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Traditional Japanese hive or "pseudo-skep"

 
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doodlemaier
House Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 15
Location: USA, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401

PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:50 pm    Post subject: Traditional Japanese hive or "pseudo-skep" Reply with quote

Based on the concepts of the traditional Japanese hive, a Warré, the writings of Johann Thür and with a couple of bells & whistles from conventional woodenware I'm realizing Phil's idea of a conservation hive:

http://bee-folk.dreamwidth.org/19768.html


Thanks for looking!
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice work! I look forward to seeing what the bees make of it.
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doodlemaier
House Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 15
Location: USA, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401

PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, this is my 2nd year using this design. I ran three last year in two separate apiaries. Two of those I tried to transition into framed boxes and the colonies both absconded but the hive that I did not open once all year long came through the winter with flying colors and coughed up three big swarms for me this year in March. I think the compact design actually encourages swarming.

Meanwhile in my mentor's apiary, our grafting efforts were not going well. None of the nucs we established last summer made it to autumn, much less through the winter. Even my attempts to get nucs from outside sources were thwarted and I had started meeting folks in the valley who were interested in hosting my bees on their small farms, so I broke down and bought a few packages for them and built three more pseudo-skeps. . . cheap and easy to build! But I think that's the beauty of this design is they're very effective for transitioning casts (2ndary swarms) and package bees, if you have to resort to it.

Now the packages that I installed this year in May and a couple of the swarms I caught are in these and doing very well in all locations I have them with one exception - where I situated them in direct sunlight. The rest I've not opened since the day I installed them, they'll keep their own honey to overwinter and any survivor colonies I'll plan to transition into larger hives in the spring, either by trapping-out or by fixing an adapter between the brood boxes of these hives and something more accommodating underneath.
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major1896
Guard Bee


Joined: 21 Dec 2011
Posts: 92
Location: Great Falls, Mt

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:23 am    Post subject: Pseudo skepts Reply with quote

Very interesting. I might look into these
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

doodlemaier wrote:
Actually, this is my 2nd year using this design. I ran three last year in two separate apiaries. Two of those I tried to transition into framed boxes and the colonies both absconded but the hive that I did not open once all year long came through the winter with flying colors and coughed up three big swarms for me this year in March. I think the compact design actually encourages swarming.


A BIG lesson here, I think!

As for grafting to create nucs, it seems to me that human-selected eggs are never going to be as consistently successful as those the bees choose for themselves, which is why I always prefer to use swarm cells if possible. I gave up grafting years ago.
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Neukirchen
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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 19
Location: USA, Eugene, Oregon

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 1:48 am    Post subject: Re. Fixed hives and USDA removable bar requirements Reply with quote

Excellent post! You've brought-up something that I'd been wondering about; perhaps you'll know the answer to this question.
You'd mentioned how this design discourages inspection, which has made me wonder about the 'legality' of non-removable frame/bar hives.
I've started a couple of these fixed/non frame/bar 'Japanese' hives but haven't had them long-enough to have an opinion as to their efficacy. Regardless, I've been thinking that I might not discuss them with local beeks until I've enquired of authority, as to their 'legal' standing.
Obviously, if - in time - we can make claims as to the superiority - as regards to the health of the hive - of one hive-box design over another, we might have to lobby our governments to 'legalize' this beekeeping method.
Or, am I incorrect in my notion that the requirement of removable frames, in order to allow for inspection for foul-brood, is still in-effect, in the U.S.?
- Michael, Oregon, USA
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you will find that the laws relating to hives vary by state, so you need to check out the position in Oregon. I happen to know there are Warré beekeepers in Oregon, so I'm guessing you don't have such a law, but don't take my word for it!
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im totally interested in starting to house bees in a Japanese Hive.

Quote:
this design discourages inspection, which has made me wonder about the 'legality' of non-removable frame/bar hives.


In Denmark and Sweden it is legal to keep bees in skeps so the same applies to all hives with fixed comb. A good bee inspector can immediately spot if the hive suffers from AFB even in a skep.

I will build one such hive this year (very soon) and move one of my new swarms into it which are at the moment inside a TBH nuc. They have already begun building many combs and I would like to transfer those but the hive size are not compatible.

Im thinking to have a slightly larger "Japanese Hive" to be able to fit the top bar combs in the top box. My top bars are 45 cm long and the comb is 40 cm at the top, so inner measure of the box must be close to 40cm. Of course I can crop a bit with a kitchen knife but dont want to destroy much brood by doing so. Exact measures were never my biggest concern since even tree cavities vary in size but the comb building always starts from up to down and I like the way bees can build totally wild comb and go downwards. I am just thinking about having top entrance on my "Japanese Hives" instead of the mesh over the top box for ventilation.

I dislike ventilation. One 30mm hole does not create draught and bees can control it easier for air flow. In winter it helps alot with condensation.
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 586
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I now have bees in one Japanese style hive and thanks to Barbara will soon have two more. The first is 30cm x 30cm inside with spales, the other two are 25cm x 25cm inside, more or less without spales.

