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catenary hive

 
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mrwizard
Foraging Bee


Joined: 26 Oct 2008
Posts: 124
Location: sidney ohio usa

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:51 pm    Post subject: catenary hive Reply with quote



this would use standard 1X 3 lumber in the usa.

if the image stinks, i am working on something better
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FollowMeChaps
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Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Posts: 1554
Location: North Somerset, SW UK

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This looks great BUT I'm wondering how difficult it would be to manipulate the knife where they had chosen to attach their comb to the sides?

It seems to my, allbeit very limited, knowledge that there are several models of TBH varying from varying side slope to square box. They all seem to work. There's an old addage that seems to echo here - if it ain't bust, don't fix it!

Edited: Sorry, having seen this comment posted it reads as quite negative. It was not meant to be at all. I'm sure a hive made to this pattern would look really great. I'm only thinking that to the bees there's no such thing as the perfect shape. They will make do with anything within a range that suits. Perhaps I'm getting too influenced by Warré's 'leave them alone, they know best' philosophy.

It would be great to see pic's of this if you build one mrwizard.
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mrwizard
Foraging Bee


Joined: 26 Oct 2008
Posts: 124
Location: sidney ohio usa

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

all comments are welcome. no hurt feelings at all. i am a newbie. no bees yet, so i have no bad beekeeping habits to unlearn.

if you have read any of my other posts, you know that i don't want to harvest anything from my bees except pollination of my veggies. i have been researching for going on 7 or 8 months now, and have decided on some form of TBH. i am handy with wood. make furniture for the house sometimes.

IMHO, the abbe warre got it mostly right, the bees know best. but, and it is a big but, he also designed his hives to make harvesting possible. sure the disruption is minimal, but it is still not the natural state: a hole in a tree.

many beekeepers have mentioned the catenary shape of comb that has not yet reached the sides of whatever cavity they are in. a TBH with sloped sides is a man-made approximation of that shape. the "evidence" of "not attaching to the sides so much because it seems to be the floor", might be the reason or might not. i would actually prefer to core out a log, enclose it, and provide an entrance so some feral swarm could find it. but i am a good boy. my state requires inspections and registration, for what they believe are good reasons. who am i to differ.

there is a reason for the catenary shape of comb. it is a natural shape, not man made. there is a reason for TBH's being successful. there are also reasons for other hives to be successful. i am expecting results somewhere in the range of 1. the bees really don't care, to 2. they really do care. since i am building a hive anyway and have the tools and skills, why not?

i hope i have not shut anybody up. i enjoy a good debate as it stimulates new ideas.
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Greg
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Joined: 01 Apr 2008
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Location: Canada, Ontario, Kingston

PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ummm.. how about simply getting/making a hollow log? I guess in a way you are with the catenary shape. It is lovely, and of course if you don't mind, many different bevel cuts to be made a fun project. I've been reading all the discussion about the shape of the comb etc. and not that there is ANYTHING wrong with building a hive the same shape, but just curious as to... why? Very Happy
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mrwizard
Foraging Bee


Joined: 26 Oct 2008
Posts: 124
Location: sidney ohio usa

PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

can't really do the hollow log thing. ohio requires registration and inspections to prevent disease spread. i am going to be a good boy.

i am thinking the catenary because it struck me that the bees build catenary shapes for a reason, until they hit something solid that does not conform. since i have to build a hive anyway, why not try it? if the bees turn out to prefer it, we have learned something. if they don't prefer it, we still learn. them not caring at all is a fact as well. we have all read or heard that it does not matter to the bees. maybe it does a little.
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doc 25
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you going to build multiple hives to see if they care a litttle, a lot or not at all? I've read some of both 120 deg angle a must some it doesn't matter, I'll be interested to see what your bees like. Keep us posted.
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Gary
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrwizard wrote:
can't really do the hollow log thing. ohio requires registration and inspections to prevent disease spread. i am going to be a good boy.

i am thinking the catenary because it struck me that the bees build catenary shapes for a reason, until they hit something solid that does not conform.


