At LCBA's February 2014 hive assembling workshop, 23 new beekeepers, assisted by 7 mentors, braved snow & ice to put together hives for this season's bees. Our March 2014 apprentice beekeeping classes wanted a crack at doing this too, so we held another workshop on April 5. Thanks to LCBA Past President Bob Harris for hosting both events!
Beekeepers need these hive components to provide a home for a bee colony:
(1) 2 deep hive boxes (also called hive bodies or supers): assembled, these measure 9.75 inches deep, 16.75 inches wide, & 19 & 7/8 inches long.
Those who want to avoid lifting heavy hive boxes can substitute 3 medium boxes (also called western supers): assembled, these measure 6.75 inches deep, but otherwise have the same proportions as the deep boxes.
(2) 2 supers for honey: most beekeepers use western supers (see above), though some use shallow supers, which are 5 & 3/8 inches deep.
(3) 10 frames per hive box; 9 frames per honey super. Specify frames for deep or medium proportions.
(4) an inner cover (sits on top of the hive boxes & has a central hole for ventilation & for bees to access top bucket feeders; many beekeepers cut a notch in the rim of the inner cover so that bees have a top exit from the hive).
(5) a telescoping cover (so-called because its ends telescope over the inner cover & top box for secure closure. The telescoping cover can be slid slightly forward to allow greater ventilation or pushed backward to minimize air flow.
(6) a bottom board on which the hive boxes rest (best is one that's screened for ventilation).
To learn more, consult the WSBA Apprentice beekeeping handbook or one f the many reference books for beginning beekeepers (such as Blackiston's "Beekeeping for Dummies" or Delaplane's "First Lessons in Beekeeping").
For places to buy beekeeping equipment, check this website's "Beekeeping Supplies" link.
Above, 3 generations of beekeepers: left, Linda holds telescoping cover; right, daughter Terrie, granddaughter Michaela, & Isa & Sophia, twin granddaughters of 2 of our other workshoppers, display the 2 deep hive bodies, 4 medium hive bodies/supers they assembled at LCBA's April 5 assembly workshop.
Beekeepers brought kits of unassembled woodenware: the smell of clean pine filled our host's barn & shop. Above left, using a staple gun to assemble frames; at right, assembling a deep hive body. Left to right, March LCBA apprentice class students Maureen Harkcom & Satori West, LCBA President Norm Switzler, & Treasurer Jon Wade.
Above, busy frame assembly station! At right, new beekeepers Amie & Patricia glue frame parts.
Above, Norm offers pointers as Amie hammers parts together; below, partially assembled frames await their bottom rails. The holes in the sides of the wood frames can be used to string wires if wax rather than plastic foundation is to be inserted for bees to draw comb.
Below, 2nd year beekeeper Michaela shows Sophia how to press foundation into an assembled frame.
Below, Sophia's grandparents, Linda & Gary, assemble their own frames with pointers from Norm.
Below, Jon & Norm make sure that sides of a telescoping cover is truly squared as Linda looks on.
Below, Jon works on assembling a nuc box: nuc boxes are half the width of a standard deep body & accomodate 5 frames: their smaller size makes them very useful for hiving swarms.
Once the sides are glued and assembled, Jon uses a mallet to be sure all sides' dovetails fit tightly together. Tight construction helps avoid moisture seeping into hive boxes.
Below: Jon thinks outside the hive box...
Below: Norm was here....
Above, tower of supers assembled by the Newton/ Phillips family (see above).
Above, 2nd year beekeeper Michaela shows Sophia how to insert plasticell foundation into a frame. Bees draw comb on the foundation, which is imprinted with raised hexagons to help bees get started.
Below, photos from our February 2014 workshop:
Below, new member Lorna assembles a deep hive body, alternating putting glue into dovetails, then fitting boards together. Deep hive bodies accommodate more bees, brood, & food than medium hive bodies do; however, some beekeepers prefer mediums for their relative ease in lifting. When filled with honey frames, a medium super can weigh from 35 to 45 pounds, whereas a deep can weigh 75 - 80 pounds!
Below, Lorna secures dovetails on a deep hive body with staples.
Below, LCBA President Norm Switzler checks Lorna's good job assembling her first deep:
Below, LCBA mentor Kent Yates helps two new beekeepers with their deep hive body.
Above, medium hive body assembled by LCBA members Sally Weber & Mike Helms, passes inspection; below, busy assembly station:
Below, mentor Steve Howard advises as new beekeepers work on gluing dovetails for frames:
Below, LCBA Mentor Gary Stelzner watches new members Jerry & Taylor assembling frames.
Below, busy frame assembly station:
Below, President Norm discussing frame assembly with new member Cody Warren:
Below, new member Ed Carter works on a deep:
Below, Norm helping Sally square a medium:
Below, new members Linda & Noah display one of their deeps & set of frames:
Above, Lorna looks pleased with her deep hive body; below, Sally seems pretty happy with this medium super. Sally is shifting all her colonies to medium supers: easier on backs & knees than lifting deeps!
Below, at April 5 workshop, host Bob contemplates upgrades to his shop (or perhaps just escapes the cacaphony below):
Above, telescoping covers are a great way to transport baked snacks to workshops!