La ruche Anatole part II

Oct 23, 2020

The colony that lived in la Ruche Anatole for three years died. You may refer to the article about La Ruche Anatole on this site for background information. I took the opportunity of this interruption to improve the insulation and the looks of the log by layering clay/dung/straw mix on its surface. Below picture shows how the comb had been built by this first colony.

The first step consists in brushing off  the accumulated dirt in the cracks of the surface of the log to improve the adherence of the prime. The prime is a plain fine clay runny mix that penetrates all the fine asperities and allows the first layer of clay/dung/straw mix to stick to the body of the hive.

Once the prime is dry it is best to wrap it with natural yarn to increase the grip of the first layer. In this particular case I did not use any yarn and I pressed the first layer directly onto the prime as the grip between the two layers was very strong. I got lucky with the clay I collected, it was really mineral with no presence of biological debris.

It is best to sculpt protuberances around the entrance holes to further prevent any dripping water to enter the holes.

The first layer does not significantly increase the thickness of the wall, but it does increase significantly the insulation.

I wrapped this first layer in yarn to press the second layer in, which contains a higher proportion of straw. The additional straw increases further the insulation and  absorbs better the tung oil brushed on the surface to make it water proof, for a couple of seasons maximum.

The surface is smoothened with the wet fingers and palms.

The hive has been outside for the past two months and shows so far no sign of weakness under the rain. It is located in an area which should have it inhabited in April with a spontaneous swarm, the hive will be baited by mid-March with lemon grass and a couple of pieces of combs secured to the top board.