This invention refers to a confining structure to confine
the queen bee of a colony of bees of a beehive, which is particularly, yet not exclusively,
useful in the professional bee-keeping branch for performing pesticide treatments
against the parasite known as varroa.
It is known that this parasite is among a beehive's worst
enemies. It affects in fact the entire beehive, generally weakening the colony of
bees and inducing its total destruction in the course of a few years. In particular,
this parasite is able of affecting the brood just before the operculation of the
honeycomb cells containing the brood. This capacity renders any periodical bee-keeper's
action for a pesticide treatment problematic. The pesticide treatment in fact exerts
its effect on the parasites of a colony of bees, but not on the parasites of the
brood, because of the operculation of the cells. The larvae evolving from this brood
are consequently also affected by the pest, and, in turn, affect the treated beehive.
In order to obviate these consequences, it would be appropriate to carry out such
treatments in the absence of a brooding queen bee. In order to satisfy this condition,
the queen bee must necessarily be confined to prevent her from laying the brood
for the length of time strictly required for initiating and performing the pesticide
treating operation. For the purpose of confining the queen bee, the review "Apitalia"
No. 2-3/2002 describes a confining structure. The latter essentially comprises a
containing body, a reception chamber provided in said containing body to receive
said queen bee, at least one introducing opening provided on said containing body
and communicating with said chamber to introduce said queen bee into said chamber,
occluding means capable of being coupled/uncoupled to/from said containing body
to occlude said opening, and a plurality of feeding slots provided on said containing
body and communicating with said chamber in order to allow said queen bee to be
fed on the part of said colony of bees. The containing body is in particular constituted
of a cylindrical element. The chamber is in turn formed by a compartment space delimited
by the mantle of this element. The introduction openings are again formed by two
holes provided at the extremities of this element. The occluding means are formed
by simple plugs to be inserted/extracted to/from the holes. The plurality of slots
is formed by a series of thinned openings uniformly distributed over said mantle.
The use of this structure is essentially as follows. The bee-keeper extracts at
least one plug so as to free the respective hole, manually introduces the queen
bee through this hole into the compartment space, and occludes the free hole again
by using the relative plug. The bee-keeper then sets said structure on the top of
the beehive nest, on the upper cross beams of the nesting frame.
The main drawback encountered in this type of structure
consists in that its arrangement is excessively peripheral with respect to the beehive
nest. This arrangement strongly limits the relations between the queen bee and its
colony of bees. Because of this, the colony of bees tends to abandon feeding the
A second drawback consists in that said structure allows
feeding the queen bee on the part of the colony of bees only from the outside of
the containing body. In other words, the bees cannot penetrate into the queen bee's
reception chamber through the slots. This drawback limits the relations between
the queen bee and its colony of bees. Even in this case, the colony of bees tends
to abandon feeding the queen bee.
A third drawback consists in that said structure is handcrafted
and thus unsuitable for professional bee-keeping use. The bee-keeper faces in fact
numerous difficulties in manipulating the elements of said structure, especially
when operating in the open space. In fact these elements are of small size and will
not stay connected to each other when the structure is in a disassembled condition.
The aim of the present invention is to create a confining
structure to confine the queen bee of a colony of bees into a beehive able of solving
the drawbacks and problems found in the structures of a known type.
Within the above described aim, an important object of
this invention is to set up a structure able of providing an ideal arrangement of
the queen bee with respect to its colony of bees for a confining period of time
of adequate length in order to obtain a complete absence of brood able to cover
the brood's flitting from the cocoons.
A further object of this invention is to set up a structure
wherein the feeding of the queen bee on the part of the colony of bees can occur
normally even during the length of time in which the queen bee is in a confined
Not the last object of the invention is to set up a structure
suitable for a professional bee-keeping use and at an economical cost.
This aim, these and other objects which will exposed in
the following in greater detail, are achieved by a confining structure to confine
the queen bee of a colony of bees in accordance with the attached claims.
