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WarrTreeHiveWarrBaumbeute

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EinleitungWarumdieWarrBaumbeute?!
NachderLektrevonIanRumsey'sTextenzurZellundBrutnestorientierung(sieheTexteimAn
hang),sowiederenAuswirkungenaufdieVarroa,wollteichdessenErkenntnisseindieWarrbeute
einfliessenlassen.NachmeinenVerstndnisderTextevonIanRumseylassensichdieErkenntnisse
wiefolgtzusammenfassen.DieAusrichtungundFormdesBrutnesteshatAuswirkungenaufdie
VermehrungderVarroamilbe.DieMilbeschlpftvoneinerZellezurnchsten.DerWegdurchdas
BrutnestistineinerKugelformfrdieMilbeamkrzesten.Sokannsiesichrelativschnellvonei
nemEndedesBrutnesteszumanderenausbreiten,ohneinGefahrzulaufen,vondenBienenent
decktundgettetzuwerden.DiefrdieMilbeungnstigsteBrutnestformistdielanggestreckte
FormdesBrutnestes.HiermussdieMilbedenweitestenWegzurcklegen,umsichimgesamten
Brutnestauszubreiten.DerverlngerteWegvergrertauchdieGefahr,dassdieBienendieMilben
aufdiesemlangenWegentdeckenundtten.AuerdemverndertsichdieWahrnehmungderMilbe,
wasdieVerfgbarkeitundGredesBrutnestesbetrifft.
Die ZellorientierunghingegenverschlechtertdieVermehrungschancenderMilbeindenZellen,
weilderRaumberhalbderBienenmadeverengtistundzumZerdrckenderMilbedurchdieMade
fhrenkann.
FreineAusfhrungderobengenanntenErkenntnissebitteich,dieimAnhangbefindlichenTexte
vonRumseyimOriginalzulesen.
BeideErkenntnissesindjedochinteressantgenug,umhiereinenVersuchzustartenundeineBeute
aufGrundlagederWarrbeutezuentwickeln,diediesenErkenntnissengerechtwird.
Wichtig:DieseBeuteistgeradeerstausgedachtunderbautworden.BezglichderFunktionalitt
undPraktikabilittisteszurZeitnichtmglich,eineAussagezutreffen.Esistmglich,dasssich
dieseBeutealsFloperweist.EsisteinExperiment.

IntroductionwhyaWarrTreeHive?
AfterreadingIanRumsey'stextsaboutthecellorientationandnaturalwaysofimprovingvarroa
containment(seeappendage)theideawasborntocombinetheconclusionsofRumseywiththe

Warrhiveforfurtherstudyingandobservation.Atthisstagebuildingthehiveisanexperimentto
verifyRumsey'sobservationsandhypothesises.Pleasebeawareoftheexperimentalstatus.

