Has anyone used an eco hive box? It is a mini box that holds 6 frames that are about 4 inches by 4 inches. Super cute haha! I am wondering if I should try and dump (carefully) my queen and bees in my chalkbrood hive, to try and encourage them to build up miniature stores for themselves for the winter? It sounds like a crazy idea. But since they have not built out 1 deep hive box, I figured that this might be an easier thing to start building out before winter. Thoughts? Picture for size reference. It is empty.
I have two of Alex’s creations. I use them for making/selling comb honey.
This was my first winter with the Mini Urban Beehive. I wrapped it in a weatherproof insulation and made sure they had plenty of food and they wintered very well. They even issued a nice swarm this year and have requeened themselves and are building up nicely again.
For the Horizontal Bee Sanctuary, I asked Alex to make me 3 solid partitions so I could have 4 separate compartments if I wanted. This allows me to have 4 separate queens running 4 hives. I ditched that idea this year and have half the box partitioned and a medium super on top of one side. I need to harvest that one. It’s really full
Oh my gosh!! So full haha! Are you worried they will swarm?
Nah, I don’t mind a healthy swarm, it’s what bees live to do. It’s even better when I catch the swarms
Swarming would be my concern as well as yours. With good hive management swarming can and should be controlled for the benefit of the bee keeper and the environment in general.
I do splits straight into an 8 frame hive as a preemptive swarm measure. I honestly can’t see a benefit for the bee keeper in having 1/2 a colony fly off to form a wild colony that will then forage in the same area of their hives. Long term the amount of foraging stores is reduced. In my thinking is why have hives swarm and short term loose an asset and long term ignoring the effects to the natural environment.
I tried doing splits into corflute nuc boxes but found it was an issue with the recovery happening so fast it didn’t work for me. But each to their own way of bee keeping, hive management and caring about the environment.
I run a somewhat similar ‘tower hive’ -mine consists of two stacked Nuc boxes of regular langstroth deep frames for the brood and then in season I add a super with 3 flow frames in it. Colonies have consistently done well in the hive- but I have not been able to produce as much honey from them as from a standard 8 or ten frame brood box hive. There are advantages: the boxes are easier to lift- and there are disadvantages- harder to find the queen over two boxes. I have also found in this set up there is a greater risk of the brood boxes becoming honey bound. The bees like to put honey on the walls and you have a higher wall to comb ratio in a set up like this…
another option for your chalkbrood hive is to clean it up- and then somehow heavily insulate it. My own experience with chalkbrood has been that it does finally clear up when the weather is right. If a hive has too much space or is in a dark, damp and cold location it can persist. If a hive was quite weak I would condense it down into a single Nuc box until it recovers. So far all hives I have had with chalkbrood have recovered eventually.
It’s so hot here right now though. And we have very little humidity. Ok, so condense it to a single nuc box with the 5 frames? So back into the plastic nuc box is ok? I don’t have a wooden nuc box.
Only condense it down if the’ bee to comb’ ratio is low. Basically if only 5 of the frames or less are fully covered in bees- then you could consider removing the empty combs and condensing the hive down to a nuc. This is a good idea for any weak hive- whether chalk-brood or something else. However if you have capped brood and bees across all frames then condensing down might not be such a good idea.
have you tried the banana trick? basically you cut a banana in half lengthways and lay the pieces on top of the frames int he beehive. This is a folk remedy for chalk brood and may or may not work.
You would need to really insulate a plastic nuc box well. Place the box were it will get the most sun and protected from any cool prevailing winds. I didn’t find any difference in feeding banana to one of my hives as an experiment, the bees basically ignored it, but anything is worth a try.
I agree with @Semaphore to only pack down a colony if it is low in bee numbers and that will increase the cluster temperature.