You are 100% right You have to go back to the beginning of TBH use as it was brought to us from developing countries. In developing countries they are very limited on building material SO a fallen hollowed out tree makes a hive body and sticks make the TB's and mud is a perfect sealer. you have the KTBH. NOW bring the idea to the free world where we have access to much better materials and you will see the KTBH and the angled sides are nothing more than a good attempt at recreating the hollowed out tree.

Working along those lines we have done what man has always done to anything we put our hands on and tried to make it better or easier to use, thus you arrive at where we are today. Thankfully there are a large number of us willing to compromise and put bee's needs first as we develop a systen we both can exist with in harmony and there you come full circle back to what works a sustainable bee hive.

If you want to take it 100% back a simulated hive would be a round tube standing on end with TB's and a Warre quilt roof and the Warre is as close as anyone who wishes to actually gain a harvest will get!

Some of us perfer the TBH because everything else involves heavy lifting that just can't be done with bad backs!
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mrwizard
Foraging Bee


Joined: 26 Oct 2008
Posts: 124
Location: sidney ohio usa

PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i really like this forum, because you make me think.

first of all, only one hive for now. i have an uphill battle, with two yellow jacket sensitives in the house, just to have one beehive.

now gary has me thinking about large PVC water or drain pipe, split lengthwise, close the ends, add top bars, quilt and cover. probably the PVC would be an issue. but just another thought.
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Gary
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whatever you use for the prototype will not matter if one wanted one could find a reason not to use just about anything. Don't rack your brain over it. Plastic barrels cut in half at the seams have been suggested in the past just keep in mind anything that thin is hard to keep warm come the cold season if you do not have hay readily available.
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il volpe
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Joined: 14 Aug 2008
Posts: 83
Location: USA, Colorado, Black Forest

PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrwizard wrote:

now gary has me thinking about large PVC water or drain pipe, split lengthwise, close the ends, add top bars, quilt and cover. probably the PVC would be an issue. but just another thought.


I'm sure the bees wouldn't like the PVC much. But you can get cardboard fiber barrels and I bet they'd love one of those.
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chaindrivecharlie
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Joined: 22 Apr 2008
Posts: 1213
Location: USA, Wisconsin, Sheboygan Co. Sheboygan

PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

here check this out.
http://website.lineone.net/~dave.cushman/catenary.html
scroll down to bottom picture. Smile
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boogierocket
New Bee


Joined: 13 Jul 2014
Posts: 3
Location: Great Britain

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made some catenary hives after the Bielby pattern, except I made mine to fit over an MD plan. I formed the body quite simply from half inch thick shuttering ply fore and aft, and the curved body is made from thin bendable marine ply. I use MD crown boards, excluders, and roofs.
I separate the top bars using "National" metal end spacers, and use standard MD supers, or 12 frame Manley "Standards" with BS deep frames as supers.
The bees are free to draw comb from the top bar, and I don't have any curved side/bottom. They sometimes build brace against the inner hive wall, but I have not found it difficult to dislodge on inspection. The only thing is that you have to have good comb manipulation technique to avoid the comb breaking if you turn it over during inspection.
I find them very useful for queen rearing because I can just lift out a bar with young comb & brood and cut a slice of comb with young eggs.
It also means that I am not relying on wax imported from other beekeepers from who knows where in the brood chamber? I am sure this contributes to hive health.
The combs are reasonably robust for normal purposes, especially when 3 or more brood cycles have been through them. However I would not like to risk transporting them any significant distance, so I only use them in my stationary home and queen rearing yards.
I like my catenaries. The sight of fresh drawn comb is gorgeous, and though I seem to get a lot of drones, I guess this is because the bees themselves want them. There is an accumulation of detritus at the bottom of the hive, but I scoop this out in the spring. Every year I take out about a quarter of the old combs when the cider apples are showing pink bud. Some I use as combs for decoy hives, but most I simply cut back to within about 2 cm of the top bar, and the bees soon draw new comb by the end of April.
I don't get the same honey yield as from my MDs or Manley Standards, but then I am using the catenaries mostly in for queen rearing, or generating BS deep comb in Manley Standards for use in BS nucs.
It is a relatively cheap hive to make, but the thin ply in the curved bit does tend to rot out after a few years, but can easily be replaced, and placing the hives on a highish stand ( about 40 - 50 cm) helps keep them out of the mud and also helps my back. I have a lot of woodpeckers about, so I wrap the hives in chicken wire for winter - but then the birds will even knock a hole the size of my fist in the MDs if I don't do that.
Go for it. I like catenaries, and anything is better than the fussy "Nationals" and WBCs.
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johno
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Joined: 08 Jun 2014
Posts: 60
Location: Limerick, Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum.