WirddieWarrbeutedenvonIanRumseyaufgestelltenAnforderungen
gerecht?!
DerHauptsatzvonIanRumseylautet:Atallthinhiveisthereforebetterthanashortfathive.
bersetzt:Einehohe,schmaleBeuteistdaherbesseralseineniedrigeundbreiteBeute.
DieWarrbeuteistansichvertikalaufgebaut.DieHhederBeuteistgreralsdieBreite.DerIn
nenraumeinerWarrbeutemitdreiZargenistinetwa90Zentimeterhochund30cmbreit.Dasbe
sondereMaderWarrbeutejedochveranlasstdieBienendieWabennichtdurchgngigvonoben
nachuntenzuziehen.SomitsinddieeinzelnenWaben30cmbreitund1920cmhoch.Hieristalso
dieHhegeringeralsdieBreite.DasuertsichauchinderAusrichtungderZellen,diesehrunter
schiedlich ausfllt.Es gibtZellen des Spitzedes Sechsecks nachoben,schrgnachlinks oder
rechts,oderwaagrechtliegen.NachIanRumseywerdenineinerechtenvertikalenBehausungber
wiegendZellengebaut,derenSpitzendesSechsecksliegend/horizontalausgerichtetsind.Dasist
allenAnscheinnachineinerWarrbeutenochnichtderFall.
DerClouderWarrbeuteist,dassdieZargensichohneDrahttrennenlassen,dadieBienendurch
dasbestimmteVerhltnisvonBreiteundHhe(30cmBreitezu20cmHhe)dazuangeleitetsind.
DiesermglichtdemImkerdiekomfortableImkereimitStabilbauohnedieMatscherei,diesonst
mitStabilbauderFallist.BeiderAnpassungderWarrbeuteandieAnforderungenvonRumsey,
solldieserVorteilerhaltenbleiben.DaherwardieIdeenichtfern,dassVerhltnisbeizubehaltenund
nurdieMaevonHheundBreitezuvertauschen.SomiterhltmaneineZarge,die30cmhochund
20cmbreitist.SowohldieBeutealsGanzes,alsauchdieeinzelneZargeistsomitvertikalausge
richtet.ZieldesExperimentesist,herauszufinden,ob...
a.)...dasbeibehalteneSeitenverhltnisbeiVertauschungderMaevonHheundBreitezumglei
chenErgebnisfhren,nmlichdieTeilbarkeitderZargenohneVerwendungvonDraht
b.)...dieOrientierungderSechseckedurchgngiginallenZargenhorizontalist.AlsodieSpitzen
desSechseckesnachlinksundrechtszeigen.UndsomitdieThesevonRumseyuntersttzen,dass
vertikalehoheHhlungenimmerzueinersolchenZellorientierungfhren
c.)...obdieVlkermitderPositionundFormdesBrutnestes,sowiederAusrichtungderZellenwe
nigerSchwierigkeitenmitderVarroahaben
DoestheWarrhivefulfillIanRumsey'srequirementsforagoodhive?!
ThemainthesisofIanRumseyis:Atallthinhiveisthereforebetterthanashortfathive.
TheWarrhiveisaverticalhive(itiscalledaverticaltopbarhiveforthisreasonaswell).Theori
entationofthehiveitselfisthusvertical.Butthecombinsidethehiveboxisnotvertical.Thecomb
isbroaderthantall.Thismakesahorizontalcombinsideaverticalhive.InWarrhivesallorientati
onofcellscanbefound.Inarealverticalhive,thereshouldbehorizontalcellorientationmainly.
ThusthehivehastobemodifiedtofulfilltherequirementsofIanRumsey.

OneofthemainadvantagesoftheWarrhiveis,thatthebeekeepercanliftthehiveboxoff,wi
thouttheneedtouseacutwire.Thisismuchlessmessyandenableseasyfixedcombbeekeeping.
Thatthebeesdon'tinterconnectthehiveboxesisduetothespecialmeasurementsandratioof
heightandwidthofthehivebox.
Toretaintheeasinessofliftingoffthehivebox,Itrytoswapthemeasurementsofheightand
width,butkeeptherationoftheboth.Iuse30cm(11.81inch)fortheheightnowand20cm(7,87
inch)forthewidth.
Thiswaythewholehiveisverticalaswellasthecombinsidethehivebox.Theexperimentshall
verifythat...
a.)...theswappingofthemeasurementsofheightandwidthbutretainingtheratiowillendinmo
vablehiveboxes.Thustheratioisthereasonfornotconnecting(GoldenCut,Fibanoccietc.)
b.)...orientationofcombinatrueverticalhiveishorizontalmostofthetimes.Thetipsorsharp
edgesofthehexagonshallshowtotheleftandright.
c.)...theeffectivenessofthebroodnestformandorientation,aswellascellorientationwhenitco
mestovarroacontainment.

DieAnpassungderWarrbeute/ModifyingtheWarrhive
DiefolgendenBilderzeigen,wieichdieAnpassungenvorgenommenhabe.
ThefollowingpicturesshowhowImodifiedthehive.

Abbildung1:RckgratderBeute/spineboardforthehive
WeildieHhederZargengreralsdieBreiteist,warvonAnfanganklar,dassdieBeutesehrin
stabilstehenwird.DaherhabeichdirekteinRckgratgebaut,andemdieBeuteangelehntoder
festgebundenwird.DiesesRckgratbestehtauszweiDachlatten.
Becausethehiveboxistallerthanwide,itwasapparentfromthebeginning,thatsomesortofsup
portwasneeded.SoIconstructedsomesortofaspineboard,whichlatersupportsthehive.

