IN DEFENSE OF HONEY BEES

The Bee Fortress USA Mission Statement:

In defense of honey bees utilizing original equipment designs and beekeeping best practices.

The Fortress Beehive is the optimum defense to the seemingly endless attacks on honeybees!​

It's tragic that 50% of honeybee colonies perished in the United States, in 2022. So many factors are to blame, and they are getting worse, it seems, with each passing season. What can be done to fortify honeybees and protect them from so many deleterious assaults? Bee Fortress USA has viable solutions and the most advanced beehive ever created! We've even created a chemical-free treatment to fight varroa destructor mites, the #1 attack on honeybee colonies throughout the world.

– Did Varroa Mites kill them?

– Was it climate change that killed them?
– Was it Big Ag and the profuse usage of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers?
– Was it cell towers?
– Was it tractor-trailered honey bees by the millions trucked over-the-road to mono-cultured crops in California, Maine, Florida?
– Was it the chemicals used to treat pathogens affecting honey bees?
– Was it beekeepers themselves and poor beekeeping practices?
– Was it white sugar and brewers yeast fed to colonies in place of their  own honey and natural pollen?
– Was it black bears in search of brood and honey?

Solutions: Fortress Beehive & Varroa Destructor Mite-Killing System™

The Fortress Beehive is heated and ventilated and has technology to eradicate varroa destructor from the colony within a few hours, without chemicals. Field testing by experienced beekeepers will produce the effectiveness of this thermo/hygro therapy method. We expect results will be on par with standard chemical treatments, if not better, but in hours; not weeks, though actual results will be proven in the field this year.
 
We will this year be producing the Varroa Destructor Mite-Killing System™ to, specifically, kill mites in the field, or in a bee shed. The affected boxes of bees will easily be transferred to the Varroa Destructor, which will be powered by solar/batteries, or by 120-volt utility power. Once mite-kill is complete, the treated boxes will be placed back into the hive stack and the Varroa Destructor will be readily moved to the next hive for treatment.
 
We believe that our Varroa Destructor Mite-Killing System™ is the simplest and easiest thermo-therapy design, and the most efficient one ever devised, and will be quite affordable for beekeepers with any size apiary. We also believe that it will be with the Varroa Destructor Mite-Killing System™ that perfected thermo/hygro therapy techniques will be mastered and will set the standard for affordable chemical-free eradication of mites.

