One day during his tenure as a professor, Albert Einstein was visited by a student. “The questions on this year’s exam are the same as last year’s!” the young man exclaimed.
“Yes,” Einstein answered, “but this year all the answers are different.”
As Beekeepers today we may feel that we are in a similar situation. Colony management that was previously successful may no long work! Unexpected losses of colonies have been eating up our profit margin. We’ve been making increase like crazy each spring, only see some fail to build, or crash during fall or winter. Few beekeepers question whether their systems of bee breeding and colony management adversely affect the normal biological processes of honey bees. And even fewer consider assuring that the environment within the hive is “natural” – as close as possible to that which is optimal for honey bee survival. That’s why we decided to "listen" the bees and answer their needs. We wanted to create a system of activities together with the beekeeping equipment which will allow bees to use efficiently their coded defensive mechanism (written in their genes) in fighting their predators and dealing with diseases. We designed the beehive (ElleHive) for which we believe that "Conforms to the natural habits of the bees and make work of the beekeeper easier"
Conforms to the natural habits of bees - Inventing a hive that supports the bees' need for nest scent and nest warmth - The most beehives used now days in the world were designed in last century or 2. For example: The Dadant Hive (Charles Dadant 1817-1902). Langstroth hive (Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth 1810-1895), The Warre hive (Emille Warre 1867-1951), etc..
The new time is bringing new challenges for all of us and need new approach. For example in time when those hives were designed the problems with Varoa mite didnt existed in the colonies. (V. Destructor in 1904, V. jacobsoni started spreading throughout colonies in the 1960). Also, when those hives were designed there were no studies undertaken by researchers with the methods and modern equipment as nowadays and the results of those studies were not incorporated in the designs. Aware of the limitations of human knowledge we wanted to use what we know with certainty based on numerous studies especially in recent years and to implement that in our design. Let’s take for example the biggest problem that beekeepers have nowadays with Varroa mite. It presents the dominant challenge in beekeeping, as it is the cause of widespread mortality among honey bee colonies. Beekeepers have a variety of toxic chemicals at their disposal to exterminate mites. However, mites have already developed resistance to many such pesticides, which may furthermore contaminate the bee product. Moreover, some pesticides persist in the wax of the combs, which has led to a ban on synthetic liposoluble drugs in many countries. Remedies based on organic acids in unsuitable concentrations may harm the queen and the brood. The only highly effective alternative method to chemical treatment is a physical elimination of the Varroa mite by increasing the temperature in the hive. Varroa is a strictly stenothermal parasite capable of reproduction in a narrow temperature range between 26 and 33°C (Rosenkranz et al. 2010; Pätzold &Ritter 1989). The reproductive capability of female mites significantly decreases at temperatures above 36.5 °C, and above 38 °C mites die without engaging in reproduction (Le Conte et al. 1990). But how? Shall we do something to heat up the hive, or should we create the conditions for bees to successful monitor and maintain the appropriate temperature in the hive? We believe in second and our design among others follows that principle. Recent studies prove that bees are aware of the effect that temperature has either on the brood or on the mites that are in 90% present in the sealed brood and especially in the male’s brood. While there is no chemical substance known to humans that can enter through the sealed cap in the brood where the mites are, the so-called resting bees are (which by now we all thought that they are not doing anything) actually are the heating bees - heating the brood above the 36 °C (3 °C more) for period of 3 min = 39 °C (Deadly temp for mites) and in that way affecting the Varoa in the core of its presence. In same way while the mites can’t stand the temperature above 38 °C s, the bees amazingly can stand up to 44 °C in a shorter period of time. The same method (heating up) the bees are using when fighting the hornet. So, in our new design we followed the results from the known recent studies about bee life and behavior. In our design we tried to fulfil the numerous conditions that the beehive should answer regarding the needs of bees, like better overwintering of the colonies, spring expansion of the colonies, expansion when there is a nectar available in the nature etc… and to connect that with the activities of the beekeeper around and in the hive.
Make work of the beekeeper easier - The beekeeper also have a numerous activities throughout the year that the design should answer. For example, in the autumn the beekeeper should prepare the colony for the upcoming winter and the beehive should follow the life of the colony in winter period. In spring, colony needs additional space in the brood compartment for the expansion and preparing for the main season. When the main season will start the colony needs additional space for storing the honey. Also, the beekeeper will need a space in which he can split the colony after the finish of the main season and create young colonies, or to rear the queens. Now instead of using the additional equipment, EllHive™ is the only tool that beekeeper needs to undertake all of those e activities mentioned. Additionally, the ElleHive™ allows to the beekeeper to manage the colony with the frames and not just bodies, or to manage the bodies for honey storage that are appropriate for the location of the apiary.
UNIQUE STYLE - based on modern knowledge and sudies about bee life cycle and bees needs...
Made from wood (thickness min. 50mm in the brood compartment)
No artificial materials for construction of hive and frames (wire, wax foundation…)
Deep brood frame for better development of the colony
Width of the frame that conforms to the size of natural bee cluster
Vertical extension of the colony during the season with honey storage frame
Separate entrances for the nursery bees and nectar collecting bees
Additional insulation space above the colony in the winter
Two colonies overwinter separated by thin wall placed near to each other (better circulation of heat inside two colonies)
Adjusting the available space for one colony with adding thin walls
Creating young colonies with dividing the space of the hive and separating entrances.
Creating the queen nurseries with separating the space of the beehive
Up to 4 colonies in one hive during the season (march-august)
Frame management – not bodies (easy to carry on the steep mountain)