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zaunreiter
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
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Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bees flying in the first sunny days of March 2014.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-OVlehJiAE
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Borrago officinialis.


Fruit trees in full blossom.


Hives are drenched in fresh nectar. It taste some of the fresh nectar from burr comb on the topbars. Lovely!


That is the way is has to look like: winter stores are eaten up to the top and is replaced by brood. One comb of food is turned into one comb of brood.


Pollen surrounding the brood.


Drones combs get drawn and capped. First young drones can be found in the hives, means the swarms will be much earlier this year, I reckon.


This drone frame has been filled with worker comb and brood.


This drone comb has been filled with pollen.


Fresh comb and nectar.


Spring flow!


In a frame hive the nest is stretched more horizontal


You see the broad honey dome.




Here you see on the right side of the comb, how brood emerges from the inside to the outside, following the circular laying pattern of the queen.
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just checked some weaker hives that build up more slowly. Might be interesting for you, since I compared wintered hives on two and on three boxes. I am experimenting a bit, what wintering setup is the best for Spring development in a Warré hive.

While the stronger hives have drawn and capped fresh drone comb, the weaker hives just finished drawing combs.


This is a three boxes hive. I checked the hive from bottom up. This is the bottom box. This box is more or less completely stuffed with pollen. Some brood is reaching into it.


This is the middle box. On the left and right hand pollen, pollen and more pollen. Just a column of brood in the middle.


The main brood area is in the topmost box. This box is full of brood. As can be seen the winter stores are almost eaten up already. Just a small honey dome.


This is the nest in it's correct order.


As you can see, if there are lots and lots of comb available with lots of empty cells, the bees will stuff it to the rim with pollen if there is no nectar available first in Spring. If they can't find nectar, they forage for pollen and fill those into the empty cells. Bees are greedy.

The broodnest gets pollen bound this way, because so much pollen cannot be consumed. If the nectar flow sets in massively, the bee colony will swarm very soon.

On the next picture you can see, that in Spring the repair of the nest doesn't need many bees and wax makers. Only small building cluster do the repairing and extension of the nest.


Front side-...


...and backside of a two box hives. On the sides the honey is consumed, cells polished, first filled with pollen and later with brood. As you can see there is much less pollen and the whole picture of the nest is in harmony. Compare this with the picture of the three storey hive above, which is more chaotic. Less chaos more order in a two box hive.


Brood does reach right to the topbar. Which is important, because this way the bees take new boxes more easily. The food on the brood combs is consumed completely later and brood reaches from wall to wall. you see the eggs been layed right into the sides and corners.
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although the combs do contain comb from wall to wall, there is some food left in the brood boxes: on the sides facing the walls. Fatty combs with bee bread and fresh nectar. This combs stays with the broodnest and does not have to be removed.


Next to such fatty combs bees love to build combs. If you hang new combs on the outside of the pollen comb, they draw it and fill it with nectar right away. If you put the new comb between pollen comb and broodnest, the queen usually is faster and lays eggs into it, extending the broodnest.


Here you can see, how the brood emerges from the inside to the outside. In some of the cells in the center there is pollen, which is fresh food for the new larvae hatching out of the eggs that you can find in the center. There is a slight danger here, that all the cells receive pollen, if the queen is not quick enough to lay eggs in all those new empty cells. A good queen fills those cells right away.


Winter stores are consumed while the broodnest grows. This picture one could see weeks ago in the stronger hives.


Are they capping or decapping?


Broodnest grows to the sides as stores are consumed...


...and it grows further and further.


Empty combs put on top of the hive get filled immediately with large amounts of nectar. That differs from apiary to apiary at the moment, because we didnot have much rain, some apiaries have the nectar flow, others don't. To make use of the first flows, we have to here, because there is not much nectar flow later in the year, one has to super the hives and keep the broodnest as free of nectar as possible. Preventing the backflooding of the nest with nectar.


Still growing.


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Barbara
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Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bernhard many thanks for those wonderful photos and insightful comments.
From what I understand, you are of the opinion that the less strong overwinter colonies will do better (for you) because the strong colonies have too many bees foraging pollen, which will clog up the hive and cause them to swarm sooner. Did I pick that up right? Of course the advantage of this is that your swarming season will start sooner and therefore the swarms from those strong colonies will benefit from your early season nectar flow, whereas my main nectar flow is late summer and so my swarms are later in the season.

