Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hive Stand

***Continually Updated***
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The first stand came with Mary & Myrina.  It was the one used by the Farmer I bought the hives from.  A rickety thing of unknown age but definitely not new.  It was 6 feet long and made of scrap 1x6's & 2x4's.  It's held together by nails only.  I think it may have been treated but cannot be sure.  It had cross rails for 3 hives close together.  I used it for only 2.  It merely rested on 2 cinder blocks and held the hives 8 inches off the ground

The way it sat on the block caused lots of debris to pile up under a Screened Bottom Board.  Which attracted plenty of ants

It kept the hives off the ground & above the snow.  It was hard to balance on just 2 blocks.  I couldn't quite get a forward lean for the hives.  It did its job but high winds would concern me.  I used it from 2008 to early 2010.
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In Spring of 2010 I bought a package of bees.  This was the impetus to make a new stand & put it in a Sunnier spot.  The new stand would be 8 feet long.  I could fit 4 hives on it max but only have used it for 3.  I used treated 4x4's, 2x6's, & 2x4's to make it.  It held the hives 22 inches of the ground.  Less bending for me & the lawn mower could fit beneath it.  It has 6 legs resting on 12 inch square paving stones.

It has a slight lean forward.  This allows any rain or moisture to flow out the front and not pool inside.  Instead of a furring strip rail it has 2x4's to support the hive sides.  Which are great for the tie-down straps too.  It would have been best to either angle to legs out or footer them in.  The weight, though, is enough to keep this setup from moving.  Unless the Bear shows up, but then all bets are off.  It's held together by 4inch lags & decking screws.  It also has a coat of Cabot stain to ward off the weather.  This stand should last a long time.
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Another decent hive stand is the ubiquitous tree stump.  Easy to find or make.  They can be any size.  If they're hardwood they will last a good long time.  Unfortunately they don't work with Screened Bottom Boards.  The solid surface counters the pass-through benefits of the screen.  Also bugs are a problem here too.  They can too easily walk up the stump and into the hive.

Mary used this stand after she almost died during the Winter of 2009 - 2010.  It was an impromptu set up that gave her more Sunlight.  Plus  I could quickly check on her.  It was never meant as a permanent location.
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There are other stand types as well.  In a pinch I once used a bail of straw for a swarm trap nuc.  It lasted all summer but fell apart when it took the nuc away.  I didn't like it much.  The cockroaches loved it.  The nuc became like a penthouse for the roaches above the straw bail.  I won't be doing that again. 

Not such a great Idea.  I wont even use the bails as a wind barrier for the hives in Winter I disliked it so much.
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In March of 2011 I started to put hives out front by the culvert near the street.  There is a slope there going down to the creek.  The plan is to move all the hives to this spot including the older hives.  So new permanent stands must be made.

These stands will be made out of 2x4's and have footers 15 inches into the ground.  They will support the hives another 15 inches off the ground on the up slope side.  They are 4.5 feet long and can hold 2 full sized hives.  With enough work room to place the boxes in between the hives when taking things apart.  The stands will be deck stained and have cypress mulch laid on the ground beneath the hives and in the work area.  All stands will be level from side to side.  With the slightest lean forward.  All stands will face due East.

The first stand on the culvert slope
Room for maybe 6 stands
I think the rest of the stands will be made to accommodate more than 2 hives.  I want to have a Nuc for each full sized hive and additional Nucs for selling.  I may need to place the Nucs along the tree line on separate stands.  Once i figure it out I'll update this post.

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