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All knowledge about bees and how to keep them
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Open Source Beehive Design

Thymol - Nicotine synergy on protozoan parasite (similar to toxoplasma) [1]

L Reuteri improves survival [2]

Lactobacillus in general improve memory learning [3]

Gut microbiome in honey vs bumble bees [4] also Reuteri is discussed as a very genetically plastic species. Citrate, malate, α-ketoglutarate, and lactate are absorbed but carbs cannot be metabolized themselves? Selenocysteine cannot be made, along with B3 in some bees.

6 Reuteri and 1 helvectus in bees [5]

Bifidobacterium like infantis also helpful to bees [6]



34 days to 18 days [7]


See uv but no red. Mostly guided in hive by touch and pheremones [8]


Bees have strong tendancy to produce queens in the spring [9]

Bees can convert eggs or larvae from just hatched eggs into queens if there is no queen in the hive.

Components of queen pheremone [10]

Introducing a queen

See also splitting a hive


If the bees are not "hopelessly" queenless they may make a new queen and kill the introduced one.

Let the queen with her attendants sit in the queen cage placed in the hive for 3 days so the bees can break her out and more likely accept her, or if you open the cage after 3 days, it at least gave them time to acclimate to her.

Using lemongrass essential oil drops in the hive as you introduce the queen may help the bees get used to an unfamilar pheremone from the new queen.


Propolis info and composition [11] 50% resins, 30% waxes, 10% essential oils, 5% pollen and 5% plant debris.


IgE immune response protective, getting a limited allergic reaction to bieng stung may help you survive lethal venom doses and also help build immunity to snake bites [12]

antiviral to virus and may help with inflammation diseases like parkingsons alzheimers ALS HIV Cancer [13]

If anaphykaxis occurs it wll happen quickly. Pain and swelling and redness should improve within a few days [14] bee stings are acidic so baking soda or potassium bicarb might help and vitamin c might make it worse.


See also habitat

Nectar plants [15]

Free honey plants ebooks [16] [17] [18]

Goldenrod most important honey plant [19]. Giant goldenrod blooms aug sept and oct [20]


Splitting a hive

See also queen


Method [21]

The best way to artificially split a hive is to let it get strong enough to start producing queen cells in the early spring. This indicates that the hive is ready to swarm, which means you should probably already have had an empty hive with empty frames in it with lemongrass essential oil so in case it does swarm you should catch it in your new hive. But if you find your hive with queen cells before it swarms, then you can transfer half of the frames that contain queen cells and half of the brood frames to another hive. You don't even need to find the queen, she should be in one of the hives and the other will make a new queen with the queen cells it has.

If you can't wait for queen cells you will need to make a split with at least 5 brood frames in each hive and they need to have very young brood with some at the egg stage so that the hive that does not get the queen will be able to make a queen out of one of the eggs.


The best possible method, which is a natural split, is to set a new hive out with frames and lemongrass essential oil. Then let your hive(s) naturally swarm and move into your new hive. Doing this is not only the least risky way of splitting a hive, but it also carries on their natural swarming ability in your colonies genetics. This is important to strengthen genetics for bees to continue on in the future in your area.


Colony collapse


Thymol typically used but better than thymol in order of selectivity to mites over bee death were peppermint or manuka, oregano or litsea, carrot or cinnamon [22].

Some practical info on varroa and other pests and essential oils [23]

Beta glucan 0.5% like from oats reduces infection [24]

Raw onion and especially raw garlic very effective [25]

causes deformed wing virus [26]

Tracheal mite


Essential oils [27]

Raw onion and especially raw garlic probably very effective based on varroa mite which seems to be similar [28]

Small hive beetle

Damages comb, stored pollen, and discolors and ferments honey which smells like decaying oranges, with larvae burrowing through comb and can cause colony collapse disorder [29]

Adult 5-6mm long [30]

Bees will abandon hive if problem gets bad enough [31]

Traps that use natural bee products to bait and vegetable oil to kill [32]


Wintergreen might be helpful [33]

Beekeeper success with 1 TBSP eucalyptus oil per lb of crisco and putting on bottom boards and in all 4 corners of hive [34]

Peppermint candy [35]

Raw onion and especially garlic probably very effective based on varroa mite which seems to be similar [36]

Thyme also likely to help based on its effectiveness on varroa. It actually is proven that thymol the main ingredient in thyme oil is highly toxic to the small hive beetle [37]

Treatment test
  1. 3 TBSP crisco or organic shortening
  2. 10 drops eucalyptus
  3. 10 drops peppermint
  4. 10 drops thyme
  5. Crushed clove of garlic

Apply to edges corners and crevices and legs of the hive


Failed testing of some essential oils [38] may have conflicts of interest since AFB was first started in argentina, where this study was published, and the synthetic antibiotic might be funding argentina agencies.

