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As a beekeeper, there are a number of beekeeping kits, equipment and tools, without which raising bees become impossible. The beehive is at the top of the list and should be chosen wisely. Various hive designs are out there in the market and you have to consider their features before settling for one. The Rose beehive is not a popular concept, but it is one that has been gaining more attention in the recent past. The design is attributed to Tim Rowe, the brain behind it. The hive is described as simple and great for raising honeybees. In this article, we shall find out more about the Rose beehive and it will be up to you to decide whether it is something worth trying.
Rose Beehive vs Other Modern Beehive Concepts
The Rose beehive differs in many ways from popular modern hive designs. In a nutshell, some popular hives such as the Langstroth have below features:
Vertical modular hive with vertically hanged frames, bottom board, boxes with frames, an entrance, an inner cover, queen excluder, foundation and top cover for shelter. The frames are arranged in a way that diverts the bees from attaching honeycombs to nearby frames, walls, or linking frames. This makes it possible for the beekeeper to manage the honeybees with ease.
Standard National Hive
Mimics the design of the Langstroth hive and comprises vertically stacked modular components. Generally, its dimensions are smaller with a shallower brood chamber, making it ideal for a less prolific strains of bees. The queen bee is restricted in terms of where it can move to. This prevents the queen from moving between brood chambers and supers. It also prevents the creation of drone cells.
The Rose beehive concept is aimed at challenging this concept of modern beehives where the honeybees are restricted and instead focuses on providing more convenience to the honeybees. The focus is on the honeybees and not the beekeeper. In this regard, the Rose beehive is similar to Natural Beekeeping with the Warre Hive.
The Rose beehive does not have a queen excluder and all the boxes are uniform in size and shape. This, therefore, allows the honeybees to instinctively choose where to place the brood and build honeycombs. This ultimately increases the overall health and productivity of honey bee colonies. The bees carry out their normal activities as they would when in a wild environment. This is quite different as compared to standard Langstroth hives where the beekeeper dictates where and how brood and honey should be created within the hive.
Origin and Features of the Rose Beehive
The advent of the Rose beehive is the brainchild of Tim Rowe. It is a relatively new concept that has taken the beekeeping population by surprise. It has been received with positivity and interest and appears to have won quite a few hearts already. Some beekeepers have even thrown away their queen excluders and given bee colonies the freedom to do what they want to do, as dictated by this new concept.
The Rose beehive borrows its idea from how honeybees live in the wild. Its inventor set out to come up with a better way of raising honeybees, and not simply following what his predecessors have been doing. This has given birth to what we call a Rose beehive with its features that include:
Missing Queen Excluder
The queen excluder has been in use for more than 150 years, and its main purpose is to restrict the queen and drones from drifting to other areas within the hive. It also alters the formation of the brood nest and the overall arrangement of a beehive. However, the Rose beehive eliminates all of that. The honey bees carry out their activities as they do in the wild and without any restrictions. As a matter of fact, it is not unusual to find the queen bee on top of the hive, on the crown board, or anywhere else when you use the Rose beehive.
Overall, Tall with Brood Boxes
The Rose beehive is similar to the commonly used beehives such as the Langstroth or British Standard hive. However, overall, the Rose hive is a tall structure that is made up of brood boxes and supers placed one on top of the other. This is quite different compared to a Top bar hive with its long and horizontal design. The honey bees build combs in frames that are removed for inspection, that is, for the B.S. and Langstroth beehives. The bars placed at the top allow the honey bees to build combs.
Brood Box and Supers
The size of the supers and brood box is the same for the Rose beehive, that is, exact same depth. What this means is that the beekeeper can utilize only one size frame within the hive drawers. This can offer more convenience than using different size frames. Therefore, each unit can be stacked in any order when you use this beehive. Additionally, the boxes require minimum lifting given the fact that you do not have to keep arranging them in certain order.
Unlike standard beehives where you need to divide the hive into two when adding a queen, for the Rose hive this is done differently. All boxes are the same size, therefore what needs to be done is to simply insert a board between the two vertically stacked boxes which automatically divides the hives into two. You do not need to rearrange the hives and no heavy lifting is required. This will split the hive into an upper and lower hive and the new queen is added.
Dimensions of the Rose Beehive
The Rose beehive has below dimensions:
- All boxes are of uniform size and measure 460 mm x 460 mm. This is the same as the commercial and National beehives. The boxes have a depth of 225mm.
- Supers measure 150mm.
- It is 190mm deep, which provides sufficient space that can accommodate commercial and national hive components.
- Its walls are thinner than those of the standard hive and will accommodate 12 frames and not the normal 11.
- All the boxes are of uniform size and can be used for raising brood, honey storage, or both.
- The arrangement of the brood box and supers is quite different from the Rose beehive. For the ordinary hive, you will get the brood box at the bottom and supers on the top. However, for Rose beehive, boxes are stacked together from the bottom to the top.
Benefits of the Rose Beehive
The Rose beehive design affords various benefits to honeybees and the beekeeper. These include:
According to the founder, honeybees tend to be more healthy when left to decide how and where to utilize them in the beehive. The popular standard modern beehives aim at restricting bee movement, especially the queen and worker bees, granting convenience to the beekeeper and not the honeybees. Such a concept tends to be to the detriment of the honeybees, hence this new concept of providing more freedom to the honeybees. The ultimate effect of this freedom is bigger and healthier honeybee colonies.
Honeybees have been in existence for many years, even before humans discovered they could domesticate them. Honeybees survive and thrive in the wild even at the present time. Their colony is in essence self-sustaining in itself. The Rose beehive borrows from this and gives the honeybees freedom to take charge of their production cycles. The Rose beehive thus allows the honeybees to do what they want to do.
