Access above top bars, other observations
- Greetings All:
CalKenyan 4 uses a mix of wood and plastic (folded corugated polypropalyne
with high impact syrene reenforcment). Over time the plastic bars have
sagged to leave gaps next to adjacent wood bars. The bees are maintaining
access to the top bars and a number of bees will loiter on the top bars
(these are probably nurse bees). After the roof is lifted most of them will
retreat into the hive (this roof is foil lined and so the attic is fairly
dark) Some of the long gaps have been closed up by combbuilding and
probalizing yet the bees leave in each a number of passages large enough for
a bee to pass. The gaps probably help with ventilation.
I have intentially spaced out those bars that are fully developed. This is
similar to a technique used in Lansgroth supers where metal spacers are
tacked onto the top rail of a ten frame box so that it holds nine frames -
this is done after the first honey is extracted and it allows the comb to be
drawn deeper. This spacing cannot be done initially for then the bees will
tend to add burr comb between the frames.
The overall effect is similar to that designed into Steve's Tanzanian, but
without the upper screen.
What is interesting is that there is no tendency to build comb on the roof.
It appears that for comb to be built above the bars a much more ready access
Nor do resident bees or robber bees attempt to access the hive through the
top even though there are gaps between the roof eaves and the ends of the
bars. (Robbers will sniff around the eaves.)
I rebuilt CK2 with a poly liner, removing some horizontal places where mites
would land. This is now similar to CK3 (30 degree vent bottom) but has a
mite screen similar to CK4 and no hanging grid. So now I have a third hive
ready for a swarm.
When cleaning CK3 I removed the vent screen (a one inch strip of poly cut
and folded to form a double row of corrugations). The poly closed up so
there is no bee access and this can new be cleaned by running a screwdriver
through the lips formed. In the initial use of this hive I had added shims
to keep the vent open, which allowed bee access through this area. This
alternate access was well guarded, just like the entrance.
I still get some comb attachments with the 22 degree sides. As before, these
attachments are only at a few spots but are smaller than those encountered
in the 30 degree hives. Attachments appear to only stabilize, not support
The new bees (the ones from the speaker enclosure) are drawing new comb on
the new style bars and have not yet added comb below the wild comb frame
loops. I had to straighten some skewed comb by cutting the skewed portion
and pushing it into alignment.
Hey Steve - could you add some pictures of developed bars on your site?
Best wishes to all,