Bee watch - is the upstairs downstairs entrance the key to making the step towards treatment free beekeeping

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Jon.21

House Bee
Joined
Aug 13, 2021
Messages
127
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64
Location
Derby, UK
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
4
Saw a presentation from the company showing how this works at the bee keeping show a few weeks ago. You change to a solid floor , fit these entrances to your hive parts and away you go. The proposed benefits are that it helps with managing varroa without using treatments along with other benefits. I’ve got 4 hives and treat with Apivar in the autumn then Oxalic acid sublimation in the winter. I like the idea of going treatment free but worried about losses increasing / effect on the quality of life for the bees.
Has anyone used this setup as the enabler to go treatment free and if so how does it compare to before ?

https://www.bee.watch/upstairs-downstairs-kit/
 
It’s a commercial company and makes a lot of supposedly ‘beneficial to bees’ claims, but has only begun some trials on wooden langstroth boxes in Kenya. Does not seem to have been evaluated, tested or otherwise validated anywhere else. It claims to prevent access to the hive from any creature over 7mm in size. The device might be another tool to utilise or not, I suspect spurious claims about enabling bees to better manage varroa loads are just that, false. If there is some believable evidence out there to support the claim I would like to see it.
Personally I would stick with your current treatment regime.
 
Can you elucidate?
How does it help with managing varroa
Can you elucidate?
How does it help with managing var
Doesn’t seem to be mentioned on the website but the short informal presentation given to us at the bee keeping show by the owner of the company was that by having a solid Floor and these small entrances it increases the humidity and temperature within the hive and that more closely represents what would happen in nature if the bees were in a tree hollow. Varroa struggles to thrive in a humid and warmer environment and therefore the bees can cope with the varroa without the need for varroa treatments.
The owner runs their apiary in this configuration in England and it’s successful apparently. I asked what their winter losses are each year but he didn’t give me a number and just said they we’re low.
 
It’s a commercial company and makes a lot of supposedly ‘beneficial to bees’ claims, but has only begun some trials on wooden langstroth boxes in Kenya. Does not seem to have been evaluated, tested or otherwise validated anywhere else. It claims to prevent access to the hive from any creature over 7mm in size. The device might be another tool to utilise or not, I suspect spurious claims about enabling bees to better manage varroa loads are just that, false. If there is some believable evidence out there to support the claim I would like to see it.
Personally I would stick with your current treatment regime.
Sounded to good to be true that you can manage bees without varroa treatment and give them protection from wasps etc and a more natural environment and better access to supers so more honey etc. Hence why I wanted to try and back it up on here (the forum) to see if there were any independent views from people that had tried it.
 
Doesn’t seem to be mentioned on the website but the short informal presentation given to us at the bee keeping show by the owner of the company was that by having a solid Floor and these small entrances it increases the humidity and temperature within the hive and that more closely represents what would happen in nature if the bees were in a tree hollow. Varroa struggles to thrive in a humid and warmer environment and therefore the bees can cope with the varroa without the need for varroa treatments.
The owner runs their apiary in this configuration in England and it’s successful apparently. I asked what their winter losses are each year but he didn’t give me a number and just said they we’re low.
I keep my bees in poly boxes with UFE which would achieve the humidity.
I did watch some of his presentation.
I’m not convinced of his claims.
 
I keep my bees in poly boxes with UFE which would achieve the humidity.
I did watch some of his presentation.
I’m not convinced of his claims.
I had the 'good fortune' to have a stand right next to the guy at the Beekeeping Show. Even before it opened he went into us about not having underfloor entrances on our hives. I told him he was talking nonsense and he got irritated.

He then started banging on about our bees all being poisoned with glyphosate. Insisted potatoes have all their haulms burned off with glyphosate and that UK potatoes have 1000 times the legal limit of glyphosate in them. I asked why you would use a slow acting systemic to do a job normally done by a chopper or by a burning off type spray acting fast. Called me blinded by the chemical companies....but honestly WQHY would anyone kill the haulms with glyphosate....will kill the tubers too and the potatoes will rot plus the seed potatoes will never grow.

