Russian Alpine Hive

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Little John 

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"Work-in-Progress"

More fettling/ prettying-up to be done yet ...


 

Little John 

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Hi Reiner

Frames ? Sure - are they of a special interest to you ?

As I'm still feeling my way on this one, I intend making the first lot from galvanised fencing wire (of which I happen to already have a couple of miles), and starter strips. As and when I feel more confident about measurements/ beespaces etc., I'll no doubt invest in some stainless wire.

'best
LJ
 

itma 

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I'm not exactly certain that galvanised fencing wire is considered "food safe"... ! :spy:
 

beebopalula 

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I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product. Are you going to make one of their excellent uncapping machines as well?
 

Little John 

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I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product. Are you going to make one of their excellent uncapping machines as well?
Well, I was going to restrict myself to about 20 or so hives (famous last words ...) - and that's assuming that this Mk.I proves itself - and for that amount I was thinking of just crushing and straining - but, d'ya know - I think I just might make one, if only for the hell of it. But then I'd have to make one of their rotary extractors too, to justify making the uncapping m/c ... but then to justify having all that extraction equipment, I might as well increase the number of hives ...
Hmmm - you can see where this is leading .... :laughing-smiley-004


itma: I'm not exactly certain that galvanised fencing wire is considered "food safe"... !
Oh c'mon - it's a Mk.I - experimental, and all that.

Anyway, for the next year or maybe three, it'll only be a bee-food maker !

LJ
 

BeeJayBee 

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I'm not exactly certain that galvanised fencing wire is considered "food safe"... ! :spy:
Okay, a couple of dumb questions coming up! :blush5:

T***s sells what they describe as "Standard small 125g reels of 0.44mm rust proofed wire" which costs £3.11 for 100g. They also sell stainless steel wire, which costs £8.09 for 200g. (Neither description tells you the length of wire you're buying.)

Isn't the cheaper one likely to be galvanised? If not, what's it made of?

Does the wire come into direct contact with food?
 

Ely 

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Cool. Interesting stuff. I'll be following with interest
Will you be putting them into action this season?
 
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Little John 

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Isn't the cheaper one [wire] likely to be galvanised? If not, what's it made of?

Does the wire come into direct contact with food?
Likewise zinc Queen Excluders - plenty of those still in service, methinks ...

Good point about the 'direct contact' of anything comb-related - my guess is that wax is nearly always an intermediary - but it's not a point I'd be keen on arguing.

Whenever folk talk about hive hygiene, my thoughts always seem to go back to memories I have of bees drinking cow's urine (I think it was the salt they were after), and drinking from a stagnant pond, even though there was fresh tap-water available.

LJ
 

Little John 

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Cool. Interesting stuff. I'll be following with interest
Will you be putting them into action this season?
Good question - I was thinking along the lines of 'as and when', but overnight I've been haunted by my own earlier comment re: "bee-food for the next year or three" ... hang about - I'm fast running out of life ...

So the answer to that question now is a definitive YES. (and thanks for asking it !)

I've made 12 boxes (which equates to 6 Warre boxes) which is the maximum I think any reasonable person would ever stack them - but while the colonies are building-up to strength, why not run these as 2 x 6 box hives during the first year ? So that's what I'll probably do. Starting-off as 1 box mating NUCs, and building-up to six, of course.

Still need to find a bi-lingual (Russian-English) beekeeper translator - to tidy-up the bits of text that Google couldn't quite manage - if anybody knows one ??

LJ
 

Madge 

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LJ, what do you think is the advantage of the shallow Alpine boxes as opposed to Warré's deeper ones?
Kitta
 

Ely 

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Good question - I was thinking along the lines of 'as and when', but overnight I've been haunted by my own earlier comment re: "bee-food for the next year or three" ... hang about - I'm fast running out of life ...

So the answer to that question now is a definitive YES. (and thanks for asking it !)

I've made 12 boxes (which equates to 6 Warre boxes) which is the maximum I think any reasonable person would ever stack them - but while the colonies are building-up to strength, why not run these as 2 x 6 box hives during the first year ? So that's what I'll probably do. Starting-off as 1 box mating NUCs, and building-up to six, of course.