Attributes

  1. The Fortress Beehive includes a moat that prevents crawling insects - ants, hive beetles in the larvae stage, etc. - from entering (leaving in the case of hive beetle larvae) the hive.
  2. The raised entrance/exit slot on the North and South sides of the Fortress Vestibule prevents mice and large hornets, as well as rain and snow from entering the hive.
  3. The slots opening length (percentage) can also be easily adjusted with 3/8" rope to decrease incoming cold air and transporting the hive/colony.
  4. The Fortress Beehive is held together with an ingenious locking design that prevents bears from exposing the frame boxes, and makes it difficult for thieves or vandals to disrupt the hive and colony.
  5. The 1/8" thick 304 stainless steel components make this beehive virtually impossible for a bear, or weather to disturb, tip over, take apart, move or dislodge the hive from its installation.
  6. The Fortress Beehive is heated (optional) and can maintain the life of any size colony throughout a temperature range during the forage and over-wintering seasons. Given this achievement - a first, we believe - adjusting the temperature in the hive means queens can be triggered to lay earlier in the spring, resulting in larger colonies than any standard hive can facilitate.
  7. The Fortress Heating System includes recycled "glass bead" as thermal mass so the Heating System Thermostat does not short-cycle, and the heating of the hive interior is done through radiance.
  8. Given the Fortress Hive is equipped with a heating system, inspection of the colony can be done safely in cold months and no chilled brood consequence will result.
  9. Given the Fortress Beehive is solar-power ventilated with a 5-watt multi-speed fan, installed above the frame boxes, "fanning" the nectar to reduce water content can be assisted so the colony can have greater honey production with less effort. When the sun is not 'out', the fan shuts off automatically, so the colony temperature is not cooled below 95-degrees.
  10. The Fortress Beehive is variably ventilated by convective force at an optimum rate that the beekeeper controls without a fan.
  11. The negative trickle of draft upwards through the hive stack means that humidity and CO2 is carried up and out of the hive through the Roof Upper Vent, and when humid stale air contacts the inside of the Fortress Roof, the moisture content condenses on the sloped Roof interior and flows downward and out of the Roof Lower Vent opening; never straight down back onto the colony below.
  12. The Fortress Beehive Side Shields are powder-coated black on one side, so in colder weather when the sun is out heat is conducted into the hive. In warmer months the Side Shields are reversed so the black side faces inward to prevent overheating of the colony inside.
  13. The Fortress includes 4 test ports, so temperature, CO2 and humidity can be monitored throughout the hive.
  14. The Fortress Beehive Control Panel includes a transparent water-tight door so the Digital Thermostat Display, and Mode Operation Status can be easily viewed.
  15. Mite-Killing in the Fortress Beehive is done by setting the Thermostat, turning the Timer Dial and flipping the Mode Switch - that's it!
  16. Heating Mode is easy: set the Thermostat and flip the Mode Switch to Heat; no Timer setting is used.
  17. (Optional) Fortress Beehive 10-frame boxes are made of hardwood - Sapele, Oak or Black Locust - for moisture content stability, grain structure and for beauty and longevity. Otherwise, new pine boxes are recommended for best fit results.
  18. The Fortress Beehive Standard Model includes 2 Deep 10-frame boxes; 2 Medium 10-frame boxes; 1 Combination Box. All boxes are in the stack at all times, but the colony's access to the boxes is controlled with the Upper Screen, so more or less boxes are actually in service at the discretion of the beekeeper. The Side Shields, Corner Guards and  Side & Front-to-Back Lock Straps lengths are dimensioned to fit with the 5 boxes installed as shipped.
  19. The Fortress Beehive Combination Box is a versatile 3-in-1 component: Liquid/Solid Feeder; Ventilation Box; Hive Baffle (to reduce heat rising up through the hive).
  20. The Fortress Beehive Vestibule includes the Lower Screen made of perforated stainless steel.
  21. The Fortress Beehive Roof includes the Upper Screen made of perforated stainless steel. The Upper Screen can be placed anywhere in the hive stack to contain the colony exactly where the beekeeper wants it.
  22. The (optional) Fortress Beehive Queen Excluder is made of perforated stainless steel that can be placed anywhere in the hive stack.
  23. Paint/Powder-Coat options are available.
  24. Quantity discounts are applicable to all orders greater than one Fortress Beehive or Varroa Destructor Mite-Killing System™.
  25. Most Fortress individual components are offered individually for use with Langstroth beehives to make them more robust.
  26. Fortress 8-frame Beehives are also available by request.
  27. The Fortress Beehive is guaranteed to be bear-proof and free of manufacturing defects. Individual components are guaranteed to work as stated by the components manufacturer, for one year from date of purchase. No other warranties are given or implied and beekeeping results are the consequence of the beekeepers' techniques and frequency.

Call for quantity pricing: 800-598-5949

ISSUE 1: Varroa destructor mite

The #1 issue responsible for honey bee mortality is Varroa Destructor mite infestation.

Mainstream mite treatments are losing their effectiveness.
Here’s the list of chemical treatments:

  1. Formic Acid
  2. Oxalic Acid
  3. Hop Beta Acids
  4. Amitraz
  5. Essential Oils (lemongrass, lavender, wintergreen, tea tree, mineral oil, etc.)
  6. Thymol
  7. Anything other chemical treatments?

With all of these so-called remedies, the vast and ever-expanding varroa problem is becoming increasingly bad, and mites are becoming resistant to these once-standard treatments.

ISSUE 2: The Langstroth BeehivE

The Langstroth beehive falls short in the modern era.

Shortcomings of the Langstroth hive include: Poor ventilation. Complete lack of R-value. Ventilation and Humidity control. Complete lack of defense against ants, wax moths, hive beetles, bears and rodents, and weather.
Bees need a better home, and they are telling us this when they create massive colonies inside floors, walls and ceilings of human homes!

It’s 2024, and we at Bee Fortress USA believe that times, techniques and technology have changed, and so should the homes we design and construct for honey bees.

