What are you working on?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Adam Foster Collins, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Adam Foster Collins

    Adam Foster Collins New Member

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    After a couple of years on this board, it seems to me that beekeepers are inventive people. You seem always to be working away at some problem; inventing something, or trying some new approach in hope of making this season a little better than the last.

    As winter is setting in on a lot of us here in North America, I wonder what you're puzzling over now.

    At the moment, I am working on finding the best deal I can on frames. I have spent the last two seasons using top bars hives, which I like very much. But now I'm going to try to expand to at least 10 more hives by the end of the coming season, and I've decided to do most of that expansion in lang boxes. I consulted the experts, and considered their conflicting opinions; finally settling on a combination of different philosophies for different reasons.

    I've decided to go with 8 frame deeps and medium boxes, and make the deeps into narrow frames. So I'll try to run 9 frame brood boxes in the deeps and 8 frame honey storage in mediums. I've gone round and round in my head, read endlessly and finally decided to take a swing at it. If I don't like it, I'll make a change before I expand any more. I figure if I want to go to all mediums, at least I can cut the deeps down.

    I have spent the last week or so emptying the hell-hole that I call a basement, and setting up benches and tools in place of the pile of chaos which was there before the clean-up.

    I've just built my first prototype of a top entrance/cover, and have drawn up plans for a screened bottom board. I've scoured the boards to find dimensions I like for boxes and I'm piling up lumber and materials to work with. I'm going to spend the dreaded winter months hibernating underground with my power tools, figuring, inventing and building away until spring.

    So, what are you working on?


    Adam
     
  2. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Adam:

    Several things are confusing me. I understand using 8 frame equipment-but why are you going with narrower frames and squeezing in 9 frames? Will this allow enough bee space?

    I use all 10 frame equipment, and have heard of using 9 frames in the honey supers, not during the first year when the bees are drawing out the comb, but the second year to give a little more room to draw the comb out a little further-allowing a little more room for honey.

    Like I said, I'm confused.
     

  3. Adam Foster Collins

    Adam Foster Collins New Member

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    Well, I haven't tried it yet, but I'm going on the advice of several others that have. Supposedly, in a 13 3/4" box, if you shave off a bit of the frame spacers, so that each frame is 1 1/4", you can fit 9 in the box. I've had 1 1/4" spacing in the brood areas of my top bars and like it. You get nice, straight, even comb. Plus, I'm getting the extra cells in each brood box.

    We'll see...

    Adam
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You say several others are doing it. Who does, besides micheal B.?
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    iddee writes:
    You say several others are doing it.

    tecumseh:
    long ago (early 1980's) there was a bee keeper by the name of Hoover (he wrote a monthly article in the ABJ) was the first person I ever read who promoted 'shaving' frames (ie trimming just a a small amount from each side of the top bars so you could squeeze in one more frame in a box). during this same era Charles Marzz (sp??) was writing a monthly article often times promoting bee sting therapy as a remedy for arthritis. mr marzz was without a doubt quite the bee keeper (his name is still attached to some bee keeping equipment produced by Maxant). mr marzz had quite a good time with responding to some of mr hoover's 'out there' ideas. many of us at the time though mr marzz apitherapy ideas were also quite out there... but as it turns out he was exactly correct.

    i have been told that michael palmer still has some reminents of Charles Marzz bees.

    good luck on shaving them frames Adam... i hope it works out for ya'.
     
  6. Bsweet

    Bsweet Member

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    Well when winter hits and the ladies need less of my time, normally I spend more time with my muzzle loaders and do more shooting, and maybe build one or two over the winter. Jim
     
  7. Adam Foster Collins

    Adam Foster Collins New Member

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    I'm not sure what you're looking for, Iddee. Are you really looking for a list of names, or trying to suggest that very few people - if any - are doing it? Well there are others, and reading of their experiences inspired me to give it a try. Michael Bush may be doing it, but he didn't come up with it, and others have been doing it longer than he has.

