/ bees

Bees in the basement?

TL;DR I put a bee hive in my basement/cellar with seven flow frames 🐝😬

You can see, what this looks like from the inside with a little video walk-through.

Bee hive in the basement

And this is the view from the outside of bees busy doing their thing, because that's what they do.

Bee Hive Clandestino

So, what was the reson for putting a hive inside? The answer is legislation. Where I live, hives are not allowed unless you own at least 1.5 acres. Not an option for me really, but I still want bees. I think they are beneficial to the environment and that trumps arbitrary by-laws in my opinion. Some may disagree. In any case...

I started with a below ground level cellar with a 1' x 1' opening, which I've unplugged and cleaned first. You can see it still partially closed with styrofoam in the following photo.

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I've bought a pair of great quality, wax dipped Langstorth deep boxes locally as well as a base with mesh floor and a top lid. Making the cutouts for the flow frames in the super is pretty stright forward with a hand-held jigsaw using the template which comes with the frames.

I removed some existing shelves in the basement and put beams at the right height for the hive to sit on and for the hive entrance to dock with the framed window. I used left over oak floor boards for framing the window as well as supports for the hive.

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I've also framed the top with an elaborate pull out mesh cover, which I am about to rip off to make it simpler to put a round feeder on top of the hive (there isn't much clearance at the top due to height restriction). The feeder will just sit on top permanently.

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Outside, I've installed a landing platform, which effectively forms an extended window sill.

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I put some branches around the window to help with orientation, though I am pretty sure they'll find the entrance regardless.

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I got the four frame NUC in May and hardvested about 750ml of honey in September from one of the seven flow frames.

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Once thing I would say, is that opening up a frame using the steel key after the bees have sealed the whole thing with propolis is actually quite hard. I doubt the frames will survive more than a few seasons of opening/closing, because the plastic will simply eventually fracture. However, if you buy them cheap from Alibaba|express, it probably doesn't matter that much.

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I am aware the flow frames are controvertial in this community, though honestly, I don't share this view. I don't feel I need to keep opening the hive constantly, given it can be observed from underneath easilly due to a mesh floor. I feel that the benefit here is that the bees are not unnecessarily disturbed for no reason, especially during harvesting.

One dissadvantage of this general setup is the mobility of the hive. Loaded with honey and considering it's location, it is very difficult (mybe impossible?) to move safely, even with two strong people. However, if the hive really requires to be opened for some sort of emergency, it needs to be transported outside. It's good to keep this in mind if you are plannng a simular setup.

Anyway, hope this gives folks out there some ideas! 🐝🙃

Anton Belodedenko

Anton Belodedenko

I am a jack of all trades, master of none (DevOps). My wife and I are itinerant. I also ski, snowboard and rock climb. Oh, and I like Futurama, duh!

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