Category Archives: Hive Equipment

How to Assemble a New Hive Body

As a kid I always called them ‘bee boxes’ but the industry refers to them as a ‘hive body’ or ‘super’.  I recently purchased some new hive bodies to assemble from a local supplier.  Some of my equipment is old and wearing out. Before I sort through my dead hives each winter, I like to have some new boxes to switch out. This was a fun project I was able to do in my garage with my older children where they got lots of practice pounding in nails. Below are instructions of how I build hive bodies.

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2014 Bee Season Goals

Each year as spring approaches I reflect on my strategies of how best to run my beekeeping business. I look at what went well the previous year as well as what improvements that could be made. Below is a list of my 2014 goals.

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Cleaning and Sorting Dead Out Hives

Sorting out equipment from dead hives is a necessary evil for a beekeeper – one of my least favorite tasks. Most of your equipment can be reused and will save you time and money as you prepare the equipment for the upcoming spring spits or package hives you will be adding to your operation. Below are a few guidelines I have used over the years which I’ve found very helpful.

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Comb Rotation

In recent years there has been a growing concern about harmful chemical residues finding there way into the wax and pollen in the hive.  Beehives are exposed to these chemicals by many past and present treatments for varroa mites, as well as the bees returning to the hive carrying pollen laced with pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.  It’s not known how long this contamination will last in the frames and to what extent it hinders the health of the bees.   Many beekeepers are adopting the practice of yearly comb rotation, thus gradually removing the contaminated frames from the hive.

One recent survey, however, has shown that being too aggressive with comb rotation can increase the chances of winter loss by as much as ten percent.

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Pulling Honey with Fume Boards

I have heard several different terms over the years such as “jerking honey” and “robbing the honey”. Call it what you will, pulling honey is the most labor intensive work you will do as a beekeeper. I know that some natural beekeepers are against the use of fume boards, but they are one of the most time effective methods of removing the bees from the honey super.

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Battle of the Supers: Mediums vs Deeps

I once heard it called “the old man’s super”.  When I first saw one, I thought it looked to small to hold any significant amount of honey.  You’d have to stack so many of these on top of the hive to give the bees enough room.  Yes, I am speaking of the medium honey super.  Fifteen years ago we decided to start using these smaller boxes in our family bee business and soon discovered why mediums are far superior to using deeps as honey supers.

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