Abbildung2:Boden/floor
DenBodenderBeutebefestigteichdirektandemRckgratderBeute,damitdieZargeneinenguten
Standhaben.DieKonstruktiondesUnterbaushabeichjedochzukompliziertvorgenommen,hierist
eineeinfachereVersionzuempfehlen,alsdasDreieck.
ThehivefloorIfixedatthespineboard,becausethiswaythehiveboxeshaveagoodstand.Thetri
angularconstructionistoodifficult,thiscanandshouldbesolvedmoreeasily.

Abbildung3:HerstellungderZargen/buildofthehiveboxes
UmdieZargenherzustellenhabeichvierBretterversetztaufeinandergenagelt.Soerhielticheine
langeRhre,dieichanschlieendindieeinzelnenZargenzersgte.
TobuildthehiveboxesIusedfourwoodenboardsnailedontoeachother.ThiswayIgotalong
woodenpipe.Iusedasawtocutthepipeintoseveralhiveboxes.

Abbildung4:HlzerneRhre/woodenpipe

Abbildung5:AbsgenderZargenstcke/cuttingthepipeintohiveboxes
Dazuhabeichjeweils30cmabgemessenunddieZargenvonderhlzernenRhreabgesgt.
Imeasured30cm/11.81inchandcutthehiveboxesofthewoodenpipe.

Abbildung6:Zargen/hiveboxes

Abbildung7:Zargenaufeinandergestellt/stackedhiveboxes

Dasistdefinitivhochundschmal!
Thisisdefinitelytallandthin!

Abbildung8:BeutemitDach/hivewithroof
DieBeuteinderGesamtansichtundmiteinemeinfachenDachversehen.
Overviewofthehivewithasimpleroofontop.

Abbildung9:DachimDetail/detailofroof
DasKissenderWarrbeutehabeichauseinemStckderhlzernenRhrerealisiert.Eswirdmit
Heugeflltwerden.BeidemDachhabeicheineeinfachereVersiongewhlt.DurchdieSeitenwird
einSpanngurtgefhrt,sodassdasDachmitsamtderBeutefixiertwerdenkann.
ThequiltImadeofashorterhivebox,closedwithalidandasimpleroof.ThroughthesidesIpush
alashingstrapthatfixatesbothhiveandroof.

Abbildung10:PfostenalsStnder/polesasrack
ZweiPfostenhabeicheingegrabenundeingeschlagen,diespterdasRckgrathaltensollenundso
miteinefreistehendeBeuteermglichensollen.UntenhabeichzweiZiegelsteineverwendetund
einenangenageltenQuerbalken,aufdendasGestell/Rckgratzustehenkommt.
Iusedtwoduggedandrammedinpoleswhichlaterholdthespineboard.Twobricksandapieceof
timberareusedasabasethespinewillplacedonto.Thetimberisnailedtothepoles.

Abbildung11:RckgratandenPfostenbefestigt/spineboardinplace
DasRckgratoderdenRahmenderBeutenagelteichdannandiePfosten.IchhabedasHolzmit
Feuerangekohlt,damitesnichtrottet.Daheristesjetztschwarz.
Thespineboardwasnailedinplace.Iusedablowtorchtoburnthewoodtomakeitresistantsoit
doesn'tgetrottentofast.Thisiswhyitisblack.

Abbildung12:AufgestellteBeute/hiveinplace
DieBeuteistaufgestellt.DievomWetterstarkbeanspruchtenTeile(BodenundDach)wurdenmit
einerbienenfreundlichenFarbeangestrichen.Schner,trockenerundwindstillerStandplatzunter
Bumen.
Thecompletedhive.Theroofandfloorwhicharestressedmostgotabeefriendlypainting.Thela
shingstrapisinplace.Calm,dryandshadyspotbelowtrees.

