AU2017254942B2 - Stingless Bee Keeping Frame and Assembly - Google Patents

Stingless Bee Keeping Frame and Assembly Download PDF

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Publication number
AU2017254942B2
AU2017254942B2 AU2017254942A AU2017254942A AU2017254942B2 AU 2017254942 B2 AU2017254942 B2 AU 2017254942B2 AU 2017254942 A AU2017254942 A AU 2017254942A AU 2017254942 A AU2017254942 A AU 2017254942A AU 2017254942 B2 AU2017254942 B2 AU 2017254942B2
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Australia
Prior art keywords
frame
base wall
cavities
sidewalls
bee
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AU2017254942A1 (en
AU2017254942C1 (en
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Robert Basil Luttrell
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Luttrell Robert
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Luttrell Robert
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Priority to AU2014904840A priority Critical patent/AU2014904840A0/en
Priority to AU2014904840 priority
Priority to AU2015261700A priority patent/AU2015261700B9/en
Priority to AU2017200731A priority patent/AU2017200731B2/en
Application filed by Luttrell Robert filed Critical Luttrell Robert
Priority to AU2017254942A priority patent/AU2017254942C1/en
Publication of AU2017254942A1 publication Critical patent/AU2017254942A1/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of AU2017254942B2 publication Critical patent/AU2017254942B2/en
Publication of AU2017254942C1 publication Critical patent/AU2017254942C1/en
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Abstract

Abstract A frame for collecting honey, the frame comprising: a body defining a base wall and a plurality of open top cavities, the body comprising sidewalls extending upwardly from edges of the base wall and a grid extending between the sidewalls wherein the grid and the sidewalls define the open top cavities, and wherein the sidewalls comprise an upper edge having spaced concave sections; and a spacing means for spacing the cavities of the lower frame from a base wall of an upper frame when two of the frames are stacked.

