The Inaugural Beehive

We made the drive to pick up our beehive materials this weekend, and on the entire way home, our car was filled with the scents of freshly cut wood and the subtle smell of beeswax. The smell was certainly inspiring, as we began work on assembling our beehive almost immediately upon arriving home!

To assemble our hive, we selected galvanized nails because the metal would be exposed to the elements. These instructions we had read recommended 7D nails, but they weren’t in stock. Instead, we purchased 6D nails. It was fairly easy to assemble the hive bodies and supers, especially as we worked together. We did use a clamp once or twice to help square up the bodies. I’m not exactly sure how long it took us to assemble the two hive bodies and two supers, but it could not have been more than two hours.

visitingbeeAs we were assembling the bodies, an unexpected visitor buzzed in through the open garage door and settled on the pile of beeswax covered foundation: a local honeybee. It was certainly charming to watch our little visitor climb all over the beeswax and be so wholly absorbed in exploring it. Her presence seemed a benediction of things to come with the hive we were assembling, and I felt pleased to know that the foundation that we would install in the frames was so appealing to her.

The 40 frames also took less than two hours to build—despite other beekeepers lamenting how long it took to build their own frames. One beekeeper had even conceded that she had given up and just bought hers preassembled.Time may have passed more quickly for me than other beekeepers because I listened to my book on tape as I was building the frames! Although these instructions had suggested using nails, we found that using a heavy duty stapler with T50 staples was significantly quicker (and less frustrating). Additionally, my frames did not have a wedge to remove–unless I have screwed up abysmally. I built the frames myself while my husband did laundry (I won on chores!).

The only thing we have left to do is to paint our hives. I chose an oil-based exterior paint that is intended to hold up to significant outdoor exposure. The poor man staffing the paint section was inordinately confused (and quite possibly high) as I had to explain that yes, indeed, I was painting a beehive—for bees. No, not a craft project, a legitimate beehive! Yes, for bees!

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