Abbildung14:DetaildesBodens/detailoffloor Abbildung13:DetailDach/detailofroof
DieBeuteistaufgestelltundwartetnungeduldigaufdieBewohner.Wahrscheinlichwirdsieerstim
Jahr2009miteinemSchwarmbesiedelt.IchhabedieZargenvonobennachuntendurchnumme
riert,damitichdiezueinandergehrendenZargenbesserzusammenstellenkann.Aufgrunddessen,
dassichvonHandsge,sinddieSchnittkantensehrindividuell(sprichschief).
Thehiveisnowinplaceandawaitsthebeestocome.Mostprobablythebeeswillmoveinbya
swarmin2009.Inumberedthehiveboxes,soIcanreassemblethehiveintheproperorder,which
isnecessarybecauseofthecuttingbyhand.Whichinturnproducesasymmetricedges.
Daswaresbisjetzt.DasExperimentkannbeginnen./That'sallfornow.Lettheexperimentstart.
BernhardHeuvel
bernhardundee@online.de

Abbildungsverzeichnis/Indexofpicturesshown
Abbildung1:RckgratderBeute/spineboardforthehive................................................................4
Abbildung2:Boden/floor..................................................................................................................5
Abbildung3:HerstellungderZargen/buildofthehiveboxes............................................................6
Abbildung4:HlzerneRhre/woodenpipe.......................................................................................6
Abbildung5:AbsgenderZargenstcke/cuttingthepipeintohiveboxes.........................................7
Abbildung6:Zargen/hiveboxes.........................................................................................................7
Abbildung7:Zargenaufeinandergestellt/stackedhiveboxes...........................................................8
Abbildung8:BeutemitDach/hivewithroof.....................................................................................9
Abbildung9:DachimDetail/detailofroof......................................................................................10
Abbildung10:PfostenalsStnder/polesasrack..............................................................................11
Abbildung11:RckgratandenPfostenbefestigt/spineboardinplace............................................12
Abbildung12:AufgestellteBeute/hiveinplace...............................................................................13
Abbildung13:DetailDach/detailofroof.........................................................................................14
Abbildung14:DetaildesBodens/detailoffloor..............................................................................14

Inhaltsverzeichnis/IndexofContent
WarrTreeHiveWarrBaumbeute...................................................................................................1
EinleitungWarumdieWarrBaumbeute?!..................................................................................1
IntroductionwhyaWarrTreeHive?...........................................................................................1
WirddieWarrbeutedenvonIanRumseyaufgestelltenAnforderungengerecht?!........................2
DoestheWarrhivefulfillIanRumsey'srequirementsforagoodhive?!......................................2
DieAnpassungderWarrbeute/ModifyingtheWarrhive...........................................................4
Anhang/Appendage.......................................................................................................................16
INVESTIGATIONINTONATURALCOMB.........................................................................16
NATURALWAYSOFIMPROVINGVARROACONTAINMENT........................................22

Anhang/Appendage
INVESTIGATIONINTONATURALCOMB
HorizontalandVerticalComb
Horizontal comb is said to occur when the apex of the hexagon cell is at the top.
Verticalcombhastheapexofthehexagonatthesideandisinfacthorizontalcombrotatedthrough
90degrees.

Theshapeofthehexagonenablesittowithstandexternallyappliedtensionsandpressuresincon
trastingdegree,dependentupontheorientationoftheapex.
Fromthediagrambelowitmaybeseenthattensionappliedverticallyandpressureappliedhorizon
tallywouldflattenandelongatehorizontalcomb.

Howeverareversalofthesetensionsandpressureswouldpermitthehexagontomorereadilyretain
itsshape.

Thisisduetothehorizontalzigzagcomponentofthehexagonmatrixbeingrestrictedregarding
stretchingandflatteningastheverticaltiespreventtheparallelzigzagcomponentsmovingapartin
anoppositedirection.
Astateofequilibriumisobtainedandthehexagonshapeismaintained.

Itisclearthereforethattoavoidcelldistortioninnaturalcombthehexagoncellsmustbeorientated
insuchawayastowithstandtheinternaltensionexertedwithinthebroodnestarea.
IanRumsey

