A simple modification to the floor of the horizontal (Kenyan-style) top bar hive improves insulation, reduces air exchange at floor level and creates an enclosed ecosystem designed to provide habitat for earwigs, wood lice, moulds, fungi and myriad other flora and fauna that may be found inside the average hollow log - the natural habitat of the honeybee.
Phil Chandler shows how the deep floor is made and how it can be retro-fitted to any top bar hive made to his - or similar - design.
No creature on Earth lives in isolation from all others. All sorts of relationships develop between different species, many of them mutually beneficial. Yet honeybees are usually housed in sterile, wooden boxes with little opportunity to come into contact with the myriad other bugs, beetles and bacteria found in their natural habitat: hollow trees. Little is known about the effects on bees of other organisms, but it seems reasonable to suppose that because they have co-evolved with a whole range of other species over tens of millions of years, they will have developed mutually beneficial relationships with some of them.
The 'deep litter floor' is an experimental approach to creating an ecosystem within the bees' living quarters, such that these relationships can be re-established. Of particular interest is the mite Stratiolelaps scimitans, which is known to exist in the wild in Britain and is partial to the Varroa destructor mite, troublesome to bees.
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