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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Life Happens

I have been so involved with life and my real job that beekeeping and blogging about beekeeping has been the last things on my mind. But I just got my new beekeeping suit in the mail and that focused my attention.

Yes I just got my new suit. Between my own feeble attempts to make this new purchase happen to back orders and I guess time of year, maybe, it has taken forever to get that new suit. But now I am ARMED with protection. I have no fear again!! Well I never had fear but I didn't like the bees inside my hat. The new set up should work just fine.

I have slightly reworked my hive design and I hope to get several of them built before spring. Which for around here is in a month or so. We had a nice little snow the other day and it has been too cold for the bees to fly. But they were still flying and feeding from my humming bird feeders until last Friday.

I guess I can say without revealing too much that my new design has focused on enabling the keeper to move the hives easier for pollination work. This new design fits nicely on a pallet and stacks or stays stacked better. I had trouble with the legs of the first hive not supporting even and empty hive while stacked very well. They work well enough when the hive is on its own but when stacked they became very unstable. This would be disastrous during a move.

I did have to sacrafice the built in comb holders. Those things were nice and made for easy work of inspecting a the hive. But alas, they had to go and another solution will have to be rendered. But that should not prove to challenging.

My hope and plan is to build the new designs and then in the spring transfer the hive into the new box while at the same time attempting to split them. I think if I can get the weather right I should be able to pull this off. Moving the hive to a new box will be very tramatic and will take the hive quite some time to recover. I am thinking that if I also split the brood at that time both halves will recover and the hive without a queen will raise one.

In the end my updated design places two hives per pallet and gives the ability to stack pallets and hives for moving and storage.

I have also been working on the design feature that allows the keeper to adjust the size of the brood chamber. As I am new to beekeeping I am not sure how useful this will be but it will be easy to do.

I have been integrating bee doors and bee space to to give better control over the bees in the hive. So things like queen excluders can be added or simple things to block workers from the honey bars just before harvest. These items may not be of much use to keepers of European bees but of great worth to those who keep Africans. If it works this should allow the keeper to have access to the hive for as long as he/she wants regardless how aggressive the hive is. In fact if this works like I plan I will turn the bees aggression against them. It will not harm them but the more agressive they act the more bees that will be blocked from the keeper during hive the honey harvest. This should greatly increase the speed that the hive can be harvested.

I know I have dumped my brain here and it is probably hard to follow but just because I have not been working the bees does not mean I have not been working the bees, if you know what I mean.

While the winter is upon us and it is hive building time I hope to get several build before spring.


Leigh This Way said...

Sounds like you been as busy as a bee! hehehe (I know its lame but its literally the 1st thing that popped into my head!)