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Beekeeping has for years been the source of livelihood for many and sundry. It is one of those farming activities that have been around from the onset of civilization. The journey and transformations encountered throughout history with respect to keeping bees are what have led to the many developments we enjoy presently.
Honeybees have been regarded as endangered, all thanks to the human overuse of chemicals, unsustainable apiculture practices, and lack of care for these beneficial insects. That notwithstanding, it is worth mentioning the good effort that many have employed in an attempt to secure the future of honeybees.
The continuous improvement in beekeeping practices is what will make it possible for future generations to enjoy the many benefits associated with beekeeping. Beehives are the home of domesticated bees and this is where the future of the colony is bred and nurtured. A good choice of a hive will make it possible to raise healthy and stronger colonies that are productive and profitable.
The D.E. beehive is a uniquely designed hive that aims at providing the ideal home for your bees. In this article, we cover all you need to know about this modern beehive.
History of the D.E. Beehive
David Eyre is the brain behind the highly celebrated D.E. beehive that was initially designed to target the Canadian beekeeper. This, however, took a different turn when everyone began to appreciate its design and benefits. The unique climate of Canada is what made the founder come up with a hive designed to counter it. Honeybees raised in this beehive never swarm and do not require any insulation or wrapping of the beehive during winter.
David Eyre is originally from the UK. He immigrated to Canada with his wife 30-plus years ago and established a firm called “Bee Works”. The firm specializes in supplying honey, bees, candle-making supplies, and equipment. 100 per cent of the firm’s products are manufactured within Canada, with some of the products sold including extractors, bottling tanks, beehives, clarifiers, nucs and many others.
Features of the D.E. Beehive
Some of the notable features of the D.E. beehive include:
- The D.E. beehive has a heavy hive stand which also works as a bottom board, inclined at 90 degrees. This means the entrance to the hive stands parallel to the frames and not perpendicular. This entrance is small in size and does not occupy the entire length of the front side of the hive.
- The frames of the D.E. hive are much thinner and lighter unlike those of other hives.
- The D.E. hive is a square box with a capacity of 11 frames. This has been established as an excellent size that bees find easier to live in. The queen can easily fill up the combs thanks to this square box. It is also worth mentioning that honeybees do not easily swarm when on this beehive.
- It is similar to the British National hives though it is much larger.
- The frame orientation system eliminates the need to break frames loose while working or inspecting the brood or hive. This translates to the least distraction of honeybees thus eliminating any potential aggression from the bees.
- It features long end bars that make handling frames a breeze.
- The D.E. hive components are not standard and that means they are not interchangeable with others.
- The top bars have a space around the ends. This is unreachable to honeybees when the hive is closed. This is designed to keep the honeybees from accumulating propolis at the end of the bars.
Benefits of the D.E. Beehive
The D.E. beehive capitalizes on ventilation since this is crucial when it comes to raising bees, especially during colder months such as winter. Some of the main benefits associated with the D.E. hive include:
1. Excellent Ventilation
Excellent ventilation makes it possible for honeybee colonies to produce and thrive. They work best when the hive interior is warm and not overheated. During summer, temperatures soar high in most regions thus increasing humidity and condensation. The ideal humidity for honeybee colonies ranges from 89.6 to 92.6 Fahrenheit.
The developing bees are a main concern when it comes to the hive humidity, with slight changes of even half-degree impacting their growth and development. Therefore, any kind of exposure to the elements can have a serious impact on any colony. In fact, it can take days for honeybee colonies to restore the hive atmosphere once they are exposed during hive inspection or any kind of intrusion.
The honeybees always construct their combs in a manner that allows them to regulate the humidity and hive temperature. The D.E. beehive allows free air circulation within the beehive thus enabling the honeybee colony to maintain ideal humidity and temperatures.
2. No More Need to Break Frames Loose
Unlike other hive designs such as the Langstroth or National beehive, where you need to break frames loose, which the D.E. hive its unique system discourages. This makes your work easier, especially when working on the brood chamber. Remember this is a delicate area and does not require unnecessary intrusion. You can now have the privilege of working on your hive without any interruptions to the brood when you use this hive.
Ultimately, the honeybees are much calmer and will not respond aggressively during the inspection. It is thus easy to harvest honey and carry out your routine hive inspection.
3. Excellent Dimensions
Honeybees are very selective when it comes to their home. Remember, even in the wild honeybees instinctively establish their home in secure and unreachable locations such as tree cervices, rocks, and many others. The same applies to domesticated bees.
Bees are very choosy when it comes to the hive. Any bad condition will lead to absconding on the beehive. The D.E. hive being a square box with 11 frames has been found to be loved by honeybees. This design makes it easy for the queen to lay brood and the worker bees also collect and store honey with ease.
4. Frame Design
The quality of the beehive frames can make or break the hive atmosphere. The D.E .hive frames are very light and strong. This makes it easier for the foundation to remain straight in the frame. The honeybees thus find it easy to build their combs on these frames. The fact that the frames are light to handle also provides some level of convenience to the beekeeper. You also do not have to use a capping scratcher since the frames have excellent dimensions. These frames also come with long ends that are easy to handle during honey extraction. This is also excellent while undertaking routine hive inspections.
As mentioned earlier, the D.E. hive box is square in design and is made up of lightweight frames. You can therefore transport the box easily from one location to the other. This is particularly ideal for those that engage in commercial pollination services. Additionally, the empty box is also much easier to carry around if the need arises to move the beehive from one area to another.
6. More Productive
The fact that honeybees in a D.E. beehive never swarm, means the colony has enough time to nurture the young ones and accumulate honey reserves. You will therefore be able to get more productive honeybees when you use this type of beehive. This also affords more convenience to the beekeeper when it comes to managing swarming.
Swarming may be a natural occurrence but there are some triggers that make it inevitable. For instance, unwelcome conditions inside the beehive force the honeybees to move to a suitable hive or location. The D.E. hive discourages swarming. Furthermore, you can carry out queen and bee breeding on this beehive.
Pros and Cons of the D.E. Beehive
- Provides great ventilation.
- Excellent size beehive that honeybees find alluring.
- Easy to work on.
- Good quality and longer-lasting frames.
- Convenient to handle the frames.
- Least distractive to normal activities of the beehive during an inspection. It thus eliminates any form of aggression from the honeybees.
- Lightweight and easy to carry.
- Not a standard-size hive.
The D.E. beehive is without a doubt one of the go-to hive designs for the modern beekeeper. It is worth trying it out if you have not acquired one already. Its excellent design and features make it possible to raise healthy and stronger honeybee colonies. This stock of bees proves to be impossible to rob and is certainly more productive.
Remember, there is a lot you can do in order to contribute to conserving and multiplying the bee population. Your choice of a hive is the first step towards achieving this dream. Proper care accompanied by a good choice of beekeeping equipment will make your work much easier when it comes to rearing successful honeybee colonies.
What are your thoughts on the D.E beehive? Leave a comment below and let us know.