Did you notice that the new drone comb that they filled with pollen in your March 31st entry is almost the only comb that is aligned with the cells vertically instead of horizontally. If I remember correctly you had a theory that having the flat sides of the hexagon on the top and bottom restricted the movement of varroa in the brood cells and perhaps restricted the opportunity for them to breed. It is interesting therefore that it is the new drone comb that is drawn vertically and not worker brood comb which is almost entirely horizontally aligned. I assume you are not using foundation except for the odd ladder, which would of course dictate the horizontal rows of cells.
Just curious what you make of it and whether you see a regular pattern of this in your other hives? Is it just purely by chance that most cells are built in horizontal lines or perhaps as a result of years of foundation use that bees have developed a habit of it? Or was foundation so arranged because bees prefer it that way? Out of curiosity, does anyone know how Apis cerana arrange their comb naturally and could that be a benefit in their management of varroa?
I'm sure Lizbee had a bar of worker comb last year that was entirely vertical and stuck out like a sore thumb when I viewed her hive inspection photos.

Anyway, just something that struck me as I was enjoying your photos.
Many thanks.

Barbara
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
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Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Barbara!

Barbara wrote:
...the less strong overwinter colonies will do better (for you) because the strong colonies have too many bees foraging pollen, which will clog up the hive


No, wait. The number of empty cells leads to pollen clogged hives. So wintering on three or more Warré hive boxes leads to lots of empty comb and cells. Bees start walking the combs in Spring and the more empty cells they find, the more vigirous they try to fill them. They fly out and do find pollen only, in early spring. So they bring home pollen and clog up the hive with pollen.

My point is, that wintering on two boxes is better than on three or four boxes. At least in a temperate climate. If it is a colder climate with harsh winters, you need three boxes in order to provide the stores needed for such winters. But usually in such climates the Spring is jumping in full force and nectar comes up more quickly than it does in our climates where there is less winter and more Spring.

Barbara wrote:
...comb that is aligned with the cells vertically instead of horizontally.


It is completely random. There is no such a thing as a preferred alignment of cell orientation. Even on one single comb the direction of the cells can vary. In fixed comb hives you cannot find such a thing. (I use foundation in my frame hives, which you can see in the pictures. Not on drone combs.) In natural comb the cells are regular but show a lot of different sizes, alignments and directions, as said even on one comb. Also there is no such a thing than housel position in natural comb. At least not in the combs I have come to, and I have seen a many combs. Razz
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
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Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must confess that when I first read about Housel positioning I was quite convinced by it, but once I actually started to look at my hives and apply it, I couldn't see it at all, probably because of the cell size variation and non uniformity of free comb and I then lost interest in the concept.

Anyway, thanks for clarifying your point about the excess empty comb in additional boxes causing the "pollen clogging" and also that the majority of the pics are of foundation comb as that makes much more sense.
I was assuming your bees were just very organised like you obviously are:D, , whereas mine are disorganised and untidy like me Embarassed so the cells in my free comb are very randomly arranged.
It is quite surprising though to see a comb of entirely vertically orientated cells when you are so used to seeing horizontal or a mish mash.
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zaunreiter
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of brood is emerging and the bee queen is busy to lay new eggs into the cells that get freed.


The honey supers get pumped with honey. It depends on location, while some locations do not produce any surplus others are bursting.


The lower brood boxes are mostly full of capped brood.


The smaller bee colonies still have a honey dome at the top of the second brood chamber.




But the almost reached the topbar of the upper brood chamber, so the way to the honey super is free.


Capped brood comb in the lower brood chamber.


Last edited by zaunreiter on Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Upper...




and lower brood box...


Same picture in almost all hives.


I like to sit when working.










Queen cells.


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zaunreiter
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bees in the canola field. Worries me and making me sleepness nights.




Bees in canola get a yellow mark on their head:






Hoverflies and lots of other insects in the canola, too.
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Broadwell
Foraging Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 122
Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bernhard,

Your frames – are they just glued and pinned together, so no joints, and what is the pair of slits for in the top bar?

Do you use an extractor to process them, or just crush and strain?

And do the metal spacer bars help at all with preventing the frames being propolised down?

Many thanks
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zaunreiter
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
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Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Broadwell wrote:
...just glued and pinned together,


Just pinned with a stapler. There is a small rebate/groove where the sides meet the topbar though, so the horizontal pull doesn't pull out the staples.

