Random Medical question

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4
4
Ngaruawahia
Experience
Hobbyist
Hi, long time reader but poor contributor, I am an enthusiastic hobbyist, 9 hives, graft my own queens, produce enough honey for my extended family.
my random question, are there any beekeepers that have an ostomy bag? I am heading down that road due to a medical condition and I am concerned how I will cope with the lifting, especially honey boxes.
just wondered if anyone has any experience with this?
 

yesbut

Staff member
11,939
7,039
Nelson
Experience
Hobbyist
Have'nt had to deal with a bag (yet touch wood) but have an ongoing hatred of heavy boxes. I went to 3/4 years ago, now I'm trialling 6 frame 3/4. Still make you mutter when they're glued together.
 
445
327
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
I think in the initial period you will need assistance with lifting; as postop with any major surgery. Do you belong to a local bee club who could help you? You mention family, can they do the lifting while you do the inspections? Will 9 hives now be too much for you and are things set up in your apiary so you can easily work it? I would also suggest if you currently have the energy, that you have a major declutter of any surplus gear and get the storage shed neat and tidy? Surplus stuff can insidiously creep up on you and become quite an overwhelming problem, particularly if you are also dealing with a health condition. But if the gear is stored orderly, it will make it so much easier for you in the initial postop period, when you can tell your helper/s where precisely everything is and that it is in good order.

I do know of both a commercial operation and semi commercial that beekeep with an ostomy.

Might be a good idea to contact the ostomy society https://ostomy.org.nz/stoma-nurse-contact-details/ You will see that they have nurses in most NZ areas. Your local area ostomy nurse may know of beekeeper with an ostomy, or perhaps put out feelers for someone in their society that does.
 
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4
4
Ngaruawahia
Experience
Hobbyist
Thank you both for the great advice, I was slowly changing all my honey boxes to 3/4 anyway, so will speed up that transition.
I will also reduce my number of hives , and I will try and find a helper for when the time comes, the good news is I may have the surgery soon , so the hives can be wintered down and hopefully by spring I will be well on the way to a full recovery.
again thank you.
 
445
327
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
All the best with your imminent surgery and prognosis. Because your are making plans regarding your hive management, I think this helps well for your bees staying healthy and being your sanity leveller in this journey.
 
445
327
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
I should also have included that sometimes in beekeeping we can do everything text book, but we can't control bad management of beekeepers in the area, particularly in terms of robbing, varroa escalation and AFB. So I would suggest a plan in terms of backup for these situations
 
4
7
Dannevirke
Experience
Beginner
Good morning, like you I also read the threads but seldom comment. I have had to work out the heavy lifting topic as I have had two spinal surgeries. I have three hives, two high FD boxes with 3/4 supers. When I do my inspections I have a spare FD box that I use to put the inspected frames (I tend to look at every frame) into, placed next to the hive until the hive box is empty and then inspect the bottom box. Once finished I build the hive back frame by frame in reverse of how I took it apart. It's a slower method but it works and there is no heavy lifting involved at all. If I have supers on, I carry a spare 3/4 box around with me to do the same. Luckily I only have 3 hives, all placed on a stack of three pallets so there is very little bending involved as I use the empty slot on the pallet to place the box I put the inspected frames in whilst inspecting the hive. It's a convoluted method, but it works for me and may give you some ideas...
I'm not a good writer, so I hope this makes sense.
 
1
3
Nelson
Experience
Hobbyist
Have you thought of trying a bench hive (essentially multiple hive boxes, or even colonies, horizontally rather than in a vertical tower)?
bench hive 1.jpg bench hive 2.jpg
I have thoracic outlet syndrome (a nerve crushing syndrome) which has resulted in pain and atrophy of muscles in my upper arms and hands, loss of function and dexterity in my left thumb and constant 'numbness' in my hands (specifically thumb, index and middle fingers). Coming out of winter last season my right hand, in compensating for the weaknesses of the left, tore the ligament on the inner part of my right thumb which has literally only just become functional again as well (6 months!).
So weight bearing activities are impacted for me too.
With chiropractic treatment this season I have regained some feeling and reduced the strength of numbness but I have struggled with all beekeeping tasks - lifting heavy boxes being a big one! My intention for lifting is there but my strength and grip just can't be trusted right now and dropping a box of bees is not fun for anyone!

