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Thread: ZEST hive.

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    Junior Member croc's Avatar
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    Default ZEST hive.

    Other than the few Aberdeenshire and Moray beekeepers I have spoken to about mine, has anyone else come across ZEST hives up here? I started a colony in one three years ago and they seem to be doing quite well, despite the weather issues we have had since I started.
    The chap who came up with the idea is a friend of a friend, based in Dorset. He gave me the hive kit and Nuke as an experiment to see how it would work in the Scottish climate.
    Have a look at http://thezesthive.com

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    Junior Member croc's Avatar
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    Here are a few pictures of my Zest, when I was building it in 2011. The final one shows frames from a National nuke box between Zest frames.

    IMG_1991.jpg

    IMG_1994.jpg

    IMG_1996.jpg

    IMG_1999.jpg

    IMG_2000.jpg

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    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    There was an article about the plastic frames in BeeCraft recently that interested me - but when I looked at the website I rapidly lost interest. There was no more information about the frames and the hives look like heavy work. Are they?
    Kitta

  4. #4

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    I also thought it was a bit rich the guy on the website going on about the world's dwindling resources when his Zest frames are made of plastic! Also not sure what the logic about double depth brood frames is - strikes me as change for change's sake.

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    Junior Member croc's Avatar
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    I was completly new to it when I got the kit, so I've never known anything else. I have found it quite easy to get along with, the bees have survived the weather and I have had some honey. I have got a plastic frame to try, somewhere forgoten about till just now, I like the wooden ones. The depth of the frame is to suit the depth of the hive, you can't build it up with supers like a normal one.
    After the initial build you don't do much to the hive structure. The heaviest bit is leveling the ground for the slab base, the blocks are insulation type (think aero chocolate but concrete) so not very heavy.
    Like everything else there are pros and cons.
    It would be no use at all if you wanted a mobile hive and you can't heft it to judge the contents. If you don't need to move or lift it this isn't a problem. The big advantage is the insulation and strength of it, no sign of vermin and the most a woodpecker would get is a sore head.
    The frames don't lend themselves to spinning but you could crush and strain the honey, I like it on the comb so tend to use it like a larder, ie just take a comb as needed.
    I have been looking round the threads on here and noticed some discussion on brood position, in mine all the brood is in the top section of the frame and the stores are the bottom.
    If anyone would like to come and have a look at it hey would be welcome.
    Steve.

  6. #6

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    Well it sounds like it's working for you Steve so I wish you good fortune with it. How do you go about your swarm control with it? And have you made increase from it?

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    Junior Member croc's Avatar
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    They haven't shown much swarmy tendancy, possibly because if it starts to look overcrowded the space can be increased by adding frames or by taking a couple of combs of honey off. Maybe building comb gives them something to do.
    I re-queened them last year as the old queen was failing, they threw her out not long before the new one I had arranged arrived, I would blame my timing for that rather than theirs.
    I haven't made any increase yet, partly because I wasn't sure of a virgin finding any drones other than her brothers. When I first joined beebase there were no other colonys in he 10k radius, now there appear to be three, so I am more hopeful. There is enough space in the zest to run two colonies so I would like to get a local queen and do an artificial swarm, I would be more confident with a wider genepool available.

  8. #8

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    Steve I think you'll find there are a fair few beekeepers around Huntly. Beebase is very much underused for some reason. So I wouldn't worry about your virgins getting mated.

    Surprised you've not had to perform any real swarm control in 3 years. The day will come though!

  9. #9
    Junior Member croc's Avatar
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    I am sure there are more beekeepers about but part of my concern is that I only have he one colony and don't wan't to risk losing it through messing it about, probably being over cautious as a novice. My other thought is that my bees are of Dorset origin and I would like to get some local/native stock going, hence the desire to get a second mated queen and I would prefer to put money in a local beekeepers pocket than a dealers.
    Just dug out the plastic frame, will take and post pictures.

  10. #10

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    Just don't worry too much about getting your virgin queens mated - you should be fine. What might happen though is the temperament of subsequent colonies might be different if your Dorset queens or their daughters are Buckfasts or Carniolans and they mate with native/AMM drones. You're thinking along the right lines in my opinion re getting local stock.

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