Description

STINGLESS BEE KEEPING FRAME AND ASSEMBLY
Field of the Invention [1] The present invention relates to a stingless bee keeping frame and assembly.
Background of the Invention [2] The standard beehive used in beekeeping is called the Langstroth bee hive. This hive comprises a housing containing a plurality of spaced parallel frames. The frames are oriented vertically and are removable from an open top portion of the housing. The open top is covered in use by an upper lid which blocks out light. The bees build honeycomb into the frames, and deposit honey in the honeycomb. The frames can then be removed with ease to collect the honey.
[3] The adjacent frames are spaced by less than 1 cm (called the “bee space”) which Langstroth found prevented bees from forming honeycombs which would either connect adjacent frames, or connect frames to the walls of the housing.
[4] The Langstroth beehive, whilst highly successful for Apis bees, is however not suitable for some bee species. Specifically, the Langstroth beehive is not suitable for stingless bees including those in the genus Tetragonula. The genus Tetragonula was previously part of a larger genus Trigona, which was split up into smaller genera. Current methods in collecting honey for these bees include destruction of the honeycomb and bee loss.
[5] The present invention seeks to overcome or substantially ameliorate at least some of the deficiencies of the prior art, or to at least provide an alternative.
[6] It is to be understood that, of any prior art information is referred to herein, such reference does not constitute an admission that the information forms part of the common general knowledge in the art, in Australia or any other country.
Summary of the Invention [7] According to a first aspect, the present invention provides a frame for collecting honey, the frame comprising: a body defining a base wall and a plurality of open top cavities, wherein the base wall comprises a plurality of downwardly extending protrusions disposed along a lower surface thereof, the protrusions disposed to correspond to a respective cavity of a lower frame; and a spacing means for spacing the cavities of a lower frame from a base wall of an upper frame when two of the frames are stacked.
[7A] In another aspect, the invention resides broadly in a frame for collecting honey, the frame comprising: a body defining a base wall and a plurality of open top cavities, the body comprising sidewalls extending upwardly from edges of the base wall and a grid extending between the sidewalls wherein the grid and the sidewalls define the open top cavities, and wherein the sidewalls comprise an upper edge having spaced concave sections; and a spacing means for spacing the cavities of the lower frame from a base wall of an upper frame when two of the frames are stacked.
[8] In one preferred embodiment, the cavities are disposed in a grid pattern.
[9] In another preferred embodiment, the body comprises lateral side walls extending upwardly from edges of the base wall and a grid extending between the side walls, wherein the grid and the side walls define the open top cavities.
[10] In another preferred embodiment, the grid comprises a plurality of spaced first parallel divider walls intersected by a plurality of spaced second parallel divider walls.
[11] In another preferred embodiment, the divider walls comprises openings connecting adjacent cavities.
[12] In another preferred embodiment, the divider walls comprise an upper edge having spaced concave sections.
[13] In another preferred embodiment, the side walls comprise an upper edge having spaced concave sections.
[14] In another preferred embodiment, the divider walls and side walls comprise aligned straight edges [15] In another preferred embodiment, the spacing means comprises upwardly extended comer portions of the frame.
[16] In another preferred embodiment, the spacing means comprises upwardly extended comer portions of the side walls [17] In another preferred embodiment, the spacing means provides a spacing of between 4 mm and 5 mm.
[18] The frame may be fabricated from any suitable material or combination of materials. For instance, the frame may be fabricated from wax, polymer material (such as, but not limited to, food grade plastics material or the like), metal (such as, but not limited to, steel, aluminium, stainless steel or the like), wood, fibreglass and so on.
[19] In another preferred embodiment, base wall comprises a plurality of downwardly extending protrusions disposed along a lower surface thereof, the protrusions disposed to correspond to a respective cavity of a lower frame. Preferably, the protrusions are formed in a grid pattern.
[20] In another preferred embodiment, the base wall further includes locating lugs at each comer thereof.
[21] In another preferred embodiment, the base wall further includes locating lugs at each comer thereof which engage the upwardly extended corner portions of a lower frame.
[22] In another preferred embodiment, the base wall is rectangular, square, round, hexagonal, or octagonal shaped.
[23] In another preferred embodiment, the open cavities are rectangular, square, round, hexagonal, or octagonal shaped.
[24] The present invention also provides an assembly comprising: a housing having a base wall and side walls; at least one frame according to any one of the above to be disposed within the housing, wherein the housing is dimensioned to provide a space of between 4 mm to 5 mm between the housing side walls and sidewalls of the frame.
[25] In one preferred embodiment, the assembly comprises a plurality of frames according to any one of the above stacked within the housing, [26] In another preferred embodiment, the assembly comprises an upper cover for covering the open top of the housing, the upper cover being spaced from the top frame by the top frame spacing means.
[27] In another preferred embodiment, the housing is rectangular, square, round, hexagonal, or octagonal shaped.
[28] Other aspects of the invention are also disclosed.
