Sunday 6 May 2012

Hive been busy......

Part 1
After many evenings cossetted in the garage I've finally finished my second TBH. 

The all singing, all dancing, superdooper, mega TBH hive!
I have strayed slightly from the Chandler original design and added several features that were discussed during a beek meeting I went to in Oxford a month or so ago. Having read widely about these 'additions' I feel they will make a good design better.The Chandler original was always promoted as a work-in-progress, with experimentation and individual interpretation actively encouraged, rather than a set-in-stone finished article. My additions are as follows, which as the season progresses I will report on*:  
  • the body of the hive is substantially thicker than my first effort. 50mm as opposed to 25mm hopefully helping to regulate the internal temperature in both summer and winter
  • I have done away with the mesh floor and gone for fixed bottom board. This should reduce fluctuations in the internal atmosphere.
  • it has a 'hanging-out space' at the bottom of the hive that allows bees to gather under the comb rather than hanging on the mesh outside. The combs hopefully won't be incorporate  into the 10mm bamboo canes - we'll see!
  • there is only one entrance hole - on the side at one end. I am still unsure whether to close this hole and replace it with a single hole in the end.
  • thanks to a generous donation of some thin perspex it sports an observation window. Not a new innovation but should make internal observations easier for myself and any visitors.
Hopefully you can see the extra wall thickness, the 'hanging-out space',
the single hole entrance and the observation window

Part 2
As Ali B mentioned she has found a bumble bee nest in her wood shed. Although very keen to keep them she felt that the combination of two small children, eager to use the wood shed as a den, co-existing harmoniously with what we think is a small colony of Common Carder bumble bees was not a good idea.  So using my new table saw - "Did I mention I've got a new table saw?" - I quickly fashioned a new pied-à-terre for the little family and whisked them away my urban garden. My newest bees are quite small, and being brown/beige in colour, can easily be mistaken for a honey bee. The give away is the rather scruffy little nest made of moss, grass etc. that probably only contains about a hundred bees - they do make honey but only in very small quantities and not in capped cells but in wax buckets that could easily have been spilt when moving them - "Will I need to fashion a mini mop!" As it's a Bank Holiday tomorrow I will no doubt, weather permitting, be sat watching them for a few hours. Will report back soon.

Common Carber Bee Bombus pascuorum
It will be interesting to note if they return to the woodshed as it is only about a mile and a half away from where they  are this evening. If they do decide to go back I will re-relocate the nest box, hopefully collecting them all again and then move it further field. "Well at least it gets me out of the house!"

* assuming I can get some more bees to populate it  


  1. Like the de-luxe hive, I hope the bees'll appreciate all the effort ;-). What do the bamboo canes do?

    1. Hopefully (and I have seen them in action elsewhere) the canes act as a barrier to comb building which then leaves the space beneath them free for bees to 'hanging-out'. On a hive with a mesh bottom the bees hang-out underneath but outside - so they want to do it but not sure why! Experiment/work in progress.....

  2. Beekeeping (or apiculture) is the maintenance of bee colonies, commonly in man-made hives, by humans. Most such bees are queen honey bee in the genus Apis, but other honey-producing bees such as Melipona stingless bees are also kept.