Building a hive stand

I wanted to make a hive stand that would not be easily knocked over and was a bit off the ground to discourage critters.  My dad had quite a bit of scrap lumber around so I figured I could build a good stand quite inexpensively.    I only had to buy 2 8-foot 2×4’s, some nails, some more drywall screws and some paint.   I already had 4 steel fence posts, drywall screws of various lengths, painting supplies and the tools I’d need.  I took a couple of weeks, a few hours at a time to get this done.

2014-05-17-10First I started building a frame.  I used the full length of the 8-foot 2×4’s as the sides.  I cut cross braces to make the width the same as  the bottom board’s length.  I spaced them so there would be places for 3 bottom boards in total with spaces between for a work surface.2014-05-17-12.04

I used 24 spikes and 24 screws to hold the frame together using a square clamp and the bottom board as my guides.  Quick clamps held things together while I first put in the screws going in at a 45 degree angle through the cross pieces into the long sides.  Then I drove in 3” spikes through the sides straight into the cross pieces.

I laid the frame of the stand on the ground in the orientation I wanted.  The front is pointing the direction of a 2×2 I laid pointing South South East as a guide. 2014-05-17 11.50.20

I had a cool app on my phone that helped me orient to the correct heading – it was important to make sure there would be sunlight at first dawn shining directly on the hive.

Using the frame as a guide, I pounded the 4 steel fence posts into the ground.2014-05-17-15.39  They were driven in 4 or 5 feet into the ground with a 3 pound sledge hammer.    Next I used several clamps and some scrap lumber to level the stand – not an easy job to do solo.   I cut 4 blocks out of 2×6 scrap lumber to interface between the wood and metal.  The posts came with pre-drilled holes and the blocks allowed me to use those holes to drive long screws through.   The blocks were screwed to the wood frame too. b2014-05-21-19.592014-05-21-19.59I borrowed dad’s reciprocating saw with a hacksaw blade to cut the posts off even with the top of the frame.

I wanted to make a modular work surface that could change depending on how may hives I had set up.  Luckily dad had given me the wood from what used to be a garden trellis. I clamped 2 8-foot 2×2’s on either side of my stand. Then I  put sections of wood strapping across  between each 2×2. One screw held each end of the strapping in place.   I used my circular saw  and a chalk  line to cut the ends off straight and flush.  Then I used my jigsaw to cut the sections apart by cutting through the 2×2’s.2014-05-22-20.25b2014-05-22-20.25
2014-05-24-20.37The last job was to paint.  I used oil-based rust paint for everything.  The paint is good for wood too and is quite durable.  I’ve been using it to paint my fences for the past few years.  The green I use helps the structures blend into the greenery of the yard.   I used a small sponge roller and a brush plus a spray can of the same paint for the tough-to-reach areas.   2014-05-25-19.13I’m pleased how this project turned out.  I have room for 3 hives but have the stand configured for one hive right now.
2014-05-25-19.15

Mail Call

I ordered some extra supplies that I didn’t get locally from the Bee Maid online store.  They have reasonable prices even when you include shipping.  I used their online shopping cart that worked well and calculated the shipping automatically. They have friendly people to talk to on the phone and they got my order sent out quite quickly.  I did have one item that was not in stock so I’ll get my drone frames from the Bee Store when I get my bees. My order arrived May 14th and I was happy with everything I got.

2014-05-14 18.03.39I got my bee suit for less than half of what it would cost locally.   Compared to the cheap suit I got from China, this one was much more substantial and feels like much better protection.  With the gloves I got earlier and my work boots, I think I’ll do fine.

2014-05-14 18.00.01My daughter was taking pictures for me so I decided to goof around a bit.  First, I learned that the bee suit is very roomy and flexible.  Second, I found out I can’t fly like a bee. Most of all, I learned that I’m out of shape!   After a few dozen jumps on our trampoline, I was totally winded!