3. Well-fed Honeybee Colonies
Honeybees have mastered the art of producing surplus food and setting this aside for the tougher months such as winter. However, human intervention has greatly altered this natural behaviour rendering the bee colonies susceptible to hunger during hardier months. Fortunately, with the Rose beehive, the honeybees carry on with their natural activities without any interference making it more difficult for them to starve during dearth seasons. There are successful Rose beehive users with more than 100 hives who have reported zero losses due to starvation in a span of more than 10 years. Interestingly, they never provide supplemental feed such as sugar to these colonies.
4. Heavy Lifting Eliminated
As mentioned earlier, both supers and brood boxes are of the same exact size in the Rose beehive, thus giving more convenience to the beekeeper. This uniform size allows the beekeeper to stack boxes on top of each other without necessarily arranging them in any specific order.
The uniformly sized supers and brood box makes it possible to use Rose hive components between different hives. These boxes can easily be stacked on top of each other making your work so much easier. It is also so much easier to scale up your beekeeping enterprise the hive accessories are standard and interchangeable.
6. Beekeeper Intervention Eliminated
Remember for the Rose beehive, the honeybees, including the queen bee, are free to roam within the hive and without any restrictions. The queen excluder is not there, just like it is in the wild environment. What this means is that honey bees regulate the brood cycle without interference. All that the beekeeper needs to do is replace the brood combs and extract honey where they are situated.
7. Compatibility with Standard Hives
The main differentiator of the Rose hive from others is its uniform dimensions. All boxes, honeycombs, and brood are of the same size in the Rose beehive. Furthermore, its overall dimensions match that of the B.S. and Langstroth beehives. This, therefore, makes it possible for an existing beekeeper to switch from the other hive designs to the Rose hive without any problems. The hives can be replaced gradually, piece by piece until all your hives are Rose beehives.
Pros and Cons
- Makes it easy to change old combs.
- Promotes the health of the honeybees.
- No heavy lifting is required while arranging boxes.
- More convenient to use since supers and brood boxes are of the same size.
- Hive components are interchangeable.
- Easy to scale up your operations.
- More productivity in honeybees.
- The role of regulating brood and honeycombs is done naturally by the honeybees without any intervention by the beekeeper.
- Makes it easier to manage colonies.
- Allows the honey bees to do what they want to do.
- There is less interference on honeybees.
- Substantially eliminates common diseases in honeybees such as dysentery, Nosema, chalkbrood, and many others.
- Fewer chances of losing honey bees to starvation without the provision of supplement feed. Bees produce surplus honey.
- Compatible with standard hives. All other parts of the commercial and national hive fit it without any issues.
- It has a simple design and construction.
- It is ideal for both prolific and non-prolific bees since the queen excluder is not used.
- In the near nearby future, you will be able to make your own Rose beehive.
- It makes much better combs since the foundation can be drawn from the top.
- Relatively newly new concept and therefore might not be accepted by everyone.
Getting Started with the Rose Beehive
The type of hive you choose always has a direct effect on what you need to buy when starting out. For instance, those interested in raising honeybees using a standard Langstroth hive should reach out to a beekeeper that raises honeybees on Langstroth hives. The same will apply to those who would like to raise their bees using a Rose beehive. If you therefore need to begin using this hive then you have to do the following:
- Do your research and find out where you can get somebody who is raising their bees using a Rose beehive. This will make your work a lot easier since the honeybees are already accustomed to this kind of hive. That notwithstanding, it is wise to seek guidance as well from those that are already doing it.
- If unable to get an existing beekeeper with Rose beehives, then you can request a beekeeper within your locality to help you draw some bees into your Rose box. This can be done by simply placing the Rose box at the center of the Langstroth, National, or Commercial beehive. This should remain in place until the bees begin to move into the box.
- You can also trap a swarm and place it inside the empty Rose beehive.
- You can also take out some honeybees from your existing beehives by shaking them off the frames and placing them inside the new Rose hive. This however should be done in such a manner that the queen is carried along with the bees. You will then lock the bees inside the Rose hive with food supplements in place.
- Finally, you can purchase a queen bee with the package of bees and bring them into the new Rose beehive.
The bees should be introduced into the new hive early in the year so that they can have enough time to adjust to the new home. It is also important to do that since honeybees naturally prepare for winter early in the year. This way the honeybees can master their environment and begin storage of honey for the hardier months. Conversely, any late introduction of honeybees to the new hive can have a serious impact on their overall well-being. It will prove to be hard for the colony to adapt and there will be nothing much you can do to save the new colony.
It is also important to work together with an experienced beekeeper when procuring honeybees for your new beehive. This will make it easier to identify and mark the queen. You will also be able to get the required number of worker bees, a young generation, and a prolific queen.
The hive may seem quiet and harmless when undisturbed, but it is always busy with the worker bees taking no offs or holidays. The workers are engaged 24/7 and all year round. The queen bee is also busy laying eggs throughout the year and is the center of attention in any bee colony. It is therefore the responsibility of the beekeeper to ensure the bees enjoy an excellent environment in terms of temperature levels, hive condition, and aeration.
Honeybees tend to be extremely sensitive to weather elements and any deviation from the norm can have an adverse effect on the bees. For instance, hive floors and walls should remain dry throughout the year. There should also be a good cover or shelter to protect the colony from direct sunlight or winds. Those not-withstanding, hives should be well secured from predators and pests. The Rose beehive provides an ideal home for the honey bees. It is a concept that is worth considering.
What are your thoughts on the Rose beehive? Leave a comment below and let us know.