I can´t help but be amazed these days as myself and my team of talented and creative artists bring the BeeFree beehive design to life.
Its not easy bringing a paper creation to virtual reality and I have David and Nelída to thank.
What evolved last year as a result of an inspirational beekeeping project initiation in Ethiopia, and a frustrating bee year in our small Madrid apiary was a prototype that combined the best of both beehive styles into one.
Understanding that following the period of natural hive division through swarming, bees look for a 40 liter space, more or less, to begin their new colony, I was inspired to combine the top bar style hive that we use with Ethiopian beekeepers with the typical Langstroth hive used by modern beekeepers across much of Europe and the Americas.
After a few measurements were made with the assistance of an online calculator equating the interior space of a trapezoidal fish tank, I adapted the top openings to match that of the interior space of the Lorenzo Langstroth beehive and worked my way down.
The beauty of top bar hives is that they allow for bees to naturally build their honey comb depending on their colonies needs.
By providing a top bar with an indication of where they should begin their work, and providing side walls between 30 and 60 degrees, bees, while naturally forming their new home, resist attaching their wax to the side walls, leaving each panel independent from the next.
It seams that Varroa destructor, the infamous tick thats sucks all nutrients from developing bees is here it stay. And while we as beekeepers can treat our hives from season to season with the latest biologically advanced and ecologically approved chemical or not treatments, Varroa only seams to adapt and each year the following treatment must be stronger.
So rather than irradiate the parasite it seems our best option is to strengthen the colony throughout this rather abrasive co-existence.
By allowing the bees to build their honey comb panels we allow for them to draw each of the cells out according to needs leaving no extra room for the Varroa Destructor.
After a full season of colony development and hive establishment within the KTB style brood box, the Beefree beehive allows for the addition of Langstroth style honey supers directly on top.
Like I said before, my team here in Madrid is making this all come together. With the use of the laser printers and the CNC digital router were currently working out all the kinks with the bees comfort in mind.