CellOrientation
Tounderstandthefinerpointsconcerningnaturalcombconstruction,letusconsultthemasterof
thisart,thedesignerofthestructure,themanufactureroftheactualmaterial,namelythebee,and
alsocomparetheirknowledgeandabilitywithourownmechanicaltheory.Twodifferenttypesof
mindmayobtainthesamesolution.
Thebroodnestareaisencircledwithstoreswhichsupplythecircumferencewitharigidframework.
Theshapeofthebroodnest,withourtheory,shoulddecreethedistortionalstressesandinconse
quencethecellorientation.
Letustakearope,suspendedsaybetweentwopoles30feetapart.Itwouldformacatenary,andthe
tightertheropethemoreshallowthecatenarywouldbecome.Theropewouldbeundertensionin
thehorizontalplainandthereisnoneedforanyintermediateverticalsupporttoaidsuspension.We
willnowenvisagetheropeasanarrangementofhexagoncells,andtowithstandsuchtension,the
hexagonwouldrequiretobeorientatedwiththeapexatthetop.Itwouldfollowthatwherethe
broodnestwasmuchwiderthanitisdeepasimilarorientationwouldberequiredtoavoiddistorti

on.Thebeesunderstandthisandbuildhorizontalcombaccordingly.
Ropesmaybesuspendeddownwells,herethetensionintheropewouldbeverticalandhexagon
cellsrepresentingtheropewouldrequiretheapextobeatthesidetonowwithstandtheverticalten
sion.Uponthisexamplebeesbuildingnaturalcombintallnarrowcavitieswouldexperienceverti
caltensionandbeexpectedtoproduceverticalcomb.Theycomply.
MayIsuggestthatbeesappreciatedthemechanicsofhexagonstructuresbeforewecouldcountto
ten.
Waxfoundation,beingproducedashorizontalcomb,preventsverticalcombbeingpresentwithin
thehive,whereasnaturalcombinferalcoloniesveryoftenproducesbroodnestscomprisingofver
ticalcomb.Feralcoloniesappeartosurviveinareasofvarroainfestation;coloniescontainingverti
calcomb.Perhapsconsiderationshouldnowbegivenastowhetherverticalcombmaybedetrimen
taltovarroareproduction.
VarroaandCellOrientation
Thepresenceofverticalcombinthebroodnestofaferalcolonyisquitecommonplace.Thequesti
onthereforearisesastowhetherthistypeofcombisinsomewaydetrimentaltovarroareproducti
on.
Itisgeneralknowledgethatthemitewhenenteringthecellpriortocapping,hidesbehindthelarva
whichiscurledupatthefarendofthecell.Itisalsoacceptedthatifavisitingnursebeeobserves
the mite in the cell prior to hiding behind the larva, the bee will remove the varroa.
Thisisaperiodofdangerforthevarroa.
AlthoughthevarroaisdeemedtohavesomeaquaticabilityregardingbeemilkIfeelthattheatt
empttopassbetweenthelarvaandthecellwallwouldbemadewheretheconditionswerethemost
favourable,namelywhereitisdryandthepressureisleast.Thepressurebetweenthelarvaandthe
cellwallisgreatestatthebottomofthecellduetogravityandtheweightofthelarva.Thepressure
isleastatthetop.
Withhorizontalcomb,withtheapexatthetop,asmalltriangularspaceoccursabovethelarvaand
the mite therefore may gain easy access. The conditions are also dry.
Whereverticalcombispresentandtheflatportionofthehexagonisuppermostthiseaseofaccess
isnolongeravailable.Diagramrefers.

Thelongerthetimethatthevarroatakestohideitself,thegreaterthelikelihoodbecomesofanurse
beeinspectingthecellandremovingthemite.

