More than 70 years ago, the famous French beekeeper R. Delon created a unique hive, which brought the scientist well-deserved fame. The author was the name of the invention Climatstable (stable climate). Among the beekeepers of the Union, he became known as the Alpine hive.. A characteristic feature of such housing is conditions as close as possible to natural and comfortable work for apiary owners. Many professionals compare alpine hive care as a child’s play with blocks.
What is an alpine hive
The idea of creating a unique hive accompanied the scientist for many years. And he managed to realize it. Already in old age, the owner’s apiary numbered about 1000 families. Alpine hives were spread over an area of over 120 square kilometers. But this did not force the owner to provide daily care in such a large area. Its goal is maximum income and minimum costs, which was successfully resolved.
The first analogue was the hollow of an old tree. A bountiful harvest made the scientist think and an alpine hive was created, consisting of several buildings. As Roger argued, in nature, bees live in drafts. Living conditions in home hives are very different. This is an enclosed space with poor ventilation. During the period of active honey collection, the inner space of the hive should be well ventilated. This should not be the case the rest of the year. But these are not all conditions for creating as close to natural conditions as possible.
The modern alpine hive resembles a little more familiar construction, but with fundamental changes. It has only one entrance, which looks more like a simple slit.
Contrary to the air movement claims, there are no vents.
- The air penetrates through the lower part, inside it is warmed up by the bees and already in the form of oxygen, saturated with carbon dioxide and metabolic products, rises up.
- The air gradually becomes heavier and sinks to the bottom of the hive, to the tap hole.
- At the bottom of the hive, carbon dioxide is replaced with fresh air.
This air movement inside the alpine hive occurs constantly… And this is the optimal condition for better family productivity. The heated air at the top of the hive can cause condensation to form. But this is excluded due to the fact that immediately under the cover there is a feeder, which acts as a pillow. During periods of active honey collection, the structure of such hives can reach a height of up to one and a half meters.
Each alpine hive is a small structure, the standard dimensions of which are 30×30 cm. They are stacked on top of each other as the families grow, which maximally mimics the natural habitat of bees. Each body has 8 frames, which are made of simple wire. It looks like the one shown in the image.
The creator himself kept a thousand families in the Alpine mountains. A prerequisite is the presence of a feeder structure at the top, which protects against overheating and prevents the formation of condensation.
Among the beekeepers who actively use the alpine hive, they note the characteristic advantages:
- rapid development seven;
- high rates of honey collection;
- small weight of each hive (up to 20 kg.);
- minimum area for placing an apiary;
- downtime spring cleaning;
- optimal microclimate;
- high quality honeycombs that bees create on their own;
- minimum costs required for leaving.
Some disadvantages of alpine beekeeping
It is impossible to say that the design is exceptional. Minor disadvantages of beekeeping in alpine hives are:
- uncontrolled independent construction of honeycombs, which leads to squeezing of the lower ones;
- the rapid development of the family, although most do not consider this a disadvantage;
- poor survival of families from ordinary hives;
- lack of ready-made frames for sale;
- it is difficult to implement layering from alpine hives, as most beekeepers tend to standard breeding methods.
But this is not a hindering principle for those who are actively involved in the development of their apiary. The beekeeper Roger Delon himself noted that the bees helped him become a wealthy person who could afford a lot.
Making an alpine hive with your own hands according to drawings
It has already been pointed out that the design of the hive is simple. Even minimal experience with carpentry tools and the proposed step-by-step instructions will allow you to quickly master the technique. Prepare in advance:
- wooden block;
- polished board;
- screwdriver, saw or jigsaw.
Making a hive body
The beehive making process is provided by the Khomich apiary. To make the body, prepare four wooden boards. Better if it is a well-dried pine board. You will need two fragments of the following sizes (mm):
- 360 by 230 – for walls;
- 324 by 57 – for the bottom.
Treat the blanks with an antiseptic. Make ledges in the walls that will fix future frames. They are also easy to make yourself. Fasten the sides of the hull using a screwdriver. Make grooves in the tanks necessary for moving the structure. The workpiece should look as shown in the picture.
To make the bottom, you will need the same pine board, the thickness of which is at least 30 mm. Be sure to treat the inner surface with an antiseptic and paint the outer one.
Maintain the opening gap within the width / height of 30/7 mm. Arrival board should be made at an angle of no more than 45 degrees
Making a cassette
The cassette is necessary for queen cells and storage of royal jelly, and is also used during the transport of hives.
Cover, it’s a feeder. This is a kind of sandwich, for the manufacture of which they usually use:
- sheets of thin plywood, fiberboard, furniture board;
- insulating material sandwiched between these sheets;
- outer upholstery (any roofing material).
The finished cover should slide on and off the case without effort. It looks like a composition of several bodies, as in the picture.
It has already been mentioned that the framework of the alpine hive is not quite familiar. They are difficult to find on sale, not easy to make yourself. To do this, mount a wire frame on the bar, the size of which (mm) is 320 by 25 by 9. The total length of such a workpiece is 730 mm. Prepare eight frames for each hive. The honeycombs are prepared by the bees on their own and by the beginning of the collection they will look like in the picture shown.
Domestic modernization of Khomich
Not so long ago, the hive of the famous Frenchman was slightly modernized by his Russian colleague Vladimir Khomich. He refined the hive to fit a 108 mm frame. The author is also known for using alpine hives on a mobile platform with which he roams when the season comes. In winter, his hives remain on the same site.
Gradual relocation of bees
Relocating families to alpine hives is a real problem for beekeepers who decide to switch to such structures. According to many beekeepers, this sometimes takes a whole season. But, if the task is set, then there is no point in stopping halfway.
The uterus is colonized in the upper compartment of the bodies, which are separated by ceiling diaphragms. After the appearance of the young, it is combined with the rest of the bees. In a new hive, provoke the uterus to increase the instinct to lay eggs. To do this, it can be placed in the lower housing. Moving up, thanks to its natural ability, it lays eggs along the way. Professionals recommend doing this in early May. Then the first young growth will appear with the flowering of acacia.
When brood in alpine hives, set empty ones between the inhabited hives. Large free space provokes abundant brood.
Important principles of work
The main difference in keeping families in alpine hives is observed during wintering. Move strong families to single-storey hives. The weak are left in the alpine tiered. The uterus with brood is placed in the lowest compartment, and in the upper body there is a feeder with a supply of pollen and honey.
Making their way to the upper compartment, the bees gradually release the lower one. The empty one is removed when there are no insects left in it. This usually happens with the onset of the first warm days. Therefore, beekeepers believe that caring is like playing with blocks.