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[personal profile] doodlemaier
The frameless conservation "chimney" hive, or "pseudo-skep". The lack of frames makes this hive very simple and inexpensive to build with simple hand tools and, like a traditional woven skep, provides a very stable environment to raise bees, and yet can be disassembled and reassembled for harvesting honey and emergency intervention by the experienced beekeeper as with conventional equipment. Very Warré-like, eh? Let's take a look under the hood, shall we?

The basement: simple 2x4 construction. ¼" aluminum channel is screwed to the inner sides to allow for a simple catchment drawer for monitoring mite levels and closing off the brood nest from cold winds in the winter, made from corrugated plastic or luann panel. The screws above that support the screened floor.

The screened floor is a simple frame made from 1x2" furring strips with a plastic needle point backing or 1/8" galvanized mesh cut to size and stapled in place. This can be quickly and easily cleaned and replaced in the field.

The atrium stabilizes the screened floor and provides a place to put entrances, simple 7/8" holes drilled on 2" centers and stopped with wine corks fitted with brass screws as grips - very simple and makeshift!

Construction note: the ½" offset between the basement and the atrium as well as the rest of the supers is designed to "lock" the screened floor in place and add stability to the entire structure.

A super, fashioned from common 2x6" reclaimed redwood boards cut to 13" (33cm) length. Common 2x8's would work just as well. Nominal 1" thick boards (what conventional woodenware's made from) would work, especially in warmer climates and would reduce weight. I use 2-by for the added R-value, instead of wraps, etc.

Another super. Same deal as before. Look, Ma. . . No frames!

Super #3. Supers are stacked "wabi sabi" for stability and strength.

Super #4. When establishing a colony such as a feral or packaged swarm the top box is generally occupied first as it is where the warm air settles, at the top of the hive. New bees store honey and nectar and raise brood in the initial combs and backfill the vacated brood cells with stores after the brood hatch. Hence the oldest honey is at the top of the hive and should be harvested from the top. Supering, or adding boxes to the "pseudo-skep" is done from the atrium up or added from the bottom as with managing a Warré. Cleats on either side are cut from 1x2" pressure treated furring strips. The arsenic in the wood makes for lovely splinters.

Spales are made from 3/8" oak dowels and are suspended between two small divots carved into alternating corners of each super to support fragile comb. The advantage of this design allows the bees complete license over the configuration of their nest and stores and provides very little room for pests to hide and gain purchase in the hive. With and footprint of just over a square ft, the conservation hive keeps the winter cluster compact and precious heat and nest scent from dissipating from around open-ended frames. The drawbacks are that combs can become very long and quite heavy in the uninterrupted space so they are not suitable for locations that get direct afternoon sunlight where temperatures regularly climb above 100°F (38°C). The design also precludes regular inspections although they are possible (on a box level rather than frame by frame) but discouraged and modest honey harvests can be accomplished, as well, but it's not the primary intention of the hive's design.

In the Warré hive frames are replaced with top bars. The traditional Japanese hive takes this a step further and replaces top bars in each super with a single grid at the top of the entire stack for the bees to attach comb to initially. Further attachments are made to the spales and all sides of the supers as the bees work their way downward through the hive (called nadiring) and natural pockets or cul de sacs are formed by the bees that promote nestduftwärmebindung, the retention of the natural anti-microbial "sauna" of propolis by which feral bees reduce mites and other pathogens within the nest.

The crown board of conventional woodenware has been modified in such a way as to stabilize the top bar grid and provide a seal and sturdy foundation for the quilt, or chaff box. The ¼" hardware cloth allows bees access to the burlap floor of the quilt so that the cluster is able to regulate ventilation through the addition or removal of propolis.

The quilt, or chaff box, just as with the Warré hive goes above the supers and is closed off from the elements by the roof of the hive. It is a simple four-sided enclosure with a floor made by cutting common burlap fabric a few inches longer than each side and soaking it in a pasty solution of rye flour and water (3 large spoonfuls to a pint of water or about the consistency of ketchup). Once thoroughly saturated the burlap is stretched across the bottom of the box, folded for reinforcement and stapled a couple inches up from the bottom edge of each side and allowed to dry in the sun.

