Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beginner beekeepers - building frames

We recently got into beekeeping and have been learning as we go along everything involved in caring for these fascinating creatures.  We decided to use Langstroth hives because more beekeepers in our area use them, and we didn't want to stray into something different like Warre or top-bar hives and have no local assistance or support when something went wrong (more about different hive types here).  We are lucky to have a local beekeeping supplier nearby and have bought all the bits and pieces we needed to build hives and frames.  We also bought a whole lot of gear (a ute and trailer load) from a retired beekeeper, so we had lots of old equipment, most of it unidentified and completely new to us!

eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames
Here's our queen bee
Somehow my clever husband has managed to figure out how to build the hives and the frames himself, he can look at a board for threading the wire through the frames and see exactly how it works, while I just see old junk!  This is some photos and explanations of how Pete has been making the frames.  It may not be exactly "right", although it does seem that there are many different ways to make frames and some of it is trial and error to find what will work for us.  If you have any suggestions of better ways to make the frames, please share, but be kind, we are only learning!

Among the old gear was this box, which is used to hold the frames while they are nailed together.  The box holds 10 frames



eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames


eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames

First, Pete punches the pre-drilled holes in each frame.  These are used to hold the wires, which I'll write about in another post.  Then he loads each of these side pieces into the slots in his box.  Two pieces of wood slide into slots in the box to hold these pieces in place.

eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames


eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames


eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames


eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames

Then Pete will put a little PVA glue in each notch and push a horozontal piece into place.  Each frame gets one nail on each side (some people put two nails, maybe we will learn that the hard way if these frames fall apart!).

eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames


eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames


eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames

When all the frames are nailed, he flips over the box and repeats the process on the other side of the frames.

eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames


eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames

Finally, he takes each completed frame out of the box and puts another nail in each end perpendicular to the first.  We store the frames in empty bee boxes, ready to attach the wire and foundation (I'll save that for another post).

eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames


eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames
concentrating


eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames
finished frames

eight acres: Beginner beekeepers - building frames
bored dog - see if they notice the ball when I put it in here....
So what do you think?  Do you keep bees?  How do you make your frames?

6 comments:

  1. My hubby used to keep bees, Liz. Not any more though. Bees are quite fascinating. We are hearing from the lady we get our honey from that the drought is causing a honey shortage and even the supermarket shelves have been a bit sparce where honey is concerned at times. So good to have your own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, its a problem "out west" because they usually get a LOT of honey from yapunyah tree, and its not doing so well in the drought. Our bees are finding plenty of nectar in the trees on our property, so we should get enough for us and a little to share. We don't use much honey anyway! I probably want the beeswax and pollination more than the honey!

      Delete
  2. Interesting. I would like to keep bees one day. Very talented hubby there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, he's very clever :) bees are great, there's so much to learn!

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  3. My late FIL was an apiarist and there were always bees and stuff pertaining to bees around. He used to stop big hives swarming too far by closing a full hive at night then moving the hive 3 feet to the left and placing an empty hive box where the full hive was - then he would open the original hive. 9 times out of 10 the bees would also populate the empty hive riight next to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that is a clever idea, thanks Phil, we need to learn from the beekeeping elders who have figured out these little tricks...

      Delete

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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