Brief Description of the Drawings [29] Notwithstanding any other forms which may fall within the scope of the present invention, preferred embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of examples only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which: [30] Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a bee frame in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention; [31] Fig. 2 is a perspective view of a bee frame in accordance with a second preferred embodiment of the present invention; [32] Fig 3 is a bottom perspective view of an underside of the bee frame of Figures 1 and 2; [33] Fig. 4 shows the frame of Figure 1 in use within a honey super, with honey collected in some of the pots of frame; [34] Fig. 5 shows two frames according to Figure 1 in use and removed from the honey super; [35] Fig. 6 is a perspective view of one suitable honey collection tool for the bee frame of Figures 1 and 2; [36] Fig. 7 is a perspective view of a bee frame in accordance with a third preferred embodiment of the present invention; [37] Fig. 8 is a bottom perspective view of the bee frame of Figure 7.
Description of Embodiments [38] It should be noted in the following description that like or the same reference numerals in different embodiments denote the same or similar features.
[39] Figure 1 shows a bee frame 10 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The bee frame 10 comprises a body 12 which is generally shaped similar to a large egg tray. The body 12 comprises a rectangular base wall 14, lateral side walls 16 extending upwardly from edges of the base wall 14, and a grid 18 extending between the side walls 16. The grid 18 and the side walls 16 define a plurality of open top cavities 20.
[40] The grid 18 comprises a plurality of first spaced parallel divider walls 19a intersected by a plurality of second spaced parallel divider walls 19b. The divider walls 19 comprise an upper edge 21 having a series of spaced repeating concave sections 22, with points 23 formed between the concave sections 22.
[41 ] The side walls 16 comprises corner portions 26 at their corner junctions which have a height higher than the highest sections of the walls 19, being the points 23. The sidewalls 16 similarly comprise an upper edge 21b having a series of spaced repeating concave sections 22b between the corner portions 26.
[42] Figure 2 shows a bee frame 10b according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention. The bee frame 10b comprises a body 12 similarly having a rectangular base wall 14, lateral side walls 16, and a grid 18 extending between the side walls 16. The grid 18 and the side walls 16 define a plurality of open cavities 20.
[43] The grid 18 in this embodiment comprises a generally planar grid upper edge 21, which is aligned with the upper edge of the sidewalls 16. The planar upper edge 21 comprises grid spaced openings thus forming a partial cover for the cavities 20. The walls 19 of the grid 18 comprise openings 27 which link adjacent cavities 20.
[44] The side walls 16 comprises corner portions 26 at their corner junctions which extend to a height higher than the highest sections of the side walls 16.
[45] The bee frames 10 and 10b are made from food grade plastics material. The present embodiments provide cavities 20 arranged as a 10 x 10 matrix and are about 14 cm in length and width.
[46] Figure 3 is a bottom perspective view of a possible embodiment of the underside of the bee frame 10 and 10b. The base wall 14 comprises a plurality of downwardly extending protrusions 30 disposed in a grid pattern. The protrusions 30 are positioned such that each protrusion 30 is disposed in a substantially central position above a respective cavity 30 of a bee frame located below when the bee frames 10 are stacked in use. The base wall 14 further includes locating lugs 32 at each corner thereof which will engage the corner portions 26 of the bee frame 10 located below, to retain the frames 10 laterally aligned in use.
[47] Figures 4 and 5 show the bee frame 10 in use. A plurality of the bee frames 10 are stacked on top of each other, with the bee frames 10 oriented horizontally, within a housing 40 (called a honey super) on top of a colony of stingless bees. The housing 40 is an open top housing having side walls 42. The open top is for placement/removal of the frames 10 within the housing 40, inspection and observation. The open top is closed by an upper cover in use to seal the honey super housing from light. The housing 40 is dimensioned to provide a side bee space 70 of between 4 mm and 5 mm between the housing side walls 42 and the sidewalls 16 of the bee frame 10. This bee space is specific to Australian Tetragonula bees. The bee space can be modified for other bee species in the range between 4 mm to 10 mm.
[48] As shown in Figure 5, the lower corners of each upper bee frame 10 are disposed on top of the corner portions 24 of a lower bee frame 10. The corner portions 26 provide a spacing means 29 between adjacent stacked bee frames 10. The spacing means 29 ensures that the bottom wall 14 of an upper bee frame 10 is spaced from the upper edge 21b of a lower bee frame 10 by a frame bee space 72 no larger than a space between 4 mm to 5 mm.
[49] The frame bee space 72 is also present between the top edges 12 of the grid 18 of the lower bee frame 10 and the bottom wall 12 of the upper bee frame 10. The concave sections 22 and 22b of the grid 18 and the sidewalls 16 allow the bees in use to travel across the bee frames 10 to a desired cavity 20.
[50] An upper cover (not shown) is provided to cover the open top of the housing 40 to seal against the light. The spacing means 29 also ensures that the upper cover is spaced from the top bee frame 10 by the frame bee space 70.
[51] In use, bees form cerumen 80 within the cavities 20 to form the honey pots for the honey. Cerumen is a mixture made by the bees of their naturally secreted wax and plant resins that they selectively collect to enhance the preservation of the honey. Honey is then deposited within the cerumen honey pots and sealed off with cerumen. If there is sufficient space, the bees can form a second honey pot above a formed honey pot.
