Yesterday I successfully installed the bees in their hive! Before I did, though, I needed to do some work on the hive.
Wedge comes out, foundation goes in. Then wedge goes back in.
One of the things that I needed to do was assemble the frames. I got wedge frames, which meant that I needed to break off a piece of the frame, put the foundation in, and nail the piece of wood back on, sandwiching the foundation. While I was able to do this with no issues, it was a bit of a PITA because of how I had to hold the hammer to avoid damaging the foundation.
I got beeswax and wire foundation, which is a lot more brittle than I thought it would be. Several of the foundations broke at the wiring, but I nailed them in anyway. The bees will repair it with their propolis.
While I like the idea of using pure wax, I ordered black plastic frames for my next brood box, which will go on top of the box I have once the queen lays enough brood. One of the advantages of using black plastic is that it’ll be easier to see the eggs in the cells when I go inspect. Also, the plastic is easier to handle.
Prepped frames. You can see where the foundation split (right of middle)
I also needed to paint the outside of the hive, which I did not know about until someone mentioned it in bee class on Thursday night. As the bees came on Saturday, that did not give me much time. Thankfully I had most of my evening free on Friday. Also thankfully I had exterior paint in my basement from Freecycle that I grabbed, just in case. The pretty purple-pink color I wanted to use was dried up, so I settled for a nice medium grey. I used this guide to know what to paint and what not to paint. I also wrote my name, address, and phone number inside the hive box, just in case the hive is ever stolen, which actually happens.
Painting the hives and not the table was a challenge
Once the painting was done, I needed to put the hive in the bee corral. Since hives cannot sit on the ground, I needed something to put under it. In the future, I plan to make a nice wooden stand for it, but for now I went with some bricks that were $0.49 at Home Depot. I got eight bricks total, two for each corner.
I needed to move the hive to a different place in the corral than I originally wanted it because a thick tree root made the ground not level in that spot. So I moved it over a foot or two. I faced the hive entrance towards the fence of the corral because beekeepers should approach the hive from behind and because I read hives should face southward.
The beehive has landed
I probably should have put another coat of paint on the wood, but this should do. When I put my second brood box on, I may paint flowers on it. The paint helps keep the wood in good condition, so I’m glad that someone mentioned something at the meeting!