Still need to find a bi-lingual (Russian-English) beekeeper translator - to tidy-up the bits of text that Google couldn't quite manage - if anybody knows one ??

LJ
Hehe you're welcome. My ex could speak a little russian but she's a nutter and long gone now. She's now my ex best mates problem hehe. It'd be good to see some videos of inspections if you are able to record them

Sent from my XT615 using Tapatalk 2
 

Little John 

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LJ, what do you think is the advantage of the shallow Alpine boxes as opposed to Warré's deeper ones?
Kitta
Hello Kitta

well - bearing in mind that any comment I make is based on assumptions, as I haven't actually run this kind of hive yet (obviously) - for me there appear to be several advantages:

The 108mm boxes promise to be half the weight of a 'standard' Warre box, and thus kinder to the back when engaged in any manipulation. I'm no longer a youngster, and it was the prospect of nadiring without mechanical assistance which had previously put me off using this otherwise excellent hive design.

If running the boxes commercially, then a full box of 8 of these short combs can be processed easily and simultaneously, again without straining the back.


But perhaps the biggest attraction for me is that of flexibility:

when the boxes are used singly, we have a Russian 'Alpine' hive ultra-low-budget commercial system, which can be manipulated much as any National or Langstroth hive can - with Queen Excluders, Queen-rearing frames, supering, and so on - but with the advantage of dimensions which are intrinsically more friendly to both bee and beekeeper.

if the boxes are used in pairs with wire frames and a sealed top - we then have a Delon 'ClimateStable' hive system, which is appropriate perhaps to a semi-commercial or large scale amateur 'crush and strain' operation, where there is an emphasis on bees' welfare.

if the boxes are used in pairs with top bars and the Warre quilt box - we then have the familar Warre 'People's Hive' system, which of course is appropriate to the backgarden beekeeper.

and lastly - and for me this is the real 'clincher' - if the boxes are used singly, with spales run across the rebates instead of frames or top bars - then we have an enlarged or 'westernised' version of the traditional Japanese 'Nest of Boxes' beehive - which, with it's fixed combs - is arguably the nearest one will ever get to creating natural conditions within a man-made hive.
Indeed it was seeing Morimoto's hives in operation which triggered my initial interest in 'chimney-shaped' hives. I knew that the 240mm x 240mm boxes he used, although appropiate for Cerana, would need to be enlarged, and I also knew that experiments which have been tried to emulate the Japanese system using Warre-sized boxes had failed, largely due to insufficient comb support - then I 'discovered' the Russian system (which again confirms by proven success Warre's carefully determined dimensions), the 108mm shallow boxes of which would permit easy installation of double the number of spales, thus double the comb support ! Just what I was looking for.

So in effect, these 108mm (quarter-height) Russian 'Alpine' hive boxes provide the potential to build any one of four different hive systems.

Regards
LJ
 

Little John 

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Excellent!
Can we expect some pictures of the FRAMES soon?

Regards
Reiner
Sorry about the delay - I hope to be populating the hive in the next couple of days, so I've been doing a David Bailey this afternoon.

Ok - this is how I've been making the frames.



Making the top bars:

From the top ...

Wood blank (25mm x 7mm)

Simple steel jig: wood is cut accurately to the length of the jig, and drilled using 4 guide holes. Hole spacing being determined by the jaw width of pliers.

Pattern - showing drilled holes and 20mm guide marks for self-spacing pieces.

Upper surface of Top Bar, showing groove cut between holes to reduce the profile of exposed wire.

Under surface of Top Bar, showing additional glued strip, with a slot cut with angle grinder for popsicle sticks.



Self-spacing pieces glued on 8 at a time, and then sliced off using angle grinder with 1mm zip disk.





Making the wire frames:

From the top ...

Wire as it comes 'off the roll'.

Straightened by eye, using hands only.

A second steel jig, this one having a central 'window', and 2 'notches' which line-up with the outer holes of Jig 1.