Thyme essential oil strongest against it, same with lacto-probiotics, and also tells about most common gut bacteria including e coli, baccilis, and others [39]

Greek Oregano and rosemary as well as others [40]

Thyme and oregano best combo [41]

Highest activity: MIC ≤ 0.06–0.015% v/v was shown by essential oils of cinnamon, thyme, clove, peppermint, lemongrass, sage and oregano [42]

Lavender cumin winter savory [43]


Causes bee dysentery

1:1 with thyme essential oil can treat [44]

Oregano essential oil and naringenin, also potentially algae polysaccharides and thyme essential oil and curcumin and resveratrol [45]

Garlic essential oil best followed by thyme nettle laurel [46]

Thymol resveratrol [47]

Eucalyptus, basil, rutin [48]

Summary article of lots of science [49]. Salicylic acid in its many forms including bark extract, wintergreen essential oil, etc seem effective however some people are sensitive to it so I don't want to feed it to bees because it could end up in the honey.

some info [50]

porphyrins like chlorophyll in barley grass juice powder [51]

garlic and cinnamon extracts, algae extracts, black mustard, adaptogens, bifidobacterium, lactic acid bacteria, etc [52]

I'm guessing activated charcoal... beta glucan... EGCG

mimicking propolis would be a good idea and includes 10% essential oils, some of which from conifers. Also contains caffeic acid [53]

Propolis and possibly rutin [54]

Laurel, Lemongrass, CBD, and more [55]


Keep bee food frozen or unmade until ready to feed

Sterilize frames or use new frames. Also do not reuse old comb.


Thyme and Pelargonium [56]

Mountain pepper oil, Kala Bhangra oil, spearmint oil, babuna oil, betel leaf oil, carrot seed oil, cumin seed oil and clove bud oil and likely lemongrass for Citral [57]

Cinnamon, oregano, lemongrass best [58]

Cinnamon, citronella, lemongrass, orange [59]

Wax moth


Essential oils [60]

Neonicotinoid pesticides

Bees under stress [61]

Serpins [62] [63] [64] [65] [66]


Grease patty

Recipe design

4 lb granulated sugar [67]

15oz organic shortening [68]

1 lb honey

1/2 lb mineral salt

2 pills L reuteri

1 pill B infantis

2 pills rutin

Caffeic acid

4 oz essential oil mix

Quail egg concentrate (serpin)


Pantothenic acid

Beta glucan

Essential oil mix (Beez Neez)
  1. 8 parts lemongrass (chalkbrood, foulbrood, citral pheremone)
  2. 4 parts lavender (foulbrood)
  3. 4 part eucalyptus (nosema)
  4. 3 part thyme (foulbrood, chalkbrood, varroa)
  5. 2 part oregano (foulbrood, varroa)
  6. 2 part fir (mimick propolis)
  7. 1 part basil (nosema)
  8. 1 part cinnamon (nosema, chalkbrood, varroa)
  9. 1 part laurel (nosema)
  10. 1 part peppermint (varroa)

4.4 pounds (2 kg) granulated sugar

3 ounces (90 ml) corn oil

1.5 pounds (0.7 kg) vegetable shortening (Crisco)

1 pound (454 g) honey

1/2 pound (227 g) mineral salt (pink color)

2.2 ounces (65 ml) wintergreen oil (or tea tree oil)


L Reuteri makes oxytocin [69] so perhaps keeps bees docile and also gives probiotics to the honey

How to make [70]

Scientific beekeeping fat bees [71]

Current threats [72]

Essential oil based products [73]

Vitamins:Plant Protein Products, Roughage Products, Sodium Chloride Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid Stabilized, Zinc Sulfate Monohydrate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin [74]

Thyme lemongrass seaweed [75]

Lemongrass and spearmint [76]

Lemongrass, thyme, lavender, spearmint, cornmint [77]

Wintergreen too [78]

Also peppermint and sage [79] but some sources say peppermint repels bees.

Also eucalyptus [80] but other sources say this is a repellant.

Recipe for water based essential oils using lecithin [81]

Thyme info [82]

Laurel anti-inflammatory 1-8 cineol [83]


See also nectar

Beekeeping in northern climates course and book [84] and pdf [85] and companion material on diseases [86] and queen rearing [87].