    Not that I'm really up to defending the practice. I've never done it with Lang frames. But I figured I'd give it a go.

    Tecumseh

    I believe Mike Palmer says Charlie Marzz was a mentor of his. But then again, Ross Conrad says the same thing -- and Mike and Ross are from two different planets.

    Adam
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I was just curious. I've never known anyone else who did it, except a few that did it after reading MB's writings. I am wondering if anyone else has done it for a period of time, and what the results were.
     
  9. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Myself, i'm burning the wax off my queen excluders with a plumers torch, and scraping out and scorchind the wax inside of honey supers. :thumbsup: Jack
     
  10. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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  11. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    man-o-man you have a very nice workshop, looks like you are well on your way to accomplishing your list.
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Adam writes:
    I believe Mike Palmer says Charlie Marzz was a mentor of his. But then again, Ross Conrad says the same thing -- and Mike and Ross are from two different planets.

    tecumseh:
    mr marzz had a large effect on a great number of current era bee keepers including the lady* who currently heads up the queen rearing for BWeaver (i work there on some occasions). I suspect this breadth of influence says quite a lot about mr marzz?

    i do wish you luck on the frame shaving and do inform us of what you see there. for myself I think anyone who might think that they can go against several hundred years of what we know about bee space (and the implementation of this information so dearly obtained) must be displaying some serious ego problems. upon questioning to such 'out there' approach (ie not just shaving) to beekeeping you almost invariable discover that 'they feel this way' and have almost no real data to validate these feelings. evidently extreme assertion doesn't mean you need extreme evidence to validate beliefs.

    *she tells some quite entertaining stories about both 'Charlie' and Mike.
     
  13. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I have read quite a few articles explaining the theoretical advantage of having closer to the minimal bee spacing between comb surfaces. Seems to be more focused on being a bit quicker out of the blocks in cold climates. One suggestion was it cut down spurious drone cell construction and bur comb. Could be a lot of conjecture but it convinced me enough to construct a set of 60 1 1/4" deep frames. The idea is not to get more frames in a box.

    Other than that I have been building some high tensile electric fence for a horse corral and paddock.
     
  14. Adam Foster Collins

    Adam Foster Collins New Member

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    Tecumseh writes:
    "i do wish you luck on the frame shaving and do inform us of what you see there... I think anyone who might think that they can go against several hundred years of what we know about bee space...must be displaying some serious ego problems. upon questioning to such 'out there' approach (ie not just shaving) to beekeeping you almost invariable discover that 'they feel this way' and have almost no real data to validate these feelings. evidently extreme assertion doesn't mean you need extreme evidence to validate beliefs."

    -----

    I could be wrong, but I sense some animosity about this subject, and wonder if it's more about a particular person than the subject itself. I could certainly be wrong, but I feel tension in this thread, and it's not something I expected when I started it.

    A person is a "beginner" every time they get into exploring something they haven't tried before. When a beginner begins, all they can do is listen to the advice of others and do their best to make a set of choices, and begin to build their own experience. This first set of choices is made more difficult by the fact that advice varies quite a bit from one "expert" to the next. If there was a whole lot of "real data", and not so much "feel this way", there wouldn't be so many conflicting opinions, and we could all just do the one, "right thing"... But the fact is, most people don't have the time and energy it takes to turn their own experiences into the real data you mention. So we have to deal with a whole lot of personal accounts and perspectives.

    Now, I haven't got the sense that the 1 1/4" spacing thing was coming from just one person with an ego problem. I read a number of accounts talking about it, and a some of them were quite old. So, over those several hundred years of learning about bee space, a number of people have argued for narrower spacing of frames.

    So, we end up with one more set of conflicting opinions, and until you try them, they're all just someone else's opinion, or someone else's proof.

    I'm going to give it a try and see what I see for myself.

