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tanzanian tbh for southeast texas

 
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Brandon_B
House Bee


Joined: 06 Mar 2012
Posts: 17
Location: New Waverly, TX, USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:44 am    Post subject: tanzanian tbh for southeast texas Reply with quote

I designed my hive using nominal U.S. dimensional lumber, with as little need for modification as possible. I figured the 1x10's & 1x12's should provide ample insulation from our mild winters and hot summers. The internal dimensions for the hive body are as follows:
42.5" (1079mm) long
22.5" (571.5mm) wide
8.5" (216mm) deep
I hope the shallow and wide hive body will, in the event they aren't able to keep the hive at or below the desired temp (93deg F if memory serves) keep the comb close to the bar for strength. It should also at least partially make up for the room lost to the depth (or lack thereof), so I hope there will be no worries about insufficient room for hive expansion and stores. I plan on using a 50-60 degree V on the bottom of my bars, which by my rough estimates should give between 20-30% more attachment area per bar over a flat bottom bar with the comb being equally wide on both, further adding to the comb/bar integrity.
I'm not sure if failures typically happen at the bar/comb interface, but it seems reasonable to assume the increased surface area wont hurt anything, and may help keep the girls on centerline a little better.

The roof will be made of 1x10's, with two ripped down to give me the proper width. They will be trimmed with 1x3 on one short and both long sides, and will fit with minimal clearance against the hive body sides. the trim will fit right next to the top bars, hanging down past the bottom of the bars approximately 1/2" (12.5mm) with 1/16" (1.5mm) clearance on either side to prevent the bars from ending up stuck inside the lid should they both swell due to moisture, and will hopefully keep any water out. the untrimmed short side of the roof will reach 4" (101.6mm) past the edge of the hive and the entrance will be formed by a gap left between the hive edge and the first top bar, as outlined on the bush bees site. I hope this will weatherproof the entrance also, while giving them a de-facto landing platform at the entrance formed by the edge of the hive, which should be inaccessable to mice and other vermin. In addition, if needed, a small gap could be left in the top bars at the back to provide additional top ventilation. But with ambient air temps in summer reaching well above normal for the hive, the last thing we want is uncontrolled "fresh" air flowing through the hive, right? I feel the one narrow entrance running the width of the top of the hive (22.5"), just wide enough to allow comfortable passage for the bees, should allow the girls enough control to get rid of the water vapor being produced from cooling the hive in summer, and allow them to stay fairly warm (it rarely drops out of the 30's here during even the peak of winter) and dry during the short cold season.

I plan to secure the lid to the hive body using 4 heavy duty latches (not sure on the exacts on these, but they will need to be able to be opened quietly without disturbing the bees. The last thing I want to do before I start meddling with their hive is anger them) and will be heavy duty enough to hold the lid on in very high winds (Hurricanes and severe storms are too common here to not account for this in the design in my opinion, and I want to give them as safe and permenant a home as possible.) The hive body will likewise be secured to a heavy 4x4 frame with feet that will be set into the ground with sand and I will make them easily removable as they will eventually rot and need changing. I'm hoping its robustness will allow it to survive any natural disaster short of a direct hit by a tornado.


With proper and regular wood treatment I feel this hive will last me for at least ten years, if not several decades. Any wisdom/advice will be appreciated

I hope that with proper and regular wood treatment this hive will last me for at least ten years, if not several decades. Any wisdom/advice will be appreciated
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Brandon_B
House Bee


Joined: 06 Mar 2012
Posts: 17
Location: New Waverly, TX, USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:56 am    Post subject: posting screenshots of sketchup. Reply with quote

Sorry about the repeat at the end. My phone was hiding the first "last" paragraph from me somewhere, and I had to retype it, only for it to reappear in the post. Guess I should have previewed Wink

I would be happy to post some screenshots of the sketchup drawing I have for anyone interested, If it is possible to and I can figure it out. lol
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1569
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Brandon

The only thing I have found in having longer top bars (mine are 22") is that the bees are slower to draw the comb out to full width and keep it straight.