Favorite trees basswood, tulip, cherry, locust etc [88]

Free honey plants ebooks [89]

Help native bees by having bare spots on ground (no grass) both dry and also muddy also leave out pine logs [90]

Bush hogging

Bush hogging is removing the bee habitat (flowering native plants - aka weeds). In many places it needs to be done at least every few years to prevent your bee forage from turning into a forest. A forest garden can probably avoid the need to do this.

Should be done when daily average high temperature is roughly 47 degrees or below (8 degrees from the 55 forage temp) and the low is above 32 (freezing) that way there should be no snow on the ground. For Upstate NY farming, this would be November 20th. This also happens to be around the time of the first snow, but snow doesn't stick until later in november or december. For an extra measure of certainty, and no significant loss of nectar flow, 11/11 also works which would be within 4 degrees of the 55 degree target. November 4th in upstate ny is when the average high first drops below 55 degrees. Bush hogging then is ultra-conservative and has a significant risk of loosing a weeks worth of nectar flow, but this may be a tradeoff worth doing depending on weather forecast, relation to the grand solar minimum or other confounding factors or concerns.

Another factor aside from waiting until the nectar flow is over, is giving the plants a chance to distribute their seeds. Some asters seem to need much of fall to finish distributing the majority of their seeds. Milkweed is pretty much done distributing their seeds by the second week of november. Goldenrod goes to seed in september but isn't finished distributing its seeds until after milkweed typically. Of course bush hogging stops the process of seed dispersal and deposits all a plants seeds in its own immediate vicinity.

Instead of bush hogging in the fall, you can always wait until after the melt in spring but this risks wet and muddy conditions which should be avoided if possible because bush hogging in the mud will disturb the seeds that were scattered in the previous fall.


Bees should be sheltered from any times that the temperature drops to 23f temp, especially if that day the high never makes it above 23f for the bees to recover. Liberal date range to shelter bees in Upstate NY farming would be december 1st until march 20th. Conservative would be december 21st (first day of winter) until March 1st (20 days until the beginning of spring).

Bees use condensation from in the hive during winter for water [91] they probably also leave some honey uncapped and undried.


23-44-55-101010 rule: bees shiver at 23f outside air temp (OAT) or below so they are burning through honey stores when it is that cold. They need 44f OAT or above to take cleansing flights, and 55f OAT or above to forage. They stop foraging above 100f OAT and cannot fly when OAT is 110f or higher.

Temperatures, bees maintain 75-93f cluster temp, hive temp is not maintained. They stop flying and go back to the hive in the 50's especially at or below 50f [92]

Bees do not hibernate and will act based on temperature. All temps measured is outside air temp unless specified. 57-100f bees forage, below 55 they don't leave the hive and don't fly well if they do. No flying outside the 50-110f range. 64f start clustering, 57f tighter cluster. 23f begin vibrating shivering. 95f is optimum winter cluster core temp which is normal bee internal temp, 81f is average cluster core temp, 48f is average temp of outer layer of cluster. Min viable cluster core temp is 55f, and minimum cluster outer layer temp somewhere between 44-46f. Max core temp around 100f. Heater bees can keep 70 cells warm and the heater bees can reach 111f. Cleansing flights (pooping) occur 44f or above as they can tolerate short fights but if the bees internal temp drops to 50 paralysis begins and their muscles can't move at all when internal temp hits 45f [93]


I have seen hives with only 18" of space and frames 17 13/16" long which means bee space is not respected in some iterations of langstroth hives; which leads to frames getting stuck and prying frames leading to queen death.

Online ruler [94]

Types of hive including traditional designs [95]

Why windows are bad [96]

Cedar and pine are acceptable woods [97]

Horizontal hive beekeeping books [98]

Layens horizontal hive, the worlds first horizontal design [99]and more horizontal hive plans [100] layens uses 1.5" wide touching frame top bars like we do [101], but for some reason they don't want the ends of the top bar to be 3/4" unlike ours, which just makes Layen frames more work and more fragile frames. Also Layens is not backward or cross compatible to standard hives unlike ours since thier top bar is only ~15" long not 19" standard, which makes adoption struggle because you can't build a hive by buying a standard nuke or by using frames from another hive. I understand that they feel deeper and narrower is better, and it might be slightly preferred by bees (but probably not because the bees rarely fill comb below 2/3 from the top of the 16" deep frame, which is around the MOOSE depth, 10.5") but the lack of backwards compatibility to me is impossible to integrate since the whole industry uses the 19" standard. It is like designing a train that uses a different width track. Also one problem is it probably needs full frames because the comb is so long (~16") and the attachment at the top is more narrow and thus has less support, whereas with a 19" frame we can just use frame-less top bars which saves huge amounts of work.

