I ask the Question, Do better insulated hives make for better bee health and longevity

Made some new hives for the bees and have now replaced the standard comercial hives with my Home Made Beehives.

The hives I made use timbers that are from 50mm to 100mm thick and hopefully offer much better insulation from the heat and cold.

I have made two different design types but both are still using Langstroth Deep Frames to offer full compatibility with standard beekeeping practices in Australia.

One hive is square and like a langstroth has three levels, offering 13 frames per level and the other is a long box hive or African box hive design with 30 frames all on one level.

I decided to place our very first swarm catch hive into the Green hive with three levels and the other hive I placed a newly collected very small swarm into the yellow and green box hive.

Timbers on the tall green hive are mostly 50mm thick and the timbers on the long box hive are 100mm thick.

With temperatures in summer reaching over 40c degrees it will be interesting to see how the bees behave and if these hives offer any protection that is a benefit to the bees. It is conceivable that temperatures in many parts of Australia will reach 50c degrees plus into the future as climate change moves to more extreme weather conditions which might see total hive collapse if temperatures in the hive cannot be maintained by the bees and reach the bees wax melting temperature of around 60c but even before this temperature is reached the honeycomb in the hive can slump and honey can run and brood will die as bees must maintain a temperature below 50c degrees in the hive or they will die.

There are no commercially available hives that offer timbers of greater thickness than 23mm so the improved thickness of the timbers I believe should offer some benefit on extreme weather days both in summer and winter.

 

Green Tall hive 

Green Hive is square and each layer holds 13 frames compared to the blue hive which holds only 9 frames per layer

 Box Hive hold about 30 frames all at one level.  This could also be used with top bars if you wanted.

Blue Hive is only two layers but is made to allow standard langstroth boxes to be compatible if more room is required for the bees.

Happy bees checking out there new hive entrance. 

Bees were very nice on this day and did not seem overls fussed about the change in there environment.

 The Swarm placed into the Long Box Hive are only a nucleus hive at this stage and will take a month or two before they really get fired up.

They are likely to get fully established just as winter arrives but should be ready to go full throttle come next spring.

 

 

 

 

Hive that remains Queenless

 

We have one hive that despite 4 attempts to allow them to make a new queen for themselves they are persistently stubborn in not making a queen.  This hive was part of a large 4 stack hive which was over populated and aggressive.  We decided to split the hive into 4 and carefully divided all the bees and brood into all the boxes equally.  Three of the boxes have done really well, one had the original queen and 2 made their own queens and were successful but this one group of bees from this 4 way split has remained queenless and we don’t know why.  There numbers have dropped but we placed new brood and eggs from another hive with the hope they would make a queen 4 times but no queen.  What are we doing wrong??  There are no drones so no workers laying eggs and no new eggs or brood to indicate a queen.

Anyway we have now ordered a new Queen from Queensland which will arrive in the next week or so and we will see if she is accepted or not but is this don’t work we will probably just integrate the remaining bees back into one of the other hives.  If you have any idea on what’s happening I would love to hear them.

What do you do with a hive that will not make there own queen from eggs supplied from another hive.

We have chosen to give them one last chance with a purchased queen

What would you do.

 

Free Timber for Building Beehives

Went for a drive around the local industrial estate and came home with a van loaded with timber

I will now turn this into some really great beehives or at least that's the plan!!!!

It really is amazing what you can find being thrown or given away in your local industrial areas.

These timbers were used for importing marble blocks then discarded after unpacking.

Hole in One

 

Well I found out one of the hazards of beekeeping on the weekend whilst doing some maintenance to the hives.

I dropped the smoker and a minute later my foot became very hot.

Looking down I saw a hot burning ember from the smoker burning a hole through my shoe, well I had that shoe of lickety split dancing about with my hot foot dance.

Lesson learned, don't drop the smoker

Hot Foot Hole in One