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Eco-floor - idea and development
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1567
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

David, I can't believe you bought new corks!!! Most people who need a cork or two for their hives just use it as an excuse to break open another bottle! Of course these modern screw top bottles kind of snooker that a bit and you have to be more selective about what you buy as a result!
I just ask my friends and family to save their champagne corks for me as unfortunately I have an allergic reaction to wine, Champagne or even cheap fizz corks are great in my opinion because of that knobbly end, but whatever you have bought will be perfect of course. Quite often we cut them in half lengthways to reduce the entrance to half a cork, particularly if it is a small colony or wasps are starting to take an interest in late summer. As long as they are securely plugged, it's certainly useful having plenty of entrance options although I have drilled more holes with bees in situ without any great issue.

I can tell from your post that you are reading a lot of older threads which is great. There is a wealth of knowledge here on the forum. Anything you don't understand or perhaps want more local input on, just shout up.
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David Guthrie
House Bee


Joined: 11 Apr 2016
Posts: 12
Location: Felton, Northumberland

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barbara
Yes, I realise it must seem extravagant - but, hey, three quid-odd! In any case, I am not blessed by many friends who can be prevailed upon to save their corks for me and anyway, as you say, the screw-top is becoming the norm, certainly on bottles of the kind of cheap plonk my qcquaintances are likely to buy! I do like a nice cork in me bottle: bit o' clarss!
And yes, lots of useful information in the forum.
I've decided to go with the triple-holed side entrance and fitting a periscope entrance with integral landing board; I may fit a wind sock, but will stop short of a control tower.
Of course, I've already drilled low holes à la PC plans, but I can easily blank these off with trimmed corks from my copious stocks and whack a few more in higher up. I'm toying with the idea of a transparent viewing window on the peri-box.
For the eco-floor, I'm leaning towards the semi-cylindrical style.
Time for the shed!
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David Guthrie
House Bee


Joined: 11 Apr 2016
Posts: 12
Location: Felton, Northumberland

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, here we are, all done. Eco floor filled with shrub chippings and hinged periscope entrance with clear-view panel. I'm using some skip rescue rubber matting for top insulation over the top bars; hope this is okay.

I'm deploying this down the bottom of our 100-yard long garden beside fruit trees with a wildflower meadow just over the wall. I'm toying with moving the next-door colony into this hive as their National 'stack' is a bit wobbly using the technique Phil demonstrated in a video. Have to admit I'm nervous about that, so may just leave it as a bait hive having slathered it with lemon balm. Dilemma!
Just about to build a bait/nuc out of rescued pallet wood. DIY Delights!
Here's a pic of the completed item.
http://s1296.photobucket.com/user/david_guthrie1/media/20160417_153532_zpse4xglgpx.jpg.html
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1123
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi David

Looking good!

If you're referring to the "chop'n'crop" method, it's OK for a nuc sized colony, but anything bigger it can be VERY disruptive and you'll most likely get a lot of angry bees! I'd suggest waiting for a swarm, or a split from the National by putting top-bars between frames and removing when combs are built and eggs laid.

Good luck whatever you choose to do and let us see the results.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1567
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi David

Hive is looking very good although I'm a little surprised to see you went with centre entrances.... despite my best arguments against them Wink
Not intended to be any criticism, just an observation and I will be interested to see how you and your bees get on with them.

As posted by Trekmate, a chop and crop on a full hive is not to be recommended. You could try growing it onto top bars as suggested or maybe a shook swarm..... or my personal favourite.... a natural swarm. Of course the perfect start is when they swarm into your hive of their own accord, but don't pass up a cluster sitting resting somewhere in the hope that they will chose it, because most swarms want to move on to new territory to set up homes, particularly prime swarms. Casts have less time to be particular and are usually happy of any available home especially if there is some comb already in it.... so well worth baiting your hive with some old brood comb if you haven't already. You can hang it from top bars by making masking tape slings and the bees will attach it to the bars and then chew through and remove the masking tape once they take up residence.

