Saturday, April 30, 2011
In early April we have Colts Foot and some willows blooming, depending on the weather around the middle of April we also have dandelions and our big weeping willow trees in bloom. If nothing else is available bees will try violets and ornamental maples just to name a few. We also have this stuff shown on the left I'm not sure what it is but it will bloom all year.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Underside of the base, base is 354mm x 354mm about 4mm shorter both ways then the boxes, this allows for less water leakage from the boxs above, the landing board is protruding about 20mm with a 120mm x 15mm slot cut above it into the main base board, I placed a matching support board behind the landing board between the side supports, in hopes that the weight of the hive would be more evenly distributed.
Levelling the stand, since I am not using foundation I need the hives as level as possible so here I pre-drilled the legs (I'm using #8 2.5" deck screws) and then clamped all four legs to the stand, then I jimy tap and measure until the stand is level with a flat surface, tighten the clamps, check level again, then drive the screws. The stand is comprised of 8 lengths of raw un-dressed cedar 2x4's measuring 2x 570mm, 2x 280mm, 4x 250mm, for the outer sides, inner supports and legs respectively. Last but not least I will cover building frames from scratch.
Monday, April 25, 2011
The finished product should look something like this. I modified a design I found online, warres original design used an all wood sloped roof. This design incorporates a screened vent for exhausting excess moisture without drilling any complex sloped holes too keep the rain out.
After drilling the slats clamp them to the box and drive screws in, I use deck screws #8 1-3/4" they are cheaper and hold better in soft woods. Do NOT glue boards down just use screws.
All the wooden parts are assembled.
The reason I didn't use glue is so I can run some window screening under and around the slats like so. Just back up the screws for the main two slats and remove the small middle one. This is to screen the space between lid and quilt as well as outside.
Now cut a square of galvanised steel 496mm x 496mm
Clamp and center the sheet of steel.
Once the sheet is centered tighten clamps and bend one side down. Now measure and punch a hole in the center with a nail then drive a screw through this hole I used #8 5/8 dome head screws for this. Starting from the center of the lid work your way towards the ends screwing down the steel.
When you get to a corner cut so that you can fold one side over the other to make a nice safe corner. After this is done you are finished your new lid! Next time I will show you how to build the base and stand.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Warre hive quilt box, 351mm x 351mm x 140mm slightly smaller then the box sizes, remember to account for the thickness of the wood you are using by making the inside walls shorter for thicker stock or longer for thinner stock.
Warre hive quilts use two pieces of cloth one is attached to the quilt bottom the other is loose covering the top bars, I put a screen between them to prevent the bees from chewing all the way through into the sawdust. I inset the screen to get the quilt as close to flush with the top box as possible.
The second cloth is loosely tacked inside to prevent the sawdust from escaping.
Filled with sawdust, needs topping up, I might need to mix with cedar shavings, this is just from cutting the wood for this hive, nothing is wasted!
Next time I will show the construction of the lid for this hive. Happy Easter everyone!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
A basket of designs, screws, pencils and some safety gear.
Gluing up boards for the five boxes in my hive unit.
Boards all cut out, 10x (312mm x 306mm), 10x (356mmx306mm)
Setting up the saw for cutting 10mmx10mm rabbets.
Cutting the rabbets, watch the digits, remember to count them before and after each cut!
All the rabbets cut.
All five boxs, my design is closer to a box then warres original is, I added 46mm to the original hight.
Next time I will show you the construction of the base and stand, and later the quilt and outer cover and frames (I use frames but NOT foundation, warre used both frames and just top bars, either are possible without modifying the box). The handles are just 312mm x 32mm blocks glued and screwed onto the box sides.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I closed up the entrances a bit from 2 holes to one since the bees were in robbing mode.
I also did a bit of spring cleaning, cleaned out hive #12 (this hive starved) whats nice though is they used everything, no honey was left some was probably robed, I'm sure they didn't have time to get it all. This hive was a late starter I probably should have fed it more for longer, anyway they made it through 3/4 of the winter before dying. I'm impressed with this since they only had about 1/2 of the hive full of comb, I'm not sure what their stores looked like before, from what I saw they didn't look like much. There was almost no mould, the hive was almost dry. They seem to get by with much less stored up then I previously thought, I don't know if this is because of the shape of the hive or because of the bees themselves, they are feral bees after all on their own comb sizes.
I was told by several people that my hives wouldn't make it through the winter for several reasons one was that they were on legs, this is obviously not true. I did however make some hive wraps for all my hives, when I removed one wrap to feed a weak hive I noticed I could feel the clusters heat coming through the top bars.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I am still reworking warre hive designs, its fairly straight forward, I like to think about all the possible problems with a design before building the first prototype. I read most of the book warre published "Beekeeping For All" you can download it for free from http://warre.biobees.com in his book he talks about different hive designs of the day, he ran 350 hives and dozens of different designs, his observations on colony success are invaluable, some of the entomological observations are wrong though.
Thats the beauty of proper science, even if the person preforming and recording experiments has incorrect ideas about things their data is still accurate. One example is as follows, warre believes that wax is bee sweat and since comb building was highest during a heavy flow workers were producing more wax because of their hard labour.
We know that wax is produced by pre-foraging age bees from special glands on their abdomens (I have seen this myself) and if you have a screened bottom board you will notice little flakes of wax looking almost like dandruff. Foraging age bees have scaled over their wax glands, at any rate this does not diminish warre's finding on hive design since they are supported by recorded proofs and not opinions.
I recently came up with a neet idea to hold starter strips, very simple and fast to build, using cereal box cardboard dipped in wax. To fix a 1cm starter strip onto a top bar I cut a single saw kref along the length then cut a 16ga wire (you can buy 1/4mile lengths for electric fencing) to the length of your starter strip, place the strip (un-waxed side down) into the saw kref then press the wire into the kref next to the strip, I was amazed that this system held so well, you really have to tug on the strip to remove it. This makes inserting the strips easy and reduces wax usage.
I assemble the frames with butt joints glue and 1" 18ga brad nails a 1cm x 22cm wide space is cut on each end of the top bar.
Then the 6mm (1/4") side of the frame is fixed to this with 2 nails though the side into the top bar, then I put 2 nails through the top bar into the end grain of the side, this prevents wobbling since the nails are from the side and the top.
Then I attach the bottom of the frame between the walls.
This turns into a very sturdy frame with minimal machining I only used a table saw. I use 22mm wide frames without spacing shoulders, I might install nails to space frames apart (drive a nail into the side of a top bar with 10mm protruding thus preventing them from moving closer to each other.
The last picture is of my home built silent fridge compressor driven compressor system, runs 80-110 psi no problem, cfm is a bit low but I can live with that it is as silent as any fridge.
I will post more design steps to my new hive when I have them.