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Two colonies in a Beehaus?  

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Two colonies in a Beehaus?

Post Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:05 pm

Has anyone successfully managed two colonies in a single Beehaus over a full year (or more) and could post their expieriences?

My single colony grew well from a nuc in 2011 in one half and I'd like to expand to two in 2012. The occupied entrance faces SE so that makes the unoccupied entrance face NW, a direction not apparently recommended.

I can see that the Beehaus is excellent for single colony expansion but is that were it ends and successful (bee health & honey productivity) is just a step too far?

What are the expieriences out there?

Philip
PhilipC
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Re: Two colonies in a Beehaus?

Post Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:43 pm

I've no real experience of this hive save watching a friend manipulate one, but one thing I don't understand.
If you have two colonies in one how do you AS? Do you have another Beehaus spare or do you have a pair of 14 x 12 boxes?
I wouldn't worry about the direction of the entrances. It's never made any difference to my colonies.
I hope somebody with experience can answer your question. Just thought I might contribute.
8 assorted hens and two cockerels...one heading for the pot.
Four beehives and empty pockets.
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Re: Two colonies in a Beehaus?

Post Tue May 22, 2012 6:24 am

Hi and thanks for your comment.

I thought I'd offer a little update on my question from the end of last year. To answer my own question, yes it is possible to have two colonies in a beehaus and in fact I now have four colonies in two beehauses! The bees don't appear to worry about the direction of the entrances (SE / NW) and just get on with thier work.

As a result of the unusual weather this year the local bees have been swarming like mad. My original colony has been artificially split into three, the original queen in one and now two smaller colonies which are, I hope, raising thier own new queens. I hope to discover later this week if they have been sucessful. The fourth (side) contains a swarm which landed in a neighbours garden at the end of last week (word apprently gets round without one knowing if you keep bees :) ) They appear to be active judging by activity around the entrance but again I will know more in few days or so when I open them for the first time and take a look.

Last night I aquired another smaller swarm and they now occupy a poly nuc box which I purchased 'just in case' last week. So now I'm looking out for a second hand Beehaus. Anyone have one for sale?

Happy beekeeping!

Philip
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Re: Two colonies in a Beehaus?

Post Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:56 pm

Hey Phillip,

would be interested to know how you're getting on with the dual occupancy.

this year is my first year with a beehaus, one colony in there. in the empty side I regulary find little lost ladies, I guess the divider isn't quite sound enough.

do you find any aggression or robbing between neighbours, are any issues during inspection, etc ?

many thanks

DJN
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Re: Two colonies in a Beehaus?

Post Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:00 am

Hi Dave,

In short, all is going well thanks. I answered my own question the practical way this year by running two Beehauses (?) along side each other, both containing two colonies. One Mk1 and the other Mk2. Both have done well although neither fared the same but that was not down to the hives.

There are some important differences which I have discovered although I am sure Omlet would have pointed them out had I asked. I can now see why Omlet made the changes to bring out the Mk2 and improve on their original incarnation of the Dartington design.

For the uninitiated, and I apologise if I am writing what you already know, I will briefly explain the differences between the two. The Mk1 has supers of the same colour as the brood box on the long sides and the short sides are corrugated plastic (the same material as the divider board and inspection tray. They are much flimsier than the Mk2 supers which are moulded plastic on each side. Additionally, there are gaps at each end of the brood box and between the two halves in the centre which Omlet has filled with foam inserts - a free modification from them. The centre foam is necessary to stop leakage of bees between the two sides. The end prevents bees entering and exiting the brood box other than through the official entrance. Much better all round.

The other main 'upgrade' is the centreboard in the Mk1 which is nowhere near as tight a fit as it simply hangs from the top bar whereas in the Mk2 it slots into grooves. Th Mk2 is a significant improvement and I would recommend going for one of those if you were ever to increase the size of your apiary with another Beehaus. I will if I get the chance. Any offers from anyone?

Overall both are well up to the job and have the same advantages as each other such as working height, flexibility to expand the number of brood frames beyond the usual 11, half size supers etc.

As said, I have had four colonies in the two hives all summer but now have combined them to just two. This was because one in the Mk1 lost its queen and one in the Mk2 had a very poor laying queen. There was no link to geographical orientation as they each had a poor colony at each end - I.e. a poor one on the SE facing entrance and the other poor one at the NW facing opening. I now therefore have colonies which open at opposite ends of each Beehaus and the bees are app antsy very happy.

Th Mk2 has a larger colony and I have removed the divider board so there are 19 frames in total and the Mk1 is simply the 11 frames on one side, the other side is empty. This is simply down to the laying rate of the queen. I have treated for Varroa and am now feeding sugar syrup again before a final Varroa treatment in a couple of weeks.

I am running these two Beehauses alongside a (Paynes) 14x12 poly hive (which I also like and so do the bees) and have also run a cedar (Thornes budget) 14x12 but without success. So as you can see I have tried them all this summer! Each hive type has its advantages and disadvantages.

Hopefully I will have three strong colonies to enter the winter and improve on my 20lbs of honey this year from the single colony I entered the Oil Seed Rape season with this year.

I am a fan of the Beehaus, as i am sure you can tell and have found quite a bit of conservatism from fellow Beekeepers. Once they have seen it they see the advantages - and to be honest a few disadvantages - but I am convinced it has it's place and is suitable for some, if not all. My local group is however running an apiary meetign at my place in 2013 so all are invited to see the differences and can make the own mind up from a little practical experience.

My opinion is however that it is a great single beehive with great flexibility for artificial swarming and colony size expansion but a bit flawed if one considers it a permanent two-colony hive.

Hope this helps and I look forward to any comments you or others may have!

Happy beekeeping and all the best for the winter.

Philip
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Re: Two colonies in a Beehaus?

Post Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:19 am

thanks Phillip, that's really useful.

did you have issues with the ceder box or just colony issues ?

I've always thought of the BeeHaus of more of a hive + room for a swarm type setup, so maybe two colonies in one box isn't the right way to go long term, just have a large 22 frame colony.

I have ( unfortunately ? I dunno, I got it for free so gift horse... ) a mk1, never got those inserts you were talking about, I wonder if you need to apply ?

would you happen to know if the mk1 and the mk2 supers are interchangable ?

and finally :-) do you ever run the supers more than one deep ?

thanks very much Phillip, much appreciated.

Rgds

DJN
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Re: Two colonies in a Beehaus?

Post Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:39 am

Hi David,

The cedar hive was colony (or beekeeper) relat, not down to the box. Will use it next year for swarm or swarm management.

I believe the inserts are FoC from Omlet on application. I suggest giving them a call. Johannes, one for the directors and also the guy in their videos is very helpful if you are lucky enough to have him answer the call as I had once. That said, I have found everyone I have interacted with there helpful. Their service ethos and delivery is very good. In the meantime some foam and gaffer tape in the gaps may suffice if not as elegantly. A mk2 divider board may be a good investment (either direct or they sell them via eBay) as it has the removable section to facilitate colony combining.

I have certainly used mk2 supers on the mk1 Beehaus and they were fine. I therefore suspect that the opposite will be true too.

I have regularly had two levels on both hives (8 supers per hive). I was told it would go to three levels if your bees are up to it and the nectar flow is sufficient. Hopefully it will be next year.

Let the group know how you get on.

Best regards

Philip
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