|Rescuing a Colony|
|Top Bar Hives|
|Save the Bees|
The first job a beekeeper has is to build a good beehive. In the United States the standard hive is sometimes called a Langstroth hive. Most beekeepers build a 9 5/8" deep hive body for the brood chamber. Above that will go another deep if it is a very large colony or 6 5/8" super. It is called a "super" because it goes over the bottom box (superimposed, in other words). This super is where the bees will put the excess honey. You don't have to have a stack of lumber and a saw to build these boxes because they come pre-cut and drilled. It is just like putting a very easy puzzle together! The bottom boards and tops come already made. I highly recommend that you purchase or build a screened bottom board with a monitoring tray. These are very useful in controlling mites and ventilating the hive. You have two choices for the top of your hive. You can buy a two-part top called a telescoping cover with an inner cover or a one piece top called a migratory top. The migratory top is what beekeepers use when they are moving their hives from one location to another for pollinating various crops. You will also have to assemble frames for these boxes or buy pre-assembled frames. The frame pieces do come pre-cut. Pre-assembled frames are the easiest to deal with for beginners but our 4-H children quickly learned how to build their own and saved money!
Mann Lake Ltd. is one source of beekeeping supplies. Their web site is www.mannlakeltd.com Another supply site is www.GloryBeeFoods.com GloryBee Foods, Inc. also sells soap, candle and candy making supplies to help you use the by-products of the hive. The Dadant & Sons company a wide range of products including good books. Their web site is www.dadant.com Brushy Mountain Bee Farm has a good catalog, too. Contact them at www.brushymountainbeefarm.com.Send for these companies' catalogs to familiarize yourself with all the equipment a beekeeper might buy.
Sometimes people will donate used equipment to the children. The only problem with that is knowing there never was American Foul Brood in the hives. Have an experienced beekeeper evaluate any used equipment first.
Things to Remember about a Bee Hive:
|4-H children learning to build frames using a jig that holds ten at a time. This speeds up the work!||Griffin made his first hive a five-frame nuc using plans his father found on beesource.com/plans||Katie and Kendall have decorated their first hive. They just added the second brood box because the colony was growing.|
|First step is to put side grommets in the holes. The second step in building frames is glue the joints then nail parts together.||This is the screened bottom board we prefer to use. The board and molded tray were also designed by Serge Labesque . A plain sheet of thin plywood will also work as a monitoring board in place of the molded tray.The main advantage to this bottom board is that the monitoring tray slides out the rear of the hive so checking the board does not disturb the hive.||Serge Labesque has shown us that a hive does not have to be painted completely. Painting the joints protects them. This hive also has a feeding tray above the 2 brood chambers.|
|This hive is being placed on coffee cans that are placed in pie pans. The pie pans will be filled with old oil or sprayed with a orange based cleaner that repels ants to keep ants from climbing into the beehive.The cans keep the hive high off the ground so it will stay dry and last longer.|
Cleaning old frames in front of the fire was a good task to do in the winter when we could not look at the bee hives.Phoebe is cleaning the grooves of the old frame.
Arianna is going to clean this hive body up before she will use it for her next colony.
Visiting the Wallenstein's Lavender Bee Farm and actually seeing and holding a top bar hive frame was a great experience.
In 4-H the children learn to teach other children about their projects. Katie and Kendall helped at the Ag Day telling school children what was happening in the observation hive.
Garret, Kyle and Jessie are putting on the bottoms of the nucs.
Megan and Jewel are almost finished. They have the air holes drilled in the bottom of this nuc.
Aspen was fascinated to hold this queen that was found in a dying colony.
The children were able to pass the queen around.
Phoebe put a dab of honey on her finger to hold the interest of the queen. This worked very well!
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The frames in the hive fit close enough together that the bees will not want to make comb between them.This is what we call "bee space". You can see how they have enough room to go down. The bits of comb they put on the top bars we call burr comb. Beekeepers puff smoke on the bees so they run downwards and then scrape off the burr comb with the hive tool without hurting the bees. This comb can
be collected to melt down later.
Rescuing a Hive
Top Bar Hives
Save the Bees
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