Monday, March 15, 2010

Bee season is approaching

Spent most of today cleaning and painting the empty bee equipment for the coming season. Packages are supposed to arrive the first week of april, and I've got 10 of them coming. I'm also preparing extra hives for potential swarms from my hives, or from calls I get from time to time to collect honeybee swarms that are bothering someone.

Every year I retire some of the gear and replace it with new. Since I expect the new gear to have a pretty long life -- 5 to 10 years, I take care when assembling it. I glue and nail all of the corners, and use a framing square to make sure that everything is square and lined up. I wipe off the excess glue as I go.

I use electro-galvanized roofing nails to put the hives together. I probably could use plain metal nails to put it together since I paint the hives, but I've found that the non-galvanized nails produce black stains that appear in the paint, where the galvanized don't. 1.5" galvanized roofing nails are cheaper than hot dipped nails. I chose a roofing nail because beehives are typically made of pine boards, and it's a very soft wood. The big heads on the roofing nails means that they don't pull through the wood very easily. That, plus the glue, makes for a very solid connection.

I only paint the outside of the hive -- the bees will coat the inside with propolis or beeswax.

I paint the hives white because that's the color people expect bee hives to be. Most of my production gets sold to people on the highway, so making the hives white also increases my sales to the people stuck in the traffic jams above my farm.

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