Building and Tracking Bee Equipment

With cold weather bringing a halt to work on the chicken coop, I worked in the shop assembling bee hives until it was finally warm enough to paint them.

Over the weekend, I assembled four deep hive boxes and 30 frames. I also built a spacer with a hive entrance, a bottom board, and a custom lid for a swarm trap. I worked inside as the cold weather dominated our area. Things are warming up and I will revert to working on the chicken coop again. My goal is to have the roof on by the end of the week.

I am having fun building the bee equipment, which surprised me. Of course, when I’m on my one thousandth frame some years from now, I might not feel that way, but I am enjoying it now. There’s something satisfying about working in the shop building something with power tools. I can see why so many retired men become woodworkers, and I think it is at least in part because they finally have time to do the job right.

Can you believe each frame required eight staples and two tiny nails? I was happy to have my pneumatic brad nailer and stapler, which I reviewed just a couple days ago. I even bought a second air hose so I could run both at the same time.

Assembling frames for beehives.
without a jig for use when assembling beehive frames, I use a hive body and a couple of 2x4s for spacers. It works well enough when you are just making a few dozen

To paint the components, I strung a rope between two fence posts and suspended the hive bodies over the rope. (See main photo.) I primed these yesterday and they are ready for their final coat. Once I paint two sides, I rotate them on the rope and paint the other side. I set the bottom boards and other items on the grass to paint them. My bee yard now has white rectangular outlines on it.

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Over Hill and Dale: The Quest for Beekeeping Equipment

We put some miles on the truck and some wind in our hair as we cruised the back roads in search of beekeeping equipment.

Since it was too cold to work outside, my wife and I made the long trip to the bee supply store yesterday. There are only a few in the state, so we had to drive two hours.  On the way home, we picked up supplies for our chick brooder and more bags of soil at Tractor Supply. We made it all the way there without using a single mile of Interstate highway.

The drive took us up and over mountains, all around twisty-turny backcountry roads, and through some pretty valleys where colorful wildflowers and trees were in bloom. We passed cows and horses, goats and sheep, and fields that looked like they were recently plowed. Our ears popped multiple times. It was a pleasant drive.

We even stopped for lunch at an old-fashioned diner. Unfortunately, the food was not as good as I would have hoped. They had “help wanted” signs up, and I’m guessing their best cook is still home collecting unemployment checks.

When we got home, we loaded up the stove and started the fire. The house had dropped to 63 degrees after we didn’t stoke the fire this morning because of our expected absence.

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A New Beekeeper’s Guide to Setting Up Your First Beehive

Beehives in the field
Beehives in the field

If you’ve purchased a basic beekeeper kit or a beginning hive, congratulations!  This article will help you understand how to use and assemble the wooden Langstroth hives, which are the most common hive type in the U.S.

The components of a Langstroth hive should go together in a particular order, but since they are modular, a new beekeeper could conceivably get them out of order.  This guide will help you assembled your hive components in the correct order so that your hive is ready to receive and house bees.

This article is intended for someone who is just starting their beekeeping journey. It is a simple step-by-step guide to setting up your first beehive.

Click #2 below to continue.