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Edmonton beekeeper builds a better beehive

via edmontonjournal.com

A local beekeeper has developed a novel hybrid hive design to provide better living conditions for Edmonton’s urban bees.

Dustin Bajer’s hive is taller and narrower than the typical hive used in the beekeeping industry, helping it better imitate a hollowed-out tree where bees would be found in nature.

“I take the standard hive and tweak it a little bit, try to make it a little more ‘bee-centric,’ working for the bees,” Bajer said in an interview Thursday.

Bajer said his beehive design strikes a balance between the needs of bees and those of the beekeepers who look after them.

“I’m just trying as much as possible to let the bees do what they would be doing in nature.”

Bajer is selling his handmade hives on his website, dustinbajer.com, for $200.

Typical beehives have 10 removable frames that the bees use to build honeycomb.

Bajer’s design leaves two frames out. “Eight frames is closer to the inside of a hollow tree where you’d find bees naturally,” he said, “so they’re able to cluster together a little bit easier.”

Instead of weaving in and out between the frames, bees in Bajer’s hives can move vertically along the comb to get at the honey they need to eat during winter. For overwintering bees, the less they need to move, the better.

Frames in Bajer’s hives go into boxes that are smaller than the industry norm. While the volume of the hive and its weight doesn’t change, the beekeeper can handle the boxes more easily.

In April of this year, Edmonton city council amended its animal licensing and control bylaw to permit beekeeping in the city.

Edmonton is a good environment for keeping bees, said Bajer, who lives in McCauley.

“We typically think of cities as these barren concrete jungles without nature,” he said. But in reality, the biological diversity present in cities helps produce good honey.

“You can actually taste it, because you’re going to get pollen from willows, cherry trees, lilacs. There’s a little bit of something for the bees the entire growing season.”

Bajer said he tries to live as close as possible to nature in an urban environment. He wants his leafy backyard to feel like an oasis in the city.

“My ideal day is sitting on the deck with a glass of wine, just watching the bees go and forth.”

Bajer’s beehive design is his personal response to the needs of urban bees.

“First and foremost, beekeepers need to understand how bees behave, and to ensure that they have everything that they need in order to be able to do that.”

[view original post via edmontonjournal.com]

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