Among all the options for keeping bees, the most promising is the cassette hive. The method of cassette breeding of bee colonies was developed relatively recently, but has already become quite popular among beekeepers. This technology reduces the threat of the emergence and spread of dangerous diseases such as varroatosis and foulbrood by increasing the comfort of keeping honey insect families.
Other advantages of cassette hives:
- Compactness. The hive, which is small in size, is easily installed even in the limited space of the personal plot.
- The design of the pavilion facilitates the care of bee colonies, cleaning and disinfection of the hive. This minimizes the effort and time spent by the beekeeper.
- Low weight allows you to transport the bee pavilion in the back of a small truck, and even on a light trailer. Therefore, the cassette hive can be freely moved from the place of growth of some melliferous plants to others, as they bloom. This allows you to significantly, 2-3 times, increase the volume of honey collection.
A common model is a mobile cassette hive, allowing the most efficient use of all its advantages. Depending on its size, the hive can hold 16-32 bee colonies. The standard pavilion is a building, on the sides of which there are living sections for bee colonies, and free space is left in the center for convenient work with them.
Each section is structurally reminiscent of a drawer or chest of drawers, with pull-out cassettes. Families of melliferous insects live in them, being protected from moisture and dust penetration. A mobile cassette hive can be easily converted into a stationary hive, and vice versa – it is enough to remove it from the side, placing it on a stand.
By its design, the cassette hive is simple, and it is possible to make it yourself. This will require diligence, the necessary material, tools and initial skills in using them.
Necessary tools and materials
The best material for making the base of a cassette structure is pine. It is easy to process and affordable. Any other available wood can also be used. It is generally not recommended to build a hive of resinous trees. But here there will be no direct contact between honey and pine – all the inner walls of the cassettes are made of plywood.
In the work, in addition to pine boards, we need the following materials:
- Polyfoam for insulation.
- Roofing material for a waterproofing layer.
- Slate or tin (corrugated board, metal tile) for the roof.
- Plywood or fiberboard for interior walls.
- Nylon or metal mesh.
From the tools we need:
- Hacksaw or electric (gasoline) saw.
- Jigsaw for cutting plywood sheets.
- Screwdriver with a set of bits.
- A hammer.
- Roulette, ruler, square and pencil (marker) for marking workpieces.
- If the structure contains metal materials, such as roofing iron, a grinder is also required.
The next important stage in the construction of a cassette hive is a drawing. You can either compose it yourself, or choose drawings from ready-made options. Shown below is a schematic layout of the Pioneer model cassette section.
It shows the recommended dimensions of the individual elements, and a general diagram of the entire structure. The numbers indicate:
- Roof with slots for ventilation.
- Top grill for protection against penetration of ticks.
- Arrival board.
- Central tap-holes.
- Retractable sanitary tray.
- Lower anti-mite grill.
- Removable stand.
- Honeycomb frames.
- Cassette doors.
- Hooks for fixing the doors in the closed position.
Using the above drawing, a person who knows how to hold a hand tool in his hands will be able to build a cassette hive without any problems. The pavilion can be interlocked from 4 to 6-8 sections, depending on the number of bee colonies for which the hive is calculated. If a mobile version is being created, it is necessary to take into account the capacity of the body or trailer so that the cassette hive fits in it according to its dimensions. A heating system can also be provided in the interior space. This will ensure the wintering of bee colonies in cassettes-sections. You just need to sheathe them outside with insulation.
Optimal dimensions of the cassette hive: height – up to 200 cm, width – approx. 50 cm, depth – 55-65 cm. These dimensions of the section are designed to accommodate up to seven hive compartments. The thickness of the plywood walls is only 7 mm, versus 25-30 mm for ordinary hives – thanks to the double protection, in the form of the outer walls of the pavilion. The stiffeners have also been reduced to 12 mm – enough for such a lightweight structure.
Ordinary hives are painted on the outside with water-repellent compounds. This is necessary to protect the wall from moisture absorption, and the formation of mold inside. There is no need to paint the sections of the cassette hives, since they are protected from the outside by the outer walls and the roof of the pavilion. It is recommended to treat them with melted wax to increase the moisture-repellent properties of wood. In addition to protecting against moisture, wax will reduce the risk of pathogenic microorganisms developing on the surface of the tree.
Cassette hive: disadvantages and advantages
Among the advantages of cassette hives, you can indicate:
- Facilitating insect care.
- Comfortable living conditions for bee colonies, maintaining a comfortable internal temperature.
- Growth in the production of honey and related beekeeping products.
- Increased protection against precipitation and changes in air temperature.
- Ability to work with bees regardless of the weather.
- For mobile modifications – the ability to move the hives to the places where flowering plants grow.
In addition to the advantages, the cassette method of keeping bee colonies also has disadvantages:
- Overcrowding can lead to loss of queens. This danger is especially high in strong winds.
- When a disease appears, the rate of spread of infection is higher than with separate keeping of bee colonies.
- In rainy weather, there are difficulties with the transportation of pavilions in off-road conditions.
The cassette hive is an innovative technology in beekeeping that significantly increases the volume of honey collection and simplifies the care of bee colonies. Making them yourself, based on ready-made drawings, will not be difficult, and you can feel the return in the very first season of honey collection.