Beekeeping appeared long before our era. Hives are a relatively recent invention. Russian “pre-revolutionary” bees lived, for example, in logs. This method is sometimes used even now. Deck beekeeping requires fewer resources and less time.
What is log beekeeping
In the wild, swarms often live in the trunks of hollow trees. Most of all, a log and a bee look like a natural dwelling of bees. The Eastern Slavs had many such apiaries: today’s Russians, Ukrainians, etc. Some beekeeping items have survived, for example, in the Belarusian Polesie. Here, at one time, 1–2 winged families worked for almost every peasant household.
Dugouts were usually made from tree trunks. Usually they were chosen with a rotten core, a hollow. Coniferous trees were often used for beekeeping.
Next to the dwelling (borders, gardens), the decks did not appear immediately. At first, they were simply hung in the forest on trees or installed on special platforms.
In Russia, log beekeeping replaced beekeeping around the XNUMXth century. It is sometimes used today. Deck beekeeping is easier. It is especially suitable for beginners.
The essence of the method
Well beekeeping gives freedom to both insects and their owners. The striped family works autonomously, like in a submarine.
The dugout is populated as standard. Then the bees do everything themselves:
- Cover part of the taphole, walls with wax, propolis.
- Cells are built close to one another. They make two varieties: for honey and for the uterus, larvae.
The beekeeper worries little about his charges. Insects live almost like in the wild. This unites board and log beekeeping.
Man only observes. After settling in a bee colony, he only has to come for a log “harvest”. Collected usually once a year. Decks are sometimes also referred to as the unattended hive.
Pros and cons of the method
The deck system has its advantages:
- It is a budget beekeeping method. You will not have to spend money on numerous tools, chemistry, equipment. Almost nothing is required for beekeeping.
- Benefit. Two swarms provide the beekeeper’s family with log products. Surplus beekeeping can be sold. Plus fruit trees and other crops are better pollinated. As a result, a high yield.
- Before winter, beekeepers usually take all the honey from the bees. Sugar syrup is left in place. The “robbed” suffer from the immune system. The dugouts do not have this problem. Part of the honey is left for the bees.
- Convenience and ease of maintenance. The method is perfect for beginners. Care is almost unnecessary.
- New brood bees are usually large and strong. No artificial honeycomb. The bee colony makes cells according to natural laws. Ventilation is taken into account. Good cell sizes, location, etc. are selected.
- Many people say that honey is better than usual honey. “Taste of wax”, without impurities. The special scent of honeycomb, which later disappears in other types of honey. Such a beekeeping product is healthier and, as a rule, more expensive.
- The houses are usually large and roomy, so so are the families. This is a plus for collecting nectar, the strength of the bee “collective”.
- Dugouts look interesting on the site. They are unlikely to spoil the design, especially when there are not many of them.
- Collecting a log bee product is not as traumatic as in a hive or board. The lower part of the house opens. It turns out to take combs with honey without touching the brood.
- With such beekeeping, conditions are close to natural. Insects are harder and less likely to get sick.
It is no coincidence that modern hives have spread. With proper work, they give more honey. Decks are inferior here.
The old beekeeping method has other disadvantages as well:
- Man has almost no control over the life of striped families. Breeding work is not carried out.
- In bees, it is problematic to treat varroatosis.
- The winged family can fly away if they find a better place. This sometimes comes as a surprise to the beekeeper. You can be left without bee products.
- It is necessary to collect honey very carefully. When an inept beekeeper cuts out the combs, many insects die.
- Sometimes it is inconvenient to manufacture. Structures are heavy, especially from poorly dried wood. In search of a suitable trunk, you have to check and discard a lot.
There are different designs. Two of them are especially popular. When making a deck, several rules are followed.
Dimensions and Drawings
The middle deck holds about 200 liters. Make an outer diameter of at least 500 mm. The length (height) of an ordinary house is about 100 cm.
It is better to make a drawing before manufacturing. The more accurate it is, the easier and faster it will work.
As a guide, you can take the following dimensions:
- outer diameter – 50 cm;
- internal – 30-35 cm.
It is hardly possible to make a good nest out of boards without a drawing. Especially when the cross-section of the bars looks like a trapezoid. To obtain such boards, some additionally use blanks.
For example, the large side of such a trapezoid blank can be 13 cm, the smaller one is 9,5 cm, the thickness is 7 cm. Then they work with a circular.
The dimensions of the structure are large. Drawing tools will need appropriate. You can make a homemade compass. The simplest option is made on the basis of a thin lath:
- A pencil is attached to one side.
- The required distance is measured from it.
- On the other side of the rails, a nail is driven in.
From the trunk of a tree
The easiest way to make a deck is from a log. Spruce, alder, elm, willow, linden are suitable. It is advisable to take soft varieties with good thermal insulation. One of the best trees is the elm tree. Hard (heavy) varieties are less suitable. These are, for example, oak, birch wood.
Find a suitable barrel and get to work:
- Saw off two parts. Better to let the wood dry. It helps against decay and cracks.
