Native Bee Hives

stevo

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I've started building my first Native Bee Hive. It's based on the ones I have purchased because when splitting hives they have to match up in size.

There's three sections, 25mm thick Hoop Pine. They say the thickness should be atleast 25mm and some make them 30 to 40mm thick. The thickness protects the bees from excessive cold and heat. I still have some more work to do on it but this is the basic structure.

I was going to buy a Table saw for the job and mentioned it to my neighbour and he said he had a saw sitting there so I borrowed it. It's a "Aldi Workzone" brand, ... cheap... I don't think I'd buy one, the guides and fittings are a bit lightweight. I was going to buy a cheap one, but now I think i'll spend the extra and get a middle of range one.

I'll update this post as it progresses. It still needs more work, and some paint.

For more info, here's a link to my Native Bee thread
http://selfsufficientculture.com/threads/native-bees.391/
 
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Mark

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They look very neat Stevo! Will you be putting a little tin roof on them? And do you need to use a special paint (low toxic or something)?

It's a good opportunity to test a cheaper saw before you make a decision to buy but it obviously works pretty good - nice job.
 

stevo

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It's a good opportunity to test a cheaper saw before you make a decision to buy but it obviously works pretty good - nice job.
Ozito have one around $200 which looks pretty much the same so I think it probably is made by the same company and just a different sticker. I'm sure the basics will last forever but it's all just a bit dodgy.

Yeap, i'll make a tin roof, not sure about the paint yet, i'll have to investigate. I think normal waterbased fence paint should be ok? I'll try get a couple of hives made within the next few weeks, and then let them sit outside until Christmas when I want to split the hives again.
 

stevo

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I put in a days work on the hives, I spent some time fixing up the dodgy table saw, getting it all straight and measuring accurately, it's not perfect but it could be the best it's going to get. I made a few things to help keep things accurate and square like a little jig for screwing the boxes together. If I get everything straight and square it will be less work further down the process.

I cut enough timber to make four new hives, with the one I made last week i'll have five.

 
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Mark

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I visited my uncle last weekend and he was building more native bee hives also. So far he has 116 working hives!

I took quite a few pictures and videos but unfortunately I accidentally deleted them (can u believe that?) :( I really wanted to show you in particular stevo...

Anyway, 5 hives should be a real asset in your garden! This thread is fascinating - looking forward seeing the new hives and how you grow them over time. Great pics too btw. :cheers:
 
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stevo

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116? :eek: What's he do with all those? Is it just a hobby? Does he make and sell them? Sell the living hives? Place them at different properties?

I'd be pretty annoyed if I deleted my days photos too!

cheers :cheers:
 

Mark

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He does have about 20 hives at his son's place but most are in his small suburban yard (and on his garage roof). They do sell the honey but it's more of a hobby - I haven't asked him if he sells the hives... good question, and perhaps that's why he is building more.

My uncle also keeps several honey bee hives but he is becoming more and more disillusioned with honey bees due to the increasing growth in pests attacking the hives like hive beetle.
 

stevo

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I did a little bit more, I'm just completing one for the moment to see what issues I come across before I make the others, I treated the timber ends (stops fungus) and did a single coat with the "Paperbark" colour. They will get three coats, but i'm thinking I might try to match the original hives with a cream/yellow colour. The Paperbark looks a bit plain or even greyish, and if I make them match the originals they'll all match when I split them.

 
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stevo

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They can stay in the same hive for ever without being split. I plan to split them around November/December when it's warmer and they still have a few months to reconstruct their hives. When it's cold they're not as active, they wont leave the hive until the temp is 18 degrees c outside, so during the cold times they have to rely on their stores. I split my previous one in December and it was 6 - 7 kg before I split it. I weighed it recently and it was 10kg!... so they have been working hard building it up. I might extract the honey first and then give them some time to recover, then maybe split it again.

This design is a relatively small hive. They say you could have a much bigger hive, and a bigger hive would be grow a stronger colony of bees, but then also the bees would have to build more structural support for the brood/cone. A bigger colony of bees could also generate more heat inside to help them deal with cold conditions. This design is smaller, but seems to be pretty common and successful, so I thought i'd start here, build a few hives up and then I can start experimenting with different designs.
 

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My uncle also says the smaller hives are better than large but he's not exactly sure why just that survivability has been better in his experience.

I now have 4 native bee hives down the back but they don't belong to me (uncle owns them) I'll make a new thread about it and give more details soon with pics - I don't want to hijack this discussion about your build.
 

stevo

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hah, yeah I think that's a common thing to place hives at different properties while keeping ownership. They cost heaps to buy, and I think the owners don't want to charge money, but also don't want to just give them away because of their worth, so it can be an awkward situation. A fella sells the above design hives, empty for $140. used to be $100. I thought that was expensive at the time, and I'm sure others think it's a rip off, but when you actually buy the materials and spend the time you can see the amount of time and effort put in to building them so the price isn't all that dramatic. I'll be saving a few hundred dollars by building my own, but it takes a fair bit of effort, also you have to have $1000 worth of tools to make them. There's designs you could make that would be easier and cheaper, but this is what I'm going with at the moment to match my others.

I'll be very interested to see more on your new hives!
 

stevo

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Just thought I'd add a little project I've been working on... the OctaHive. It's a Native Bee Hive. Don't ask me why.. I don't know.. maybe I'm obsessed? I'm not even sure if it'll work out. I'm hoping to get some bees in soon and i'll post up some updates.

Full thread here: http://nativebeehives.com/?p=678
 
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stevo

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cheers.

Ken, yeah I'm trying to do a few different designs, just to get something different.

Mark, on Saturday I connected a hive to the base of the new hive. I made an adaptor plate using MDF so they both lined up and left no gaps. See photo.

Ash, It's a hobby really, but yeah i'll have some available every now and then. I'm going to start to move some hives to family suburban blocks around Brisbane.

octahive_split220815.jpg
 
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Ash

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That's awesome Steve. I'm keen to get into it myself (mainly to help with pollination) once we move into an acreage but my wife is like "no way".