Good luck populating your new hive.

Regards

Barbara
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David Guthrie
House Bee


Joined: 11 Apr 2016
Posts: 12
Location: Felton, Northumberland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Barbara
Well, actually I'd already drilled out the centre holes low down on the side with the recommended two holes at the ends on the back. So, in went the periscope with the three high holes. We'll see how it works out.
Now that you mention it, I'm distinctly knacky about transferring the ladies from that National. I'll probably set it up as an attractive alternative des res for any passing swarm. Should be the season soon, though this chilly weather over the next week may depress such activity.
I might well try that trick with the masking tape!
Meanwhile, I've built a small (18" wide) bait hive from FREE pallet wood. Now have a source for this.
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garbeam
House Bee


Joined: 14 Jun 2016
Posts: 13
Location: Germany, Landshut

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there,

I'm in the process of developing two new TBHs. I'm very tempted to create an eco-floor at least for one of them.

For the entrance I'm following the top entrance approach that Michael Bush is using, so I'm not drilling any holes. Similar for the roof, I just put a larger piece of plywood onto the top bars and that's it.

The entrance decision has some implications for the eco floor _bottom_ that I consider important. I'm tempted to use solid wood instead of a mesh for the box bottom. My reasoning behind this is, that Bush's top entrances work best with a solid bottom or no ventilation from underneath. Hence a solid eco floor bottom will keep the eco floor litter/detritus more moist hence provide a better habitat for the mites, critters, earwigs etc. living there. Having ventilation from below would dry the eco floor filling more quickly in my opinion.

Also a solid eco floor box replicates a tree environment better, as there is no ventilation coming in at the bottom of a tree hole.

Of course the eco floor box will rot more quickly, but I don't care about that, it can be exchanged in a couple of years anyways.

To avoid comb being built into the detritus I plan to use a wodden mesh topping of the eco floor box (something like www dot holzgitter dot at/bilder/ueberplg.jpg). You can imagine this like a meshed solid floor. The bees can still access the detritus/litter, but the wooden mesh provides for a pretty good barrier to stop comb building below whilst also pretending more like a tree hole environment as metal is not used.

Do you think this is a good idea?

-Anselm
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1567
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Anselm

I'm not sure of Michael Bush's climate or how he sits the plywood on his hives but I would ensure that, if you opt for this style of roof, the plywood is chocked up at the front so that rain runs off the back. This also allows for a bit of airflow over the top bars in the summer when it is hot and ensures that water doesn't track back under the ply and seep into the hive or drip onto the bees coming in to land.

As regards using a wooden lattice floor, I'm not entirely sure why you feel it is necessary. If the bees are happy to build their home down into the detritus on the hive floor, then should we worry about it? It should not prevent the hive being inspected and surely the bees will as much concern about the health and cleanliness of their home as we do, it's just that our perspectives are different.

You will probably find that the litter becomes pretty dry, so I anticipate the box will last longer than you imagine. I can't see a problem with using a wooden mesh/lattice if you really want to, just not sure it is beneficial.

Regards

Barbara
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garbeam
House Bee


Joined: 14 Jun 2016
Posts: 13
Location: Germany, Landshut

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Barbara,

thanks for your quick reply.

Barbara wrote:

I'm not sure of Michael Bush's climate or how he sits the plywood on his hives but I would ensure that, if you opt for this style of roof, the plywood is chocked up at the front so that rain runs off the back. This also allows for a bit of airflow over the top bars in the summer when it is hot and ensures that water doesn't track back under the ply and seep into the hive or drip onto the bees coming in to land.


His Nebraska climate appears to be rather continental, so quite cold winter and very hot summers with moderate rain in spring and autumn (acc. to Wikipedia Wink). So the climate over here in Bavaria can be considered a bit milder during winter and a bit more moist during summer. A mix of continental and mountain climate I would say. So it ought to be comparable to some degree.