According to first features, the confining structure, according
to this invention, comprises a confining body, a reception chamber provided in said
confining body to receive the queen bee, at least one introduction opening provided
on said containing body and communicating with said chamber to introduce the queen
bee into said chamber, occluding means able of being coupled/uncoupled to/from said
containing body to occlude said opening, and a plurality of feeding slots provided
on said containing body and communicating with said chamber so as to allow said
queen bee to be fed on the part of said colony of bees, and suspending means associated
with said containing body so as to suspend said containing body within said beehive
nest in order to maintain the proximity of said queen bee to said colony of bees
during the confining period of said queen bee.
In this way, the structure achieves the intended aim of
creating an ideal arrangement of the queen bee with respect to its colony of bees
for a period of confinement of adequate length.
According to other features of the invention, the feeding
slots are of a size such as to allow the bees belonging to said colony to transit
to and from said reception chamber. The structure thus achieves its object of allowing
the feeding of the queen bee on the part of the colony of bees to occur normally
even during the confining period.
Moreover and according to further features, the structure
of the invention proves to be suitable for professional bee-keeping use, as its
elements are of an adequate size for its manipulation and remain connected even
in a disassembled condition of the structure, as well as being of low cost because
of the constructive modes and devices employed.
Further features and advantages of the invention will become
better apparent from the description of an embodiment illustrated for indicative
purposes yet non limitative in the enclosed drawings, wherein:
- Fig. 1 represents a frontal view of the structure according to the invention,
in a position suspended on a portion of an upper beam of the nesting frame of a
- Fig. 2 represents a lateral raised side view of the structure of Fig. 1 during
the operation of suspending it to the beam;
- Fig. 3 represents a first detailed view of the occluding means of the structure
in the preceding figures;
- Fig. 4 represents a second detailed view of said occluding means.
With particular reference to the mentioned figures, the
confining structure to confine the queen bee of a colony of bees of a beehive (not
shown), indicated as a whole by the reference number 5, comprises above all a containing
body 6. Said containing body 6 has an essentially box-like form. In detail, it comprises
a rear wall 7, peripheral walls 8, 9, 10 and 11 rigidly connected to each other
and to said rear wall 7, a front wall 12 flexibly connected to the lower wall 11
of said peripheral walls 8, 9, 10 and 11 and first engaging elements 13 to engage
said front wall 12 with the upper wall 9 of said peripheral walls 8, 9, 10, 11 opposite
said lower wall 11. The first engaging elements 13 in turn comprise pairs of projections
14 set side by side and projecting from the zone of said front wall 12 facing the
rim of said upper wall 9. Said structure 5 also comprises a reception chamber 15
provided in said confining body 6 for receiving said queen bee. In particular, said
reception chamber 15 comprises a space delimited by said rear wall 7, front wall
12 and peripheral walls 8, 9, 10 and 11. Moreover, said structure 5 comprises an
introduction opening 16 provided on said containing body 6 and communicating with
said chamber 15 to introduce said queen bee into said chamber 15. In particular,
said introduction opening 16 comprises an elongated hole provided in the lower zone
of said front wall 12. In addition, said structure 5 comprises occluding means,
designated as a whole by the reference number 18, which can be coupled/uncoupled
to/from said containing body 6 to occlude said opening 16. In detail, said occluding
means 18 comprise a door 19 flexibly connected to said front wall 12 so as to assume
a first position wherein it closes said introduction opening 16, and a second position
wherein it frees said opening 16 and coupling elements, designated as a whole by
the reference number 20, to couple said door 19, in said first and said second position,
to said front wall 12, as seen especially in Figure 4. These coupling elements 20
comprise an appendix 21 which extends from the rim of said door 19 and a first and
a second pair of projections 22 set side by side and extending from one and the
other side of said appendix 21 next to the extremity 23 of said appendix 21, so
as to engage in the slots 24 found to the right and to the left, respectively, of
said opening 16 when said door 19 assumes said first and said second position. Moreover,
this structure 5 comprises a plurality of feeding slots 25 provided on said containing
body 6 and communicating with said housing chamber 15 to allow said queen bee to
be fed on the part of the colony of bees. In detail, said plurality of slots 25
comprises vertical rows of elongated openings provided on the rear wall 7 and the
front wall 12. Said openings are preferably of a size such as to allow the bees
belonging to said colony to transit to and from said housing chamber 15. Finally,
said structure 5 comprises suspending means 26 associated with said containing body
6 to suspend said structure 5 within the nest of said beehive, so as to maintain
the proximity of said queen bee to said colony of bees during the period of confinement
of said queen bee. In detail, said suspending means 26 comprise a pair of coupling
arms 27 to couple said containing body 6 to the rim (not shown) of a nesting frame
(not shown) of said beehive (not shown), and second engaging elements, indicated
as a whole by the reference number 28, to engage said arms 27 with said upper wall
9. In even more detail, the coupling arms 27 are engaged in an upper beam 29 of
said frame. Said arms 27 also comprise first portions 30 rigidly connected to the
upper rim of said rear wall 7, second portions 31 rigidly connected to said first
portions 30 and third portions 32 flexibly connected to said second portions 31.