Here's a link to a video of the bees in the 30x30 one : https://www.dropbox.com/sc/m8hg63zays70rme/AAByS4zSSmpbJrUAmNf01Vbfa.
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 586
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With my "Japanese" hive construction, I was thinking "make it as close to a tree as possible". So I started with 30cm x 30cm inside, but reduced it to 25cm x 25cm. I would like to reduce it further but I am worried about the physical stability of the tower if I do that.

My observation from looking at tree cut-outs is that the comb is supported as much from the side as from the top. I would like to get the internal width down so that I achieve that.

Most natural cavities in trees do not have a hole in the top. The hole is in the side, with a massive amount of insulation on the top in the form of the rest of the tree trunk. So I have a 8cm thick layer of wood for the "roof" to mimick that. This weight on the top also gives the whole construction more stability. I use 4cm wide wood for the slices for same reason, to provide tree-like insulation.

I have also been thinking that it might be possible to not secure the fourth side of some or all of the square slices. You could just use the weight of the roof and other slices on top to hold the unsecured side in place. Then you could pull these unsecured sides out for observations as the comb grew down inside. Once the comb grows down inside, the comb and propolis inside should hold the unsecured fourth side in place, particularly if you have small internal dimensions.

Cavities in trees do not have large entrances, although they sometimes have multiple entrances. In the video you can see, I have only one hole with a 1cm diameter. There are actually three other holes of the same diameter much further down, below the layer of plywood. Late next spring / early summer, I intend to remove this layer of plywood, open those three other holes, and see if the bees extend the comb down into the bottom half of the hive. You could view this as a kind of pre-prepared nadiring that avoids the problem of lifting all this heavy wood.
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that Im contemplating further I see that top entrance idea would cause issues when removing the upper box for harvesting of honey, since all guard bees are there Sad

Another issue is not being able to see how long they have gone down. This means harvesting the upper box and not leaving enough for them. I know windows are good idea but they mean more work for me to spend on building these hives ... hm ...

One more issue I see in our climate are the extremely strong winds which can knock off the hive. I do have my hives a bit protected but still this can be an issue, unless I leave only 2 boxes for the wintering and the in spring nadir them, place them under the brood nest.

Maybe I can use a mirror from underneath and see how long have they built the combs?
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 586
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Che Guebuddha wrote:

Another issue is not being able to see how long they have gone down. This means harvesting the upper box and not leaving enough for them. I know windows are good idea but they mean more work for me to spend on building these hives ... hm ...


I have been thinking about this as well. Part of the attraction of these hives is their simplicity, which as you point out is defeated if we start putting windows in.

You could take the approach I described in my earlier post, which involves only screwing together three sides of the square. A viable alternative to this is to simply unscrew the fourth side when you want to peek in and either screwing it back up or leaving it unscrewed after you have taken a look. I just tried this and it works fine. You may not want to do this too often but once in a while seems fine. Also, one approach suggested a long time ago by Phil was to drill holes, leave them plugged most of the time, and just uncork them when you want to take a peek.

Che Guebuddha wrote:

One more issue I see in our climate are the extremely strong winds which can knock off the hive. I do have my hives a bit protected but still this can be an issue, unless I leave only 2 boxes for the wintering and the in spring nadir them, place them under the brood nest.


If you put enough weight on the top and make the boxes out of thick enough wood, this is not an issue. We had some very strong winds this winter in the North of England and a completely empty stack of boxes survived it with no problem at all. This was with no ties or anything, just using gravity and a heavy lid.

Che Guebuddha wrote:

Maybe I can use a mirror from underneath and see how long have they built the combs?


Yes, I have thought of this, perhaps together with the "only screw up three sides" approach on a box at the bottom.
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1125
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam Rose wrote:
You could take the approach I described in my earlier post, which involves only screwing together three sides of the square. A viable alternative to this is to simply unscrew the fourth side when you want to peek

.... until they've attached comb to it! Shocked How will you know? Confused
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The one side off for inspection will release the whole inner atmosphere so Im not going down that road Smile

I like the holes idea though ...
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stevecook172001
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Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 443
Location: Loftus, Cleveland

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Che Guebuddha wrote:
///Maybe I can use a mirror from underneath and see how long have they built the combs?

No reason why one of these hives could not have observation windows like is done with Warre hives. That way progress could be easily monitored.
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 586
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trekmate wrote:
Adam Rose wrote:
You could take the approach I described in my earlier post, which involves only screwing together three sides of the square. A viable alternative to this is to simply unscrew the fourth side when you want to peek

.... until they've attached comb to it! Shocked How will you know? Confused


Two answers :
(i) you would do this to monitor the comb building as it went down inside the hive. So during this initial phase you would have a good idea of how far the comb had progressed.
(ii) If you already knew there was comb that far down and for some reason you wanted to inspect, then this process is not much different from detaching brace comb from a top bar. You need to use a hive tool and/or a long knife to lever the wood out anyway, whether comb is present or not.
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 586
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Che Guebuddha wrote:
I like the holes idea though ...


