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Size of hive

 
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BuffBum
Guard Bee


Joined: 10 Nov 2015
Posts: 62
Location: Quarry Bank, West Midlands, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:24 am    Post subject: Size of hive Reply with quote

I have the PhilC hTBH hive plans and intent to start with one hive to hopefully attract Bees.
Present thoughts are not to harvest Honey.
The proposed site will be infront of a row of trimmed/cut down south facing conifers in a small but not over looked garden.
So the Question is:

What length of hive to go for?

Lance
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1574
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Lance

Personally I would go with 4 ft if you are starting from scratch as it gives you more options and room to manoeuvre than a 3 ft, especially if you plan to just have one hive. I would recommend you make entrances near the ends rather than in the middle, so that the colony just grows in one direction and highly recommend fitting an observation window.

All that said, if you are intending for this just to be a conservation hive and you don't propose to inspect or interfere in any way, you might be better with a simple Japanese hive or basically any old box. I currently have a second year colony which is very strong and happy, living in an old apple crate fitted with top bars, with polystyrene taped round the sides as the wood is very thin and has gaps in it as apple crates do. I made a deep roof for it out of wood offcuts, carpet offcut and mineral felt. I haven't inspected it since I threw a swarm in there 2 and a half years ago. They threw 4 healthy swarms this season before raising a new queen and then filling up the box with honey ready for winter.

I can probably get some photos if you are interested, but really just want to say that it doesn't have to be all that well built or precise if you are purely wanting to make a home for some bees in your garden. You do need to be aware that if you go for a "conservation" or leave alone type hive, they will probably throw multiple swarms each season which will then need homes and if you don't live in a rural area this may cause problems with neighbours.

Just a bit of food for thought.

Regards

Barbara
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BuffBum
Guard Bee


Joined: 10 Nov 2015
Posts: 62
Location: Quarry Bank, West Midlands, UK

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks Barbara,

I will go with a 4' hive then, what time of year should I be aiming at to get it ready for use?

BTW I sent you a PM.

Cool
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 583
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're purchasing bees, probably end April / very early May, or whenever the first nectar flow really starts. If you're waiting for a swarm, it depends on your local swarm season and the weather that particular year, but probably you want to be ready by the end of May even though most swarms will happen later. It would be best to ask local beekeepers about both dates though.

If your woodwork skills are up to it, I would recommend an observation window for your first hive. In fact, I would recommend starting with two hives if you possibly can, partly so that you can compare and contrast, and partly because it will help you relax and take the no or low intervention approach if you think something is going wrong.

If you are definitely going to rely on swarms, then it might be advisable to put out a number of bait hives in different locations even though you only have one or perhaps two full size TBH's. And maybe see if you can get on the local swarm collection list - sometimes this is run by the local BBKA, sometimes by the local fire station.

Adam.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1574
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Lance. Yes I got your PM. Will need to wait for a calm day to take the roof off the apple crate and take some photos for you.

I would aim to have your hive finished ASAP and park it outside to weather a bit. Bees don't care for the smell of new timber so the longer it's sitting out there exposed to the elements waiting for residents the better, in my opinion.

In my area, the police used to keep a list of local beekeepers to collect swarms, but it seems to be dealt with mostly by the council pest control officers now, so it's a good idea to make yourself known to them if you want a swarm.

As Adam says, it's a good idea to make a few bait boxes and locate them in friends' and family's gardens to increase your chances of attracting a swarm. If you can get some pieces of old brood comb from someone local to bait them with, that will really help. Bait boxes can be made of less durable materials because they are only going to be out in the open during the summer. Some people have even used heavy duty cardboard I think (I vaguely remember a photocopy paper box being mentioned) with a sheet of plastic or plywood over the top to keep the wet out. I've used recycled plastic bathroom panelling that I recovered from a skip to make a light weight nuc box a few years ago. It's easy to cut with a craft knife and screws to a wooden frame that can be made from off cuts of wooden laths. Afraid I'm a bit of a skip rat! Make sure if they are chemical treated that the laths are on the outside only. It's really a question of looking around and seeing what's lying about that might do the job..... I have a TB hive made out of an old corner cabinet with legs bolted to the top and bottom and then tipped on it's back to make a basic trough structure. I made a plywood roof and covered it in mineral felt and it only cost me a few £s for the bolts as my brother was going to take the cabinet to the tip because the glass door had been broken and the other timber for legs etc was just off cuts or reclaimed. Will get some photos of that too.

Anyway, that's enough waffling for one night and plenty of food for thought.

Regards

Barbara
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David43
House Bee


Joined: 01 Nov 2015
Posts: 14
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Size of hive Reply with quote

4 ft. is good size.
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