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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So two weeks ago marked the start of my second year of beekeeping :D Last year I went with a top bar trapezoid design, and in hindsight maybe that want the best option. This year however, I'm still going horizontal but this time using regular lang frames. I didn't have the hive finished yet but was able to throw an 8 framer together (Which I will likely keep using as an 8 frame nuc) and house them in that. This hive was started with two empty combs (should have only put in one, oh well) and a 3# package. No pics of the install, cause lets face it, I'm busy working with venomous insects. Due to the fact that we had some really cold weather the day and day after pickup, They had to sit in the package for a few days. On Monday they were installed, and within 2 days had already added several pounds in the form of nectar. I've christened her Queen Abelia

Since I dont have a router or table saw, I'm using 1x2 furring strips as a false rabbet joint. It seems to work, however in the future I will likely use 1x12s and rip down the needed stips and boards.

Abelia within a couple of days is already bringing in pollen.

Lots of activity out front.

Abelia will not stay in that hive and will eventually be moved to a 29 frame long lang, but I'm letting her build up first because she wont stay in that location and when I move her, I want to mitigate any losses suffered. The box will eventually be painted and the accidental entrance closed off, it will be used as a nuc box and have on hand incase I need to split because I didnt pay attention to the build up.

On to Queen Brianna. Brianna is another 3# package that is awaiting her hive to be finished. Actually it pretty much is, just needs a few things cut, follower board and a couple covers.

In package awaiting her installation later this evening

The pieces of the hive have been cut from a 4x8 sheet of plywood using a circular saw.

This is one of the dangers of trying to cut 4ft boards with a rip fence that the shoe runs on. The blade didnt go through all the way and the weight caused some of the grain to pull away from the sheet. Lesson learned. Using the stand to drill and screw the boards together, along with gluing it together.

First corner screws are installed. At this point I didnt have my countersink bit and this wasnt too good with plywood. Even regular pine it can cause splitting. Use a countersink bit.

Second test fit. I had to unscrew and shave down the two end pieces because it wouldnt hold the frames. This time it did.

The rest of the frames and a bottom installed. alot of it is finished, jut need paint and two side rails so the hive can be closed off.

Middle hole for when used in the 3 hive configuration. Will fit 3, 9 frame nucs. When in dual or single hive configuration the hole will be closed off. I just have a few more cuts to make and she is pretty much ready.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Decided to go ahead and take the camera out to Abelia and take some pics. Its difficult when you are by your self.

Yes, thats alot of new wax.

Frame #6, A few days ago it was just a dozen cells in total. Oh, and eggs and nectar in all of them.

Capped honey and brood, on new wax? yes please.

As you can see we have larva in various stages of development. Bekeeping can be so cool.

A partial comb from last years TBH, Bees already attached it to the top in under a week. And is that? Yes I think it is.

So her Highness has decided to grace the camera :D The reason she's on capped brood is cause she has no where to lay :( . Any cell built seems to be immediatly filled with nectar or has an egg layed in it (see previous picture)

And one of the foragers back, resting before heading int to deposit her load and head back out.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
ROFL :lpf: To solve pictures not loading, right click and click view image. I know I've had to do that on many occasions with Dial-up Internet.

Installation proceeded at about 3PM this afternoon of Queen Brianna. I took the frame with the small wax with eggs and nectar from Abelia to give Queen Brianna something of an anchor. It seems to be holding as I saw orientation flights at about 5. I think about 2 weeks from now I will be building the box for Abelia. I think this time however I will opt for an 24 frame with medium supers so that when it comes time to split for nucs, I can have 3, 8 frame nucs instead of 3, 9 frames. I'm also thinking of using 1x10s or ripped down 1x12s for the sides and thinner ply for the bottom.

Oh, and starting with this post, I'll explain the pic first then show.