This has caused me to investigate strategies to assist my beekeeping which has always been a solitary activity that I have enjoyed in an almost meditative way. One of those ways is to use an empty box to move frames into rather than lift a full box of frames off the hive - it just takes some extra time but does give you opportunity to see your frames on an individual basis more often and keep your boxes/frames propolis free and moveable.
I know a few people who do use 3/4 boxes for everything, not just honey supers, and this does assist in the weight bearing activities - I have yet to need to move to that as I don't have a lot of hives and I am not commercial so I don't have a lot of time pressure in my bee work.
I am very keen on trying a bench hive (not a top bar hive but an actual bench hive with frames just the same as your normal brood boxes).
I have access to one now so will be experimenting with it this coming spring.
The main thing I have learnt overall is not to give up and that you can get things done - just perhaps not in traditional ways (great for creative problem solving!).
I also have to factor in the extra time I might need to get the tasks done and not give myself a hard time about that (the mental load you put on yourself about these kinds of things can be just as stressful as the physical condition itself).
 
8
2
New zealand
Experience
Semi Commercial
Thank you both for the great advice, I was slowly changing all my honey boxes to 3/4 anyway, so will speed up that transition.
I will also reduce my number of hives , and I will try and find a helper for when the time comes, the good news is I may have the surgery soon , so the hives can be wintered down and hopefully by spring I will be well on the way to a full recovery.
again thank you.
3/4 definitly a good option for reducing the load..Another option is to remove a few frames individually to make the box lighter and replace them again once the box is on. Just a thought..?
 
2
1
Philippines
Experience
International
Hi, long time reader but poor contributor, I am an enthusiastic hobbyist, 9 hives, graft my own queens, produce enough honey for my extended family.
my random question, are there any beekeepers that have an ostomy bag? I am heading down that road due to a medical condition and I am concerned how I will cope with the lifting, especially honey boxes.
just wondered if anyone has any experience with this?
Hello,

What you can do is get an empty box and a push cart. Then transfer all frames one by one to the empty box so that you don't need to lift up the whole box with heavy frames.
 
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2
0
Tawa, Wellington
Experience
Hobbyist
Have you thought of trying a bench hive (essentially multiple hive boxes, or even colonies, horizontally rather than in a vertical tower)?
View attachment 1626 View attachment 1627
I have thoracic outlet syndrome (a nerve crushing syndrome) which has resulted in pain and atrophy of muscles in my upper arms and hands, loss of function and dexterity in my left thumb and constant 'numbness' in my hands (specifically thumb, index and middle fingers). Coming out of winter last season my right hand, in compensating for the weaknesses of the left, tore the ligament on the inner part of my right thumb which has literally only just become functional again as well (6 months!).
So weight bearing activities are impacted for me too.
With chiropractic treatment this season I have regained some feeling and reduced the strength of numbness but I have struggled with all beekeeping tasks - lifting heavy boxes being a big one! My intention for lifting is there but my strength and grip just can't be trusted right now and dropping a box of bees is not fun for anyone!

This has caused me to investigate strategies to assist my beekeeping which has always been a solitary activity that I have enjoyed in an almost meditative way. One of those ways is to use an empty box to move frames into rather than lift a full box of frames off the hive - it just takes some extra time but does give you opportunity to see your frames on an individual basis more often and keep your boxes/frames propolis free and moveable.
I know a few people who do use 3/4 boxes for everything, not just honey supers, and this does assist in the weight bearing activities - I have yet to need to move to that as I don't have a lot of hives and I am not commercial so I don't have a lot of time pressure in my bee work.
I am very keen on trying a bench hive (not a top bar hive but an actual bench hive with frames just the same as your normal brood boxes).
I have access to one now so will be experimenting with it this coming spring.
The main thing I have learnt overall is not to give up and that you can get things done - just perhaps not in traditional ways (great for creative problem solving!).
I also have to factor in the extra time I might need to get the tasks done and not give myself a hard time about that (the mental load you put on yourself about these kinds of things can be just as stressful as the physical condition itself).
Hello there, yes, that is actualy me and my hive on the photo on the left. I can say that it does save a lot of back pain and bending over, however, it would be a good idea to start off with normal langstroth hives to start with as they are much easier to split, also if you were going to make your own horizontal hive, it would be a good idea to make sure that it is the same width as two or three langstroth oxes as this will allow you to add supers, I made the mistake of doing a weird dimesion and now I cant add supers, but apart from that, it is much easier to work with, it would be a good idea to make a verticle queen excluder so you can keep the queen in a certain place, but the queen normaly dosent bother to lay on more than 11 frames in my hive.
 


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