Beekeeping from a wheelchair

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Joined
Sep 4, 2011
Messages
4,956
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Location
Wiveliscombe
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
24
I've been talking this afternoon to someone who is offering me space for some hives on her parents' farm (though these days it would almost certainly be described as a smallholding). Her mum is really keen on the idea and would like to get involved, but uses a wheelchair. I'm thinking that perhaps as well as my "normal" hives, it might be possible to set up a long hive that she could manage.

Is that a sane idea? Are there other options? Are there any useful guides as to designs and management techniques where I could learn more? I'm thinking that it might be useful to have frames rather than a top bar setup so there's the opportunity to take some from one of my hives should something go wrong, but is that genuinely practical?

James
 
I had a home made top bar hive, which I recently converted to take stand national deep frames. I did this as I was given a Thornes TBH.
The long hive has been great this year, very productive. I am able bodied, but with thought given to the length of the legs, and weight of the roof, ( mine takes about 30 frames and that length of roof is heavy and unwieldy) it could easily be managed from a chair.
 
I've met wheelchair bound beekeepers in the past they managed using nationals - it's only the brood box that is really important to inspect, so all they need is someone to help with lugging the shallows around.
Hyde Hives do an amazing long hive which takes DN frames - a bit pricey though.
There are options
 
There was an article in the BBKA magazine a while ago that was written by a beek who uses a wheelchair. It discussed different aspects of beekeeping inc hive type, access etc. and what he found worked best for himself.
 
Useful stuff, thank you all. I'll see if I can dig out that BBKA article. I don't keep the paper copies, but I do have the electronic versions stored somewhere.

James
 
Just found some photos of this one. It does look very nicely made. At that price though, I think I'd be stealing some of their ideas and making my own.

James
I've had a long hive since I started keeping bees ... they are easy to work with .. mine has a hinged roof so you can just hinge it back ... I would think that an essential for a wheelchair user and a low stand. Mine was all reclaimed timber with a triple wall construction with a polystyrene core. The bees love it ... still going strong nearly 13 years on now.

But ... I've had a hankering after building my own version of the zest hive for some time but using standard frames and a better designed roof and that would be ideal and quick to put together for a wheelchair user.

https://www.thezesthive.com/
 
with thought given to the length of the legs, and weight of the roof, ( mine takes about 30 frames and that length of roof is heavy and unwieldy
Just found some photos of this one. It does look very nicely made. At that price though, I think I'd be stealing some of their ideas and making my own
you could pinch their idea of using a hydraulic ram for easier roof lifting - just source a ram from a scrapped hatchback car
 
you could pinch their idea of using a hydraulic ram for easier roof lifting - just source a ram from a scrapped hatchback car

Possibly it will come as no surprise to anyone that I have some of those lying about anyhow :D

I've replaced them on a couple of cars and it's usually only one that fails, so I've kept the other in case it comes in useful for something. Now I know what :)

James
 
How about AZ hives.

It's a hive in a filing cabinet! :D

Oddly, I posted a few weeks back about the idea of using an old filing cabinet for keeping frames of stores in so the bees can't get at them. The one in your link does look nicely made. I'll have to bear that in mind.

James
 
But ... I've had a hankering after building my own version of the zest hive for some time but using standard frames and a better designed roof and that would be ideal and quick to put together for a wheelchair user.

Those frames do look like a pain. I assume they're just for brood?

James
 
Professor Robert Pickard used the filing cabinet system to keep bees back in the 70's. The late Ernie Plumb of Cardiff Beekeepers helped him set it up, due to budget constraints.
 
Those frames do look like a pain. I assume they're just for brood?

James
Yes ... he has supers as well now - but in a long hive the bees use the outer frames to store honey so you get brood sized frames filled wth stores either side of the brood nest.
 
Possibly it will come as no surprise to anyone that I have some of those lying about anyhow :D

I've replaced them on a couple of cars and it's usually only one that fails, so I've kept the other in case it comes in useful for something. Now I know what :)

James
Funny you should say that ... i've just replaced the two on the tailgate of my Rover 75 estate ... only one had gone ... but I've kept ... both of them !
 
I've had a long hive since I started keeping bees ... they are easy to work with .. mine has a hinged roof so you can just hinge it back ... I would think that an essential for a wheelchair user and a low stand. Mine was all reclaimed timber with a triple wall construction with a polystyrene core. The bees love it ... still going strong nearly 13 years on now.

But ... I've had a hankering after building my own version of the zest hive for some time but using standard frames and a better designed roof and that would be ideal and quick to put together for a wheelchair user.

https://www.thezesthive.com/
This looks really interesting (as someone with a crap back 😣. But more so the following statement on the website:

The ZEST hive by its design has proven to be functionally free of varroa, nosema and acarine.

Any thoughts or comments because frankly being varroa etc free is very inviting?
 
This looks really interesting (as someone with a crap back 😣. But more so the following statement on the website:

The ZEST hive by its design has proven to be functionally free of varroa, nosema and acarine.

Any thoughts or comments because frankly being varroa etc free is very inviting?
The hive won’t have anything to with how disease free the colony is, the zest hives a bit of a cobbled together joke. If nothing else it proves bees will live in anything😂
 

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