Wire which has been bent using this jig.
Wire is placed underneath the jig, with the central red dot (just visible) positioned in the 'window', the wire is then grasped hard against the jig near the end using the pliers, and bent upwards by hand. Ditto other end.

Pliers - the only tool used.




Picture of a finished half-height Delon frame. Although the Russian Alpine hive uses quarter-height frames, I've made 8 of these deeper frames to fit a 'Warre' Swarm Box.




And here is that Swarm Box, showing the blobs of epoxy which hold the wire securely to the Top Bar. Also shown is the 2" of insulation in the lid, so that this box can be used to over-winter a small colony.




Hope this has been of interest - I'll be posting more pics of the Alpine Hive itself in another thread, probably tomorrow.

'best,
LJ
 
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beebopalula 

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Very interesting. You have obviously put in a lot of time and effort into it. If you use spales in the Japanese nest of boxes style, are you going to 'drum them down' when taking the honey?
 

Queens59 

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I am honestly jealous of the skill and ability to be able to do this - I do hope it works for you - Good Luck!
 

Little John 

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Very interesting. You have obviously put in a lot of time and effort into it. If you use spales in the Japanese nest of boxes style, are you going to 'drum them down' when taking the honey?
Wouldn't that be nice ... ? Watching Morimoto doing this is a real treat.

However, my gut feeling is that the mongrel mellifera bees I have will react differently to Morimoto's cerana, and that all I'll do is annoy them - but - I certainly plan on giving it a go.

As a 'Plan B' - I have a small battery-driven air pump which both sucks and blows, so hopefully blowing air at 'em will encourage them to vacate the top comb !

Very much appreciate the reminder about using these boxes in the Japanese manner, as I'd become quite pre-occupied with making the wire frame option. As I have 12 boxes finished, it would make sense to use some of them for a Japanese hive in the next few weeks - just as soon as I can get some queens mated. (British weather !)

Queens59 - thanks for the positive vibes - it's good to be reminded that there are some really nice people on this forum (as well as ...) :)

LJ
 

Little John 

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Right - here we go with the main event ...

I've modified the Russian design in two areas: the base and the feeder.


So - here's the base:





Rear view of the base - showing thumb screws (BIG mistake - there'll be simple wood screws on the Mk.II) securing the back. 22mm hole (corkable) for administering oxalic acid and maybe token ventilation in winter ?





Here you can see why fitting thumb screws was a bad idea ...





Showing how the OMF slides out ...





View from inside (sans top bars) showing the dog-leg entrance - an attempt at wind-proofing ...





This was how I had intended to transfer a colony from a National into this hive - but - I was advised that this 'growing-down' method takes forever. So I replaced the brood box with a hopper, brushed all the bees from the National into the Russian Hive, then replaced the hopper with the same brood box and frames, only now with a Q/X under. Waited 2 hrs for the nurse bees to re-unite with their brood, then did the split, leaving the Queen and foragers in the Russian Hive, and a Queenless colony (with plenty of eggs) in the National.





Ok - moving on to the feeder. This shows the feeder box base underside with 4 x jar feeder holes (which has become my 'standard') and 4 pass-through ventilation slots. These are covered with fine polypropylene mesh, so that the bees can easily propolise the slots shut - it's their choice.





Feeder box base topside - showing strips of closed-cell rubber foam used to seal the pass-through vents.





Feeder box, bottom view: here you can see the two 'false walls' which constitute the pass-through vents, and which sit on the rubber foam strips. Two of the vents have flow restrictors (screwed-up wind-break netting) fitted, two are fully open - as an experiment to see how the bees react to the difference (if any).





Feeder box, top view: showing how the vents exit at the side. A slurry feeder is under construction, which will replace all inverted jar feeders.





Simple insulation - 2" of expanded polystyrene, wrapped in 1000 gauge polythene.





And finally, here's a side view showing how the vent exits are protected from the worst of the weather by the roof. Just two 108mm boxes in place here - should look a lot different with twelve ! (I wish).




Hope it's been of interest ...

LJ
 
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