How to make log hives for healthier bees (Video)

Gaia Bees
Video screen capture Gaia Bees

While there's are a number of alternative beehive designs, most of us are familiar with the stereotypical modern beehive that resembles something like a box with frames inside. Some beekeepers argue that these modern structures are imposed upon bees, maximizing honey production but potentially comprising their natural nest-building inclinations and very probably their health.

With the recent sobering statistics on bee colony collapse disorder and its implications on these vital pollinator species and humans' food security, many beekeepers are turning to bee-friendly alternatives and even technology to keep bee populations from dying off.

We recently featured the Sun Hive, one of these innovative, bee-centric hive designs. From Gaia Bees comes the log hive, another do-it-yourself hive that is made out of a hollowed log. See how it's made:

The wood used here is green pine wood. A router is used to trace the circumference. A chainsaw is used to hollow out the interior in a grid-like fashion (see safety warning below). The pieces are chiselled out with a long tool. Access doors are made out of the same wood and placed at both ends. The hive is inoculated with propolis to attract a swarm of bees to take up residence, and placed in a tree.

Gaia BeesGaia Bees/Video screen capture
Gaia BeesGaia Bees/Video screen capture
Gaia BeesGaia Bees/Video screen capture
Gaia BeesGaia Bees/Video screen capture
Gaia BeesGaia Bees/Video screen capture
Gaia BeesGaia Bees/Video screen capture

Permaculture Magazine explains: "In nature, bees prefer to establish their hives safely off the ground in trees." Makes sense; here's what Gaia Bees has to say about the log hive:

Log hives provide a natural nest environment and allow bees to grow their one-body [hive] according to their instincts and inner wisdom. Frameless nest environments support health and emotional well being.

A caveat: as the video notes, it doesn't show the basics of using a chainsaw, so great care must be taken. Commenter Zerkbern points out, there is more than one way to hollow out a log:

Sticking a chain saw in tip first is a good way have it buck right up in your face and if you are gonna do it (and you shouldn't) you better be darn careful and have a full face shield and proper garments on. A safer method would be to auger out a few holes to make one large hole into which the chainsaw blade would fit.

Gaia BeesGaia Bees/Video screen capture
Gaia BeesGaia Bees/Video screen capture
Gaia BeesGaia Bees/Video screen capture

Like comparing life in an intentional community versus the gridlock of a gritty city, the log hive is an intriguing design that thinks outside the box, and could provide bees with a more suitable habitat that caters to their natural tendencies, rather than working against them. For more information, visit Gaia Bees and Permaculture Magazine.

Tags: Bees | Colony Collapse Disorder | Do It Yourself | video

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