Broadwell wrote:
...pair of slits for in the top bar?


This is for natural comb without foundation. You simply insert a strip of foundation, bend it and your done with your starter strip. It is the Gatineau method. See his picture:


from: http://www.apiculturegatineau.fr/photo_12.html
And: http://warre.biobees.com/gatineau.htm

It is useful but although a bit annoying. In a smaller colony the groove can be populated by wax moths. Also all the dirt cumulates in the topbar. In a strong grown up colony this is not a problem. Also one can melt the wax with a blow torch and thus the slit is completely closed.

Broadwell wrote:
...Do you use an extractor to process them, or just crush and strain?


Depends. I have an extractor for the frames. But the number of people asking for pure comb honey is growing fast. We have people from Italy and Russia and other East European countries living here, who prefer comb honey. In my eyes it is the best way to preserve and eat honey. Straight out of the comb. Still most people want honey in jars.

Broadwell wrote:
...And do the metal spacer bars help at all with preventing the frames being propolised down?


Not so much. It is just a quick way to space the bars. Frames are propolized down after a year or two and gets real sticky. But instead of small nails and other spacing solutions like Hoffmann frames or so, I really do like the straight sides of a frame and the metal spacer. It keeps the frames in place when moving the hives. The frames are uncapped with an uncapping knive more easily since there are no spacers in the way.

I would not need frames if I would not have decided, that I want to make a living out of bees. It is a decision I made. I am a little obsessed with bees, you may have noted it... and devote my life to them. Now I want to leave my computer job in a couple of years, this job is no fun anyway, and get into serious beekeeping. This is no fun either, really, but at least you are working under the open sky.

Need to adjust a lot of things when upscaling hive numbers. Out of pure necessity. But I do not and I will not forget where I do come from, no worries. I do love my bees, and all I want is to have a good time and life with them. And I sure have.
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Broadwell
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Joined: 22 Jul 2013
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Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks for your answer.

zaunreiter wrote:


... but at least you are working under the open sky.

I do love my bees, and all I want is to have a good time and life with them. And I sure have.


Well put. Information and inspiration once again. Thanks.

By the way, I'm seeing the yellow Canola marks on my bees too, I hadn't realised this was its mark until your pictures. And I'm seeing fighting on the landing board, and dead bees with tongues sticking out. Hopefully the poisoning, if it is the Canola, will be tempered by the many fruit trees and other bits and bobs about.

The bees were all over the flowers of a big oak tree I noticed yesterday too. This too can poison the larvae, so I've read at least.
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fanning bees at the entrance dry honey. You can feel the strong air flow with your hands.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnVJvPRJkLw

I guess there must be some nectar out there...the girls are busy as a bee.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eL1IEWBzNXE

Bees have a go at the Borrago.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGzKiJCScqA
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zaunreiter
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote









Lots of capped brood in the hives.






The Warre hives are boiling, too.


I want about eight combs with capped brood and another eight combs with fresh brood. This enables a good laying pattern by the queen bee.
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote















The reward for all the work. Nice combs of fresh honey!
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bees collecting a lot of Spring pollen. After the next week of rain I will setup the pollen traps.


Not sure what kind of pollen that dark red pollen is.


Dandelions giving a strong nectar flow at the moment.


Bees powdered in dandelion pollen.


In the fruit orchards they use nets as protection - but those nets do trap a lot of the bees!


Luckily the bees forage for dandelions at the moment. Mostly.


And there is a lot of it!




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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Currants...


...and gooseberries growing fast.


First early splits.


Phacelia/scorpionweed has survived this winter. It usually doesn't. Now it is blossoming!
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mini beehouse. Working some long hives inside.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42UDeYcXop8
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Broadwell
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Joined: 22 Jul 2013
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Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zaunreiter wrote:


Not sure what kind of pollen that dark red pollen is.



Horse Chestnut? They are flowering here.
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cut comb from my long hive.

Cuttings combs first into stripes and then into smaller pieces.


Yummy!


Let it drip dry for some hours and then wrap it.


Last edited by zaunreiter on Fri May 02, 2014 8:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bees love the Phacelia:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E10hi0Xja8

Some baby hives:





This is the nuc yard. Babies need a lot of care. When they are started alright, they are moved into out apiaries, 10-15 hives each, so the crowded situation is just temporary. Besides that it is a joy to care for your babies and see them grow.
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Rairdog
New Bee


Joined: 19 Jun 2014
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Location: Noblesville, IN

PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice pics! Thanks for sharing. I have a spot in mind for the basement now!
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zaunreiter
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One Warré box makes a mating nuc. Hauling up to 30 nucs on my truck.