Free horizontal hive design and instructions [102] but much more skill and precision cuts needed compared to MOOSE hive

Golden mean 120 deg base angles and hive dimensions of 33"x19"x10" [103] and cathedral [104] [105] are good designs.

Complete standard dimensions frames [106] hive body [107] and more [108] [109] [110] [111]

Bee space [112] Langstroth bees build excess comb in a space greater than 3/8 inch. Bees fill any space under than 1/4 inch with propolis. So space between 3/8 inch and 1/4 inch is in a range of "acceptable" bee space, with 5/16 inch an average that is most acceptable by beekeepers. A Langstroth hive would have a 5/16- or 3/8 bee space. However some bees make more space for themselves in order to moove freely. Usually between 3/8 and 3/4 [113] however going above 3/8 you may have some stray comb.

Optimum bee space may change based on genetics or hive design or altitude [114]

Dimensions of hive spaces [115]

Air gaps that will be filled with propolis should be 1/4 inch or less preferably 3/16". Two 3/16" air gaps can be aligned to give 3/8" non fillable gap for warm climates.

Cut list for british national [116]

Langstroth hive cutlist [117] frames [118]

MOOSE Beehive

Modular, Open source, Off the shelf, crosS compatiblE (MOOSE) Hive

  1. Top bar design Top Bar drawing is a minimum viable product and reversible. Gaps are for ventilation, smaller than 1/4 inch (3/16") so the bees will fill with propolis if they want to, and they can just barely fit through [119] it if they need to get to the top to cool the hive with thier wings. In warm-year-long climates, you can line the gaps up with eachother which makes 3/8" so they will not fill the gaps. The groove on top and bottom (so they can be flipped) is to put a thin board in (lets call it a starter board) so the bees can make the comb starting there and make it straight. The top bar is 1.5" wide which is more than standard 1.375" for more bee space which is data driven based on natural hive measurements. Yes they might add some comb between but this gives them quicker movement and more efficiency and allows these master builder insects to have more agency. The grooves in the top bar can also be used to hold a sheet of wood to make a false end of the hive or a queen separator for there to only be honey frames beyond it. Each frame full of honey should be at least 10 lbs so letting the bees keep 4 honey frames (40 lbs) will be enough for them to make it through the winter without feeding or with minimal feeding. Optional: If you only want 1 middle groove cut per bar, then you can make the bars ~0.7" thick instead of 0.75" which means you can cut 5 per 19" section of 2x4 instead of only 4. This option is also the way to go if you want to use these top bars in a standard hive. Pros and cons of making one sided (only one 1/8" groove per bar): you gain economics and cross compatibility at the cost of a bit of quality and adaptability.
  2. Starter board design Starter Board drawing. 17.75 is the typical length but I want it to still work if you don't center it in the groove perfectly so made it 17.5 in. The holes need to be at least 5/16" I made them 1/2 inch. Also since it recesses 3/16 deep into the groove, even the top hole will have 5/16 inch so bees can get through. It was made to basically break in half, each side is the same and you can just make them one sided and put two together for each top bar. It is angled up in the middle to help give the bees some angles, they seem to struggle with straight lines.
  3. Horizontal top Bar hive design Horizontal Top Bar Hive (MOOSE) drawing. In addition to bieng made to use the top bar frames outlined above, it is also fully compatible with any depth standard hive frames which is perfect when you want to add bees to the hive from another hive you have. Cutlist (see also notes below): 13x 35 inch long 2x4's and 35x 24 inch long 2x4's. 2x4's are actually 1.5" x 3.5". This 1.5" thickness, along with good sealing of all cracks including the lid (aside from the designed slots and ventillation holes) is critical for the hive to survive outdoors in the winter. The slots can be reduced for the winter but the ventillation holes should stay open so the hive doesn't condense moisture and freeze. Putting a tarp over it (or stapling flashing to the lid) in the winter to keep rain off it even more, is probably a good idea. The hive design has legs which gets it off the wet ground and so less surface area for ants or other bugs to climb up. Also can put some lanolin on the legs to deter climbing insects like ant [120]. A couple modifications that may help, you can replace the 6" long slots with 16 x 3/8" holes for each slot you are replacing as this will prevent mouse entry and also reduce drafts in the winter. You can put a few nails in the slot to prevent mouse entry too. Also the legs can be 35" instead of 24" especially if you want to stack these (which is possible but you will need to know what you are doing and have them on a cement slab and the legs need to be braced and connected together). 35" legs will allow you to access lower hives while they are stacked. The inside corners (the 4 corners and interior edges at the bottom) should be filled with wax or propolis and/or 45° cut wood glued in with natural glue. The reason for this is that corners are unnatural to hives and this is how mites evade the bees from removing them.

