My daughter, 9, has decided to do a 4H directed study in beekeeping. We have a rather unique situation, and I gather that beekeeping is much like child-rearing... there is no one right way to do it. So, I want to offer our situation and get some input - before we buy lumber! We live in a research forest in Northern BC, and have visitors (researchers/students/recreational) out at our camp regularly. We also have lots of bears and other critters.
We have a small island 550 meters offshore, and I would like to put the hive(s) there. Wind is minimal, south-facing shore of island faces our cabin, lots of trees on the north side. This keeps the bees away from human interference, most animal interference, and allows my daughter to obsess over them through binoculars. It is a five-minute kayak ride out, easy to access and we can intervene quickly if need be. We are still planning an electric fence, as moose sometimes swim out to birth. I imagine that a bear could easily cross, if properly motivated. There is not enough forage on the island alone, so the bees will also have to cross.
We are planning on a Warre-ish sized hive for weight and portability issues (remember, 9 years old, kayak, and a small mom). I like the top entrance idea, as we do have otters resident on island, and other mesocarnivores visiting. Is that wierd? A top-entrance on a Warre-ish hive? Finally, we are thinking top bars over frames. This is for fun and education. Max expectations: enough honey for the bees and us, beeswax for crafts. We are going chem free - kids and chems don't mix. If they are not healthy, I'll let them die (bees, not kids).
Any direction is appreciated - just please keep our circumstances in mind. Specific questions - screened bottom board needed? Bottom drilled hole(s) for housekeeping/drones? is a simple entrance feeder good enough? how do you mix a top-entrance w/a quilt? concerns about island location?
I thought the sow/piglet moms had it tough...