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Eco floor ponderings

 
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stevebuzz
House Bee


Joined: 31 Jul 2014
Posts: 20
Location: Flitwick Bedfordshire UK

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:21 am    Post subject: Eco floor ponderings Reply with quote

A TBH with two separate colonies would require the eco floor litter to be heaped up against the follower boards to affect a seal, does this really work.
As the eco floor litter now becomes the holding area for fallen varroa rather than a clear fall to the ground, varroa may have the opportunity to re-join there host, if not consumed by waiting predators. Any thoughts most appreciated.
Stevebuzz.
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Lacewing
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 Sep 2012
Posts: 96
Location: Powys, Mid Wales

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Well don't do what I did this year: a split in a hTBH with mesh floor left in place, but below which I'd retro-fitted a deep floor. Or thought I had. I saw it was more of a retro-not-very-good-fit when I discovered what would have been a communal bee party going on in it! One side hadn't re-queened and I suspect this may have been why. Last year by contrast, I did a split and moved one half into a new hive soon and all went perfectly.)

Last edited by Lacewing on Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1574
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Steve

I believe the key to keeping 2 colonies in one hive is to use 2 follower boards between the colonies with no man's(bees') land in between.

As regards the varroa climbing back up, I have read that most of the mites that drop off do so because they are damaged/dying and therefore they are unlikely to be able to climb back up.

Personally I don't like Open Mesh Floors, particularly in our climate, unless there is a floor fitted below it, at least loosely.

I've got solid floors and always have had in my Nationals and my experience is that they are 6 years treatment free and no problems. I always wondered if the OMF, which of course beekeepers(in their wisdom!) use to help with varroa control, in fact hinder it.

I'm still playing with the eco floor and my gut feeling is that it is a good idea, but getting the details right is proving difficult. Ie the right medium, depth and allowing access to bees. I recently opened up one that was retrofitted to my top bar hive, replacing the floor below the mesh, so that the bees didn't have access. It was crawling with wax moth larvae, which the bees couldn't get at, to destroy/remove. Thankfully the comb in the hive was clear of it, but I don't know if it would have remained so for much longer. I therefore feel it is important for the bees to have access to the deep floor litter, to patrol it as necessary and remove what they don't want.

I've had bees remove woodshavings, so again I listened to them and tried something else... decomposing shredded hardwood brash,dried grass and herb leaves. I've seen them trying to remove some of the grass, so that won't be going in the next one, but the rest seems OK to them at the moment.

Anyway, I don't think it is important to seal each end to keep the individual colonies apart, just make some neutral territory in between.

Regards

Barbara
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have only had an ecofloor on one of my kTBH since May this year. So far so good. The only issues I have had was losing a swarm but the colony became massively strong in a very short space of time from splitting. This was a new colony so I cannot comment on whether this was contributed to by the floor.
I fitted the ecofloor under a mesh floor just like others in this thread. I like this idea because it meant if there were problems I could easily remove without compromising the hive. However I can see that access might be useful for the bees. I am not sure what the best option is as it is still early days for me. I think retro fitting "should" be fine provided it doesn't leave access gaps for the likes of waxmoth.

My ecofloor is a 70mm deep box with mesh on the bottom. It is filled with wood chips. I thought a heavier absorbant and adsorbant material would allow the ecofloor to act a heat and scent reservoir for the hive. Essential a thermal mass which will resist fluctuations in temperature but also hive scent and moisture. This should allow recovery of hive atmosphere to be re-established quicker following an inspection and minimises the impact of short periods of bad weather.

[url]augustcottageapiary.wordpress.com[/url]
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stevebuzz
House Bee


Joined: 31 Jul 2014
Posts: 20
Location: Flitwick Bedfordshire UK

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:55 pm    Post subject: Eco floor ponderings, but a plan starts. Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies, Barbara, lacewing and AugustC.
I have made some decisions regarding my TBH building. The plan is to fit the hive floor mesh, build and fit eco floors with removable solid floors, but not fill, until up to speed with TB beekeeping, dropping all my National hive operating habits from times past. The eco floor mesh is often mentioned as being quite a large hole size, 6mm or so, I guess this is were Barbara’s wax moths gained entry, may be a 2-3mm aperture would be better. The removable solid floor on an empty eco floor, gives me an option the observe varroa drop, as my colonies will be from unknown sources i.e. swarms, the down side is quite an empty void under the colony. AugustC I came across your Webb site, very nice, well put together, I picked up some tips, worth the read. What timber did you use for the hive walls in the images, and if possible who’s the supplier.
Again thanks for your thoughts. I have just about formulated the hive design and a method for starting next spring.
Regards
Steve.
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Steve

