable frames supporting wax cells that contain honey, pollen, and/or brood (eggs, larvae, pupae)

Quote
I can't open the Perone Hive document. Does it say why 280L and square is ideal?


You can't open the document because the forum software munged the URL (without warning me after I posted it).  The document's title is "Making a Perone Hive The PermApiculture Way, By Oscar Perone, in collaboration with Claire McHale, Alexis Torres", so you can google for it.  It's a 20-page PDF file.

On page 5 it says: Oscar ... observed that the colonies he was working with were strongest, most resilient, and most productive when they had around 280 L of space.  As for the square shape, I now see that the square is not specifically required -- it was my [perhaps too quick] interpretation of the information on page 9-10 about avoiding having right angles in nature.

Quote
Pictures would help!




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Samuel Murray, Ugchelen, Netherlands
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PRYORDARNELL
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« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2014, 04:58:43 PM »

But doing it as "close to natural as is viable" is impossible!  Maybe you are defining "natural" as no chemicals, or minimal handling, or self sustaining?  It would cause less confusion if you were specific in your interpretation of "natural".  I guess I cannot see anything natural about your farming. European bees are not natural to this country, nor are dexters or tomatoes.  For some odd reason we are not allowed to farm most animals that are native to here.  And do you not have some control/ fences/feeding/man-made woodwork for your hives? 


Hi Lone

Just to clear things up a little, when I say as close to natural as viable I mean just that. I dont mean naturally because as you point out none of what we grow occurs naturally here. However I believe that feeding my heritage poultry organic foods and letting them free range is a viable, more natural way of growing them than housing broilers in sheds and feeding them antibiotics and pellets.
I guess the key words are "more" and "viable". So doing anything as close to natural is not impossible. It simply means taking every VIABLE measure that I can to emulate a natural existence. So I guess we do things in a way that minimises human interference while still being VIABLE. I do not claim to do things naturally, just as naturally as I viably can.

 Anyway I am getting a bit jacked about continually explaining my ethical beliefs when all I asked is if "anyone in AU been using this system (perone) and what do you think of it, how has it performed?"

Maybe it will be best for me to just shut up and read a book rather than post questions.
Thanks to those who responded with useful advice
Regards
Damian
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yantabulla
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« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2014, 11:25:53 PM »

Can I suggest 

"The Bee Book.  Beekeeping in Australia"  Peter Warhurst & Roger Goebel

&

any edition of "ABC & WXZ of Bee Culture"  A. I. Root

 Smiley

Good luck with the Perone hive.

Yanta
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