Variations on the hive

I just love to see other beekeepers’ hives, so I was happy to receive these photos from new beekeeper Kevin Sirovy. Kevin employed some creative ideas and ended up with attractive, functional hives. He writes:

I know you have already received a bunch of kudos for this type of roof [gabled and ventilated], I’m just going to give you one more. I built two today and they are very easy and effective. I have found a product called Duraflash that I am going to use for the cover. It’s supposed to be like metal flashing only easier to work with.

I also used the handles for the roof to set on. I did not router the handles into the hive like a normal setup would be, but used blocks about 5″ long and 1 1/2″ wide, and glued and screwed them on the sides of the boxes. The roof sits right on the blocks with about 3/4″ over the hive boxes. Looks good and functional.

. . . the windows are double-paned tempered glass for insulating qualities. The Duraflash is on the nuc box. I have since put it on all of the hives. It works but I’m not sure it’s really necessary. Time will tell. I now have bees in these boxes and am having a great time. Strange but it’s such a stress reliever. All this was built from plans on the Internet.

By the way, according to their website, “Duraflash is a UV stabilized vinyl sheet material intended for use as a non-corrosive rigid flashing.” I am interested to see how it works in this application.

Thanks Kevin. It looks like fun!

Rusty
HoneyBeeSuite

Beehive-1-Sirovy-800-px
Hives and photo by Kevin Sirovy.
beehive-2-Sirovy-800-px
Hives and photo by Kevin Sirovy.

Comments

Mike
Reply

Hello,

These look like 8 frame hives. If so, I’ve heard that this makes them lighter to work with. However, what about the bees? Will it be too small for them to winter in our northern climate? Will they want to swarm every summer because they build up sooner before winter arrives?

Mike

Rusty
Reply

Hi Mike,

When you say “our northern climate” I don’t know which one you mean. In any case, I don’t believe there is anything magic about ten-frame Langstroths. They were designed by humans for human use, and they work. But left to their own devices, the bees would come up with something different.

Many factors play a part in overwintering and one may be hive geometry. But others include the health of the colony, the size of the colony, the genetics of the queen, the age of the queen, the amount of food stores, the quality of food stores, the amount of rain, the strength of wind, the hive ventilation, the mite load, the frequency of cleansing flights, the amount of early pollen, and on and on. If things are right, eight frames vs ten will make little difference. Likewise if things are bad, eight frames vs ten will make little difference.

A healthy colony will want to swarm every year. If a colony doesn’t want to swarm, I would wonder what was wrong with it. I’m not one of those people who believe that happy bees don’t swarm; that’s not the way nature works. The urge to reproduce is an irresistible force and beekeepers have to deal with it. But put in biological perspective, a swarm is a good and healthy thing.

M. Vitor
Reply

This is a quite a new subject for me and here in the Azores Islands our roofs are different. Why are those holes in the top?

Rusty
Reply

Ventilation to remove moisture from the hive.

Megan
Reply

Functional and completely charming! The insulated observation windows are a great addition.

ksirovy
Reply

Hi,

I did not realize the pictures got posted, until now, but it gives me a chance to update. These are standard 10 frame boxes but the feeder actually takes 2 frames of space. I started with a weak hive and a strong hive, and the strong hive produced 10 gallons of honey.

Now the bad news; we had the coldest winter here in 47 years. 18 below 40 mph winds, I lost my strong hive. Keep in mind I insulated these hives as good as I could. As of a couple weeks ago, the weak hive was alive, now go figure. I also got a chance to watch my weak hive re-queen. It’s a massive swarm and not knowing what was happening was a little un-nerving. Like being in the middle of a bee tornado. Thought they were all going to swarm next thing I know they were all back in the hive. I really enjoy the bees!

mike
Reply

Well, up here in Canada it’s very cold as well and I’ve lost my very strong hive. My small one is well. The cold made so much humidity that they froze.

ksirovy
Reply

My strong hive died also, it’s going to be 17 below here tonight and has been a nasty winter. It does make sense though that humidity may have done it also, interesting point.

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