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Custos Apium Hive, just as in nature

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Providing bees with a suitable nest is one of the key elements in our way of looking after bees. In nature bees prefer to live in cavities in trees. The thick walls of the tree trunk surrounding the nest keeps the colony safe, warm and protected from the elements and natural predators. The tree cavities are usually vertical shafts and cylindrical in shape which have slowly formed inside the tree over decades. Very often with a small easily defended hole as an entrance. The insides are rough, perfect for the bees to cover in propolis, known to be of great importance for the health of the colony due to its antibacterial properties.

For millions of years, bees lived in cavities in trees and are completely adapted to this. Our Custos hives mimics as close as possible these natural conditions and are far removed from the modern commercial bee hive used in conventional beekeeping. We believe that keeping bees in square hives, with walls often no more then two centimetres thick, with no insulation value and at ground level, contributes to a weaker colony. We aim to avoid these conditions by providing better hiving. The modern conventional beehive is in fact a slight variation on a mid nineteenth century invention


How our hive works

The interior of the main body of the hive is specifically shaped to the dimensions that bees prefer… a shaft, a tall and narrow cylinder. There are no frames involved at all, the hive is designed to mimic the natural bee habitat and there is no human intervention, so frames for inspection are irrelevant.The bees will build their comb as they wish, as they would in a hollow tree trunk. The internal wall of the hive is rough cut wood to encourage the bees to coat the surface with propolis. Propolis is now known to be of great importance for the health of the colony due to its antibacterial properties. The internal volume of the hive is large enough for the bee superorganism to sustain themselves year round. The cylinder shape means no cold corners inside the hive as trapped cold moist air in corners can lead to mold which is not healthy for bees. 

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Offer bee swarms a nesting site

With the dimensions and design of the hive adapted to the bees preferences, we use this hive very successfully to naturally attract swarms in spring and early summer. We place the hive in a location where scouting bees would be looking for a new nesting site, a tree, or on a high stand, safely secured, and wait for bees to find it. Once a swarm has moved in, it becomes a completely natural and suitable permanent bee home. 

In this way, this hive is also perfectly suitable if conservation is your main aim, and you are looking for a different way of beekeeping that is less intrusive and does away with all the management and 'beekeeping work'. And yet, this hive offers an opportunity of a small honey take. By placing this hive in your garden, or on your property, you offer Bees a home if a swarm may be looking for one. Once the bees have moved in, you can enjoy their presence, benefit from their pollination work, take a little honey without deep intervention or just sit and watch nature’s wonder at work. The best and easiest way to have bees in your garden.

designed for the management of bees with the aim of maximum honey production. Unfortunately the design gave no consideration to the needs of the bee. When bees live in a hive that's suitably shaped, of the correct dimensions and therefore easier for them to regulate the temperature and humidity, they have a far better chance to stay strong and healthy. Offering bees an abode that answers to their needs can only help towards having healthier bee colonies.

The cylinder helps prevent cold corners as does the insulation in the Custos hives. A stable environment is incredibly important for a bee colony, as the outside temperature fluctuates the bees must work hard to regulate the internal temperature of the hive. In the Custos hive the cylinder shape and the insulation act to stabilize the internal environment ensuring the bees are less stressed. The needed moisture in the hive is also warm and in that way perfectly usable and beneficial in the hive. 

Put simply a tall narrow insulated cylinder is a better abode than a broad thin skinned box. Better hiving helps bees keep healthy.  

While the main body gives the bees enough space to build and store, it's also perfectly sized for them to cast a swarm every spring. For reproduction, but also for the health of the colony.

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