Thanks, I am glad you enjoyed the site.
The hive in the picture shown was actually made from kitchen work top on sale from ikea. It is the main reason for the very odd 51" length of the hive. I was essentially just a matter of cutting the wood length ways. I have also made a hive from scaffold boards though and have costed up a build using carcassing from a merchant. These boards come in 150cm wide by 1", 1.5"", and 2" so you can fill your boots as far as insulation is concerned.
I like to reuse things where I can and it is appropriate to do so. I have made bait hives and nucs from pallet wood and they work very well for temporary housing and transport.
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stevebuzz
House Bee


Joined: 31 Jul 2014
Posts: 20
Location: Flitwick Bedfordshire UK

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I have decided on high periscope side entrances close to the vertical ends front and back, I guess half way between a front and middle side entrance, the holes will give direct access to about the first three combs. Splitting may be possibly more straight forward. It will be interesting to see how well hive cleaning goes regarding the high entrance, I am sure they will cope. Thanks for the reply to my other posting “Eco floor ponderings” I thought your timber looked like block wood work top, these engineered timbers are very stable, all the stresses and movement cancelling out. No special offer price at the moment though.
Regards
Steve.
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bunk
New Bee


Joined: 02 Feb 2015
Posts: 2
Location: Mid Devon

PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:02 pm    Post subject: Removable ecofloor Reply with quote

I'm just in the process of building an hTBH and have been pondering on the ecofloor, too. The comments here have been really helpful. I've been wondering whether to put in a mesh floor to keep the bees from the litter, but now I think I've been convinced to leave it out for the moment…

What I'm toying with at the moment is leaving the side boards long, so that there is perhaps around a 2" to 3" gap between them at the bottom, and then using a piece of plastic gutter or similar, filled with litter and slid along the bottom, so it can be removed. I would close off the ends by having lift-up sections (hinged flaps) on the bottom parts of the end boards. I was also thinking of putting a couple of strips of moulding above the ecofloor, so I could put in a strip of mesh if I wanted to later, or a white plastic board for counting mite drop.

Do you think this might work? Is there something I haven't considered?

Looking forward to any comments!
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greengage
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Jan 2015
Posts: 62
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe im in the wrong thread but are there any pictures of eco floors or can you point me in the right direction tks.
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stevebuzz
House Bee


Joined: 31 Jul 2014
Posts: 20
Location: Flitwick Bedfordshire UK

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bunk/greengage,
In my Sep 05 and 09 messages I finalized my design, the hard work started. I am pleased to say all finished and ready for the coming season, I have been fortunate, a neighbour has had a lot of building work carried out, so have been skip diving, lots of roof joists insulation boards etc. I guess Phil and others will be developing the eco floor through the season. I decided to attempt to master HTBH beekeeping first, before developing an Eco floor system, to many variable already, need to forget 10 years of vertical square box beekeeping first.
Greengage have a look at this youtube vid
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWB-pdlqeFQ
I will try and post an image (any pointers how to upload/attach images) taken today of snow topped HTBH's, waiting patiently, in their holding pen, I will be moving them out to my apiary early March.
As a returning beekeeper, I have been going to my association’s improvers monthly meetings, I finally let on that I was not returning to beekeeping like I had (national brood and half) but was taking a different route. They took it well; all follow the usual vertical hive route.
Two comments I had were, "so you don't want any honey" and an email saying that with top bar hives you may be kept very busy removing combs and squeezing honey from them due to good nectar yields in this location, so I guess it will be somewhere between the two anecdotal comments.
Regards
Stevebuzz.
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stevebuzz
House Bee


Joined: 31 Jul 2014
Posts: 20
Location: Flitwick Bedfordshire UK

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Image attempt.
Stevebuzz

Edited, now in Photo gallery section.
http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/steveg7was/library/?sort=6&page=1

