Interview with Dave Jensen
Recently I went up north to collect some samples of bees for scientific purposes and visited a friend of mine Dave Jensen.
Dave has been into stingless bees for many years now and his passion for them has recently had a revival. Dave rang me to talk about hive design and what I would do if I did my time again with hives for propagating bees. We have thrown many ideas back and forth about what works best in a northern climate and I must admit I am impressed with his determination to put forward his designs and make them a reality.
His property is spaced out on a nice rectangle block and it is really a beauty to look at. Dave and his partner, Tellena, have a passion for clean living and their connection to the land and their horses is clear to see.
The Dave Jensen hive
This hive design was born from many questions Dave had asked about propagating Tetragonula hockingsi. He wanted a hive that was no fuss when dividing , easy to make and pleasing to the eye. This hive is an “assisted vertical split hive” meaning when it comes time to propagate the hive from one colony to two, all he has to do is break the hive join and swap both halves to a new half. Done!
Slots in the lid allow for this hive to take direct sunlight without a roof and for the bees to open or close the ventilation holes in the inspection panel as needed. Read about what a Warre hive is here: About Warre
A special hive
Before I left, Dave said there was one more hive to look at. Dave Jensen’s very own version of the south American Ailton Fontana hive. Only this one lets you have a look at what is happening inside.
How did you become interested in Stingless bees?
I saw a large paper bark tree with them inside near a holiday house. As a 10 year old we used to collect honey from them with a long stick in the entrance.
Can you think of a memory or story that stands out with your bee keeping?
When I found my first log hive in the bush. It was hockingsi. After many attempts going to search for them. Felt great!
Which type of Stingless bee is your favorite and why?
I have 2. Hockingsi because they are the most industrious and Symei for the same reason. Two kings of their species.
What things do you like about your box design and what inspirations did you have?
I like it because it’s a vertical split, simple and makes sense. Inspirations from reading one of nick’s posts on vertical splits and some volume sizes from Paul Anderson.
Why do you believe bees are important?
Because of their role in nature. If bees are happy everything else is happy.
Have you learned something recently about bees that you would wish to share?
Yes I am learning that each bee species has its preferred volume size of nest.
Finally what is your one piece of life advice you would share with the world?
Keep it simple, silly.