Experimentsarecurrentlybeingundertakentotestthistheoryastowhethercellinfestationisless
whenverticalcombispresent.
Itisinterestingtonotethatthepressurebetweenthecellwallandthelarvamayalsobeincreased,
andnodoubtcauseasimilareffect,bydecreasingthesizeofthecell,orbyintroducingaqueenma
ted,orbredfrom,aslightlylargerstrain.
Intheinsectworldtherearenumerousinstanceswheretheparasiteisawareofitshost'slocation,
whichwithonlyoursenses,wouldappearimpossible.
J.H.Fabrehasbeenconsultedandisofthesameopinion.
Aparasitewishingtolayitseggadjacenttoitshost'slarvaachievesitspurposebecauseitcandetect
the location, age and health of the larva through the equivalent of a brick wall.
The senses the parasite uses are beyond our comprehension or even acknowledgement.
Althoughvarroaarenotinsects,thereisnoreasonwhytheyshouldnotalsohavethisparasiticcapa
bility.
Varroadonotjustturnuppriortocappingbypurechance,andwiththisabilitytheywouldbeaware
oftheposition,ageandhealthofeverylarvainthehive,andcouldmaptheircourseaccordingly.
Ifthiswerethecase,regularmanipulationofbroodframes,wheretheframesarereshuffledrather
thanreplacedintheirformerposition,wouldconfusebothbeesandvarroawhichwouldbedetri
mentaltothevarroaregardingnestsitelocation.
Theconfusiontothebeeisdifficulttoquantify,but'chewingout'maybeasignthatthebeesarenot
happy with the new brood nest shape and are rearranging matters more to their liking.
Whetherthepenetrationofthisspecialawarenessiseffectedbythepresenceofmetal,suchasa
sheetofqueenexcluder,isopentofurtherspeculation.Infactqueenexcludermayalreadyplayan
importantrollinvarroareproductionintwoways.
(1)Varroabredindronecellsthatremainonthedronesafteremergencefromthecellwillberetai
nedinthebroodnestareaduetothequeenexcluder.
(2) Thequeenexcluderwouldactasasafetynetforgroomedvarroaformallyattachedtoworker
beesoperatingintheupperpartofthehive.
Notonlymayvarroahavethisspecialawarenessofthebee,thebeemayalsohaveaspecialawaren
essofthevarroa.
Itisdarkwithinthecell,sothebee'srecognitionofthevarroawillnotbeocular,butbythisspecial
awarenessthatcanidentifyotherlifeformsthroughinterveningmaterial.However,thisawareness
apparentlywillnotpenetratethroughthelifeformofthelarva,andinconsequencethelifeformof
thevarroaremainsundetected.
Itisalsoequallypossiblethatthevarroaknowsthatitwillbeseenbythebeeunlessithidesitslife
formbehindthelifeformofthelarva.Thevarroaisawareofthebee'sawareness,butareweaware

ofthevarroa'sawareness;Ithinknot.
CombBetwixtBetween
Beesbeingbees,andnaturebeingnature,therealsooccursnaturalcombwhichisavariationbet
weenthehorizontalandverticalarrangement.

Aspreviouslyexplained,verticalcombisjusthorizontalcombturnedthrough90degrees,butinac
tualfactduetothehexagonshape,therotationneedonlybe30degreestoachievethesameresult.
Ifonetookthisrotationatonedegreeatatimetherewouldbeafurther29variationsofcombori
entationbetweenhorizontalandverticalcomb.
Thisthirdtypeofcombclearlyexists,itoccursquiteregularly,andappearstotheeyeashorizontal
combwithadownwardslope.
Ifourtheoryregardingdistortionalstresseswithinthebroodnestisvalid,thenapplicationofthis
theoryshouldprovideareasonfortheexistenceofthiscombwhichisbetwixtbetween.Diagramre
fers.

Considerabroodnestthatisnotcentrallyplacedwithinthecombandisaltogetherovertooneside,
to the extent that one side of the broodnest directly abuts the frame or cavity wall.
Therearenocellscontainingsealedstoresonthisside,therigidframeworksurroundingthebrood
nesthasbeenbroken.Thestressesnowinsidethisareaareneithertotallyverticalorhorizontalbut
somewhereinbetween.

Tocompensateforthis,beesreorientatedtheircellconstructiontothealignmentofthereviseddi
rectionoftension.Diagramrefers.

So,whyshouldbeesbuildabroodnestnotcentrallyplacedwithinthecombbutovertooneside?
MayIsuggesttemperaturevariation.Whencombisplacedsothatatemperaturegradientoccurs
acrossitssurface,thebroodnestmaywellbepositionedtowardsthewarmestedge.Thistheoryis
easilyprovedbyobservingthepresenceofcombwithsuchaslopeandnotingwhethertheslopeis
downtowardthewarmerpositionwithinthehive,andthatthebroodnestisinfactoffsetalsoin
thisdirection.
Evenwiththesestructuralvariationsbeingavailable,thequeencannotaffordtolayhereggsintotal
disregardtotheloadingofthebroodnestarea.Anexampleofthequeen'sbalancedmethodof
broodexpansionmaybeseeninHerrodHempsall'sbook'BeekeepingNewandOld'pages429/430
which includes 17 photographs clearly showing this careful management.
Asonemightexpectwiththesestructuralconsiderationsinmind,thelargerandheavierdronecells
areplacedalongtheundersideofthebroodnestareathusagainminimizingpossiblecelldistortion.
Hastherebeenalotofthoughtputintothemanufactureofferalcolonycombwhichtakesallthese
factorsintoconsideration?
Is this thought undertaken prior to actual commencement of comb construction?
Doesthecombconstructionreflecttheuniqueenvironmentalconditionsforeachferalcolony?and
becomeapermanentrecordofjointinformationthathasbeencollectedandacteduponbyagroup
ofindividuals?