- The core is hollowed out in one obtained block. To do this, they saw it along, then wield a chisel and sandpaper.
- Make cuts for the top and bottom cover. It is better to upholster with a cloth so that the bees do not make honeycombs here.
- Cut out, drill a slot for insects (tap holes) in the body. It starts about 30 cm above the bottom. The entrance is about ¾ of the length of the house. This gap is about 0,8 cm thick.
- Collect the base of the dugout.
- Inside the body, two crosspieces are made from perches. Here bees will build honeycombs.
- Nail the lid.
- Loops attach the bottom to the body. The bottom opens to collect bee products.
- Gaps, cracks are covered with clay.
The rest will be done by the bees themselves. For example, they will leave the remains of cracks or seal them with wax, propolis. This is how insects control ventilation, including in winter. Or they reduce the entrance so that enemies do not get through: wasps, hornets, etc.
Planks are usually more difficult to make. There are different options, for example, this one:
- For the case, a box is found, for example, 35 cm × 31,5 cm × 22 cm.
- Inside, the workpiece is upholstered with plywood. For reliability, you can still soak with wax, propolis.
- The outside is covered with plastic.
- They put insulation: polystyrene, cardboard. In the northern regions, double-walled structures are used.
- Make a lid. Improvised materials, boards are suitable. Cover the lid with roofing material or upholstery with iron.
Sometimes, instead of a box, boards with a trapezoidal section are prepared. They are connected in pairs to form a “barrel”. This is the base, the body. Supplement it with a lid, bottom, tap hole.
Installing the deck
To place the deck, choose a suitable place:
- Well lit by the sun. Moreover, it is desirable that there is a shadow here at noon.
- Protected from wind and moisture. Sometimes they make a canopy.
- Not far from the nectar collection site.
- Placed away from livestock and pets.
Install the deck in several ways:
- Hang on a tree, how to fight. Suitable height for the deck is 70 cm or more from ground level. Moreover, it is better to place it at an angle of about 30 °. On a tree they are placed between thick branches, fastened with ropes.
- Placed on special structures – bar frames. These are “risers”.
- Lay on the ground. These are “loungers”. Sometimes placed at an angle of about 45 °.
Ideally, the bees are colonized the next year after the log is installed. During this time, suitable “wild” conditions will be created.
When everything is ready, a swarm of bees often arrives on its own. An additional stimulus is the waxed walls of the house. They also put a rag with propolis or a special bait inside.
If the nest has been empty for more than a year, it is first cleaned. When there is an unpleasant smell, they get rid of it. For this, the walls are treated with mint or lemon balm.
If the family has not found a “new building”, they use a bee package, a trap, or move out of the swarm. First, the uterus is planted separately. If she does not leave the cage in a day, help. Then the rest are settled.
After that, leave the swarm alone for about a week. Otherwise, he may fly away. In the first year after settling, it is better not to take bee products.
The deck requires almost no maintenance. The main job of a beekeeper is to collect honey. This is usually done in the autumn. Although some wait 2-3 years. During this time, the pack product manages to infuse. Excess moisture comes out, the smell of forest and herbs is mixed in.
Someone picks up honey in the spring. The bees have already overwintered. They are well fed and most likely healthy. They give honey almost voluntarily.
In winter or spring, it is time for preventive maintenance. The deck is opened and the trash is removed. Black honeycombs must be thrown away. At the same time, they carry out a medical examination, find out the general condition of the bee colony: number, etc. Plus, sometimes they check whether the houses need repairs.
The rest of the time, nothing needs to be done. On the contrary, disturbing a swarm is even harmful. This interferes with the process and ecology of beekeeping. The interests of insects are also taken into account here.
Some people call log beekeeping lazy. Although someone does not need a lot of sweet food. Main quality. Well beekeeping is just a different rhythm of work and “live” honey.
Andrey, 24 years old.
“I worked last year as an apprentice for a beekeeper. Now I decided to try it myself. I put 4 risers. Two of them are experimental – with frames. I’ll put a bee package in there if no one comes to me. We are waiting. Then I will unsubscribe. “
Veniamin Pukhov, 43 years old.
“About the quality of the log honey. Depends, for example, on the shape of the cells in which it ripens. Bees make them themselves. Correct, natural form plus wax is protection from the Earth’s electromagnetic field. Scientists say that all this protects the brood and preserves the best qualities. Or “shelf life”. The principle here is almost like that of French wine. The longer the honey is sealed in the combs, the cooler it is. There were even cases when honeycombs were found by archaeologists. The honey was excellent there. And in decks it is taken once a year, sometimes even less often. Here is the answer. There are other reasons why the deck is both tastier and healthier. “
Svetlana, 56 years old.
“I just like the way it looks on the tree. As in Ancient Russia almost. I saw it on TV and asked my husband to tie it. It seems to me that bees give a good aura in the garden. And my Dutch tomatoes give almost twice as much. It looks like the bees are pollinating them. There is not only honey, but everything else: vegetables, fruits, berries, flowers in the flower bed. I will tell my husband to nail the second hive this year. “