Starting up the honeybee hives

Our five hives are now installed and busy with bees. On May 22nd, I picked up my five 5 frame nucleus hives (nuc’s)from a local apiary that raises it’s own queens and nuc’s without any chemical treatments.

The nuc’s were picked up in the evening and the opening sealed after the foraging work force returned home for the night. I let the nuc’s rest on top of the hives overnight so they could calm down from the 20 mile trip back to my place.

The morning of the 23rd, I installed the 5 frames in the hives that I built for them. Here is the inside of one of the nuc’s:

The hives that I built are my own design that is shaped around top bar hive management, but accepts standard Langstroth deep hive body frames. All of the frames that the bees will build out will be without foundation, so they can choice will be up to them in how to size the cells. The wooden frames will provide external support and help guide the comb to be built straight up and down. The top of the hives is in three sections (middle, left and right). Here is a look in to the middle section where the nuc’s were installed:

The installation went well and the bees were very calm during the process. This picture is looking towards the hives after installation:

Since the five hives are located pretty close together (and just for fun) we wanted each hive to have it’s own flower symbol. My wife was kind enough to paint a differnt flower over each hive’s center opening:

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2 Responses to Starting up the honeybee hives

  1. How are your hives coming along? Can you give some more detail on the design? Why the 3 compartments?

    • The hives stayed busy this summer. I’m not sure they stayed busy enough, though. I tend to take a hand-off approach with the hive management, but i need to go inspect and see how much comb and honey reserve they have for the cool season. I’ll post more pics if I can get them during the inspection.

      Ideally, each hive will grow strong enough to use the entire chamber. At that point, all three entrances may be in use and there won’t be any compartmentalization of the hive. Right now, I have boards in place inside the hive to partition off the ends as the space is not needed (the two side entrances stayed closed all summer). The top is partitioned into three sections to make it so that I can access the hive in one area without disturbing the rest of the hive. Once cooler weather sets in (and rain), I will be adding an outer cover that is weather-proof.

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