The Brothers In Bees Hive Setup
Beehives come in many setups and variations, however, you can expect most of them to consist of a few parts (from top to bottom):
- Outer Cover: galvanized metal on top of the wood to protect the bees from weather and sun.
- Inner Cover: primarily for insulation.
- Hive Bodies (supers): create the "living space" of the bees and hold the frames, in our case 9 for each super. Supers come in 3 typical sizes: Deep, Medium and Shallow. Many keepers have a mix of sizes, however, to keep everything easy and manageable for us, we kept them all Mediums. Within the hive, bees to organize themselves, generally, like the following:
- Honey - is kept in the top supers
- Food - Pollen, water, and bee bread (mixture of pollen and enzymes that act as their protein) is kept towards the middle
- Brood - is kept in the lower supers due to ensure temperature regulation and incubation. This is often where the queen can be found.
- Frames: the blades of substrate (often wax, sometimes plastic or wire foundation) where bees build their honey comb. When you buy honey at a store and it comes with comb, those bees were kept in hives with frames that have no foundation or a few pieces of wire that helps bees start to their comb building.
- Bottom Board with mite screen: the floor of the hive. In our case, we elected for a "mite screen" which is a metal screen that a pest, varroa mites (more on this later), will fall through and not be able to reattach themselves to bees as they walk through the entrance and climb up and past the brood to the upper supers.
- Entrance Reducer: to help regulate the flow of bees into the hive. It can be used to protect a weak colony from "robbing" by restricting entry points or to keep the drafts down in the winter.
- Mouse Guard: help keep mice out - they do some serious damage to hives.
- Hive stand: wooden frame that acts as a ramp and landing strip for the bees as well as keeps the hive supported and away from the ground to reduce rot and nefarious bugs etc
- A note on wood: Pine is the most commonly used for hives as it's cheap and light, Cypress has a sap that prevents mold and repels, then cedar and other woods are used.
We picked up all of our supplies at Forest Hill Woodworking in Lancaster, PA. If you start down this road, like we did, I suggest you go there and ask for Ike. Tell him that Mike & Kyle Maio of Brothers In Bees sent you. He does fine work and is very affordable.