We built our first bee hive today using materials sent to us from the Manitoba Honey Cooperative. We followed the photo-illustrated instructions at Bee-and-Beekeeping.com where they show how to put together all the parts of a bee hive from pre-cut pieces. As usual, what looks good on paper is more complicated in real life. We got it done, but the nails were cracking the wood, so we used various screws instead, and we drilled some of our own screw holes, making sure the holes were wide enough to prevent cracking. Unless there’s a really good reason not use screws instead of nails, we’ll be sticking with screws for now on. A powered drill makes it a cinch.
The major problem was that some of the joints didn’t fit perfectly, so we had to force them in place with a hammer, literally splintering the wood off to make them fit. This made gluing the pieces more of a mess, so we didn’t bother with the glue by the time we got to the last honey super. We still need to build the 40 honey comb frames (that’ll be tedious) and we need to paint the outside of the hive with linseed oil (we’ve decided not to use paint because we prefer the natural look of the wood), but otherwise, this is the complete hive:
Now we wait to hear from one of the two bee keepers in Newfoundland who might be able to supply with us with some starter bees in June.
P.S. (Jan. 31/11): We use brass screws now instead of nails, and we use a carpenter’s square to make sure the boxes are more or less square (though it’s never exact).