2014-05-14 17.38.22Along with the bee suit, I got: a feeder insert, 10 medium plastic frames, a plastic queen excluder, a bee brush, a comb uncapping scratcher, a hive tool, some varroa mite sticky boards and a screen to cover them.  It was all under $200  including tax and shipping.

Some Assembly Required

I had May 9th and 10th off work.  I wanted to get started on building and painting my bee hives.  Working 6 days a week with a few exceptions in May and June is making it hard to find time.  Not to mention the rainy weather.Assembling Super

My first job was to start assembling the hives. The Bee Store provided all the nails I’d need. I hadn’t bought waterproof glue at this point so I hoped just nails would do. My dad got me a cool corner clamp as a Christmas gift years ago – I used it on each corner as I nailed. The result was a nice square box. The hive covers were already assembled. The bottom board went together quite easily with the nails provided.

Two SupersI took a picture with one, then both supers set up with the bottom and covers installed. Next task was to paint.Single Super

As I was doing my research I saw many people used outdoor grade latex paint. I saw some really nice-looking hives that were more like a garden feature. I decided to go that way, making it more attractive if I could.

How To Paint and Stain Your Beehive So It Will Last A Nuclear BombStaining & Weatherproofing English Garden Beehives I came across these videos of staining and then putting on a tough layer of fiberglass resin as a protective coating. I don’t know who came up with the idea first but I thought it was worth a try. Hopefully it will still look good in a few years.

I got the stain and resin at Canadian Tire.  Not really cheap, even though they had the best price I saw around.  applying stainI stained the wood and used some bungee cords to hang the supers as they dried. supers drying

The fiberglass resin was a little hard to work with.  It’s sets up in about 10 minutes. I got some acetone to thin it as needed and to keep the brush from gumming up.

I started a few days before my two days off and I spent a long time putting batch after batch of fiberglass resin on.  By Saturday evening I was satisfied with what I had accomplished.  My friend Scott, who designed this web site, made a large sticker from the logo. After I carefully cut it out I placed it over the hive entrance. I’m very happy with the finished work. 2014-05-11 18.57.13

2014 Beekeeping Season – Getting Started

Flooded road

On Saturday May 3rd I made my first trip to a bee supply store.
A couple of weeks before, I had called the place near Moncton where I thought I was going to buy my supplies and they told me I should have
ordered my bees much earlier, something never mentioned on their web site. They also said they were too busy with people coming to pick up bees for me to visit on Saturday. In a near panic, thinking I’d missed my opportunity to start beekeeping this year, I called the only other place in NB that I knew of, “The Bee Store” in Maugerville. The person who answered the phone was so helpful and put my worries to rest. I put my name in for an order of bees and talked about driving up to get my hives. I wanted to get them assembled and painted before getting the bees.

Flooded road
Hammond River near Darlings Island May 26, 2014

The last Saturday in April was my planned date to drive up to Maugerville. I had called my son Devin who lives nearby in Fredericton to plan a visit with him too. Wendy and I were going to make a day of it: visit Devin and his girlfriend, Kate; then go to the Fredericton Farmer’s Market before stopping at the Bee Store on the way home. Luckily I thought to call ahead. The Bee Store was flooded by the rising St. John River. So, we decided to postpone our trip. We took a little drive around our place. The Hammond River was flooding near our place too. I took a picture of the road to Darlings Island, just up the river, less than a kilometre from our place.

May 3rd arrived and I was keen to go again. Wendy woke up feeling sick. Talking to my son about a visit met with a “meh” kind of response. With that kind of general enthusiasm and since I only had one day off that weekend, I decided to go up and back to the Bee Store in a quick trip. It took about an hour and a bit to get there but it was a beautiful day for a drive.

The Bee Store 3-May-2014
The Bee Store. The little building in the center is the shop and the building off to the right is where stock is stored.
Bee Store GPS view 2014-05-03
The Bee Store. Located in Maugerville NB. Right across the highway from The St. John River.

