Monday, August 5, 2013

Frame Building Today

We are suppose to be getting rain of some sort all this week according to the forecast. They said that Saturday and Sunday as well and although it has been solidly overcast we have only received trace amounts of rain and it is looking like that trend will continue today. Dark clouds, distant thunder and only a mist here and there.

Seems like a good time to get back to work on building bee equipment to me.

Recently I picked up a box of frame parts at an auction for about $12.00. It was a pretty good deal although I do not usually like the wooden frames. Some of them had gotten wet and were suffering from some dry rot but by and large they should mostly be useable. Since I am at a point now that I need to take an inventory to make certain I have enough equipment built for the rest of the Summer build up, Fall honey flow (Which I think is pretty certain to be big this year) and enough other equipment for next Spring's swarms and splits. It is time to get these frames put together and add them to the pool before figuring out what I need to order in.

As I said I normally do not mess with wooden frames. They tend to split and wear more with use than the plastic and unless you use wax sheets they also are not any more attractive to the bees. Since I use plastic foundation in the wood frames typically the savings per frame isn't high enough in my opinion when you include build time but as I said I got these cheap.

Even if you use plastic frames almost exclusively it is still a good idea to keep some of these wooden frames around. They work well when a swarm has been trapped or a trapout has been done to hang the free comb in and add to the new hive you put the bees in.  You can run wires in between the frame supports and just press the comb into the wires which the bees will work to attach to the frame on the edges. It saves them a bunch of extra work and resources. If the comb you remove also has eggs in it already you also avoid killing some young bees.

After the frames are put together it is then time to heat up the wax pot and give each one a good coating of wax. The foundation is reportedly pre-waxed fromt he supplier but the covering is usually so thin it does little good. I like to give them a good thick covering before putting them in to encourage the girls to use em. I find this almost eliminates the bees dislike of plastic.

At this point I need a minimum of 70 more brood frames ready to go to achieve the solid build up I am hoping for on the new hives I have that currently only have one brood chamber running. I am feeding those hives heavily to try and encourage them to be built up to the two brood chamber minimum going into Winter. I have more than enough brood chambers put together and painted just need to fill them out with frames and then start on next year's hoped for growth which will mean building approximately 10 more bottom boards and tops this Winter.

It is important that you always have plenty of equipment ready at hand because you just never know. Bees tend to do things on their own schedules at times especially spitting out swarms. This year I used four full hives worth of equipment in less than three days and the fact that I had a bunch of built out frames left over from last Winter's dead outs gave the new hives a serious boost.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. I learn something interesting every time you post about bees. Cool!

  2. It's nice to have all the honey you want, but you sure work for it.

  3. Hey, go by this website and check out these things this Brit is growing. They look like opium pods to me but they are a kind of zuchini. I wonder if you have ever heard of them. Thought you might be interested.

    1. HF - Ya it is pretty much a solid part time job right now. I am taking a gamble on Winter not killing off any hives. If I can bust out with 10 or more producing hives next year it should pay off admirably.

      As for the courgettes I have heard of them but never grew any. There are a number of squash types I have not experimented with honestly. My first love is heirloom tomatoes every thing else I plant for the bees and to learn and if I get anything great.

      I must say though each year I use a bit more and learn a bit more so when the time comes.....

  4. I found an area that has bee hives. I never noticed them before. Do some keepers move hives around?? I will try and get some photos. I think I may take any photos from in the car. Don't want to piss them off.

    1. Rob - Yes there is a thriving industry off migratory bee hives. Takes a lot of capital to break into it and some trucks though.

      I am thinking about offering some small pollination services next year however.


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