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I'm a newbee and I just finished my backyard apiary. My packages don't arrive until the first week of April but I wanted to share a picture of what I put together. I used free wood pallets to fence in an area that's 24'x24' and then laid down weed fabric over the existing grass, then 4 inches of crushed limestone. My reason for the rock is twofold: To keep grass from growing around the hives so I don’t have to mow by them and also because I hear the Small Hive Beetle larva crawls out of the hive to pupate in the ground. I’m hoping that they don’t find the rocks ideal to do this in and if they really want dirt, they’ll have to crawl at least 10 feet to find it. I also placed both hives in direct sun hoping that this will help too. Also in the picture you can see that I have two large Rubbermaid tubs full of water with rocks in them so the bees can land on them and walk down to the water. I also wanted to thank everyone on BeeSource who have given me such great advice. I’m so excited to be a beekeeper!
Floor Asphalt Grass Chair Table
 

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There was a thread here last month ... somebody down in Florida said their SHB problem dropped about 90% in the apiary that they concreted. Best guess is the larvae can cross concrete, but they're exposed to the sun and predators so it is deadly.

I suspect they could get down thru just gravel, but the weedblock ought to help considerably. I may try that on my apiary. Thanks.
 

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My hives are sitting on a spot very similar but mine is 6" of limestone over a layer of thick matting called "cattle carpet." It has been overgrown by bermuda grass. It stays green from spring green up until the peak of summer then greens back up in the fall until frost. I mowed it a couple times last year. Even when it's hot the brown grass still shades the rocks. One thing to consider is that the temperature may get too hot on those bare rocks.
 
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