Stingless Bee Basics- Boxes
I thought I would put together some videos to help stingless bee keepers who are starting out answer questions they might have. Feel free to post questions below so I can get an idea what people want to know.
The first video is on a couple of box designs that will work for Native Australian stingless bees in Queensland and NSW.
While shape is not strictly important, bees do have certain volumes that they favour. When building or buying a box it’s important to take these into consideration.
Tetragonula Carbonaria like an internal box volume of 3-7 litres in the wild but can build a nest well over that amount if conditions are right.
Tetragonula Hockingsi like an internal box volume of similar proportions but can build a much larger nest. Reports from reputable sources have seen nests 65 litres or more. Hockingsi design their structure so that air can flow around the brood easier. Large struts of propolis are not uncommon to see. For this reason I consider a square hive to be a better option for them.
Austroplebeia australis like an internal box volume of 2-5 litres and take up less room in a box often leaving large areas free and building on the internal sides of the box.
Must admit I prefer the finish of the design on the right of the photo. I always tried to have no end grain showing in that simple rebated box. It was what I was taught by my father on how to finish the face of a box. When I changed to AusINPA MK1, there was a relaxation to this, the sides wrapped around, so one end showed. Now they are mitred. No end grain. I think hockingsi most certainly like that extra space, and the box of Tom Carter does that best of all as I see it.
It is true. I heard many times the number one rule of carpentry is no end grain showing. Knowing the properties of western red cedar and its ability to not rot I decided to design my boxes in this way so they were easy for people with not many tools to make. I think if someone wants to do miters they need to make sure they have plenty of good glue/sealant between them. The corners of facia on houses rot out for this reason. Many carpenters do not seal them properly and miters will hold some water. I wonder if you have a picture of your special mitre Bob so people can see how you have done yours? I think a link could be posted to help people. Thanks for commenting. Nick
Wonderful job with the posts and videos so far. Keep up the good work.