Monday, August 5, 2013
Frame Building Today
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!!!