AZ Hive and Bee House Question

Discussion in 'Top Bar & other Alternative Hives' started by DMLinton, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. DMLinton

    DMLinton New Member

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    Does anyone here have any experience with AZ hives and bee houses, either mobile or stationary, like those used in Slovenia? I am intrigued by these arrangements and would like to understand how the AZ hive is managed.

    There are lots of pictures of bee houses on the Internet but a dearth of information on how the AZ hives are managed.
     
  2. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    AZ hives are 8, 10 or 12 frames hives, and brood area is separated from honey frames with queen excluder.
    Unlike Langstroth hive where you manipulate boxes with AZ hives you manipulate frames. Usual setting for these hives is back of a truck/ cube van, trailer..
    With hives next to each other on the both long sides of the truck, there is a space, about four feet wide in the middle of the truck for the beek to check hives, extract honey, sleep....
    PROS: Nice setting for a migratory beekeeper, you can follow the bloom all over the place. Gives you an opportunity to have better harvest, more varieties of honey, better overwintering and faster colony development in the spring.
    CONS: Keeps you on your toes, especially when the nectar flows, you have to extract daily, otherwise bees plug brood area with honey, and often swarm.


    Click on AZ Grom picture to see all sides of this hive
    http://proizvodnjakosnica.com/content/až-košnica
     

  3. DMLinton

    DMLinton New Member

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    Thanks, Marbees!

    Which system do you prefer - AZ or Langstroth? Does a three level AZ reduce swarming tendency much?
     
  4. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    Langstroth is the only hive I have used. The previous post is just my translation from Serbian:grin:
    I have to say that I'm intrigued with AZ hives, maybe when I move to Trent Hills I convert one of my cube vans for pollination truck, that would be fun:grin:
    I like the idea of beekeeping without lifting heavy boxes, and going to PEI for blackberry pollination.
    I am sure, that three level AZ would give you some breathing space and reduce swarming tendency.
     
  5. DMLinton

    DMLinton New Member

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    I, too, am intrigued by the idea of the AZ hives and bee houses. Saturdays will most likely be my scheduled bee day but Saturdays like today (constant rain since before dawn) would mean missing a scheduled event. The bee house/van would circumvent that as well as adding some options to Winter and early Spring management.

    I am also contemplating the idea of putting Langstroth hives in a bee house although space utilization may not be as efficient. I read somewhere that bee houses are actually a little more common in North America, e.g., Alaska, Northern British Columbia, Northern Ontario, than is generally presumed to be the case. I also like the idea of just hitching my truck to my apiary and being able to relocate it on almost a moments notice (notwithstanding waiting for the bees all to come home for the day).

    Bee houses should also provide intrinsic varmint, including bear, protection.
     
  6. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    I can see designing bee trucks and trailers in our near future :lol:
     
  7. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Actually, if you wanted to go to PEI for blueberry pollination, you could make some money on your trip! :thumbsup: Blueberries pay $140 a hive. :wink:
     
  8. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    Yes, blueberry pollination (thanks for correcting me Perry).:thumbsup:
    .
     
  9. Zeevah

    Zeevah New Member

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    I have three AŽ (ah-zhay) hives, just regular (two level, 20 frames) not the grom.

    They're tricky to learn and take a bit of practice........like trying to put together a gazillion piece puzzle :dash1:

    But they look beautiful!
     
  10. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Good to see you back and posting Zeeva. You've been away too long. Especially since your avatar warms my heart.:grin:
    Dennis, I have no experience with AZ hives but the conservative side of my beekeeping would recommend that you start out with Langstroths, where you can get lots of practical advice from a lot of experienced keepers. Once you have made your first successful steps in the hive, you could set aside a few of them to learn a "more esotic" method of management.
     
  11. Zeevah

    Zeevah New Member

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    Toda raba efmesch, I'm glad to be back too! :smile:
     
  12. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    Does anyone know the frame size in those AZ hives?
     
  13. Zeevah

    Zeevah New Member

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    Hi Lee,

    AŽ frames are 41cm wide and 26cm (263mm) deep. (16 1/8" wide X 10 3/8" deep). That's for the regular hive size. The grom frames are (I think) 2 cm larger.


    The bars of the frame (top, bottom and sides) are all the same width and are 25mm. The frames rest perpendicular on three metal rods. All of the top and bottom bars are curved the entire length. That's important so bees aren't hurt when pulling the frames out, sliding over the rods. Here's a pic-----hope this shows better than I explained!

    AZ frames.jpg
     
  14. DMLinton

    DMLinton New Member

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    Hi, Ef;
    Thank you for the good advice. I will, indeed, start out and probably remain with the local norm which is the various Langstroth arrangements. The only revision to that will be that the hives will be installed in bee houses. Until I retire at least, weekends will be my beekeeping days but doing a "dry run" through this past Summer and Fall, it became apparent that a lot of my scheduled days would not have worked this past year - the weather on many of my "beekeeping days" was far from suitable for opening hives. It may have been an unusual year but I am a strong believer in risk management rather than claiming defeat by something I could have foreseen and, more importantly, could have controlled or at least mitigated.

    I read this forum almost daily and have been quietly contemplating and absorbing the information provided here. Two fundamental rules, if you will, that I have identified are that, one, going into beekeeping with idealistic notions is quite dangerous and the second is that a new beekeeper cannot not possibly know what the his/her best managment strategy will be until after it has been developed.

    Happy holidays to one and all.
     
  15. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    Thank you Zeevah! :)
    I was hoping for a size that might be compatible with a Langsroth hive in my bee yard, but those frames are much deeper than my 'deeps'. That AZ design is very interesting and creative. I would suppose it has evolved over many years and is the product of some creative people.
     
  16. Zeevah

    Zeevah New Member

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    You're welcome Lee! :smile:

    Yes, many people ask me about the frame size in relation to Langstoth hives. But, the two hives are so very different in all ways. The only similarity is they both have frames!

    The AZ hive cannot be expanded so it's management is more like a top bar hive (even though it has frames and usually foundation). They are also not to be free standing hives but are designed for use only in a beehouse.

    They are the National hive of Slovenia. Beekeeping in Slovenia has a long history and is actually part of the national culture. It is also home to the Carniolan bee:

    http://www.authentic-routes.com/apiroutes/beekeeping-in-slovenia

    http://www.slovenia.si/visit/trails/beekeeping-in-slovenia/