Gum arabic glycerine natural glue [121] probably can use powdered propolis as a substitute for some or all of the gum arabic since propolis contains 50% plant resins. 3 TBSP gum arabic powder, 1 TBSP glycerine, 1/2 tsp (or Tbsp?) water. This recipe uses 1/2 TBSP water [122]. Stir and ready to spread. Use this to glue boards together (in addition to using screws or nails) and fill any gaps from imperfectly cut boards. Bees can also fill in any imperfections as they can access nearly all joints. Pine pitch spruce glue [123] could also work. As will casein glue [124]

Can be painted or finished but my suggestion is coat with a mix of 95 parts turpentine 5 parts beeswax. Or this article for Beeswax Polish. Turpentine should be natural pure gum [125]. 95 parts pure gum turpentine and 5 parts Annhydrous lanolin would also be good [126], or a combination of beeswax and lanolin.

optimum opening probably 3/8" x 6" slot. 3/8 inch is just important for compatibility but not necessary to be that thin of a slot, best size of opening is 15 cm^2 of any shape [127]



Requires 108' of standard 2x4's. They should be untreated. Make sure they are 96" and not 92". At standard length of 8 ft each, you will need 14 of them, which at $5 each [128] sets you back around $70 plus the price of screws. The boards should be very straight and not bowed so that everything lines up. You can get exactly 4 x 24" pieces per each 8ft board. Also you can get 2 x 35" plus one 24" per board with only 2" left over. These 2x4's can also be sliced into 1.5" x 3/4" x 19" pieces to make the top bars. 23 top bars are needed to fill the hive, of which 20 can be made from a single 2x4 (or 25 if you make them with only 1 middle groove and therefore they can be ~0.7" thick).

If you want to use less and larger pieces of wood you can't use off the shelf sizes like 2x8 in this build because they are not perfect multiples of 2x4's. If you use 2x8's to replace sets of two 2x4's you will need to take 1/4" off of them since they are 7.25" wide while a 2x4 is 3.5" wide [129].

Cuts should be very straight however as you can see from the plans many of the ends are not butted up against others so these can be less perfectly cut.

If you give the following cutlist to Home Depot or a store like it, they may cut them all to size for you for free. They might not be too happy about it though and a tip up front to the worker may help (they may not be able to accept it though, not sure).


1 2x4 needs to be cut 35 24 24

6 2x4's need to be cut 35 35 24

7 2x4's need to be cut 24 24 24 24

This cut method will give you 1 extra 24" that can be used for bracing during assembly.

Cutlist for substituting 35" legs

If you want 35" legs do this with 15 2x4's:

5 2x4 needs to be cut 35 24 24

6 2x4's need to be cut 35 35 24

4 2x4's need to be cut 24 24 24 24

Or better yet if you want to get 12 free top bars:

1 2x4 needs to be cut 24 19 19 19

1 2x4 needs to be cut 35 24 24

8 2x4's need to be cut 35 35 24

5 2x4's need to be cut 24 24 24 24


Remember to fill in the bottom corners and edges in a hive with wax or propolis and/or 45° cut wood glued in with propolis or natural glue. Corners are unnatural and is where mites can evade the bees from removing them.

When moving bees and frames into the hive to populate it, don't use any lemongrass essential oil as that will make the bees think they still have a queen and won't convert the larvae into a new queen. If the bees realize quickly they have no queen, they will convert open larvae from the frames into a queen. If they don't, just wait and introduce another fresh larvae comb (that contains eggs or just hatched egg larvae) into the hive again after a couple weeks and they should convert one of those larvae or egg into a queen.

Lanolin can be spread around the top ventillation holes to prevent ants from going in. Also as mentioned before lanolin can be placed on the legs to help prevent ants and other insects from walking up.

Honey harvest

Every hive needs 40 lb of honey (4-6 frames full) to survive a winter.

Best way is just take out capped honey and cut into manageable sizes and place into tupperware.

But if you want actual pourable honey use crush and strain method [130]


Preparation [131]

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