I hope you stay around and post some pictures of those hives at some point.

johno
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


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

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


I had build 3 such hives last year and had bees overwinter well in them. They attach comb only at the top a bit so normal bread knife still works well.

Yes I too observed lots of detritus on the floor which I removed in the spring.
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boogierocket
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Joined: 13 Jul 2014
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Location: Great Britain

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Johnno I don't do pix and I don't do smileys.
The biggest mistake I made with my catenaries was in not providing top bee space. I was going for economy at the time and thought that without top bee space I could get away with unframed zinc excluders. That bit has been a nightmare so now I only use framed excluders, but still lack bee-space over the frames in the brood chamber, and brace combing and propolis is still a nuisance.
I seem to remember Bielby recommended using a piece of kitchen oilskin type table cloth about 1/4 inch smaller than the plan of the top of the frame area, but I didn't see how this would stop a determined queen getting up. Has anyone tried this? Has anyone else a workable alternative to the excluder? Unfortunately I gave Bielby's book away to a charity store some time ago as I didn't find much in it (apart from the catenary hive) that wasn't better expressed in other books I already had.
From the photo, Che's box is much more substantial than mine. I have two 1/2 inch thick slabs of shuttering ply more or less the same size as the front and back of an MD hive (30cm x 51cm)with a round hole in the front board as an entrance about half way up. The front and back are connected at the top by two rebated bars (rather like the rebated bar on the British "National" hive) 43.25 cm long, and near the bottom by two smaller bars 43.25 cm long which gives the thing its rigid MD plan. I then get a sheet of thin ply 43.25 cm wide and 76 cm long (thin enough for me to cut with a craft knife) and then bend it into the hive frame already established leaving an upstart of the thin ply at either side against the rebate instead of the conventional rail to support the top bars. I should have made my rebate about 7 mm deeper shouldn't I!!!!
I can get ready cut strips of timber about 22mm x 9mm which I cut to about 48 cm, pour a little rib of molten wax down the middle, and use as top bars spaced by the ordinary standard frame spacer.
It works. It's cheap to start. Great for hiving swarms. The bottom does tend to rot out after 3 or 4 years. Not so good if you want to play around detecting varroa. I have got varroa. I can see it on the drone brood, but my hives seem to survive and even prosper (fabulous clover flow this year!). I don't treat..... but then I don't wear a veil except in emergencies, so I handle them when they want to be handled rather than stressing colonies with weekly shake downs of the brood chamber from mid March. I am sure minimising interventions helps to contain disease.
Oh yes - I always use the largest size smoker I can get.
I have kept a lot of bees for nearly 40 years so I can usually know what's going on without having to tear everything apart every week. There's a lot to be said for "leave alone" bee-keeping especially if you use large brood chambers and leave the bees a lot of wax drawing to do each year.
Brother Adam in his excellent and concise book on bee-keeping at Buckfast Abbey mentioned that he liked to replace a quarter of the combs in each hive each year with fresh foundation to draw in the spring. He also used a large brood body hive.
Anyway try a catenary on an MD plan. Start it with a swarm - I know you guys never have bees that swarm, nor do I, but my wife is always complaining that someone pretty close is always losing them, give it a good feed of syrup, and watch the beautiful wax grow. Such fun! That's what bee-keeping should be .... fun.
Boogierocket
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biobee
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Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi - Could you please edit your profile to include your location, so people can take it into account when answering your questions. The Rules