I have been wondering if I can justify the expense of one of these :

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_nkw=pipe+inspection+cameras

Smile
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stevecook172001
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Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 443
Location: Loftus, Cleveland

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam Rose wrote:
trekmate wrote:
Adam Rose wrote:
You could take the approach I described in my earlier post, which involves only screwing together three sides of the square. A viable alternative to this is to simply unscrew the fourth side when you want to peek

.... until they've attached comb to it! Shocked How will you know? Confused


Two answers :
(i) you would do this to monitor the comb building as it went down inside the hive. So during this initial phase you would have a good idea of how far the comb had progressed.
(ii) If you already knew there was comb that far down and for some reason you wanted to inspect, then this process is not much different from detaching brace comb from a top bar. You need to use a hive tool and/or a long knife to lever the wood out anyway, whether comb is present or not.
I would just put windows in Adam. Or, drill a couple of largish holes that could be stopped up with plugs that could be pulled out occasionally to see if there was comb present. Furthermore, if the plug was designed to only go half way into the wall of the box, although there would be some risk of comb being attached to the inside of the plug, this risk would be low. In any event, gently twisting the plug as it was pulled out would do minimal damage to comb, I would have thought.

Or, you could even drill the holes, as suggested. But, instead of plugging them, just screw a wooden plate onto the side of the box over the holes. This would protect the bees from the elements and the holes would also, on the inside of the box, provide stanchion points for the comb to slightly protrude into, increasing it's stability in the hive. Especially so if you staggered the holes on different sides of the hive in successive boxes. Such holes would also, in extremis, allow inspectors to take core samples of the comb.
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 586
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SteveCook wrote:
I would just put windows in Adam.


Yes, but you are a competent wood-worker ! One of my requirements is simplicity of construction ie, so simple even I can do it Smile.
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peopleshive
Guard Bee


Joined: 07 Aug 2011
Posts: 51
Location: Central Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Adam - Good work with your Japanese Hive! There are quite a few of us interested in these now. It's interesting that several of us are converging on similar solutions to the problems of visualising comb progress, assessing stores and comb stability.

Briefly, here is my approach:

Mine is a Hybrid Warré/Japanese hive. Boxes have the same external dimensions as my Warrés (360 x 360 mm), but narrower internal dimensions (260 x 260 mm). The walls are 50 mm thick. Box height is variable - 100 mm for the top box, 150 mm thereafter. Each box has two top bars on each side leaving a central hole for continuous comb. There are two blocks at the top of each box which restrict the width of the long central combs to about 200 mm at these points. (This is illustrated for Warré size boxes in the Files\Member's Articles section of the Yahoo e-group: "An Attempt to Minimise False Floor Effect")
Latterly, I realised the 'central hole' idea is similar in principle to the historic de Palteau hive: http://warre.biobees.com/palteau.htm

To view comb progress I find 30 mm observation 'portholes' at the front of each box very useful. These are easy to make, and stoppered with cork on the outside and a piece of Perspex on the inside. I also use these in my Warré hives.

To assess the weight of stores I use a portable lift/weighing device designed for Warré hives in locations with difficult access. Compatibility with this lift is a big advantage of having the same external dimensions as a Warré hive. It is also possible to see honey accumulation through the small windows.

I have one second year hive like this (now taller than me!) and also use them in situ as bait hives (with two successful 'self-installs' this year). It will be interesting to compare notes on how designs like this work out ...

Regards,

Andy
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 586
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peopleshive wrote:
There are quite a few of us interested in these now. It's interesting that several of us are converging on similar solutions to the problems of visualising comb progress, assessing stores and comb stability.


Indeed !

peopleshive wrote:

Boxes have the same external dimensions as my Warrés (360 x 360 mm), but narrower internal dimensions (260 x 260 mm). The walls are 50 mm thick.


Very similar to mine - 250mm x 250mm with 45mm thickness ( just because 45mm is what I get when I ask for "4x2" and I don't have a Warre lift ).

peopleshive wrote:

Each box has two top bars on each side leaving a central hole for continuous comb. There are two blocks at the top of each box which restrict the width of the long central combs to about 200 mm at these points. (This is illustrated for Warré size boxes in the Files\Member's Articles section of the Yahoo e-group: "An Attempt to Minimise False Floor Effect")


I am having a little trouble visualising this - can you provide a link to the diagrams, or more detailed instructions on how to find them, or maybe pictures ?

Thanks,
Adam.
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peopleshive
Guard Bee


Joined: 07 Aug 2011
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Location: Central Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll send you a pm Adam.

Andy
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MilanBencúr
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Joined: 23 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41NFuIVG3EI&feature=autoplay&list=PL27988F82AC7C2B03&playnext=1
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