It wasn’t until humans perfected their own homes that they were finally able to overcome so many dreaded diseases of their past. Electrification of human homes provided the comforts of central heating, air conditioning and ventilation. Modern homes are a dream come true for humans. And as it turns out, honey bees know that human homes are better than the hives humans make for them, yet we remove bees for our human homes and put them back in a hive design that they escaped from.

ISSUE 3: WEATHER

Weather is a Major Bee Killer.

The Fortress Beehive protects its colony against most weather conditions that Mother Nature can deliver! A Langstroth hive is practically defenseless against heat, cold, rain, snow and wind. These silly hive wraps and burlap are not up-to-date technologies for protecting bees.
In 2024 the Fortress Hive Jacket, an R40 insulation solution that is easy to install and is virtually weather-proof, will become available for the Fortress and Langstroth beehives!

My first colony of Italian honey bees perished when the temperature in the last week of December went from the 50s and 60s to fifteen degrees below zero. I drove past the field that my single Langstroth bee hive was situated in. I knew the colony was dead. How could any colony possibly resist the deadly effects of such weather in such a flimsy, uninsulated 3/4″ pine box?

Sure enough, I opened the ¾” pine box stack and the bees were frozen solid there in their bee coffin.

An Indoor Climate Control expert, I knew that I could design a new beehive, at least, a shelter for a beehive. A successful inventor of heating systems components, I set out to create better homes for my honey bees. Five years later, the result of my perspiration and inspiration is the Fortress Beehive.

2023 Fortress Beehive Prototype

Solar-Powered Heating & Ventilation

The Fortress Beehive is electrically heated by either utility power, or solar. In early 2024 the production model will become available.

ISSUE 4: Electro Magnetic Radiation

The Fortress Beehive is Electro Magnetic Radiation-resistant, and we endeavor to make it EMR-proof.

Is Colony Collapse Disorder nothing more than errant dirty electrical frequencies, known as Electro-Magnetic Radiation?
Everyone should read The Invisible Rainbow, by Arthur Firstenberg.
There are numerous studies that show how toxic EMR is to honey bees and all life, in general. And see this.
Many opine EMR frequencies are driving honey bees to abscond from their home. Is this Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD?
I have personally witnessed beehives full of honey, but no live or dead bees in the hive. They absconded and left pounds of honey behind.
Numerous studies show that 80% of insect populations have disappeared. Native bees and honeybees are also affected, and many believe this is due to the saturation of cell towers that now surround all living things.
Honest investigation needs to be done by the beekeeping industry, otherwise, there won’t be a honey industry!
Please, do your own research, as we research how to make the Fortress Beehive EMR-proof.

ISSUE 5: BEARS

No More Death by Bears!

The Fortress Beehive is absolutely bear-proof!

With one swipe of its mighty paw, a bear can disassemble a Langstroth beehive and disorient its colony. Of course, the queen can be killed during a bear attack.

Bears are beautiful creatures, as are honey bees, and they should be treated with equal respect.

This is why I developed the Fortress Beehive to be impenetrable by bears, so they just give up. Electric fences are not 100% effective at keeping bears from accessing an apiary, and they inflict pain on hungry bears.

Langstroth beehives are veritable bee buffets for bears.

No bear species, not even thousand-pound grizzly bears can get into a Fortress Beehive! 

1/8″ corrosion-proof stainless-steel ensures that no bear can ever penetrate a Fortress Beehive!

ISSUE 6: Theft

The Langstroth hive is easily stolen.

There are numerous products that allow a beekeeper to track down their missing beehive, but there is no product that prevents a hive from being stolen.
Our Fortress Beehive is the only thief-resistant beehive on the market!

Theft of Langstroth hives is quite easy, which is why they are on the rise.
The Fortress Beehive can’t be easily stolen. Yes, if there is a will there is a way. But there is no easy way to steal a Fortress Beehive, since it weighs nearly 500-pounds empty and is comprised of 100% stainless steel. The Fortress Beehive is locked with up to four hidden-shackle padlocks.
A locksmith can definitely pick locks, then tear down the hive, but he better be a beekeeper too, or accompany a beekeeper who is dressed for the occasion.
While “if there is the will, there is a way” is a true statement, the Fortress Beehive is the only production hive with security incorporated into the hive design, to deter would-be thieves and vandals.

From the blog

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