Today was Briannas day to be let out, and of course things wernt finished. Namely, a follower board. 1x10 provides the back while a 1x2 makes the top. Also, needs a 1/2" strip up top which is gluing so bees wont cross to the other side. Fitting was a royal PITA because of pinched sides. I finally resorted to trimming it with the saw, seemed to work a lot better once I trimmed it down (no pics of that, sorry)

Getting ready for the install, yay! This time, try not to drop the queen cage, oh yeah, I totally did that with Abelia.

Shim time. Need to get it level so that I'm not having to get comb to go down straight. It may not be perfect, but its not totally off. Yes, I really should look at getting a different camera. I'm borrowing it from step-mom, and free, so there.

That... is alot of bees. Good thing I'm wearing a jacket.

Not sure how well you can see this, but lots of bees flying around trying to figure out what is going on.

That fanning action

Finally able to put her roof on. Quite a bit of orientation flights going on right now so hopefully thats a good sign that they wont abscond on me. Though me stacking the deck probably helps too.


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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
UPDATE!! Yes, still alive... Maybe.

Some interesting things happened over the past month and you all get to see.

Item #1, Queen Brianna flew off, never to return. Bees stayed in hive, she left, never came back. Introduced a new queen, I assume the workers killed her because of a laying worker that I didnt catch. They did however raise 6 QC's from a frame of brood that was taken from Queen Abelia. All hail Queen Abelia II. I have some pictures of her, but I dunno if shes as good as the original Abelia though. Her patter is spotty and unsure if this is because of mites, bad/unfavorable comb or if its a problem with the queen herself. Abelia was a tad spotty when she first started out but in fresh comb and the old comb after a couple brood cycles, its pretty darn solid.

Item #2, New 3# package installed in the 4 footer. I am dubbing her Queen Celestine. Complications however quickly ensued when I went to check on them after their first week. They built comb all right, just cross combed it across the frames >.< . To make matters worse its so soft and not enough of it that its impossible to correct without doing a massive amount of damage, possibly killing the queen and setting them back weeks. I'm unwilling to do anything until they get more to where I can treat this like a cutout and just rubber-band comb into frames.

Item #3, After trying to shake bees from a full frame of brood so I could give to brood to the struggling Abelia II, the comb broke right along the brood at the bottom and the honey up top. Unsure why, but for the most part, 100% of the brood was on another section of frame. This led to the decision to wire up frames so to limit this happening again, especially on new comb. Old comb is pretty solid, new is not. However this is having some teething issues. The bee store was out of wire, 26 gauge from the looks of it. Went to Lowes, all they had was 24 gauge, thought it would work well enough... um nope. Turns out that the bees REALLY dislike wire that thick and any frames that have actual wire will be pulled come the start of next year. After doing some searching online however, It was suggested to use fishing line. 8-20 pound line was suggested as the range to use according to Don (FatBeeMan). I tried it out and sure enough its easier to work with and bees dont seem to be chewing it off like I thought they would. I can even handle frames sideways and no movement. I should have done this from the start.

Item #4, A new 2 footer was built using a 1x12x8 shelving board ($13 for 8 feet), scrap ply from the 4 footer makes the bottom board and a new 2x2 piece of ply made the top. Holds 16 frames or 2 hives. I'm actually going to retire the 4 footer until I have some honey production hives and build an actual roof for them at a later date. I'll also cut a bottom entrance and plug up the middle hole. Main reasons is this hive is REALLY heavy even empty and trying to use a divider board is winding up to be more trouble than its worth. It will be made to look pretty at a later date and used in a garden or something for someone who wants bees in their garden/yard in exchange for a jar or two of honey. Right now all 8 frame nucs will be using my 1S-2-16 design instead of the 1-3-28 design. (1 denotes single hive, S denotes Super, middle number is for 8 frame nucs in a single box, last number is amount of frames that can fit in the box). Queen Abelia was moved into the new box a couple weeks ago and she REALLY needs it. Shes already made 4 new frames of wax, would be 6 but two were moved to Abelia II because of a serious lack of bees from the queen issue. Even after moving two frames of bees and brood, this hive is STILL pretty solid and at levels that mimicked my TBH by the time July rolled around.

