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the honey cow

 
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SaveOurSkills
Nurse Bee


Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 28
Location: USA, PA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:31 pm    Post subject: the honey cow Reply with quote

http://makeprojects.com/Project/Your-Own-Honey-Cow/539/1

I've come across these plans. My initial thought is there won't be enough insulation to over-winter the bees in this sort of hive.

I live in western Pennsylvania.

Any thoughts on this hTBH design?
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Rupert
Silver Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2008
Posts: 629
Location: France, Tarn-et-Garonne, Realville,

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi SaveOurSkills,

SaveOur Skulls, more like, that's doing my head in. I appreciate the recycling bit, but in MHO, plastic and natural bee keeping don't fit in the same sentence.

Make it with wood. Smile

Rupert
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SaveOurSkills
Nurse Bee


Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 28
Location: USA, PA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate your opinion, however these aren't new barrels they are recycled food grade barrels which would otherwise be trash

not sure if this changes your opinion or not... but my more specific question is would there be an issue overwintering bees with only the plastic for insulation?
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GarlyDog
Site Admin


Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 1720
Location: USA, Joliet, Illinois

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Rupert on this one.

But to answer your question, I would bet the plastic has a higher R value than wood. Those containers are pretty thick.

Most of the heat is lost through the top of the hive. I'm not sure it would make that big of a difference if the hive body was plastic or wood.

However, I could see something like this warming up too much if the dark plastic was receiving full sun in the Summer.

It think it would also be a little dicey to move when it is full of bees,comb and honey. It doesn't look very sturdy.
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SaveOurSkills
Nurse Bee


Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 28
Location: USA, PA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll leave this open as an option, however I'll probably just use the barrels for rain catch instead
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WillBee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 126
Location: UK, Manchester

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can think of a number of better uses than bees.
Rain catch, as you said, and also things like building a wormery for a bit of vermiculture/vermicomposting.

Cut in half in the other way to the hive you linked to each one could serve as a planter for growing food (potatoes for example) in a yard or balcony where growing in the ground can't be done.

What else... it'd make a good compost tumbler for quick rotting of compost.

Plenty of uses, and while I genuinely appreciate the idea of keeping plastics as far from landfill and water as we can manage, I don't think it's a case of hives or nothing.

That said - it never ceases to amaze me how many ways people find to make manageable hives.
Of course - the bees are even more inventive still, but they don't care so much about management.
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SaveOurSkills
Nurse Bee


Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 28
Location: USA, PA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes thanks for realizing that. I don't think food grade plastic would harm the bees in any way. And it is a cheap way to make 2 hives out of materials I already have on hand.

I realize plastic sucks, but on the other hand we don't need to be irrational with fear of it.

Regardless I need drip irrigation for a pumpkin patch I am putting in and will use the barrels for that project instead.

I've got a bunch of scrap wood in my shop so I am sure I can manage to put something together. Like you said, the bees don't care.
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RectoryGarden
Scout Bee


Joined: 21 Apr 2009
Posts: 277
Location: UK, North Somerset

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ethics aside, from a practical point of view I think the bees would struggle with heat regulation and moisture control in a plastic hive.
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velacreations
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 56
Location: Mexico, Chihuahua

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am the author of that article for Make Magazine. I will try and address a few of the concerns here.

Plastic being dangerous - as mentioned, it is food grade plastic, I don't think we have anything to fear. I make sure to wash them out and let them air out real good before use. If you fear plastic, by all means, go with wood.

Plastic heating up or too cold - this could possibly be an issue, though I have never experienced it. I have very hot summers (100+), but I have my hive in the shade of an oak tree. You could easily place a piece of styrofoam on top of the bars to keep them insulated.

Moisture control - to me this has more to do with design than materials. Sure, wood can absorb a bit of moisture, but proper ventilation is necessary. Additionally, placing a quilt of wood chips or sawdust can help, if you encounter moisture issues.

Stability - this thing is very strong, and has survived 60+ mph winds several times, no problem. During construction, my son climbed all over the hive and it was fine. It is quite sturdy.

The hive was designed as a cheap and easy hive for folks to start with. Barrels are everywhere, and they're quick and easy to use. Wood makes great hives as well, but this is an alternative. I've found cracked or punctured barrels for free, so making a hive out of them is a good use for them. Are hives the only use for them? No, of course not, but if you need a quick hive, a barrel can be a decent source of materials.

A note on wood, if your choice is food grade plastic vs chemically treated wood, go with the plastic!
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That certainly makes a lot of sense in terms of re-use and recycling: although plastic will never be high on my list for a primary hive-building material, plastic flower pots make very handy nucs and swarm-catchers.
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velacreations
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 56
Location: Mexico, Chihuahua

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biobee wrote:
That certainly makes a lot of sense in terms of re-use and recycling: although plastic will never be high on my list for a primary hive-building material, plastic flower pots make very handy nucs and swarm-catchers.