Said second engaging elements 28 in turn comprise pairs of projections 33 set side
by side and provided next to the terminal ends of said arms 27. With this configuration,
said containing body 6 lies in a vertical condition within the zone delimited by
With further reference to the mentioned figures, the ways
of producing the structure 5 and the operation of fastening the same structure 5
to the upper beam 29 of the rim of a nesting frame of a beehive occur as follows.
The ways of producing the structure 5 are preferably based
on injection moulding of plastic material while holding the coupling arms 27 extended
and the front wall 12 in a condition rotated by 180° with respect to its position
approached to the peripheral walls 8, 9, 10 and 11.
The fastening operation occurs as follows, assuming the
coupling arms to be in an extended condition, the front wall 12 in a preliminarily
approached condition and the door 21 in the mentioned second position. First of
all, the bee keeper extracts from the beehive nest the nesting frame on which he
wishes to fasten the structure 5. He then grasps the latter with one hand and approaches
the coupling arms 27 to the upper beam 29 of the rim of the chosen nesting frame.
Using the free hand, he then bends the third portions 32 of the coupling arms 27
until they assume the configuration illustrated by a continuous line in Fig. 2,
and engages the engaging elements 28 in the rim of the upper wall 9. He then captures
the queen bee of the colony of bees of the beehive in question and introduces her
through the opening 16 into the chamber 15. He then shifts the door 21 from the
second to the first position. To end up, the bee-keeper lays down the frame along
with the structure 5 inside the beehive nest. Once the confining period of the queen
bee is over, the bee-keeper can free her as follows. He acts with a chisel tool
on the occluding means 18, so as to separate the latter from the front wall 12.
It has in practice been verified that the structure thus
described solves the drawbacks and problems found in the confining structures of
the known art. In particular, as has been found, the structure allows achieving
an ideal arrangement of the queen bee with respect to its colony of bees for a confining
period of adequate length. The feeding of the queen bee on the part of the colony
of bees also occurs in a normal way, even in the course of the queen bee's confinement,
because the bees can enter and exit into/from the chamber through the slots. Moreover,
the structure is suitable for professional bee-keeping because its elements are
of a size sufficient for their handling on the part of the bee-keeper and remain
connected to the structure even when the latter is in a disassembled condition,
and the same is of low cost thanks to the constructive ways and devices employed.
In addition, the space available in the chamber is suitable to allow the queen bee
a comfortable and extended stay over the confining period, because the arrangement
of the containing body within the rim of the nesting frame allows realizing a containing
body of adequate size.
The structure according to the invention is susceptible
of variations, all of which fall within the scope of the invention.
In a practical embodiment, the materials employed, the
shapes, the dimensions and the executive details may differ from those described
herein but be technically equivalent to the same, without thereby abandoning the
scope of the invention.