Frame Feeders Have Arrived

I plan to install these frame feeders as soon as possible. They arrived today from BeeMaid. The feeders have bee ladders: tubes of plastic mesh the bees crawl down as a way of drinking the syrup without drowning in it. The feeders hold 7 litres of syrup and take up the space of two frames in the brood chamber. (7 litres = 1.85 US gallons.)

My Boardman feeders attract ants, wasps and even big ugly slugs. (The Boardman feeders also encourage robbing at times from other bees.) It’s not a problem for the bees in Hive #1 because their numbers are so high, they can take care of themselves. But Hive #2 is weaker and having wasps around probably doesn’t help.

Not having to poke around the hives as much may be another advantage of switching to frame feeders. Hive #1 sucks up about a litre of syrup from the Boardman feeder every three days. If the bees continue at that pace, it could take them up to three weeks to empty 7 litres from the frame feeder, though we’ll likely refill it every two weeks after regular inspections regardless. (UPDATE: The bees drink much faster from the frame feeders. I should have had these things in from the start.)

2-frame frame feeder with bee ladders outside to show how it works. (September 6, 2010.)

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Assembling My First Beehive

It’s November 2018. I’m slowly rewriting this blog and this is the first post from the very beginning that I’ve decided not to delete. The original post from May 2010 was a bunch of photos of me smacking together my first hive with nails and glue. Not much to see, really. Not much to talk about either because most people starting out will buy pre-cut wooden hive components just like I did and simply nail or screw them together. It takes a lot of work to goof it up seeing how there’s only one way the pieces fit together. So I won’t bother with detailed instructions. I’ll briefly touch on hive design instead, explain some confusing terminology and then show how all the hive pieces go together.

New beekeepers have more than a few types of hives to choose from. Some include Warré hives, horizontal top bar hives, vertical Langstroth-type hives and even skeps for those ready to dive off the deep end. But hey, whatever turns your crank. I was initially attracted to the so-called natural approach to beekeeping promoted by Warré and top bar hive beekeepers, but I’m not sure there’s such a thing as natural beekeeping because when you get right down to it, beekeeping by definition is unnatural, just like carrots growing in a row is unnatural. We’re harnessing a force of nature. That doesn’t make it natural. Beekeeping, gardening, all those outdoors things, can create a more personal connection to nature, but I’m wary of calling it natural. In any case, looking back, I’m glad I chose a type of hive that has a good track record in my local climate, which happens to be the totally unnatural Langstroth hive, the most commonly used hive in North America. It looks something like this:

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