I'm a firm believer in being stocked up myself...If someone took my stockpile away from me, I wouldn't be too happy. With the endless possibilities with honey bees, natives just aren't for me.
Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that native bees are being used in gardens, they are becoming very popular for extra pollination. I recently learnt that a local organic school garden has introduced native bees to their garden. What an excellent opportunity for the students to learn.
Yep, they sting, (I haven't been stung yet, touch wood) but they do much more than that. I'm already gathering honey recipes...and soap recipes and even cosmetic and candle recipes.... It's endless. Even hubby has his eye on some to experiment within his brewing shed.
Building the beehive - Stage 1
I sourced my beehive kit from Chris at Parker Beekeeper Supplies in Dunmore. Chris is a lovely gentleman, full of information and shares what he knows willingly. He's helped me out a few times even over the phone.
He also makes and sells plastic beehives on his property. They are interchangeable with the timber hives too. If you don't have time or don't want to go to the trouble of soaking it yourself you can always invest in the plastic version. But for my first hive, I wanted to learn more, so I chose the timber kit.
Firstly you have to soak all the hive timber in a 1:4 solution of Coppernapthanate and Mineral Turpentine. This is a long soak of usually around 3 to 4 days.
|Flat packed beehive kit after soaking and drying|
|Screw every joint.|
|Assembling the lid of the beehive|
|Painting the beehive. I used two coats.|
Once you have all your frames wired up, then you place a sheet of wax in each frame. Weaving the wax sheet into 2 or more wires helps keep them in place. This wax and wire should be part of your initial kit.
With a battery charger you can also melt (gently) the wax to the wire. This doesn't take much time at all, and be careful you don't melt all the way through the wax, as it will cut it.
Clip one terminal from the battery charger on one end of the wire and quickly but gently strike the other end. This creates the heat needed to embed the wax to the wire. There are electric embedders out there on the market, but they are very expensive.
|Using a battery charger to embed the wax to the wire.|
I've found it handy to number each frame, as you have something to refer to when making notes each time you enter the hive.
Stay tuned for my next post .... Bringing Home the Bees!