Many thanks
Phil
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boogierocket
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Joined: 13 Jul 2014
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Location: Great Britain

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:03 am    Post subject: Catenary hives, profiles, etc Reply with quote

Sorry I don't do online profiles. Basically bee-keeping is a species of theft. You grab some bees that someone else has mislaid, then you hope they will go out and rob all your neighbours' nectar. This rubs off on many beekeepers. In nearly 40 years of beekeeping I have had hives purloined, had other beekeepers put their hives down on the heather a yard in front of my own to collect my foragers, had honey stolen from supers, found other bee-keepers supers on my hive, and had hives stoved in with iron bars by poor misunderstood children whom it would be too cruel to prosecute. On top of this I have had official HM bee inspectors put stand still orders on my hives "on suspicion of foulbrood" without doing any inspection, and then refusing to inspect when challenged to confirm their suspicions.
Maybe I am paranoid, but that doesn't mean that they are not out there ready & waiting to get me.
I live in the UK. Is that enough?
By the way I don't do bees for the honey. Good damson jam is far superior - when you can get the damsons which seem to become rarer by the year. I keep bees for the joy of it. The best thing about bees is that they annoy a certain sort of person, and that in itself is great fun.
I would be interested to know if anyone has any solutions to the queen exclusion problem in vertically stacked hives that avoids the use of metal grills.
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prakel
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Joined: 13 Nov 2012
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Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

boogierocket wrote:
I separate the top bars using "National" metal end spacers, and use standard MD supers, or 12 frame Manley "Standards" with BS deep frames as supers.


I assume that you must be using spacers approaching one and a half inches in your 'Manley Standards' to only get 12 frames in them?
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biobee
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:36 am    Post subject: Re: Catenary hives, profiles, etc Reply with quote

boogierocket wrote:
Sorry I don't do online profiles.
I live in the UK. Is that enough?


If we start making concessions for you, we have to make them for everyone. Nobody is asking you to disclose your home address or the location of your apiaries. A nearby town, or at least county, will do, but we have to apply rules even-handedly.
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meant2bee
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Joined: 28 Aug 2014
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Location: Hawai'i, Kaua'i, Lawai

PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:57 am    Post subject: ...catenary sides to discourage comb attachment? Reply with quote

I have been looking for the reason for the sloped sides of top-bar hives! I have been having so many problems with attached comb I was thinking I should build one with straight sides so the catenary of the comb would hang further from the side. I thought the added space might make them less likely to attach but you folks seem to be suggesting that having the walls mimic the natural hang of comb should make them less likely to attach it to them. Am I getting this right?
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Barbara
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Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Yes that is the idea. There is an optimum angle of slope, so if you are seeing lots of brace comb, it would suggest either you haven't got it right or you have a strong nectar flow and the combs are so heavy they need that extra support. Making a straight sided hive will just encourage them to build more brace comb. They will build the catenary curve but then expand it to fit the whole volume of the hive and then the extra weight of that comb when it is filled, will need even more support and therefore more brace comb onto the sides,

Not sure that solves your problem but hopefully prevents you creating another. Some people use frames in straight sided (Tanzanian) TBHs but you have to be quite accurate in building it to maintain the bee space throughout otherwise they will just propolise or brace the frames in place and make it just as difficult to remove them.

The important thing when working a TBH is to remember to check each comb and cut upwards through the brace comb before you try to lift it out.

Regards

Barbara
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trekmate
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To add to Barbara's reply - with vertical sides, after cutting brace comb, lifting the comb will still drag on the sides and can cause collapse/breakage.
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