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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Every year I find my hive stand set-up wanting for one reason or another. Last year I raised my stands a minimum of 18" off the ground and put down black plastic topped with shingles underneath, to prevent overly moist conditions, alleviate back strain and prevent SHB from pupating. I was successful on all accounts there. My stands are simple lumber atop cinder-blocks with lag bolts underneath adjusted on each end to level the stand on my sloping ground (I put a piece of non-slip rubber underneath the lag bolts so they stay put on the cinder blocks). But over the winter one my my cinder-block ends started leaning putting my biggest hive in a potentially precarious situation. I have a small backyard that I wish to maximize the number of hives I can get in it. The spot where I want to keep my bees are on the highpoint that slopes down to the back and to one side.

I've seen apiaries where the hives are simply put on top of old deep boxes. I've seen palettes. And I've seen the typical stand configurations which I've been using for the past few years and found wanting. I did have a major problem with robbing last year, which stopped me from inspecting my hives on 7 occasions last summer, so I am especially wary of how high I have my stands setup currently. Putting the plastic and shingles down worked like a charm on the SHB. What kind of setup do you recommend given my needs and sloping ground? Thank you!
 

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Every year I find my hive stand set-up wanting for one reason or another. Last year I raised my stands a minimum of 18" off the ground and put down black plastic topped with shingles underneath, to prevent overly moist conditions, alleviate back strain and prevent SHB from pupating. I was successful on all accounts there. My stands are simple lumber atop cinder-blocks with lag bolts underneath adjusted on each end to level the stand on my sloping ground (I put a piece of non-slip rubber underneath the lag bolts so they stay put on the cinder blocks). But over the winter one my my cinder-block ends started leaning putting my biggest hive in a potentially precarious situation. I have a small backyard that I wish to maximize the number of hives I can get in it. The spot where I want to keep my bees are on the highpoint that slopes down to the back and to one side.

I've seen apiaries where the hives are simply put on top of old deep boxes. I've seen palettes. And I've seen the typical stand configurations which I've been using for the past few years and found wanting. I did have a major problem with robbing last year, which stopped me from inspecting my hives on 7 occasions last summer, so I am especially wary of how high I have my stands setup currently. Putting the plastic and shingles down worked like a charm on the SHB. What kind of setup do you recommend given my needs and sloping ground? Thank you!
Our clay soil normally does not give that much, but you may need to put some pavers under the sinking block(s) to spread the weight. Are you in Bee School this term?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey there. Nope, not in bee school this term. But after 4 years I'm a believer that blocks will eventually sink one way or another. I do have access to free old, painted fence boards that are black 2-by's. So using Michael Palmer's "use what you've got" motto I'm thinking I should ditch the blocks altogether and somehow utilize the old, free, painted lumber at my fingertips.
 

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Hey there. Nope, not in bee school this term. But after 4 years I'm a believer that blocks will eventually sink one way or another. I do have access to free old, painted fence boards that are black 2-by's. So using Michael Palmer's "use what you've got" motto I'm thinking I should ditch the blocks altogether and somehow utilize the old, free, painted lumber at my fingertips.
Sounds like a good idea to me. If you set the fence posts in concrete you will never have a problem, but just putting them in the ground a couple of feet should be enough. Maybe you can set a bunch of concrete blocks on the stand to let the posts get their settling out of the way before you put hives on it.

There is someone with the last name Davidson in the bee school this term. Maybe I will see you Thursday night.
 

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I use woven polypropylene landscaping fabric (DeWitt WeedBarrier) under my hives for the samem reasons as you. It is water permeable though, so I don't have issues of soil shifting due to oversaturation on the edges.

I set my hive up on pallets topped with a piece of exterior grade plywood.

Under the the pallet(s) - usually piled two high to raise them up to a convenient height for me, and inconvenient height for skunks and possums - I have a variety of concrete blocks and breeze blocks to accomodate the slooping terrain. I shim like crazy to keep it all firm and level and steady. I use a four-foot level to make sure it is flat sideways, back-to-front and diagonally. It always takes more time to do this step than I expect.

I like being able to stand on the plywood platforms, as if I was standing on the ground, from time to time so I make sure it's strong enough for me and my oversized hives at the same time.

I use the voids in the sides of the pallets as convenient cubbyholes for bee-stuff.

However, if I lived where there was the risk of dangerous serpents, I would not do it this way. Harmless milk and water snakes spend the summer lurking under the pallets here. I grew up in tropical South America (where fer-de-lances and other vipers were commonplace) and the snakes under my hives still give me a flash of fear when I see them, even though I know they're safe to be around. I appreciate their efforts at reducing mice and shrews which plague my hives, so we scrape along (semi-)contentedly.

Enj.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the snake warning! It's enough for my wife's patience that I've got honey bees all in the back yard. Adding snakes? Probably wouldn't go over so well. ;)
 

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Every year I find my hive stand set-up wanting for one reason or another. Last year I raised my stands a minimum of 18" off the ground and put down black plastic topped with shingles underneath, to prevent overly moist conditions, alleviate back strain and prevent SHB from pupating. I was successful on all accounts there. My stands are simple lumber atop cinder-blocks with lag bolts underneath adjusted on each end to level the stand on my sloping ground (I put a piece of non-slip rubber underneath the lag bolts so they stay put on the cinder blocks). But over the winter one my my cinder-block ends started leaning putting my biggest hive in a potentially precarious situation. I have a small backyard that I wish to maximize the number of hives I can get in it. The spot where I want to keep my bees are on the highpoint that slopes down to the back and to one side.

I've seen apiaries where the hives are simply put on top of old deep boxes. I've seen palettes. And I've seen the typical stand configurations which I've been using for the past few years and found wanting. I did have a major problem with robbing last year, which stopped me from inspecting my hives on 7 occasions last summer, so I am especially wary of how high I have my stands setup currently. Putting the plastic and shingles down worked like a charm on the SHB. What kind of setup do you recommend given my needs and sloping ground? Thank you!
I put 4 4x4s in the ground 8' apart. cut them off level and add 2X4 crossbars to set the hives on. I put two hives, one on each end and use the middle as a place to set hive bodies and not squash bees. Never had a snake problem and its easy to see under the hives. Great to have a place to set bodies full of bees on frames and not kill a bunch. I also use the middle area for nucs, queen castles and queen banks.
 
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