Close your eyes and imagine a beehive - this is most likely a frame hive, the best known house for foraging bees. But if this hive is the most common in France, it is not the only one! To begin beekeeping, an interesting alternative, still unknown, is indeed the hive bar, also called Kenyan hive. It is inspired by a method developed in Kenya in the 1970s, to help democratize beekeeping on the African continent. In practice, while the first system consists of a vertical stack of removable boxes, the second is presented as a box horizontally, with inside parallel bars:
- in the first case, the swarm therefore develops vertically, in artificial wax maintained by wires,
- in the second case, the bees make their own wax in an elongated box. One disadvantage, their weight: quite fragile, these hives are less convenient to move, which reduces the possibilities of transhumance, and requires from the start, to place the apiary in the right place! "
A low-budget solution
First advantage of the device, its very low cost. While a typical hive costs about a hundred euros, the Kenyan hive is cheaper, and it is even possible to build it yourself for a very modest sum, about 30 euros. The plans are indeed very easily on the Internet: "It is necessary to saw the planks to size, but then, in a blow of screwdriver, the turn is played", explains the amateur beekeeper David Chartier, who thus built all his apiary.
One important dimension, however, the thickness of the bar, 33 millimeters precisely, so that the queen hangs its ray well on the piece of wood.
Whatever the hive, its opening is always done by smoking the swarmIn order to reduce the risk of sting, the beekeeper just has to lift a bar in order to be able to observe the comb without disturbing the rest of the colony or fearing damage to the cells. In short, a simpler observation of insects at work - and even the queen - and much less risk of bites! Similarly, while in hives with frames, it is necessary to add increases as the growth of the swarm, in hives Kenyan, nothing to do, the place is there!
An insect-friendly technique
If this hive will make the beginner beekeeper happy, it will also make bees : indeed, it respects their life cycle, since the queen builds her own ray, in an unconstrained form, which is not the case of the classic hive... More adapted to the life cycle of the insect In keeping with the natural rhythm of the colony, this construction would be beneficial to them: "In a context that is well controlled by humans, diseases would tend to spread further," says David Chartier.
Only drawback, the energy expended to produce wax results in lower harvests…
Honey of quality well "drained"
While in the case of conventional hives, the harvest is done by means of a centrifuge, with extraction of honey from the shelf, then potting, here, it is simply by draining the rays:
The harvest is bar by bar, the old way, breaking the rays in a bucket and then draining them on a sieve, for a few hours: the honey thus obtained is extremely tasty, because the aromas, volatile, are not stale during centrifugation.