It is Thanksgiving and I have most of my beehive woodwork mostly ready. My plan is to put out a single hive early in Spring. Looking at this shot you might wonder why I have so many boxes for just one hive…
The far left stack is a couple of 8 frame deeps that I built from scratch for practice. This was mostly an experiment in woodworking to get an idea of what the cost and effort was in building beehives. I’ll post a blog on that later. The plan is to attach a solid bottom and a plywood top to each of these, attached with lag bolts, and set them out in late march as traps.
The second stack from the left is what I plan to use as my beehive for year one. It has a screened bottom board, two 8 frame deep hive boxes and two medium supers, along with an inner top and the roof type telescoping cover. I have a five frame deep NUC on order for early April that will populate the bottom box of this hive. If the NUC has a lot of bees in it I will add the second deep when I move the colony from the NUC box into the hive. If the NUC is a bit light on bees this addition may have to wait for a couple of weeks to give the bees time to move into their new home. The medium supers (like all of the boxes) have new frames. The bees need to make comb on these frames before they can use them. They will be added to the hive as the supers below them have considerable comb built on them.
My current guidance is that the peak nectar flow in my area happens in April and May. If I can keep the bees alive through the spring they should be able to build out the comb in these without too much suplimental feeding once the two bottom brood boxes are filled out.
Spares and Backups
The smaller box (second to the right) is a five frame NUC hive. My understanding is that these are sometimes needed to handle re-queening or deal with swarming behavior in the main hive. I’m assuming that these will most likely stay in the wax closet in the garage, but if I need a NUC I’ll have one immediately at hand.
The hive to the far right is a complete setup eight frame hive with two deep and two medium supers. This is just contingency space in the event of something unexpected happening (like actually catching a swarm in one of my traps). I’ll probably build solid bottoms and simple plywood tops for the two deeps and put them out as traps in the spring (depends on getting some brood comb to add as bait).
So that’s why I have so much equipment for setting up a single beehive next spring. We’ll see how reality impacts my plans as I move along!