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Part 1


 Slobodan Ž. Janković

Alpine hive

(Part 2)


Putting bees into the hive

If swarms on original frames cannot be obtained, the hive can be inhabited by package swarms or swarms from nature. Another possibility is to transfer a colony from some other type of hive (that is what I do when I cannot find a swarm and I want to place a colony into an alpine). This is done in the following way – an alpine box filled with frames with comb foundations is put over a hardboard which had previously been put on the brood box of the hive from which we want to take the colony. The hardboard should have an opening equal in size to inner dimensions of the alpine box. An empty box or two (depending on the type of the lower hive) are then put on such a new hive, which is then closed. When bees draw comb in the added box the second, and later the third box is put between the first box and the brood box of the bottom hive. When bees have drawn comb and formed nest in the new hive, the lower hive is removed and the new is left on the same place.    



A frame with honey



Beekeeping technology

 When the first honey plants in the season begin to flourish the third box is added (if removed in autumn) filled with drawn comb. This additional box is added on the bottom board, bellow the other two. This way, a good temperature regime is made which enables the queen to lay eggs more intensively.  

When the honeyflow is stable, the forth box is put between the two uppermost boxes. After the comb is drawn the fifth box is added bellow the top box too, as the forth above the bottom board. When bees draw comb here, the sixth box with comb foundations is added, but now between the third and the forth. This sixth box will limit the queen’s movement on three boxes without using queen excluder and at the same time prevent swarming. This up to here is the part of Roger Delon’s original technology (according to the text I have) which I use on my apiary. 

The text continues as following: “With a hive formed in this way there is a possibility to use one box as a nucleus. In this case it is hard not to substitute the queen like Roger Delon proposes. He is no more interested in finding the old queen. He reduces the brood section by one box, puts the cassette bellow the lower box, and makes setting for natural swarming thus forcing the colony to make a queen cell. The box with queen cells is then well closed and put on the place where the queen will mate. When the young queen begins to lay eggs, the box is put bellow the uppermost box of the hive whose queen we want to replace. The new queen replaces the old one in all cases as R. Delon’s practice confirms. Before the main honeyflow, the main colony is strengthened by one more brood box.”

Instead of the process illustrated in the previous paragraph, I use the bellow described procedure.

On the day when the main honeyflow begins I remove and extract all the honey. I leave the queen with two boxes filled with sealed brood, comb and one comb foundation in the middle of every box. I put all the surplus frames with open brood mostly and with all the bees on them into the special accumulating hives (the procedure described by Vladimir Hunjadi from Novi Sad – published several times in Beekeeper magazine) in order to obtain high quality queen cells in the most suitable moment – acacia flow. All the queens I have at the moment in all of my colonies were reared last year using this method, and judging by their development and overwintering, they are of excellent quality. As the third I put a box with comb foundations, and then two more with extracted comb, never used for brood. When necessary I put an additional box bellow the one filled with nectar. If such formed hive is filled with nectar and honey, the capped honey is extracted and empty boxes returned in the described fashion. After the honeyflow is over I reduce the hive to three boxes. Such a hive usually has food supplies in the upper box, brood in the middle and stored pollen in the bottom box. In the late autumn, when the last brood has come out, and the winter cluster is formed in the central box, I remove or leave the bottom one, depending on the strength of the colony.


          Some more remarks


          On account of their size Alpine hives can be used for queen rearing. Rajko Pejanovic from Sabac rears queens with his own method of “controlled swarming” (Belgrade Beekeeper 6-7/2003, page 152). The author uses rather smaller hives with 6 frames surface of which equals ˝ of Langstroth frame.  

          I also use these hives for keeping/overwintering of young queens. I put two boxes with two young queens over one regular hive. In spring, when the queens are introduced where needed, the remaining bees are united with the main colony into a three box hive. The surplus honey frames can be used instead of honey/sugar cake added between the roof and the inner cover on an opening as big as a small plastic feeder in Farrar hives.

          I will conclude that these likeable hives can be successfully used for beekeeping esp. in mountain areas, but also in other lower areas where my apiary is. They are superb for stationary beekeeping in summer period when there is no significant honeyflow. Besides, Lazic Miodrag, a beekeeper from Sabac who makes these hives keeps bees in 200 of them.



The author’s apiary can be seen in visitors’ gallery

Slobodan Ž Janković lives in Obrenovac, where he works as a teacher in a polytechnic school. He has been a beekeeper since 1998, and experimented with different types of hives. He is also a beekeeping photographer and the editor of the beekeeping magazine of Obrenovac beekeeping society – “Obrenovacki Pcelar”. Email address: jankis@yubc.net