Then he insisted, with growing vehemence, that OSR is now dessicated using glyphosate...again..why use a slow systemic to dessicate quickly? Apparently I was wrong and ignorant. The doors had not yet opened. We parted on very tetchy terms and never spoke again all day. If that is the level of knowledge going into his theories then its all cobblers.

Was quite surprising to see all the wide eyed novices he was impressing/horrifying with his info.

FWIW...glyphosate is one of the wide range of substances our honey is tested for before it goes into Rowse and other packers....the result on that is always nil.

He is using straw man arguments to create a market.
 
He is using straw man arguments to create a market.
I was hoping you’d pop in. I knew you were neighbours.
People are always trying to reinvent the wheel.
I agree with Ian
I think there must be something in the water in that neck of the woods!
Just add it to the list of other crack pot ideas and BS that amount to nothing.
 
Filipe Salbany used to be involved in this. Perhaps it works particularly well in his humid valleys or something. My feeling is that it's probably of very little benefit and I suspect there's a certain amount of selective quoting of the literature to make it look better than it is (eg. quotes from Wedmore saying that bees need top ventilation so the hive doesn't get damp or similar).

If they want to do research into how well it works then I'd hope they're involving people who actually know how to do that sort of research properly in the first place.

James
 
It’s a commercial company and makes a lot of supposedly ‘beneficial to bees’ claims, but has only begun some trials on wooden langstroth boxes in Kenya. Does not seem to have been evaluated, tested or otherwise validated anywhere else. It claims to prevent access to the hive from any creature over 7mm in size. The device might be another tool to utilise or not, I suspect spurious claims about enabling bees to better manage varroa loads are just that, false. If there is some believable evidence out there to support the claim I would like to see it.
Personally I would stick with your current treatment regime.
If the entrance is so small how do they get rid if the dead bees.
The only benefit and I believe it was originally the selling point of the 'upstairs , downstairs' was it prevented robbing.
They seem to have upped the ante somewhat ?
If it cures baldness, I'm in!
 
If the entrance is so small how do they get rid if the dead bees.
The only benefit and I believe it was originally the selling point of the 'upstairs , downstairs' was it prevented robbing.
They seem to have upped the ante somewhat ?
If it cures baldness, I'm in!
Yep that was my worry as well as the bees would have to drag the dead bees up the side wall then through the small plastic opening on the inside of the hive wall before then doing a 90 degree bend to pass through the big hole in the side of the hive.
 
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Filipe Salbany used to be involved in this.
I know him. He's never claimed they impact varroa. I think someone took his idea and ran off with it; his entrance reducers are made by Bach Wood Works.

As I understand it they mean entrances are much more defensible, and with 2 or 3 per box you can open extra entrances straight into supers if there is a huge flow on. It's developed from looking at entrance designs in other beekeeping traditions, where more than one (small) entrances are used, and natural nests. He says in Africa they use a technique called Layering(?) during massive flows, temporarily pulling the supers forward to create a gap / route straight in. It avoids congestion but is unguarded.

Glyphosphate: for once I agree with ITLD. I do know one guy who got fed up with his hives repeatedly dying after the farmer sprayed the field next door; he had the bodies analysed at CEH and the only unexpected chemical they could see was massive levels of glyphosphate. It was obviously the cause but I believe that's rare. And yes it's a herbicide, but it's known to interfere with their gut biota, and I guess anything is lethal if levels are high enough.
 
I know him. He's never claimed they impact varroa. I think someone took his idea and ran off with it; his entrance reducers are made by Bach Wood Works.

I really don't know what he might or might not have said about varroa, but as far as I'm aware both he and Norman Guiver were involved in the promotion and sale of the plastic entrances until some point in the last two or three years when they appear to have gone their separate ways. Norman Guiver still appears to be involved with the plastic ones whilst Filipe Salbany seems to have come up with a new wooden version. It's certainly possible that the varroa management claims weren't being made until after that happened.

James
 
whatever - they were making some outrageous (and fantastical) claims at both the trade fair in Telford and the convention at Llanwelwedd.
When they have to depend so heavily on bulls!t and untruths to sell their snakeoil I doubt there is much truth anywhere in the claims they make.
 

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