Straw bale bee house good plan?

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clare 

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Hello, this is a long term project but I am thinking about building a bee house and considering using a strawbale building. It wouldn't be large but something fairly rustic so a few questions:

Has anyone come across one before?

Any reasons why it might be a bad idea?

Thinking of making it round(ish), not large, any reasons why not?

Bee houses (sheds) i have seen have hives placed close together in a row, presumably it better to have hive entrances orientated in different directions.

Would accomodating the hives in niches cut into the straw bale walls be a good idea? Appreciate they would have to be tall niches to allow supers to be added.

Basically I guess I am asking is it a good idea or is it just a folly?? Clare (Sorry that is awful)
 
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justme 

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Assuming that you are going to plaster the building with something natural, such as mud, muck and chopped straw then maybe whitewash or something else natural I think it could work.
Would need a dry area to be bulit in, ie free draining with a run away for rain I should think. For hives to be pointed in all/most directions (need room for a door way) it would need also to be in a sheltered but open space to allow for earlyish sunlight at all/most hives and also wind reduction but of course not in a frost pocket.
Could be a tall order to find that sort of area, but then, what do I know, I'm a newbee too.

Guess more answers will be along soon:.) Di.

Sounds a great idea though:.)
 

DulwichGnome 

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You might want to think about how you are going to 'work' the hives? You will need to get to the back of the hive to get to the board, if nothing else, so the inside will need to big enough to able to take it out. If it is round then you might find the bees on the north/prevailing wide side will be cold. You could put the enterance that side but it would then need a way of blocking it off.

As I understand it Skeps were put in stone wall niches facing south so the wall would retain the heat of the day, I not sure a straw 'wall' would have the same effect.

Hope that helps.

Mike.
 

Monsieur Abeille 

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Silly Bee 

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Straw is an excellent insulator, it also goes up in flames. Be careful.
 

Andy Fotheringham 

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Don't know how much info you have on straw bale construction but I was considering it a few years ago and found www.amazonnails.org.uk was a good source of info. Problem with small straw bale buildings is you have a large footprint in relation to the space inside owing to the thickness of the walls. As you say though, a great rustic solution. Perhaps you could thatch it as well if you are feeling really adventurous.
 

hedgerow pete 

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sounds like a great plan to me.

working on the princible that you know of the basics with straw bales heres a few pointers, i have learnt from my bee shed.

each hive needs at least 900mm of space on the rack they stand in,

build it so the walls are complete with there being no inset for the hives to sit on so a solid wall with a floor rack and the bees sat on the rack inside.

a well built straw bale wall is very fire proof as the plaster seals the straw and it has no where to catch hold of.

the plastering is so much fun its brilliant, its like being three again without mum telling you not to get dirty, honest its great fun to do!!!!

my inside racks are roughly 450mm of the floor with then a base box that has a shute built into it so the bees have a tube to fly in and out of the hive with , something about 50mm high and 250mm wide is plenty but i would suggest that you look to build in a landing platform outside with some form of entrance block set up so they can keep the wasps out,

the stand sound low but at 450mm high plus 100mm for the base and a 12 by 14 brood box it will kitchen work top hieght, if your a shortie may be consider lowering it a bit more so sat from the top of your hip as a brood box hieght and work down.

you can have as many bee entrances in a row as you like just paint each one a differant colour or symbol on the outside so they know which one is thiers

DONT TRY TO DOUBLE STACK HIVES, i tried that and evan with just one super and some working hieght it was a little to tall for me to deal with and i am six foot two, taller in high heels( dont ask, its a sequin thing)

there are no hives that cant be used inside as all you need is an enterance tube but there is some work with having to change all you hive types so stick with what you have and just go with it.

build the straw bale shed big enough to not only hold all your hives now but the ones for the future aswell and allow the same again for storage of all the spare supers and bits and bobs to

try watching the bee shed video to see how mine is set out
 

RoofTops 

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Making it round will be more complicated. The bales will needs wedges cut out of them so they bend and of course the roof is going to be a bit more difficult as well. I thought of using straw to build a round summer house in the garden but although the plan is currently on hold if it goes ahead I would now use cob - although finding a suitable clay soil is a challenge as it is all sand around here.
 

newportbuzz 

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you need to build a stone or block wall to keep the first layer of straw off the ground otherwise it will turn into compost. also plastering is a good idea. smokers are not. best of luck with it id love to see pics of how you get on.
 

clare 

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Thanks for all the advice, support and websites etc. Sadly no wolves in my area. A special thanks to Pete for all that brilliant detail. The plastering sounds fun... may be a good opportunity to have some friends round. 'Come for a drink and oh while you are here how about a spot of plastering!'

I will get to work on some plans, probably wont start building until late spring. C
 

Midland Beek 

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Assuming it is in a residential garden a bee house that looks like a shed would not need planning permission, but I can imagine the authorities getting worked up about a straw bale structure.
 

MJBee 

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Sounds like a very good way of disguising an out apiary - make it oblong and from a distance it's just a stack of bales.:seeya:
 

bignikki 

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Making it round will be more complicated. The bales will needs wedges cut out of them so they bend and of course the roof is going to be a bit more difficult as well. I thought of using straw to build a round summer house in the garden but although the plan is currently on hold if it goes ahead I would now use cob - although finding a suitable clay soil is a challenge as it is all sand around here.
Make a frame with upright poles and put on a reciprocating roof(look it up, too complicated to explain, but very easy to do!) and top it off with turf.
The bales can be cut to an angle with a chainsaw quite easily.
I know someone who lives in one and it's beautiful.
 

Finman 

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I made once a such. It was moist and full of mold. The ball is not pure straw. It has a lot fresh weeds which rotten. Surely it gathers mice too.

If you bye poly brood boxes, you need not any wrappings or houses.
 

clare 

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I am in East Devon Pete.


I thought if straw bales were good, dry and well packed and you plastered, damp and mould wasn't a problem. Am I wrong???

Will look up the roof idea.
 

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