Regards
stevebuzz


Last edited by stevebuzz on Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Greengage

It probably sounds more complicated than it is.
It is a removable box. The width and length as the bottom of the TBH's bottom.
The box is about 100mm deep, though as long as it can hold a decent covering of wood chips it isn't that important.
The bottom of the box can be solid (which can be expected to rot over time) or a mesh allowing excess moisture through.
The box should contain well-seasoned wood chips. If you have a nearby sawmill grab a bag for £1 and leave them in a pile somewhere in your apiary until you are ready to ecofloor.
The biggest question with the eco floor whether or not to have something between the hive and eco floor.

Option 1: Retrofit eco floor so the bottom of the hive still has varroa mesh on the bottom.
PROS -

Easy peezy.
Uniform comb depths.
If you fit the eco floor on adjustable clips you can lower it to increase ventilation (if ventilation is you bag).
If you need to remove the ecofloor at any point due to damage or infestation you still have a self-contained hive.
CONS -
You have compartmented habitats.
The bees cannot access the ecofloor area to police the area.
NB - You can get around this by poking a few larger holes in you mesh. The bees then have access and they are easily plugged if you need to remove the ecofloor.
Option B: The use of a wider mesh (bees can fit through).
PROS -

Uniform comb depths.
The bees have access to the eco floor to police it.
CONS -
Hard to retro fit to hive with bees already in.
As the material rots down the bees will have access under the follower board to the rest of the hive so you’ll be unable to keep multiple colonies in one hive.
Still requires covering if ecofloor needs to be removed.
NB - This can be mediate by having a hard floor which can clip on underneath the mesh using the same connectors as the ecofloor.
Option iii: The is no need for a bottom!
PROS -

Obviously the easiest when making a new hive.
The second easiest for retrofit (not as much work to remove a mesh floor, as to remove one and fit a new one).
The area is completely open to the bees so accepted as part of the hive and policed as such.
The material can be piled up against and around the follower to provide better side insulation.
CONS –
As the material rots down the bees will build the comb down to the material leading to different comb depths in different parts of the hive and difficulty topping up.
Still requires covering if ecofloor needs to be removed.
NB - This can be mediate by having a hard floor which can clip on underneath the mesh using the same connectors as the ecofloor.

Personally, I am an option one of old hive and an option two on new hives but many have their own takes on it.
best of luck. A.

www.augustcottageapiary.wordpress.com
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bunk
New Bee


Joined: 02 Feb 2015
Posts: 2
Location: Mid Devon

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your responses, especially AugustC - very helpful pros and cons!
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
are there any pictures of eco floors or can you point me in the right direction


Stevebuzz has given the link to Phil's u-tube of the deep floor. Phil also has a thread on the deep floor, http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15963&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=

I posted photos last year http://www.biobees.com/forum/posting.php

The search function might bring up more, try searching deep floor as well as eco floor.

Kim
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greengage
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Jan 2015
Posts: 62
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great tks for that, I followed the link and found a utube video that explains it, I'm making one at the moment so its between a Nuc and a larger hive, when its assembled, its bigger than I thought, Ill post pics when A. I take them and B. figure out how to upload. Need more wood looking where to source it cheaply.
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johnelbar
New Bee


Joined: 15 May 2014
Posts: 2
Location: USA,Maine,Bridgewater, 04735

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having seen Phil Chandler's "eco" hive it seemed like a good idea. I modified 3 hives. My hives are mostly 1.75" cedar. The Eco floor was 4" deep and I used wood chips of no particular species. This eco floor was filled up to maybe 1/2" above the follower board bottom, and left the hive empty as a backup. Some time later I caught a swarm and while installing it in the hive, I noticed a bumble bee. I sort of mounded the the chips up on the follower board, drilled a new entrance for the newly discovered bumble bee family and everything worked out OK. The snow hit in early November and is still here. The honey bees are still alive so far, but if winter doesn't let go pretty quick I am worried about losing them. I understand the bumble bees die off and the queen goes to ground then makes a new nest next year so I suppose she has left the hive. Time will tell. Anyhow, the bees seemed to tolerate each other through the summer and fall. Kind of a curiousity.
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