Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Finally, after much banging of thumbs and cutting of skin, I've completed my first hive. Not perfect by any means, it's a start.

The stand with cedar ramp...
...and Varroa mesh base...
...then brood box...
...queen excluder on top of that...
...then a super...
...or two supers with the crown board above...
...and then the lid with metal top.
I'll probably bolt the stand to a suitably sized slab for stability. Most of the brood and super frames have been made up - then I'll just need some bees!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Between frequent heavy showers yesterday, I managed to get a couple of coats of paint onto the outside of the first completed hive.

Covered in paint afterwards, as usual!
I decided to paint the outside of the brood box, supers and lid with a couple of coats of water based timber paint from Wilkinsons which was much cheaper than the Cuprinol and pretty much the same stuff (£11.00 for 2.5 litres).
This hive is being painted in buttermilk (milky white) and is going to look great (until the weather gets to it after a season or two Ed.)
The general advice is not to paint the insides of the hive in case it affects the bees in some way so I've left that pure timber with no treatment. I'm told that a coat of petroleum jelly on the edges such as tops of brood box's and super's and crown boards etc. will make it easier to prise these bits apart later as the bees won't use propolis on areas treated with this stuff - so I'll do that when I'm ready to set up the hives.
The lid (pictured above) has half-blind box joints on the corners which I've also glued and pinned for strength. I deviated from the plans a bit here and caused a problem for myself. I had a bit of spare timber for the sides which was a bit thicker than the MAFF plans suggested. It has the correct internal dimensions but externally it's a bit bigger. This has meant that the galvanised lid I was going to get for it 'off the shelf' won't fit so I'll have to get one made bespoke (doh, more money! Ed.).
Still, I'm fecking up so you won't have to! More to follow...

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Getting there...

I've been grabbing time here and there to make my first beehive. The workshop is now so full of tools and timber that I have to be ultra careful when moving about (I can see the blue flashing lights already Ed.)
So far I've managed to diligently keep to the MAFF plans I've transferred onto CAD drawings and things are looking o.k.
I've found that by far the best way of making these hives is to batch cut enough pieces to make at least two hives at the same time. It's a bit repetitive cutting these pieces which never seem to end, but whilst the tools are setup to cut this or that it'll save time in the long run. I wanted two hives to start with anyway.
I'll post some pics when I've completed one hive.
In the meantime here's a simple exploded view of the National Hive I modeled up on the Mac. The stand is my own design incorporating a small ramp up to the entrance block. Very basic but it looks like it'll work o.k.

Click on it to get a closer look

So far I've made up a brood box, two supers, a lid, and a stand with bits cut to make up another one of each later. Hopefully I'll get the floor and crown board done this weekend in time for my first colony of bees courtesy of 'G' who's going to show me how to divide a colony up (now that I would like to see! Ed.)

Onward and upward...