Beekeeping is a rather difficult type of obtaining honey, it originated in antiquity. Along with the development of mankind, this type of activity also improved. Currently, most often for breeding bees, either stand-up hives or sun beds are used. Such names were given to them in accordance with the location of their buildings. The inner volume of such a hive is filled with insects, the upper part of the space for honey frames is allocated.
Advantages and disadvantages
The most popular is the division of sunbed hives into 2 types:
- for 16 frames (intended to accommodate only one swarm);
- for 24 frames (adapted for one or two bee colonies).
The advantages of a lounger hive are as follows.
- This design of the bee house makes it easy to operate. To inspect the swarm, you do not need to deal with the outer casing, only frames that weigh much less are shifted. Riser hives are less suited for this operation, since a much greater weight of the body with frames inside has to be lifted for internal inspection. This is not always achievable by women beekeepers and even older men.
- The beehive lounger is also more convenient when moving it to another place. It is a one-piece structure, for this reason, during transportation, it does not need additional fasteners, and there is no need to fear that it will collapse (this does not apply to frames, which still need to be fixed during transportation so as not to injure insects).
- The beehive can easily accommodate two swarms at the same time. This is advantageous in cold weather, especially if a weakened swarm is present. For such families, it is necessary to separate the hives-beds with a partition, which prevents the contact of bees and at the same time ensures sufficient mutual heating of the insects. It should be noted that a standard stand-up hive cannot provide such an effect.
- In winter, in the second (inactive) part, there is usually a "temporary storage" for the second queen with a supply of food and bees to take care of her.
Of course, due to the large size of the beehives, they also have disadvantages in their operation.
- Big size. This leads to the fact that during wintering they require a relatively large amount of space.
- The impossibility of increasing the volume. Honey collection is limited by the number of frames. With a housing designed, for example, for 16 frames, 17 cannot be installed. This means that honey pumping will be done more often for maximum honey yield.
This moment distinguishes the "lounger" from the "riser", which is pumped less often, but with a larger amount of product.
Keeping a bee colony in a "bed" is quite simple. The process is not very different using a riser. It is necessary to expand the nest device in accordance with the same methods, that is, a large lounger (24 frames) is more convenient for a bee swarm. It develops more progressively than in the "half" 12-frame, since such a construction is considered relatively tight.
There is some debate as to whether it is necessary to increase the subframe space for better ventilation, since until recently it was believed that bees build honeycombs no lower than the entrance level.
To date, empirically it turns out that a large underframe space is not needed, 20-25 mm is enough, since bees fill it in any case during the winter.
For the manufacture of the hive, it is better to use wooden parts (exclusively from hardwood, wood of fruit trees is even more suitable), and not plywood sheets. A wood hive usually has a higher performance than plywood and lasts longer. Of course, wood is a more expensive material, so the cost of the hive itself will be higher.
It is recommended to use exclusively dried board when building it, since it is important for bees that when they dry their house does not lose its shape (in this case, insects will have to rebuild the entire honeycomb system). It is necessary to avoid the appearance of unnecessary holes in the walls of the lounger due to the loss of dried knots or the formation of cracks in the cracked wood. As practice shows, such additional holes appear 6-7 months after the construction of the hive.
When choosing a board, it is important to make sure that it is not thinner than 30 mm for the wall and 35 mm for the bottom.
To build a hive-lounger containing 24 frames, you need to know its dimensions and prepare accurate drawings. Such conditions are important for one simple reason - during construction they will use frames of the same size, which should correspond to the dimensions of the future bee house. In a hive that differs from the standard in size, the frame may not correspond to its width and be either too narrow and poorly adhered to the grooves, or, conversely, too wide. The length of the hive can be made for either 24 frames or 16 frames.
The calculation of the length of the hive-lounger with 24 frames must be made, knowing that the gap between the bee streets should be 12.5 mm. From here, by the simplest multiplication and taking into account 7.5 mm on each side (the distance from the extreme frames to the boards of the hive walls), we get a hive for 24 frames, equal in length to 87 cm.
It is recommended to take into account some other parameters:
- the body must be 565 mm wide;
- in height - 635 mm;
- the roof is determined by the dimensions, the walls of the hive are taken into account, since this element must completely cover the structure, and hang a little from the edges;
- accordingly, it will be 935 mm in length and 810 mm in width;
- in diameter, each upper entrance should correspond to the neighboring one, the same for the lower ones;
- experienced beekeepers recommend making the lower entrances 12x140 mm;
- the upper notch is round, 25 mm in diameter.
It is recommended to start the construction process with blanks. They are made from a board for:
- arrival boards;
- some other blanks and strips.
At the next stage, the bottom is collected:
- knock down the frame from the rail and fill it with boards;
- everything is held together with nails and dowels.
After making the bottom, you can start assembling the walls:
- they are carefully fitted to one another and fastened with dowels;
- then the walls are fastened with an overlap to the bottom;
- after fixing the walls, frame grooves with a size of 18 mm x 11 mm are made at the top;
- it is recommended to finish working with the walls by cutting out the entrances.
The penultimate step is to attach the legs to the bottom. This is very important because:
- without legs, the bottom will rot much faster;
- there must always be an air cushion of a certain volume between the legs for ventilation, this will ensure the dryness of the bottom.
The final step in making the hive is to assemble the roof. It is made in a variety of ways.
- The frame is assembled and filled with boards, like the bottom. This is not very practical, as gaps often remain, which is not very good.
- It will be more practical to make the grooves of the boards and then knock them together tightly. This method will provide a strong and reliable roof structure, it will be much better to withstand rain and wind, but it will take more time and a sufficiently high level of carpentry skills.
- The easiest way is to make a frame covered with a plywood layer on top. This is the cheapest, not requiring much time, roof option, although the most short-lived - such roofs rarely last more than two years.
Practical advice: it will be much more convenient to work with bees if the roof has such a structure so that it does not have to be removed completely. You must be able to open it like the lid of a chest.
After carrying out the described manipulations, the hive is almost ready. Last but not least, do the following.
- They nail the valves onto the tap holes, trying not to be too tight - sometimes you have to slightly reduce or increase the size of the tap hole.
- Attach the arrival board. It is attached so that the bee can easily and conveniently switch to it. If the height is too low, the bee will fall out of the entrances.
- The roof is covered with a layer of tin. This is done for the reason that wooden boards (even tightly driven "into the groove") from the influence of the environment lose their tightness, get wet and allow moisture to pass through. Often other materials are used instead of tin, but from practice it is known that tin is more durable when using hives.
- Attach carrying handles.
- They paint the hive.
Keeping a bee colony in a bed hive is easy and simple if you follow all the rules for the optimal development of insects, creating a healthy swarm, and getting a large harvest.
- Plan to clean the hive in early April.
- If the hive contains 24 frames, it is highly desirable to install a partition-diaphragm at the beginning of May, which will divide the bees in half into 2 families.
- By mid-May, the nest should contain brood and fodder frames. Then, a dividing bridge is installed between the new family and the old one, as well as a frame where the brood will go. Then the diaphragm is removed, and the number of frames is increased to ten.
- In July, the number of frames is brought to the maximum.
- The less a person interferes with the collection of honey by bees, the more favorable conditions are created for the bee colony, and the higher the quality of the product.
To learn how to make a do-it-yourself hive-lounger, see the video below.