    Adam
     
  15. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    First, let me apologize. I didn't intend to send any animosity across the lines at all. As for MB, he is a great beek and a very intelligent man. Not an egotist at all. I do feel, tho, that some new beeks get into trouble trying to mimic his 30 or more years experience in their first year or two. I think they would do better learning the tried and true, then moving to the experimental when they can recognize a "developing" problem before it becomes one, as MB can.

    I'm a Nascar fan. I don't think it would be a good idea foe a 16 year old driver trainee to go straight to the sprint cup track to learn to drive, with Richard Petty teaching advanced maneuvers.
     
  16. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    From what I recall reading from Mike on this, there are no more Mraz bees around. He used to keep some mating yds near Charlies' yds, but, since Mr. Mraz' death, his Son and Grandson no longer keep bees the way Charlie did and Mike sees the difference.

    I don't know if I ever experienced any of Mr. Mraz' bees, but Mike has some great stories. I have heard that Mr. Mraz worked his bees wearing a bathing suit so he would be stung. He thought getting stung was a good thing for a beekeeper.

    I met him a number of times at ESHPA meetings. A wonderful person to meet and chat w/. One of a kind. One of a generation. Mr. Mraz, Dr. Richard Taylor, Dr. Roger Morse, etc. Maybe someone will look back on this current generation and recall similar characters. Dr. Jim Tew comes to mind.
     
  17. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    first off very nicely stated Adam you get lots gold stars for the above post..

    an Adam snip one...
    I could be wrong, but I sense some animosity about this subject, and wonder if it's more about a particular person than the subject itself. I could certainly be wrong, but I feel tension in this thread, and it's not something I expected when I started it.

    tecumseh:
    I think your senses are quite well tuned but I am not certain animosity is the proper word here. for some of us our primary reason for being here is our concern for new beekeepers and wanting them to have some success with the over arching idea that bee keeping should be enjoyable and not some tedious endeavor fraught with complication. most skills or purely book like understanding starts with learning the simply stuff first and then moving on to more complicated stuff.

    almost invariable when us 'old hands' see stuff come around again that didn't work so well 30 years ago our comments do tend to sound quite negative. sorry about that, but I think things invariable just turn out that way.

    one of the first warning a new bee keepers should know (I think iddee and I have touched on this subject before???) that every bee keeper manipulation or change or technique in doing things has a definite down side. invariable these negatives are never consider by anyone pushing some 'out there' technique.

    new bee keepers should also be warned that there is about as much bad stuff out here on the net (my post are not excluded here mind you) as there is good stuff and that a nicely developed web presence does not equate to anyone or any group of people being good bee keepers.

    another Adam snip..
    A person is a "beginner" every time they get into exploring something they haven't tried before. When a beginner begins, all they can do is listen to the advice of others and do their best to make a set of choices, and begin to build their own experience. This first set of choices is made more difficult by the fact that advice varies quite a bit from one "expert" to the next.

    tecumseh:
    I would guess I have kept bees in more location and for a longer stretch of time than almost anyone on this board. bee keeping in each of these places was done in a quite different manner with only certain components transferable from one to the other. this does not mean I needed to totally relearn my craft at each location, but how and what you did altered from place to place. so (as far as I can tell) there is no one size fits all possibles circumstance rule that applies to bee keeping... what works in one place will almost invariable be a failure in the next <often time very little geographical distance may be all that is required here.

    for myself I do have great reverence for the many beekeeper who paved the way for what we know now and only when I can see some very compelling data that suggest to me something different do I consider doing things in a different manner. large claims just require compelling evidence for me to take anyone serious.

    finally.... even though older I still run across something that peaks my interest that does at the time seem at the time to be quite 'out there' to my way of thinking. part of the fun of bee keeping is you can replicate these experiments and see how they work out for you at a given location. so please don't take MY comments as do this or don't do that, but as whatever way you go do have some fun in the process.

    and the best to ya' Adam...
     
