As homesteaders going on year three, we decided to start our journey as beekeepers.
It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees. Honey bees play a significant role in the pollination of important crops. Besides pollination for our garden and the 4 fruit trees we planted last year, we also wanted bees for the honey and wax.
After some research we found our Bee Hive Kit from a company called WesternBee.com. Their kits are made in the US, sourced from US Forests and they use Ponderosa Pine which is a species of wood that holds up a lot better than most.
Many bee hive kits sold online are not assembled. We recommend buying an unassembled kit. We were able to learn more about the hive and the various parts by assembling it ourselves.
After unboxing our bee kit and finding literally hundreds of nails, plasticell, wood pieces and more, we were a bit overwhelmed, but we did not need to be. Here are some things we learned that can help make assembling your bee hive kit a breeze:
1. Divide and conquer. We assembled our kit on a large table. First we divided all of the like parts into separate groups.
2. Assembly Line. First we decided to focus on just assembling the frames. The frames are comprised of 4 wood pieces, a plasticell sheet and 8 small nails. At first we assembled one at a time, but later found it much quicker to mockup all of the frames at once. As you can see in this image below- we are assembling 15 frames at once time. First we laid down all of the bottom pieces, then we joined the two side pieces and slid in the plasticell sheets and then we attached the top wooden piece above the plasticell. Next we hammered the nails (2 in each corner) to the top, flipped it over and hammered two in each corner of the bottom.
3. Nailing: The majority of the labor was in hammering in all of the small nails. We found that our pneumatic/air trim nailer had nails that were the exact same size as the ones that came with the kit. So we switched over to the air/nailer and that really sped the process up.
4. Double Check Fit- The hive bodies came with finger joints which made for a nice snug fit and predrilled holes for the nails. Before nailing the hive bodies together, be sure they are assembled correctly with a ledge on the top for the top of the frames to rest in as seen in the following picture:
Being new to beekeeping we are joining a local bee club to learn more. We started in the cold of winter because we have a lot to learn before it warms up! Many sites have special offers on bee hive kits this time of year. If you want to learn more about our exact bee hive kit, visit www.westernbee.com.
We plan to share many more blog posts and videos as we take our bee hive kit outside and get our bees.
Kerry W. Mann, Jr. moved to a 20-acre homestead in 2015, where he and his family use modern technology, including YouTube and Instructables.com, to learn new skills and teach homestead projects. Connect with Kerry on his Homestead How YouTube page, Instructables, Pinterest, Facebook, and at My Evergreen Homestead. Read all of Kerry’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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