Bee Fortress Founder, John Rocheleau, became an inventor in 1996 with hand tool designs that made specific tasks in HVAC easier. In just 2-1/2 years, he signed two License Agreements with a market leader in forced hot water heating for his ball valve and bronze and iron flange inventions. These designs gained immediate market acceptance and are companions to most modern-day forced hot water heating circulators in North America, and in commercial applications internationally.
22 years later, John invented his first HVAC-enabled bee hive shelter. 5 more years have passed and John’s best inventions to-date are coming available in 2023.
1-Hour Radio Interview on Inventing
An interview with John Rocheleau, Indoor Climate Control Expert and inventor, on The Exchange program on New Hampshire Public Radio, FM 89.1. Circa 2000.
John's Business Philosophy: sell high-quality products and systems comprised of Excellent Designs and Materials, Function, Form and Value.
John’s Inventions Studio (right) and some of John’s HVAC work (left).
Bee Hive Shelters.
For example, when John’s first bee colony died when it was 15-degrees below zero, he instinctively knew how to solve that problem, a heating problem, and he set out to create his first prototype for an insulated shelter for his Langstroth-type hive.
Proving the concept with his crude black prototype, he set out to create an insulated, yellow Line-X-coated heated and ventilated shelter for his next honey bee colony. And, as expected, this colony flourished as it basked inside this temperature and humidity-controlled shelter, reaching nearly 4X its original population in just six weeks!
John’s third green Line-X-coated heated and ventilated shelter for his next honey bee colony was a great success, like its predecessors, and helped to cultivate a very strong colony in very little time, since he was able to raise the inside temperature to 80 degrees, while he fed the colony fortified liquid feed, triggering the queen to get very busy laying eggs a month early.
John’s fourth shelter was designed with an insulated, aluminum-clad, Line-X-coated, heated and passive-ventilated, outer home for his fourth colony. As expected, this shelter performed like the previous HVAC-enabled shelters, and the bees populated rapidly and got a jump on the season, despite cold weather and much rain.
Following his experience with four shelters, John realized by adapting a Langstroth Hive to his shelters, how he could morph a hive with a shelter and, simultaneously, created a black bear-resistant, insulated, steel hive that was virtually indestructible and also waterproof.
John's Foray into making Bee Hives from Sapele hardwood.
Beyond keeping honey bees from freezing in winter, John’s Indoor Climate Controlled shelters would soon be replaced with bee hive designs, and simpler designs/methods for heating and ventilating bee hives. His colony in Rye, New Hampshire, in 2018, produced 32 Quart-size Mason canning jars, and 20 Pint-and-a-half-size jars of honey. That’s 11.75 gallons, or 141 pounds of honey! From just one massive and productive colony of honey bees, in one forage season.
This was a great leap forward for development of what would eventually become the Bee Fortress Smart Hive.
The predecessor to the "Smart" Honey Bee Hive
In the spring of 2020, John and his long-time friend Jim, built ten Smart Hives. While these homes for Italian bee colonies began their existence on the Seacoast, they then moved to the White Mountain National Forest, where harsher weather and black bears influenced the successive designs.
The "Smart" Bee Hive
Bear-Resistance & Solar-powered Ventilation in 2021
The Vulnerable, Yet Affordable Langstroth Hive as Comparison
Langstroth bee hives are not pretty, and a high wind or a determined bear can easily take them down.
The Smart Hive can accentuate a beautiful building and landscaping, not detract from it. Move the slider in the center.
A Black Bear knocked over the first Smart hive design. Soon, Steel Corner Guards and more ratchet straps Provided greater protection against Black Bear Attacks.
At right is the 2023 Fortress Beehive, which is one of three configurations.
The new Fortress Bee Hives are available for shipping summer of 2023.
Call 800-598-5949 to learn more and how to order a Fortress Beehive.
This hive has reversible Side Shields that are white on one side and black on the other. Or, the Shields can be removed to display the wood boxes. We also supply hardwood boxes made of oak, sapele and black locust.
Black shields are out-facing in winter, and white are out-facing in the summer to moderate heat inside the hive.
The Fortress Beehive is heated and ventilated either with solar power, or line voltage power.
Keep Bee Colonies Safer & Healthier
Keeping honey bees warm and dry in the winter is critical to their survival.
Those who want the highest quality hardwood hive boxes enclosed by 100% stainless steel. Those whose primary concern isn’t price, but want the best-of-the-best.
Those who can’t justify buying The Best of The Best, can have a high quality Fortress hive with thinner stainless steel to fit their use with their own pine boxes.
All Individual Fortress hive components are available as a one-off to fit a Langstroth 10-frame and 8-frame hive.
Quantity price-discounted for those who want more than one Fortress hive, or individual components to fit a Langstroth hive.
Call for pricing and delivery schedule.