Building beehives

cleansing flightSMLast week we had a break in the rain and cold, and the bees went out for a little buzz around the hive. You go, little guys! I was busy as well, building hives in anticipation of the arrival of the new bees for the 2014 season. Remember the grant I told you about a few weeks ago, that Emily used to buy the walking tractor? Well, I used a big chunk of mine to by supplies and equipment to set up a dozen new bee colonies, bringing our total to about 20 or so. This is a big step, not just in terms of extra work, but also financially. A package of bees is about $100, and a hive costs about $250 or so once you add in all the extra stuff like honey supers, frame feeders, some sort of stand, and so forth. I am making my hives out of cedar, so they will be a bit more expensive than pine hives, but they will last longer and don’t need to be painted. Since I’m making them in bulk, I’m saving a little bit of money.

building hivesSMOr, rather, trading time for money. Here we see a team of happy volunteers, making brood boxes. We have a station for ripping the cedar and cutting the rabbets for the frames, another for cutting the corners, and one for assembling. In a later step, I used a router to cut the lifting lugs in the sides. When these hives are done, they are going to be totally sweet. Emily gave me some guff about being smart about where I spend my time, and she’s right- there are a lot of things that need my attention right now. So, luckily, there have been offers to help on the beehives.  Also, another timesaver is that I’m going to use plastic frames. They intrigue me, and my friend Mark has had good luck with them in Indiana. This takes out the most time consuming assembly task, which is good when you consider there are 20 frames in a basic hive, and 40 once you get two honey supers on it… so we’re talking about putting together 480 frames. Yikes.

Bees arrive some time in early April, so I have only a week or two to get this finished. Wish me luck!

As an interesting side note, I saw these pictures today (courtesy of Whole Foods) showing what a grocery store might look like if there were no bees to pollinate our crops. This is another reason people should give a darn about pesticides killing bees…


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