Small Cell Bees Project
"In beekeeping, as in most endeavors, there are many ways to accomplish the same tasks and many interpretations of the same facts or data, just as many roads lead to the same destination, although it is equally true that different individuals following the same road can arrive at different destinations."
― William Longgood, The Queen Must Die, And Other Affairs of Bees and Man
The project's hive-body boxes and ventilated gabled style roof are of Warré design
. The alighting niche, flight hole and bottom spacing shim are copied from a drawing found in Bienenzucht: Naturgerecht einfach und erfolgsicher
(1946), by Johann Thür.
The specially sized
Hoffman style self-spacing frames permit the removal of combs for colony inspection and mite monitoring. A selection of different purpose frames are available for use in the project hive. These include single box foundationless frames, single box 4.9 mm cell size plastic foundation frames, shallow super foundationless frames and extended double deep foundationless frames.
All aspects of beekeeping are influenced by the local climate. The following chart plots the average and record temperature data for the Midest USA 40°N location.
Floor: Flat solid bottom, 60 mm space between floor and hive-body box
Entrance: Alighting niche, H 15 x W 120 mm flight hole
Hive-Body Box: W 30 x W 30 x H 21 cm internal dimensions, 19 liter
Shallow Super: W 32 x W 32 x H 15 cm internal dimensions, 15 liter
Hive Volume: 53 liter, configured with two hive-body boxes and one shallow super
Comb Support: Eight Hoffman style self-spacing frames
Comb Spacing: 34 mm on-center spacing
Comb Height Options: 200 mm brood nest, 410 mm double deep brood nest, 138 mm shallow super
Inner Cover: Woven polypropylene
Roof: Gabled roof with ventilated cavity
Harvest: Raw, cut comb and strained
Update August 2013 - On 4 August 2013 I began harvesting comb honey from the 138 mm foundationless frames in the shallow super.
In addition to the shallow super of foundationless comb honey the fourth (top) 210 mm deep box is also full of capped honey. The first of the eight foundationless frames was removed prior to making the video to allow easier access. I prefer to allow the bees to winter on an ample supply their own honey. The box of honey in the video will remain in the hive for winter.
Update July 2013
- In April 2013 the Russian hybrid colony was started on 4.9 mm black plastic foundation in 200 mm deep frames. After the plastic foundation was 80% drawn 200 mm deep foundationless frames were added above the colony. Once all the foundationless frames were nearly drawn 410 mm double deep foundationless frames were added beneath the colony. Cell size measurements of the drawn comb in the 410 mm double deep foundationless frames are 4.7 mm to 5.0 mm with an average 4.8 mm. The hive is supered with 138 mm deep foundationless frames.
On 18 July 2013 the colony occupied four hive boxes and was storing honey in a fifth (shallow super) box. The Varroa mite infestation rate, as determined by a powdered sugar shake of bees from the brood area, was less than 1%.
Additional updates will be posted as the 2013 season progresses.
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Updated 4 April 2013 | eccentric beekeeper