The reason for the trial (if it can be allowed such a grand title)
was to see if there was any size that the bees preferred. There was
no particular planned structure to the trial which simply consisted
of a series of crownboards, with a rim on one face, with central
circular holes. The hole sizes tried were 19 mm, 25 mm, 32 mm, 38 mm,
44 mm, 50 mm, 63 mm, 75 mm, 100 mm, 200 mm, 230 mm, 340 mm.
Holesizes for Crown Boards
I think 150 mm was tried, but I cannot find the item physically nor
can I find any referance to it in my (rather scruffy) notes.
Method The experiment had no controls, each board was used
as and when required by the management of the bees and took place
at different times during the year. The "results" are entirely
subjective as no finite system of evaluation had been "thought up".
The boards were used over colonies of various sizes and vigour, but
this did not appear to affect the results.
The main thing these boards were used for was to isolate a top
chamber within the hive that the bees would consider as "outside"
their domain. Scraps of comb and sometimes broken frames were
placed in this chamber if they contained honey, pollen or brood.
Under no circumstances was it noticed that pollen was
removed. In one case pollen stores were added to (that was a 75 mm
Holes 50 mm in diameter, or smaller, always resulted in any
honey being removed and placed lower down in the main chamber.
Holes of 100 mm and upwards often resulted in wild comb
being built (but not in every case).
One board with a 32 mm hole was inadvertently left in
position from June to the following April with a shallow comb that
was originally honey, but had a broken lug, as the only thing in the
upper chamber (a 75 mm eke). The frame was well propolised and some
brace comb fixed it firmly in place, but the remainder of the volume
of the chamber was free from wild comb. The broken frame was still
being used for honey storage even though it was on its side.
Brood that was sealed was usually abandoned, but some of it
emerged. Brood that was unsealed was always tended if the holesize
was greater than 100 mm.
The only conclusion that I hold with any conviction is that
holes 50 mm in diameter or less are treated differently to holes
larger than 100 mm.
In addition to the above I have experimented with holes of
8 mm in diameter drilled in
aluminium plates that cover
feed holes or
porter escape holes. These
were used as a method of
uniting a super of bees and honey.
Written... Autumn 2000
Revised... 09 March 2002