Theevidenceisthere,unbelievable,orunacceptable,asitmaybe.

ThefinalchapterofT.W.CowensbookTheHoneyBeeisentitledWaxandCombConstructi
onwhichisconcludedbyaquotationbyLordBrougham.Thesecondsentenceofthisquotation
readsNotastepcanwetakeinanydirectionwithoutperceivingthemostextraordinarytracesof
design.ThisIfeelincludestheconstructionofnaturalcomb.
IanRumsey

NATURALWAYSOFIMPROVINGVARROACONTAINMENT
THEIMPORTANCEOFTHESHAPEANDTHEPOSITIONOFTHEBROODNEST
Thebroodnestofacolony,whencontainedbyqueenexcluder,andhousedinaconventionalhive,
willbeovalinshapewiththemajoraxishorizontal.
Feralcolonieshoweverbuildnaturalcombtothelimitsofthecavitytheyhavechosenfortheir
home.Thecombshape,andinconsequencethebroodnestshape,willvaryconsiderablyfromthat
imposeduponthembybeekeepers,andinsomecases,inaferalcolony,thebroodnestmaybe
foundtobeoval,butwiththemajoraxisvertical.
Thisatfirstglancewouldnotsuggestasituationthatwasdetrimentaltothereproductionofvarroa,
butletusconsiderthematterfurther.
Itisanacceptedfactthatbeeswillgroomvarroatosomedegree,althoughtheapparenteffectiven
essofthisabilityisdependentuponthepositionoftheentrancerelativetothefloor,thetypeof
floorinuse,andthespaceavailablebeneaththeundersideofthecomb.
Thedegreeofgroomingexperiencedbyvarroaisproportionaltothedistancetheytravelawayfrom
futuresuitablenestsitesbeforetheirdesiretorecommencereproductionoccurs.
Anyincreasethereforeinthisdistancewouldbeofbenefittothebeeandofdetrimenttothevarroa.
Suchincreasemaybeaccomplishedinthreeways
(1).Bythechangeofbroodnestshapefromcirculartooval.
(2).Bytheorientationoftheovalbroodnestfrommajoraxishorizontaltomajoraxisvertical.
(3).Bypositioningoftheverticalovalbroodnestinsuchawayastomaximizethedistancebet
weenstoragecombandthebroodcomb.
THESHAPEOFTHEBROODNEST
Letusfirstconsiderafishinasquarepond2ftby2ftprovidingasurfaceareaof4squareft.
Ourfishlikeseatingfliesandtosatisfythisnaturaldemandwewillallowoneflytolandrandomly
somewhereonthesurface.Thefurthestdistancethefishandflycanbeapartiswhentheyarein
diagonallyoppositecorners.
Thefishunderstandsthisandpositionsitselfinthecentreofthepond,sothemostitmustnowtra
velis1.414ft.
We will now place our fish into a pond 4 ft by 1 ft thus retaining the same surface area.
Thedistancesnowtravelledbythefishtocatchhisflyhaveincreased.Evenwhenhestationshim
selfinthemiddleofthepondhemaybeasmuchas2.06ftawayfromtheunsuspectingfly,anin
creaseof46percent.
Apond8ftlongandonly6incheswideincreasesthisdistanceby183percentwhichisquiteanad
vantagetothefly.

