Year in Review Part 2: March 2012

Assembling the first hundred frames, building the hive covers, and painting…

Inside a beehive you’ll find bees and wax. In human-managed hives you’ll also find moveable wooden frames holding the wax. The most common style beehive around here is called a Langstroth hive. Moveable frames allow beekeepers to inspect hives, manage disease, and harvest honey without damaging the beeswax.

Why are they white? Beggars can’t be choosers. Some of my first boxes are wild colors because I had several quart cans of colorful paint to finish. For this many hives, odds and ends wouldn’t cut it. A painter friend had extra gallon size cans of primer and paint, so this batch ended up white.
Temperature regulation might be a valid argument here. The bees maintain an average temperature at around 90F inside the hive. With last July’s 100F+ temperatures, I wouldn’t have wanted to be the bee that had to cool off a dark hive in full sun. For winter, I wrapped the hives in black tar paper to take advantage of sunny 15F afternoons.

I use two styles of covers–some have lips on the front and back edge, and others are just a lightweight 16″x20″ sheet of plywood. I prefer the plywood idea, which came along by accident when I received scraps from a construction site. These covers are the same size as the hive and held in place with a rock, while other covers stick out over the edges making for tricky maneuvering when hives end up close together. Turns out migratory beekeepers use them all the time because they can fit 6 hives on a pallet.

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Next up: The Bee Arrival