  18. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I actually perfer alittle space to work with, allowing the end frames to have a small gap between the frame and wall of brood chamber, much easier to pry them apart , if spaced too closely, particularly with a propolis inclined colony, you would need a track hoe to open the hive. wood products are not cheap anymore, and anything that avoids damaging the frames, brood box, or bees is appreciated.Not as accomplished as more then a few, but is my convoluted thinking.
    Barry
     
  19. Adam Foster Collins

    Adam Foster Collins New Member

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    Iddee writes:

    "I do feel, tho, that some new beeks get into trouble trying to mimic his 30 or more years experience in their first year or two. I think they would do better learning the tried and true, then moving to the experimental when they can recognize a "developing" problem before it becomes one, as MB can...

    I'm a Nascar fan. I don't think it would be a good idea foe a 16 year old driver trainee to go straight to the sprint cup track to learn to drive, with Richard Petty teaching advanced maneuvers."

    Tecumseh writes:

    "...some of us our primary reason for being here is our concern for new beekeepers and wanting them to have some success with the over arching idea that bee keeping should be enjoyable and not some tedious endeavor fraught with complication...when us 'old hands' see stuff come around again that didn't work so well 30 years ago our comments do tend to sound quite negative. sorry about that, but I think things invariable just turn out that way..."

    ******

    Both sound points, and make plenty of sense. And I think most beginners would very much appreciate those kinds of perspectives.

    But keep in mind, that you're both getting to them, after I've found myself feeling stress for sharing what I'm trying and asking here about what others are working on. I've had to feel the stress, consider it, then communicate it back to you in an effort to get past it. You are both the type of "old hands" beginners come to boards like this to learn from. And the quality of this seemingly innocuous experience has the capacity to set the direction of my beekeeping efforts for the next year or two.

    One of the things about teaching is never losing touch with what it means to be a student. You have to remember how big a deal those dumb little questions with simple little answers can be to someone who doesn't know, and wants to know. And that how they get the answer makes all the difference in the world. Do they learn by getting burned? Do they learn by seeing someone else get burned? Or is some patient, kind person involved somewhere that helps them to learn without getting burned? We can all look back on our lives and recognize learning something in all of these ways. And we appreciate all the lessons -- but feel very differently about the different experiences involved in learning them.

    So when you're on the other side, on the side of teaching the lesson -- which kind of lesson do you want to be?

    Too often, when we find ourselves in the teaching role, we think what we're doing is "saving" the student from getting burned -- when really we're just doing the burning. I know I've been guilty of this plenty of times myself as a parent and a teacher.

    I will say this for Michael Bush:

    That man has written tens of thousands of posts on discussion forums. I fear to guess how many emails. I personally have seen him answer the same "dumb" questions so many times, I can't believe he can stomach it. He doesn't always agree with everyone, but I have yet to see him make anyone feel uneasy or ashamed of suggesting something in their discussion. He's not warm and fuzzy, but I have never seen him get really edgy or rude. He just beats his little set of drums and says what he's seen and done, and what he is doing now. Almost everything he's doing, he credits to someone else, and often offers some way to go and check out that person for yourself. And when things get negative, and tedious; when people want to get personal and nasty - he just beats those same little drums and doesn't get sucked into the mud. He sticks to the subject, and doesn't waver from it.

    For a beginner, who is trying to decide which of a million opinions to trust -- that goes a long, long way.

    But, at the moment, I'm here. And I'm trying to see what I might learn from the collective experience of the people here. I'm not one to make my decisions based on the opinions of just one person.

    Adam
     
  20. Adam Foster Collins

    Adam Foster Collins New Member

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    Barry,

    I can understand that. And I wonder if the tight spacing might be too tight. But I have found in my top bar hives with the tight spacing - that the bars and combs are actually cleaner and straighter, so they tend to be pretty easy to handle. But who knows if that will be the case in a lang with frames. I'm only just beginning to expand, so if it doesn't work out, I can just open up the spacing, and then not trim any future frames. Lesson learned, and not a huge deal.

    Mark,

    Thanks for the spelling of "Mraz". I knew it wasn't right, but couldn't remember what was right.

    Adam