SunHives in the BeeBarn
Jun 16, 2019
I was introduced to the Sunhives by Heidi Hermann in 2017. A thorough review of this hive is on the website of the Natural beekeeping Trust (naturalbeekeepingtrust.org). Header picture by H. Hermann.
The hive was invented by Gunther Mancke. His book ‘Sunhive’, articulates the basic principles, the building instructions and some general observations to complete the hive and understand its shape. The hive is widespread in Europe and has been set several times in America, it seems to be well accepted by the bees. I decided to install two sunhives in the bee barn on the west side. The hives have been made by Kelsey of Heirloomista in Minnesota. Her website is Heirloomista.com
I received the hives in two batches over winter 2018.
The lattice is a windbreaker for winter, it is removable and while the bees can take cleansing flights in the room they also could fly out and in. The lattice has not been tested with the bees in winter.
Two swarms were poured in the hives mid-March. By mid-April both small colonies had grown tremendously foraging on the first prairie flowers.
By the third week of May I found coincidently the queen wandering on the bottom flower of the front sunhive, she was not attended by her usual retinue. She was perfectly ignored by her daughters. Her pheromones would not trigger any reaction, the hive was frantically busy with the nectar flow. I found the dead queen under the hive in the evening. There is no access to the hive to check whether replacing queen cells have been built, but this is one of the virtues of this hive: the bees handle and the beekeeper becomes a beewitness.
The last week of May and the first week of June 2019 were extremely hot and humid, the temperature reaching daily 100 degrees and more in the sun. The room remained below 80 degrees the whole time, but the bees kept on bearding.
By mid-June 2019, both hives are fine.