Note to self... there's a reason why beekeepers put their hives on taller stands... and I've learnt the hard way! Yes, when it comes to lifting (or hefting as it's called in the beekeeping fraternity) heavy boxes full of honey (which can weigh around 30lb plus the weight of the box), it's a lot easier to lift them off a beehive standing firmly upright than bend over and lift upwards. Even worse, kneeling down so you're level with the brood box and trying to inspect! OK, lesson learnt so it's time to do something about it by making a sturdy frame for Lizzie and her girls in their beehive to sit proud of the ground. I'm also thinking that by raising their beehive, it will also add a better flow of ventilation through the hive.
Earlier in the week I dropped into our local DIY merchants with my shopping list:
2 sturdy fence posts (1.8 metre in length)
1 sturdy fence post (2.1 metre in length)
8 metal corner plates
8 metal flat plates
1 box of wood screws
12 long nails
4 ring plates (to secure hive)
8 breeze blocks (from recycling centre)
The 1.8 metre length fence posts were roughly 9 cm square in width which I figured would be ideal in strength to sit underneath two hives and be supported by a stack of breeze blocks at either end. They were also long enough in length to give me enough space to work between two hives (optimistically looking at splitting the colony next year). The gap between them both would be around 90 cm which is ample to prevent drifting of bees from one beehive into another.
With the 2.1 metre fence post I grabbed the saw and cut 5 lengths of wood 41 cm long so that by adding that measurement to the width of the two fence posts running the other way, it all added up to be the same width as a National beehive. With everything ready, I added a couple of coats of wood stainer before leaving to dry.
Now it was very interesting at this point because I had a regular visitor flying over to check what I was up to. A honey bee had taken it upon herself to inspect the quality of the workmanship at very close quarters and to give me a flypast right up close too on her way backwards and forwards to see how it was coming along. Normally I'm suited and booted when inspecting the girls, but I suddenly felt very vulnerable. It's a time to stay calm and conquer any fears you have... so I carried on and stayed as calm as I could, although I must confess there were times when I felt like running away. But me and that little honey bee came to an understanding - she just looked, I just painted.
This weekend I finished putting the framework of the stand together and hopefully it will make a welcome new addition to the apiary corner of the garden - and make inspecting Lizzie and her girls a lot easier on my back!
The image used has been published under the terms of a Creative Commons License and is attributed to Honey Bee.