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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hive Cam

I installed a web camera on one of my hives today. Here is the first picture from inside the hive. Now I can look in without opening the box. We will see if this continues to work after the bees get comb built. For now it is just cool to see them in action.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Topbar wax starter

I am constantly on the run and don't seem to have much time to document much here but I will add what I have done to get my hives ready for bees.

For topbar hive that means adding "starter strips" of bee wax. See the pictures I have loaded in picasa.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Crushed comb centrifuge

I have this idea that I cant get away from.

It started when I ordered a 5 gallon bucket filter set. It has 3 stages of filters to be used for filtering honey. Then I thought I could build a centrifuge that would use these 5 gallon buckets. I got this idea from a "merry-go-round" I saw at a Renaissance festival. It resembles a may pole, and carry about 20 people. This bucket centrifuge would be huge but not as large as the "merry-go-round" and it would take many buckets of freshly harvested honey.

As the thought continued to bother me I realized this would be a lot of expense and only a very few people would be able to harvest enough honey to use it. However, I did realize that if this device was built in and/or by a small village when not in use it could be used as a swing for children. It would be a blast! I guess if the village was keeping bees there might be enough honey to use this huge device, but not likely.

Then the other night I picket up a large mouth mason jar. Then picked up a small mouth mason jar. With the ring attached the small mouth will fit inside of the large mouth. No big revelation here I am sure many people already knew this.

Then I remembered a website I visited a site where the guy used a mesh as a filter. I think it was mosquito netting. He put this mesh under the ring of a mason jar then taped the mouths of the mason jars together and inverted them much like an hour glass. Over time the honey was filtered into the bottom jar.

I did like the idea but thought the process took too long and tape is a probably not to be had in some areas of the world. So if you have the large and small mouth jars you could do this same filter process without the tape by stacking the small on top of the large mouth jar. It would still take a lot of time.

So if I scaled down the centrifuge to hold two quart jars stacked on top of each other I could speed up the process. The centrifuge would hold up to 8 quarts of crushed comb honey and as few as 2 quarts. Well now that I have just written that it could be reduced to the smallest two jars that you could find.

So now it is time to build a prototype. From this prototype the design could be scaled up to use eight 5 gallon buckets with standard filters.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

2 weeks and counting

I will have bees in 2 weeks. I am almost ready. Just need to add the wax for starter strips.

I have the hives in the location that I plan to leave them in for this season. The hives did very well in the last storm, no leaks from the roof and the wind didn't seem to phase them.

So far so good.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New contacts

I finally made contact with a local beekeeper. It took time and persistence but I did it. I now have a part time job helping him on a volunteer basis.

He said he just bought 80 hives from someone that has not tended them in about 3 years and "they are mean" he said. So soon I will get to go with him to split requeen and otherwise try to tame them. He said "it will either make or break you", I took that as a challenge.


He also said they are striped tail and most likely have a lot of African in them and are runners. I almost don't like the idea of requeening all of these hives but I am just here to learn.

Oh and he doesn't really like the idea of topbar hives but we agreed that keeping bees is pretty much keeping bees. Then he listed about 7 different types of hives including flower pots and said bees act the same in all of them. So we are off to a good start.

Busy as a bee

I have not posted here as I have been on a forum across the Internet trying to drum up support.

I fear I did more harm than good. No matter what I said it was wrong. So I made my last post over there. I hope they let me keep my account active. I really like their site, it just seems they don't like me.

Well anyway, I have posted some pictures of my work over the last couple of weeks.

The conservation hive is something I build as a neat idea but alas I think it would not be good for this part of the country. The idea was to build a hive that could be built and placed in the "woods" and left. It would attract bees and they could establish wild hives as a way to re-populate and increase genetic diversity in the bee population.

I think it is a good idea for places that are much further north of the "African bee migration" line. Not that I have anything against them but I think the general population does and it might not be wise to encourage wild hives around here.

That site is also big on using old pallets for wood. So I broke one down and used the wood for this hive and took pictures. I will copy and post my entries from that site here later. For now look at the pictures. I think this little box is cool.