One drone bee tower surrounded by young queens, emerged a day ago.


A wood with sweet chestnut and my hives working them.






This is a apiary near many many lime trees. Winter lime trees that is: Tilia cordata. (Not shown in the picture.)


Blackberries do give a lot of honey this year.

Swarm season has not ended yet.







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

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bernhard

I have a Warré hive that was populated this year.
http://augustcottageapiary.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/the-accidental-warre/
I am afraid the bees gave me no choice in the matter.

I remember you saying a few times before that you should nadir in the first year of colony and super in the second year, because the brood nest grows in the first year and in the second year they want honey.
If you allow the hive to swarm though does the new queen count as a new colony so do you nadir or super following a swarm?
thanks
A
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zaunreiter
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
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Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends. Depends on the flow that is about to come. If there is a heavy flow ahead, I super the hive. If there is just winter about to come, I do nothing. Because the new queen needs some time to rebuild a full broodnest, no change in size of the original broodnest needed. Population drops in the next month after swarming, so more space would be bad, because the bee population can't master the additional space given. So best is to keep them tight. I even remove a box when the hive swarmed. The new queen needs a lot of time to fill one box with brood, say two months or so. For this time the brood space is reduced. If there is a flow, one can super the hive and make a box of honey with that swarm.
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AugustC
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Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Bernhard

So you only nadir in the colonies first year, so following a split etc.

by the way, when are you writing a book Smile
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wangtjuk
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Joined: 22 Jan 2013
Posts: 17
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AugustC wrote:
Thanks Bernhard

So you only nadir in the colonies first year, so following a split etc.

by the way, when are you writing a book Smile


Yes I would be glad to buy a book from this amazing beekeeper.

I come here often just to read his words.

And super photos above here.

Hope it will be in english since my german is very poor.

The book can be called - LIVING IN A BEEHOUSE. Smile
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I visited a dark bee beekeeper and breeder in the far North of Germany. Kai-Michael Engfer (www.nordbiene.de).

Dark bees working a hedgerow of privet (Ligustrum).










Kai and me share a passion: planting trees. This tree was planted by Kai 20 years ago.


Dark bees in front of a five frame hive. Notice the roundish butt, which is a characteristic attribute of pure dark bees.


Bees in front of a skep.


Poking my nose into the entrance.




The apiary is near to the Northern coast of Germany.
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just have build a TBH

First, the template for which I can then build more TBH. The top width is 44.5 cm, below is just under 23 cm, the sides are 30 cm. The height is 28 cm. The wall thicknesses and the position of the handle I also located. In addition, the holes of the flight holes and the holes for drilling the screws. (After Wyatt Mangum.)


Stencil cut out.


Mark the two top ends.




For the slopes a circular saw is better suited than a simple table saw.


The holes for marking the drill holes.


Also, I have two slots on each side cut to mark the handles.


Transmitting the positions of the template on the top ends.


Pre-drilling.


And screw to the side boards. Pages: 30 cm x 95 cm.


The upper side [u] not [/ u] flatten. This edge serves as a support for the upper carrier and if they are allowed to rest on the sharp edge, you can they take better.


The handles on the marked position to create ...


and ... screw it.


The bottom edge is flattened with the planer, so that the bottom tight. The floor is simply a set nageltes continuous board.


Use a drill air holes at the marked positions to be drilled out. Diameter: 1.6-2 cm.


The landing board I made folding. It should not survive during transport to the front, but be large enough.


In addition I have just a broad band tacked stable (an old piece of strap) with two pieces of sheet metal. A piano hinge is probably better as a band. Had I but is not at hand. (The whole prey is built from off-cuts.)


The flight board is large enough.


Almost finished "bees coffin".


The upper carrier are slit in the middle, for receiving the central walls.




The front bar is small and serves only as a spacer so that you can work later from the front.


Almost finished TBH.


Is the simplest and easiest-to-build hive, I know. You can finish it in a few hours and costs nothing if built from scaps. Even if you have to buy the boards, the price is negligible. With two boards 2.50 m to 6-7 per euro to get there.
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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

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Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

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