The plywood I'm using is about 10mm thick and has an overhang on all sides of about 20-40mm, so the water drips off quite nicely without affecting the topbars or the sides. Since the adjustment of my hives is south-east, wind+rain shouldn't be problem for the entrance.

Air flow between the roof and the top bars is not an issue for me, as the plywood is rather good at reflecting the sunlight (I'm using a place where direct sunlight barely reaches the hives) and the bees are able to ventilate the heat quite nicely towards the top entrance in the theory.

Will upload a picture soon when I have time to take one Wink


Barbara wrote:

As regards using a wooden lattice floor, I'm not entirely sure why you feel it is necessary. If the bees are happy to build their home down into the detritus on the hive floor, then should we worry about it? It should not prevent the hive being inspected and surely the bees will as much concern about the health and cleanliness of their home as we do, it's just that our perspectives are different.

You will probably find that the litter becomes pretty dry, so I anticipate the box will last longer than you imagine. I can't see a problem with using a wooden mesh/lattice if you really want to, just not sure it is beneficial.


Well I would like to have the combs interchangeable throughout my hives and nucs without too much cutting. That's why I'm really keen on achieving some kind of a boundary for the bees to stop building downwards. Perhaps wood chunks will be sufficient, will see. I have no eco floor experience so far.

If someone can provide more insight how much this is an issue, it would be highly appreciated.

Thanks,
Anselm
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1567
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a little bit of trimming might be enough disincentive to keep you from interchanging combs too readily without gauging the necessity, but not make it to difficult if essential..... my personal view is that moving combs from one hive to another is not something that should be undertaken lightly, just because we can!
I very rarely do such transfers.... maybe once every few years and I usually have 8-10 colonies. Having non standardised hives keeps it that way (I can't mix and match easily), which may well be to the benefit of my bees.

As regards the overhang, Unless you fit a lip around the underside of the ply or have it tipped back, I would be quite concerned that the wet would track back under it and cause the top of the top bars to be damp. That said, I am judging it from my own climate which is damp most of the time.
I am somewhat jealous that you live in Bavaria.... a beautiful region!

Regards

Barbara
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garbeam
House Bee


Joined: 14 Jun 2016
Posts: 13
Location: Germany, Landshut

PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Barbara,

thanks for your answer!

I'm considering doing an experiment with one of my nucs following the same approach this autumn and winter to check the impact of having no lip around the lid and no overhang at all on the topbars. This will also give an idea how sturdy the plywood is, that'm using.

Actually I checked at Bush's site that he uses no overhang at all these days on his hives. I guess that this could prevent entering water underneath a lid as well, as the water will typicall just run down via the top bar ends. But I will make sure that the top bars have a slight overhang on the outside though.

I'm glad you like the Bavarian countryside, indeed I'm convinced the so called "Voralpenland" (the land in front of the Alps) is one of the most beautiful places in Europe. But having said that, I really like Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, West Sussex and so on as well, apart from Cumbria and the western highlands and Hebrids up in Scotland too. I did a UK trip all around a couple of years ago. The nicest thing in my memory is your National Trust conserving all those neat buildings and parks. There is nothing comparable over here...

Kind regards,
Anselm
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Nordak
New Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2016
Posts: 6
Location: USA, Arkansas

PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the southern U.S., this would be a really bad idea. I would like to implement an eco floor for testing, but the opportunistic small hive beetle that runs rampant in these parts would make it a near impossibility. It would probably turn into a breeding station for them, as the detritus piled up from the combs and the natural rot of the filler would provide a superb environment. Just a warning to those who live in an area with high SHB populations.
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Thebigflyin
Guard Bee


Joined: 29 Jun 2015
Posts: 60
Location: Essex

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:20 pm    Post subject: Hi Nordak Reply with quote

Just as a matter of interest , what eats the beetle ??

would that also not live in the wood chip? and thus control the shb??

hope to hear from you soon

Kev
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