Clearlythelongerandnarrowerthepondbecomesthegreaterthedistancesthefishmayhaveto
swimtoobtainhisfly.
Returningtobeekeeping,wewillnowconsideracircularbroodnestwithoneworkercellwaitingto
becapped.Onevarroaisintroduced,placedrandomlywithinthisarea.Thedistancebetweenthe
cellandthevarroamaybeasgreatasthediameterofthecircle,ormuchless.
Letusnowcomparethiswithanovalbroodnestofthesameareabut4timeslongerthanitiswide.
Likethefishinaretangularpond,thevarroawillfindthatthemaximumtravellingdistancehasin
creasedtogetherwiththepossibilityofbeinggroomed.
Itisthereforeillustratedthatvarroamaymorereadilyinfestaworkerbroodcellsituatedinabrood
nestthatiscircular,ratherthanonewhichisofovalconstruction.
BROODNESTORIENTATION

Letusnowconsidertheorientationoftheovalbroodnest.Wewillassumethattheeightsquaresin
Fig1representaframeofcombinthebroodnestandFig2isthesameframerotatedthrough90
degrees.InFig1thedistancesfromthecentreofeachsquaretopointAaremeasuredandcompa
redwithsimilarmeasurementstakentopointBinFig2.Itwillbefoundthatthedistancestopoint
Bare40percentgreaterthanthosemeasuredtopointA.

This40percentfigureapplieswhentherectangleistwiceaslongasitisdeep.Whentherectangle
isthreetimeslongerthanitisdeepandsimilarmeasurementsaretakenthispercentageincreasesto
60.
Wherethebeesareevenlydistributedthroughoutthebroodareaandthevarroaareevenlydistribu
tedamongstthebees,itwouldbereasonabletosuggestthatabroodframewhichistwiceaslong
thanitisdeep,whenrotatedthrough90degrees,wouldenhancethedistancesvarroarequiretotra
veltoreachdronebroodwhentheyarelocatedatthebottomoftheframe.
Theincreaseddistanceof40percentlengthensthetimethevarroaisliabletobegroomedwhich
wouldincreasethevarroadropaccordingly.
Thisbenefitmaybefurtherenhancedto60percentbyincreasingthedepth/lengthratiofrom21to

31.Anovalbroodnestthereforewhenorientatedwiththemajoraxisverticalwouldagainbeofad
vantagetothebee.
HIVESHAPE
Finallyletusconsidertheshapeofanactualhivewhichconsistsofabroodbox2ftx2ftand1ft
deep,asuperalso2ftx2ftand1ftdeep,withqueenexcluderinbetween.
Wewillassumethatthebeesareevenlydistributedthroughoutthehiveandthatthephoreticmites
areevenlydistributedamongstthebees.Underthesecircumstancesthecentreofthebroodnestmay
betakentobehalfwayupthebroodbox,6inchesabovethefloorlevel.Thecentreofthemassof
beesmaybetakenas1ftabovefloorlevel.Thedistancebetweenthesetwomassesis6inchesandis
indicativeoftheaveragedistancebetweenthephoreticmitesandthebroodnest.
Keepingthehivecapacitythesame,letusnowenvisageabroodbox1ftx1ftand4ftdeepwitha
superalso1ftx1ftand4ftdeep,positionedontop,againwithqueenexcluderinbetween.Thedi
stancebetweenthecentreofthebroodnestandthecentreofthemassofbeeshasnowincreased
from6inchesto2ft.Thetravellingdistanceofthemitestopossiblenestsiteshasincreasedby400
percent,againtothedetrimentofthevarroa.
Atallthinhiveisthereforebetterthanashortfathive.
Sotosummarize.Theshapeofthehiveincreasesvarroatravellingdistancesandinconsequencein
creasesgroomingopportunitiesinthreeways.
(1) Provisionofanovalbroodnestinsteadofcircular.
(2) Orientationoftheovalbroodnestsothatthemajoraxisisvertical.
(3) Provisionofatallnarrowvolumeforcolonyoccupation.
Theremaybeinfactafourthandevenafifthadvantage.
Ifvarroahaveasenseofawarenessofthelocationofsuitablenestsites,thisawarenessmusthave
somelimitingrangeandafallingoffofaccuracyatitsupperlimit,sothedistancebetweenhostand
parasiteisofimportance.
Alsoviewingsuitablenestsitesendontotheovalbroodnestwouldresultinasmallersurface
areabeingscannedwhichwouldreducetheattractionandincreasemultiplemitecellinfestationas
itwouldappear,tothemites,thatfewercellswereavailableforoccupation.
IanRumsey