They left a large cavity along one side when they first built their nest about 4inches deep. They drew 8 combs in the first 2 months( they were a late swarm) but they didn't want to build it more than about 18 inches long, so there was a void along one side. It doesn't seem to have affected their overwintering thankfully but I have noticed that towards that empty end the otherwise lovely straight comb starts to curve across onto the next bar so I think, like me, you may end up with a bit of cross combing as a result of the extra width of hive. With your climate being really warm, correcting this might be more likely to result in comb collapse.

Is there any particular reason why you decided to go with Tanzanian instead of Kenyan? I think it was Viggen, who is a member in Arizona, who tried a Tanzanian there but found he had too much comb collapse with the heat. I appreciate you have taken steps to reduce the risk but just wondered why you didn't want a Kenyan which would be more stable anyway? I'm guessing it must be to introduce a nuc on Lang frames.

Anyway, that's the only comment I can make on your plans from my experience.

Regards

Barbara
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Brandon_B
House Bee


Joined: 06 Mar 2012
Posts: 17
Location: New Waverly, TX, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Barbara! That is great info. Exactly the kind I'm looking for. I believe I will be revising my drawings to bring the internal width to a max of 18".

I chose the tanzanian hive because 90 degree angles are easier to cut and join, make for stronger joints, would give the bees more internal space, and would prove more rigid under extremes of weather (I would like to be able to stand on top of a full hive without worrying about anything cracking or breaking, I would rather it be too sturdy than too flimsy). I was hoping that with it only being 8" deep it would be shallow enough to prevent collapse (I've seen lots of kenyans much much taller than this in cooler climates) provided they can keep the internal temp under control. you said that your bees drew comb about 4" deep. Was this just initially? Do they keep adding to the depth over time? Do you think 8" is still to deep for the hive? I just worry about making the cavity too small. Making it much longer will require more materials and result in significantly more waste wood.

It is interesting you bring up Az. In my readings I found someone from there that claimed that the only way they were able to prevent comb failure in the summer heat was to have a closed bottom hive. So I incorporated it into my design. I would be interested to hear Viggens thoughts, and ask whether or not they used an open or closed bottom, and their entrance configuration on their tanzanian. The "first thought" in such a situation is usually to provide lots of air flow to help with cooling but my reading suggests that in hot climates that pretty much guarentees comb failures, especially with tanzanian as there is more weight per attachment area.

Thanks so much for your help!
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1569
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again Brandon

I must not have explained what I meant very well. My bees were a small cast(swarm with virgin queen) and my kenyan style hive is very large.... I used an old corner cabinet tipped on it's back, so it is wide and deep and nearly 4 feet long.... a bit of a monster! I have an end entrance on the short side. They clustered and started building on one side near the entrance. The combs were steadily built along the bars and downward as you would expect. I had an open mesh floor and they seemed to stop about 4 inches short of the bottom and 4 inches short of the other side so the combs are about 10 inches deep at the deepest part and about 18 inches long across the bar (I'm estimating those measurements... handling top bars that length and a tape measure at the same time is more than I'm capable of!!) There seemed to be quite an obvious halt at this size as they built adjacent combs out to similar size. They then started to curve the void end of the combs around. I am guessing that this gives it extra strength which they cannot achieve by fixing it to the far wall because they haven't reached it. I may have to redesign my hive and block that void area off with plywood this year to keep them happy. Will have to build something to house them in whilst I make the alterations so not a small job!

I also find it quite awkward and back aching handling top bars of that length particularly lifting them out and very gently putting them back without squashing bees, when there is a good weight of brood or honey on them.

I'm sure it would be ok for you to private message Viggen to ask about his experiment with the Tanzanian hive. If you go to the top of the page under Natural Beekeeping Network heading you will see there is a link to "memberlist" and a "search" facility. If you do a search on Viggen in the "author" field, you should find some info on his Tanzanian experiment.

I would just like to say though, that my comments above are just my experience with one extra wide kenyan hive in it's first season..... but then I imagine there is a reason why most hives are made that bit narrower..... based on hundreds of years of beekeeping experience no doubt! Why didn't I find this info before I built my hive!!!
Rolling Eyes

Regards

Barbara
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Brandon_B
House Bee


Joined: 06 Mar 2012
Posts: 17
Location: New Waverly, TX, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Barbara,

Perhaps you can find some consolation in being my knight in shining armor. I will be cutting and assembling 3 of these hives (2 for me and one for my father), and will have a 4th cut and set aside ready for assembly should the unthinkable happen to one of the others, or for expansion should I ever deem it necessary or desirable.