Item #5, Abelia II was moved into, oddly enough, Abelia I's old 8 frame hive so I can work Celestine without the divider board issues. The whole 3 nucs in one hive idea just isnt going to work well with that follower board and there are some other complications. Anyways, Abelia II isnt going to need the space for a while which allows me to build a second 1-3-28 hive and a third for that matter for Celestine and however many nucs come mid-july that I make.

Item #6, Right now I'd guess that I should be going to winter with 6 hives, maybe 7, I doubt I'm gonna hit my goal of 8 but thats fine. Even coming out of winter with 4, 8 frame nucs will be a major step up from three packages this year. I'm guessing splits once a month or so might be possible, but to make it to 25 nucs by next winter is quite possible, especially if I can find any 5 frame over-wintered nucs available. In hindsight maybe I should have gone with 2 of those instead of 3 packages but hindsight is 20/20. Now to find over-wintered nucs.... hence why I'm doing this in the first place. Not many sources available.

Item #7, Part of the reason for moving Abelia II is because of what I found at the bottom of her section in the 3-28 hive... wax and debris. I had this problem last year with my TBH, one that the lang never had. Bees dont seem to want to clean house of their wax chips and other debris if the entrance isnt at the bottom. This provides the PERFECT refuge spot for things like wax moths and SHB, which I did find at the bottom of Abelia II but is not seen in Abelia I while she had the bottom entrance, hence part of why the 3-28 hive will be retired untill its fixed and allows for a bottom entrance, inlcuding land a landing board. I KNOW bees don't NEED a landing board, but it does seem to make coming and going far easier on the bees, and hey, a bit of scrap wood, no problem.

So with that out of the way, lets see some pics.

Abelia II in her new home on top of the 4 footer. She doesnt have a bottom board made (will make one soon) so I'm using something as a bottom board until it is made. They oriented to their new box just fine though.

Another shot of the 8 framer. I have brood at all stages and things are progressing. I think shes out of the bad spot and should do fine now.

Capped brood in Abelia II.

This is what I'm talking about when I say spotty brood. I'm unsure whats going on.

Her royal highness. Yes, I know, thats a number of drones. The drones are a direct result from the drone laying issue thats since been resolved when the new queen emerged and took over.

Celestine's progress. Nectar, pollen and brood :D Shes about three weeks in or so, so new bees are just starting to emerge. I suspect I should get at least 2 nucs out of her by mid july.

the 1S-2-16 design. I got the paint from a Re-Store and got it real cheap. I like this color, and I have a lot more of it.

Popping the lid off of Abelia I... wow, thats alot of bees.

And here is the wired frame. Uhhh... yeah. Its quite obvious that the bees aren't taking to this frame all that well, and are avoiding the wire as much as possible. I recently cut out a section of comb from a second frame where the bees built around it instead of incorporating the wire. Still, they seem to like it for honey storage.

mmmm, honey.

a frame of honey thats about 75% honey, with SOME drone brood. This frame is HEAVY, weighs somewhere around 10lbs, maybe more. Either way, I dislike this frame because I'm afraid it will break and cause a mess. But still.... look at all that honey.

This image makes it perfectly clear that the bees have no qualms about fishing line, at all. You can even see larva in cells with fishing line. Oh, and that frame (among others) was built out in about a week. Just incredible. So much for package queens to be pretty terrible.

Closeup of the same frame, really cool to see what the camera sees.

Equally cool shot of the comb

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
More pictures, I hit the 15 picture posting limit, uhhh, oops.

Shot from above. Needless to say I'm getting my $100 out of it.

Another shot with the top off. I'm really liking this design. I'm going to keep using this design for any nucs, may even make a few of them 4 over 4. I doubt this, see item #7.

he entrance, bees fanning cause with the top off the foragers are confused as to where home is now.
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