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"
Instead of a picture of ElleHive (one picture- 1000 words) I will choose here to describe in more than 1000 words which were the postulate of inventing the ElleHive.
Bees and other insects have survived and evolved complex immune system on this planet over a span of millions of years. It is not logical that they would now suddenly die out now due to diseases and natural parasites. This suggests another factor has been introduced to their environment that disrupts their immune system. This man made factor’s involves a lot of chemicals, acids, even antibiotics which are produced to help bees to fight against diseases and predators. But the results now days are far from good. The number of bee colonies are declining in faster rate than ever. In combination with mass use of pesticides in the agricultural sector, mono-cultures on large areas and ongoing climate changes we are heading toward disaster. First principle in our design and approach is to to strengthen the immune system of the bees - to return their complex ability to deal with challenges. We developed such a way of work which allow bees to use efficiently their coded defensive mechanism (written in their genes) in fighting their predators and dealing with diseases. This methods don’t involve any chemicals or other interference inside or outside the hive. Every chemical introduces some barriers between the bees and the nature. The response from the bees will be different if that same barrier is not present. To illustrate that, please imagine that you have some wound on your hand. Naturally you will know what to do to prevent the bleeding and to heal up the wound. But if you take some medicine which side-efect is to blur your vision, and to continue to take that medicine in a prolonged period of time, at some point you will be not sure are you watching the real wound or what you see is an imagination - blurred image of something else. Because you are not sure what you see, you will not take an action as when you are certain what you see. The same thing is happening with the bees. When we introduce the chemicals inside the hive on regular basis, their action on possible intruder or disease will not be the same as it would be if they are certain what they see or experience. Without introducing the chemicals inside the hive (even if they are allowed in beekeeping by state regulations) we strengthen their natural ability to deal with the challenges they experience. Also, another thing in the beekeeping is that 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. In the time when those hives were designed, the problem with Varoa mites didn’t existed. (Varoa mites first appeared in the hive in the middle of 20th century) Thats why the new time is bringing new challenges for all of us and need new approach. To explain our approach in designing the ElleHive and creating the beekeeping methods lets take for example the problem 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 chemicals which may furthermore contaminate the bee product. We are all aware that there is no chemical substance known to humans that can enter through the sealed cap in the brood where the mites are and thats why the treatment for varoa during the season when 90% of the mites are in the sealed brood is not effective. 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 destructor is a strictly steno-thermal 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? To reach for the answer lets explore the following study: “Hot bees in empty brood nest cells: heating from within” published in The Journal of Experimental Biology 206, 4217-4231. Honeybee colonies maintain brood nest temperatures of 33–36°C. In this study there is an additional, newly observed heating strategy where heating bees enter empty cells between sealed brood cells and remain there motionless for periods of up to 45min. The "heater bees" have been found to play a crucial, and previously unappreciated role in the survival of honey bee colonies. "Their body temperature can reach up to 44 degrees centigrade. In theory they should cook themselves at that temperature, but somehow they are able to withstand this high temperature. "By creeping into empty cells, one heater bee can transmit heat to 70 pupae around them. It is a central heating system for the colony. Bees staying still inside empty cells for several minutes have previously been considered to be ‘resting bees’. Heating on the comb surface causes a strong superﬁcial warming of the brood cap by up to 3°C within 30•min. Heat transfer is 1.9–2.6 times more efficient when the thorax is in touch with the brood cap than when it is not. Heating inside empty cells raises the brood temperature of adjacent cells by up to 2.5°C within 30•min. Heat ﬂow through the comb was detectable up to three brood cells away from the heated thorax. In literature it is pointed that the resting bees can be found on the corners of hives where the male brood is placed - resting on the cap sealing the brood. Now it is very much known that the mites are placing their young inside the male brood and having in mind that those resting bees actually are not resting but doing heating it could be considered as a natural defense mechanism for varoa intestification. With heating the brood above the 36C (3C more) for period of 3 min = 39C creates Deadly temp for mites. With this behavior we see that in some period of time the house bees enter the non-occupied cell near the cell where a young larvae is and with their body movement raise up the heat inside the cell. Why they are doing that? Because with evolution they know that the varoa mites present in the sealed cell can’t stand the temperature above 38C. How they know that there is a mite inside? They can sense the frequency of different life form inside. That’s why any interference in form of radio waves, or frequency emitters can weaken the defensive mechanism of the bee colony. We decided to combine everything we learned in the past 30 years of beekeeping experience with the scientific studies which are done about the life of the bees and nature and in same time to make our work easier. To create an environment and the practices which supports their natural defensive behaviour toward the intruders.
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)