I think it depends on what you have on hand and what is available in your area. In the drier areas of the US (southwest), non-treated lumber is hard to come by. Lumber, in general, is fairly expensive. But food-grade plastic is everywhere.

I don't use these hives to recycle, I use them because they are cheap and effective, plus they are super easy to put together.
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GarlyDog
Site Admin


Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 1720
Location: USA, Joliet, Illinois

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for you followup velacreations. How many of these do you have in operation? How long?
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velacreations
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 56
Location: Mexico, Chihuahua

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got 2 in operation, and they've been going for about 2 seasons. I also have a few Langs, and I hope to get some Perone's going as well.
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GarlyDog
Site Admin


Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 1720
Location: USA, Joliet, Illinois

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess that settles it. Nice work.
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SaveOurSkills
Nurse Bee


Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 28
Location: USA, PA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the replies. There is much to consider.. regardless I need something before spring
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velacreations
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 56
Location: Mexico, Chihuahua

PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Use whatever you have on hand. Bees are amazingly adaptable. The best hive, in my opinion, is the one that works for you and the bees.
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WhetzelMomma
New Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 8
Location: Days Creek, OR

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject: Update Reply with quote

I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to say that I have built two hives based on this pattern by velacreations, and they have wintered over well with no additional support. I built an a framed roof over my hive to help regulate heat. My hive is in partial sun, and I live in Oregon, where we have wet, cold winters, and temps that reach over 100 degrees for a short time in the summers. I just caught a swarm and placed it in my second hive, but my first swarm is thriving in my first hive. Here are some of my photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/minetothine/sets/72157629551149747/
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velacreations
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 56
Location: Mexico, Chihuahua

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WhetzelMomma - nice job on your hives! Have you harvested honey from them, yet?

We've been plagued by drought, and I've lost all of my bees, from my honey cows, my Langs, everything. Even the feral bees in the oak forests around us are gone.

Hopefully, we'll get rain this year, and I can start back up, but it has been a really hard 2 years for bees. Average losses in the commercial setups in my area were 80% for 2011.
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MObeek
Silver Bee


Joined: 20 Jul 2011
Posts: 849
Location: Northwest MO, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am so sorry for your loss, Velacreations. I hope this year is a better year in your area.
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velacreations
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 56
Location: Mexico, Chihuahua

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

me, too, because it has totally destroyed the apiculture business here. I have heard that there were not enough bees this year for the apple pollination, and I expect that to be true. Here in my village, there has been a severe shortage of bees, but I did see a swarm fly over my house the other day, and I found a new hive that recently moved into a tree down by the river, so there is hope yet.

I am going to try and catch swarms this year, once the rai season comes (if it does), and I'll probably be moving all of my hives down close to the river, as they stand a better chance of surviving down there.
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WhetzelMomma
New Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 8
Location: Days Creek, OR

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't harvested yet, but I plan to. So sorry about the loss of your bees!!
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Tyania
New Bee


Joined: 13 Mar 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Nayarit, Mexico

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:08 pm    Post subject: Barrel sources and thought on terra cotta clay flower box Reply with quote

What are some of the application for these barrels in the food industry... So that I might find a used one?
Also, does anyone have any thoughts or experience with terra cotta clay flower boxes used for top bar hives?
I am looking for a woodless option since I live in tropical Mexico... Non treated wood rots very easily, becomes termite infested, and hardwoods are extremely expensive.
I was thinking that clay would maintain temps very good in the summer heat and breath well in the high humidity but I cannot find anyone using this as a building material in a top bar construction...
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jumbleoak
Scout Bee


Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 295
Location: UK, England, Kent

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try these:
http://www.academia.edu/1929792/A_17th_Century_Testimony_On_The_Use_Of_Ceramic_Top-bar_Hives

http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/Experimental-Archaeology-Beekeeping-with-Copies-of-Ancient-Upright-Hives

Unfortunately, you have to buy the second one. I've read it, and if the first helps then it will too.

Maybe try contacting Mavrofridis.
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Tyania
New Bee


Joined: 13 Mar 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Nayarit, Mexico

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:06 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Enjoying the reading! Thank you.
The planters I am hoping to use are rectangular shaped with vertical sides... Like an elongated cube... So more like the expandable and interchangable top bar hives used today.
If anyone has any current info on using ceramic, terra cotta or clay, I would love to know how to treat the inside, if at all and the best results for creating an entrance.
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