[52] Once the bee frames 20 are full, a decision is made to either collect the honey or add another super on top. For personal use, it may be collection as the super is right on the top of the colony and easily available without disturbing the rest of the nest. It does not have to be removed. The same goes for the addition of another super.
[53] For extraction, the bee frames 10 are lifted out of their super housing 40, the bees dislodged, the tops of the honey pots 80 opened and the bee frame 10 spun in an extractor to remove the honey. A suction device is a possible alternative device for extraction.
[54] The (optional) protrusions 30 under the base wall 14 of an upper bee frame 10 is of a length that it will be at least partially lodged in the sealed cerumen 80 of a lower bee frame 10. When the upper bee frame 10 is removed, the protrusions 30 will form openings 82 in the cerumen. The bee frame 10 can then be inverted to collect the honey, placed in a centrifugal extractor, or a suction device is used. The protrusions 30 can also be formed as part of a separate plate which is then attached to the base wall 14, to simplify manufacture of the bee frames 10.
[55] The bee frame 10b is used in a similar manner as the bee frame 10. An advantage of the bee frame 10b is that the openings 27 in the grid 18 thereof allow the cerumen of adjacent cavities to connect. This can reduce the amount of cerumen material needed to build the honey pots and can thus lead increased and/or faster honey collection. This design may also increase the degree of contact between the cerumen honey pots and the honey. The use of plastics material is reduced and the size of the honey pot is increased.
[56] Figure 6 shows another possible honey collection device 100. The device 100 comprises a collection tray 102 having a plurality of spaced piercing pins 104, being food grade stainless steel pins in the example. The pins 104 are positioned such that they are disposed in a substantially central position below a respective cavity 20, when a bee frame 10 in inverted over the collection device 100. The pins 104 are used to pierce the inverted honey pots 80 by moving the inverted frame 10 downwardly. The frame 10 is then moved up and rested onto movable braces 106 to hold the bee frame 10 whilst honey pours down into over the collection tray 102.
[57] The present invention thus provides a bee frame and an assembly comprising a honey super having at least one of the bee frames which allows collection of honey from stingless bees which provides substantial advantages compared to the prior art. The present invention provides a substantial decrease in bee loss and no contamination of the honey.
[58] The present invention can be used for stingless bees in the Australian Genus Tetragonula spp, as well as general Stingless Bees (Insect Family Apidae, Tribe Meliponini).
[59] Whilst preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described, it will be apparent to skilled persons that modifications can be made to the embodiments described.
[60] For example, the housing (honey super) can be made so as to contain side by side frames, with additional frames then stacked on top thereof.
[61] The spacing means can also be formed by removable corner portions.
[62] The frames can be made in any desired dimensions with any number of cavities.
[63] Figures 7 and 8 show a bee frame 10c in accordance with a third preferred embodiment of the present invention, which is substantially similar to the bee frame 10b. The bee frame 10c also comprises a body 12 similarly having a rectangular base wall 14, lateral side walls 16, and a grid 18. The grid 18 and the side walls 16 define a plurality of open cavities 20. The grid 18 in this embodiment comprises a straight upper edge 21, which is aligned with the upper edge of the sidewalls 16. The walls 19 of the grid 18 comprise arch shaped openings 27 which link adjacent cavities 20.
[64] The side walls 16 comprises corner portions 26 at their corner junctions which extend to a height higher than the highest sections of the side walls. The underside of the bee frame 10c comprises a plurality of downwardly extending protrusions 30 formed therein in a grid pattern.
[65] The bee frame 10c is a refinement of the bee frame 10b, and is the design that both species of Tetragonula bees are using. The partial plastic cover over the honey cell in bee frame 10b has been removed to leave a simple rail to show the wall of each cell, and the corner nesting structures have been incorporated into the actual wall for strength and simplicity of production. This simulates the building structure of the bees themselves, especially in the case of Tetragonula carbonaria. They fill the available space with a filamentous network of strands, similar to scaffolding. Then they build each honey or pollen pot into the space defined by these strands. The base with the protrusions 30 has been incorporated with the top assembly.
[66] The bee frames can be produced via 3D printing using wax material, T-glaze plastics and FDA approved food quality plastic. It can also be produced by injection moulding, either as a single integral piece or two or more pieces and assembled.
[67] The above described bee frames are rectangular. It is apparent however that the bee frames can be made in any desired shape, such as rectangular, square, round, hexagonal, or octagonal. The housing (honey super) can be shaped accordingly.
[68] The cells (open cavities) in the embodiments described are also square. It is also apparent that the cells can be shaped differently, such as hexagonal cells. It is also possible to have a hexagonal box (honey super) used with square bee frames. This is possible for the space because the box is 3D printed, and the bee space of 4 to 5mm needs to be preserved. It is easier to make the space fit the frame.