I re-sketched my design using 2 1x10's for the body instead of 1x12's, and the internal width was 18 1/2 exactly, provided they allow bee space on the sides the combs should come out a bit under 18" wide. I went ahead and took the body length out to 48" overall, 46 1/2 internal. I did some searching and Viggens hive was 12" deep, 19" wide. About the same temps as over here (pushes 40C+ for neverending month), but they also don't have the humidity over there making evaporative cooling much more effective. Sweating does you little good here, it just pours off of you. So I'd say we'll just have to wait and see. At least I know I should be fairly safe from the comb curving off center, thanks to you. If worse comes to worse I'll stack some rough lumber in the bottom of the hives to shallow them out more if needed. It's good that your fix should be a relatively simple one, accomodations aside.

Thanks again. Hopefully one day I will be in a positon to return the favor.
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Viggen
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jan 2010
Posts: 433
Location: USA, Arizona

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your humidity may affect things. And yes, we have about the same sort of heat but your humidity is rough.
As to closed or open bottom, mine were closed bottom.
I also tried a trap hive in that configuration - maybe 13 bars. Had comb collapse on that one also.

My current opinion is that the straight sided hives need to be a bit further north.
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Robert
Guard Bee


Joined: 28 Dec 2010
Posts: 66
Location: USA, Spring Branch, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My hives here in Central Texas are Kenyan. I started with just screened bottoms on two and one closed bottom with a screen and the bottom can be lowered for mite inspection. I had nothing but trouble with the open bottoms. I closed the other two and have had no more issues. They seem to like it sloced up better.
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Brandon_B
House Bee


Joined: 06 Mar 2012
Posts: 17
Location: New Waverly, TX, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the input guys. If the square sides prove troublesome even at the (just under) 8" of comb height I think converting to a kenyan would be as simple as moving he colony to another waiting hive and installing a couple of boards. There wont be any need for any serious rigidity. It would just end up with some dead space (more insulation) on the sides afterward. I would like to give it a try at least because if I mange to pull it off it will mean a significant increase in space per hive over the sloped sides. More room for brood, hive stores, and my own meager harvests. I have several big shade trees which I intend to place the hives under to keep them out of the summer sun, which I hope will help them keep the temps down.
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danandkelley
Nurse Bee


Joined: 23 Apr 2011
Posts: 29
Location: college station,tx usa

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a thought, 2x10's are cheaper than 1x10's and may offer more insulation. I plan on building a Kenyan with 2x's soon. I also built a Warre out of the 2x's but have not put bees into it yet. I was hoping to further mimic the hollow tree aspect of Warres' design (as well as lowering costs) The roof is still made from 1x10's to cut down on weight, obviously a bit larger than usual. It is a lot heavier but other than that I don't see a down side especially with our Long hot summers. It could also help with the wind issues. Love to hear from fellow Texas beeks!
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Brandon_B
House Bee


Joined: 06 Mar 2012
Posts: 17
Location: New Waverly, TX, USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never even thought about the 2x10's being less expensive! How easy it is to overlook the obvious... I will probably give it a go with the 2x's for my next hives. I doubt there will be as much trouble with splitting with the thicker wood too. I would still pilot all my holes but even with piloting it is difficult to keep the 1x's from splitting near the ends. I'll just have to have help moving the empty hives around.
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mmilotay
New Bee


Joined: 17 Mar 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am experimenting with a hive design that brings together the best characteristics of the Warre, HTB, Rose and Pagoda hives. For improved insulation I have built all of my boxes out of 2x10s. While they are heavier, I am hoping that this will give them greater thermal stability.

There are two issues that we struggle with here on Vancouver Island. The biggest is a long cool and wet winter, the second being fairly sudden temperature drops. The average winter temperature here sits around 5-8' C. It will drop down to 0 to -6 over night and then stay around there for a week or so. This seems to really stress our colonies out, and we have seen a number of losses in the community following these sudden drops.

My goal from my hive design is something that can accept conventional frames, so that I can get nucs or splits from others without having to modify the frames or cut and attach frame to top bars, while having good insulation and airflow to avoid excess moisture. It will also have a bottom box that will encourage the colonization of sow bugs and earwigs for disposing of mites.
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