When I arrived at The Bee Store I was greeted by a very friendly woman. I gathered that she and her family ran the store located on a nice piece of farmland next to the St. John River. I had lots of questions even though I’d been doing quite a bit of research. I wanted to get my basic hive supplies that day. I bought two 10 frame supers, a bottom board, an inner cover and an outer cover to be the main brood chamber. I was going to get plastic frames for the brood chamber but I was told that with the weight of the honey, pollen and brood, the weight can warp the frames. So, I went with wooden frames with plastic foundation coated with beeswax printed in a hex pattern the bees would use as a starter for their comb.

I wanted to support their local business so I got other supplies there, even though they may be a bit cheaper online. I got a smoker and gloves too. It was nice to be able to try the gloves on and get a pair that fit well. We went next door to a storage barn. We went up to the attic where many supplies were stored. She told me they had to move all of their stock upstairs because of the flooding the past few weeks. She picked the supplies as I looked around seeing all the items that I’ve been reading about the past few months. I was in bee-nerd heaven.

Gloves and Smoker
Gloves and Smoker
First 2014 purchase
Wooden-ware for my beehive

When we got back downstairs she proceeded to get me all the items I needed to assemble the hives. She included all the nails I’d need in various sizes as well as frame rests and an entrance reducer. Even though the prices were not the least expensive, all those little things included made up for that. The knowledge I gathered was also valuable. I did pass on the bee suit because it was about twice as much as I had expected to pay. I also wanted a different type of feeder so I decided to get that somewhere else too. Their website does not go into much detail of the items they sell but I found that what they did sell was of good quality. All in all I think I got real value for the money I spent. When I got home I laid all the wooden-ware and other items out to get a picture.

 

Bee Jacket from half way around the world

My daughter introduced me to this web site ( http://www.aliexpress.com/ ) when she was shopping for a prom dress.  I took a chance on a $13.75 jacket including shipping.  It’s crazy that shipping was included.  It would cost that much to have something shipped just across the country.  I’ll see how it compares to the commercial bee gear that I’m ordering soon.

Bee Jacket from ChinaI got if for anyone that wants to watch me do beekeeping and for family or friends that will take pics or video of me.

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Beekeeping-Jacket-and-Veil-Bee-Dress-Smock-Equip-Professinal-Protecting-Suit-Hot-45991/1676426444.html.   It only took a few weeks to arrive. Looks to be worth at least what I paid 🙂

 

Bee’s eye view

This is where I’m thinking of putting my first hive. The bees can fly out South South East and be over the walking line of anyone further down the hill towards the river. Finding fresh water shouldn’t be an issue for them.

Panorama of the our view facing South East
Panorama of the our view facing South

Beekeeping web links I’ve discovered.

Beekeeping Supplies
countryfields.ca Upper Coverdale, New Brunswick
beestore.ca Maugerville, New Brunswick
www.footefamilyfarm.com Woodville, Nova Scotia
www.busybeebeekeepingsupplies.ca Tweed, Ontario
www.beeworks.com Orillia, Ontario
www.betterbees.com Cambridge, Ontario
www.dancingbeehoney.com Port Hope, Ontario
www.propolis-etc.ca Quebec and Ontario locations
www.mannlakeltd.com USA
www.fwjones.com USA
www.beemaidbeestore.com Manitoba Mentioned in article http://mudsongs.org/beekeeping-start-up-costs-2012/

Learning Beekeeping
http://basicbeekeeping.blogspot.ca/2007/09/lesson-one-in-beekeeping-introduction.html Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Other links of interest
 www.nbba.ca NB Beekeepers association
www.nsbeekeepers.ca NS Beekeepers association
stonehavenlife.com
mudsongs.org Newfoundland
www.purepeihoney.com PEI
www.backyardbees.ca BC
www.dominiongrimm.ca Quebec

Sting

wpid-20130825_120603.jpg

We’re out picking blackberries.  I heard some buzzing around  me.  I saw a bee  and  figured she wouldn’t  hurt me.   Then a damn wasp stung me.   Good news is no allergic reaction.