Claims (15)

  1. The claims defining the invention are as follows:
    1. A frame for collecting honey, the frame comprising: a body defining a base wall and a plurality of open top cavities, the body comprising sidewalls extending upwardly from edges of the base wall and a grid extending between the sidewalls wherein the grid and the sidewalls define the open top cavities, and wherein the sidewalls comprise an upper edge having spaced concave sections; and a spacing means for spacing the cavities of the lower frame from a base wall of an upper frame when two of the frames are stacked.
  2. 2. The frame of claim 1 wherein the cavities are disposed in a grid pattern.
  3. 3. The frame of claim 1 wherein the grid comprises a plurality of spaced first parallel divider walls intersected by a plurality of spaced second parallel divider walls.
  4. 4. The frame of claim 3 wherein the divider walls comprise openings connecting adjacent cavities.
  5. 5. The frame of claim 3 wherein the divider walls comprise an upper edge having spaced concave sections.
  6. 6. The frame of claim 3 wherein the divider walls and sidewalls comprise aligned straight edges.
  7. 7. The frame of claim 3 wherein the spacing means comprises upwardly extended corner portions of the sidewalls.
  8. 8. The frame of claim 1 wherein the spacing means provides a spacing of between 4 mm and 5 mm.
  9. 9. The frame of claim 1 wherein the frame is fabricated from wax, food grade plastics material or metal.
  10. 10. The frame of claim 1 wherein the base wall comprises a plurality of downwardly extending protrusions disposed along a lower surface thereof, the protrusions disposed to correspond to a respective cavity of a lower frame.
  11. 11. The frame of claim 10 wherein the protrusions are formed in a grid pattern.
  12. 12. The frame of claim 1 wherein the base wall further includes locating lugs at each comer thereof.
  13. 13. The frame of claim 12 wherein the base wall further includes locating lugs at each corner thereof which engage the upwardly extended corner portions of a lower frame.
  14. 14. The frame of claim 1 wherein the base wall is rectangular, square, round, hexagonal, or octagonal shaped.
  15. 15. The frame of claim 1 wherein the open cavities are rectangular, square, round, hexagonal, or octagonal shaped.
AU2017254942A 2014-11-28 2017-11-03 Stingless Bee Keeping Frame and Assembly Ceased AU2017254942C1 (en)

Priority Applications (5)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
AU2014904840A AU2014904840A0 (en) 2014-11-28 Stingless bee keeping frame and assembly
AU2014904840 2014-11-28
AU2015261700A AU2015261700B9 (en) 2014-11-28 2015-11-27 Stingless bee keeping frame and assembly
AU2017200731A AU2017200731B2 (en) 2014-11-28 2017-02-03 Stingless Bee Keeping Frame and Assembly
AU2017254942A AU2017254942C1 (en) 2014-11-28 2017-11-03 Stingless Bee Keeping Frame and Assembly

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AU2017254942A AU2017254942C1 (en) 2014-11-28 2017-11-03 Stingless Bee Keeping Frame and Assembly

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AU2017200731A Division AU2017200731B2 (en) 2014-11-28 2017-02-03 Stingless Bee Keeping Frame and Assembly

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AU2017254942A1 AU2017254942A1 (en) 2017-11-23
AU2017254942B2 true AU2017254942B2 (en) 2018-11-15
AU2017254942C1 AU2017254942C1 (en) 2019-09-19

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AU2017200731A Ceased AU2017200731B2 (en) 2014-11-28 2017-02-03 Stingless Bee Keeping Frame and Assembly
AU2017254942A Ceased AU2017254942C1 (en) 2014-11-28 2017-11-03 Stingless Bee Keeping Frame and Assembly

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AU2017200731A Ceased AU2017200731B2 (en) 2014-11-28 2017-02-03 Stingless Bee Keeping Frame and Assembly

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Families Citing this family (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
CN105941193B (en) * 2016-06-21 2018-10-23 青岛钰坤睿新材料科技有限公司 A kind of honeycomb structure and honeycomb boards

Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3744067A (en) * 1971-10-28 1973-07-10 R Bentley Super super

Family Cites Families (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
CN2922453Y (en) * 2005-12-30 2007-07-18 俞亚梁 Honey-bee half-comb honey cassette

Patent Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3744067A (en) * 1971-10-28 1973-07-10 R Bentley Super super

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AU2015261700A1 (en) 2016-06-16
AU2017254942A1 (en) 2017-11-23
AU2017254942C1 (en) 2019-09-19
AU2017200731A1 (en) 2017-02-23
AU2015261700B2 (en) 2017-03-02
AU2017200731B2 (en) 2017-12-14
AU2015261700B9 (en) 2017-03-23

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