When filled with a dry material such as saw dust or straw the quilt helps with ventilation within the hive by absorbing moisture from respiration and curing honey and prevents condensation from dripping down and chilling winter brood. The folds along each outside edge of the quilt wick moisture out of the chaff.


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[personal profile] doodlemaier
Pollination Agreement

I,(name, address)hereby provide(name, address),live honeybee colonies for the intention of crop pollination. The colonies are maintained on the property at the above address year-round as of __________. The provision and condition of all necessary equipment (the hives, any support structures or accessories, supplemental feed) and bees, including their management, any liability incurred in servicing the hives, and any damage to them resulting from wildlife, weather, etc. will remain my responsibility. I will occasionally require access to the hive site and will provide at least ______ advance notice by phone or email. At any time should they present a nuisance in any manner described by their hosts I agree to remove all hives and any related material within 10 days.

The honeybee colonies are provided in good faith that best land and watershed stewardship practices are upheld, however I would appreciate to be contacted in advance of the event that any known genetically manipulated crop, or pesticide proven or implicated in the destruction of honeybee habitat is planned for use on the property. It is at their behest (Farm Name) reserve a perennial location and safe forage for up to ______ conservation hives. The purpose and design of the hives, for restoring and localizing honeybee genetics, precludes that inspections are performed within the nest as with conventional hives managed for harvesting honey, relying instead on some minimal observations most of which can be performed at a safe distance from the entrance of each hive.
A healthy hive:
∙ has plenty of bees coming and going during daylight, beards on hot evenings
∙ remains free of any obvious infestation of moths, flies, ants, or marauding hornets
∙ has foraging bees returning with pollen, a good sign of a present laying queen
∙ breeds bees of a gentle and non-offensive temperament
∙ smells wonderful!
In times of drought or dearth it may become necessary to supplement a colony with a premixed sugar syrup and bottles of feed will need to be replaced often, sometimes daily. This normally being the exception; most often bees in conservation hives maintain themselves as would a feral colony. Regardless, I should be contacted immediately in any event of the following:
∙ any obvious damage to the hives, or equipment malfunction
∙ presence or evidence of pests
∙ no activity at the entrance of a hive on fair weather days (temps above upper 50’s °F)
∙ a swarm on the property

office (Business Name - weekdays 0:00am - 0:00am) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
home (weekends, message) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
urgent (cell). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
doodlemaier: (Default)
[personal profile] doodlemaier
Translated directly from German: Nest scent heat trapping. First described by Johann Thur as a "sauna" of anti-microbial propolis:
During overwintering with no brood, the average temperature of the middle of the cluster is 22–25ºC (~71 - 77°F). In contrast, the normal brood temperature is 34–35ºC (~93 - 95°F). . . But the average air temperature is well below these limits. Brood and bees are essentially without their own bodily warmth. The difference between the temperature of the air and that required by the bees has to be produced by the bees themselves throughout the entire year, summer and winter. Their fuel is honey which they have to consume greatly in excess of their bodily needs in order to produce heat. For example, in accommodation with enclosed natural comb, the winter consumption in the six months from 1 October to 1 April comprises about 2 kilograms, whereas in the conventional, heat-dissipating framed hives, 6 to 8 kg or more are needed. This excess consumption within six months of, on average, 5 kg per colony is purely excess consumption in maintaining the very essential minimum temperature.
(Now, consider your own home throughout the year without air conditioning or heat).

Framed hives destroy it.
". . .as a result of the spaces between the combs being open on all sides, the nest scent and heat escapes, and with it the germ free, disease-inhibiting scent-substances. The honey supers situated above multiply the wastage of the nest scent and heat. Each time they are extended more is wasted. And when on top of that the hive is opened, the nest scent and heat floods out. Certainly in naturally constructed nests – for example in hollow tree trunks – there is comb a metre long on occasion, but never empty honeycomb above the brood."

Also, my camera is broken and that makes me feel like an amputee.
doodlemaier: (Default)
[personal profile] doodlemaier




















doodlemaier: (Default)
[personal profile] doodlemaier

International Queen Marking Color Code:
Color:For Year Ending In:
White (or gray)1 or 6
Yellow2 or 7
Red3 or 8
Green4 or 9
Blue5 or 0

Hopefully, I'll need this eventually!


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