While we are waiting to do our next full hive inspection, we thought we’d post some photos from our hive assembly.
Choosing a beehive is difficult…especially for beginners. But after doing a lot of research, my wife and I decided on a top bar hive (more on that decision here). That was just the beginning of the decision making process. Then we had to decide whether to build one from scratch, or to buy a kit. Because of our current life stage (two children under 4) we decided buying a kit would be faster and a better use of the limited amount of free time we have.
We ultimately found a hive we really liked on eBay and bought it for about $225 including shipping. Not bad after comparing it to other prices out there. However, when the hive arrived, it had more than it’s fair share of surprises. Some of the surprises I can blame on then maker of the hive. Others I have to blame on my ignorance (new beekeeper here!).
Below is what the hive looked like when it arrived. Not that intimidating really. I’ve put together worse. But then I noticed some things in the poorly written instructions (no joke, they were bad). All cracks needed to be sealed with caulk (and there were a lot of cracks in the roof), and the hive needed to be painted. Again, these are probably things I should have known, but they caught me off guard. Painting and caulking cost money and time, both of which I was trying to limit on this project. But since I’d already ordered the bees, and it would have cost more to return the hive, I pressed on (good decision!)
I have a good friend who is a beekeeper. He came over and helped me assemble the hive. It only took about two hours. It would have gone faster had we ignored the directions. Also would have helped if the cuts of wood had been better. But oh well, all part of the adventure.
The next big decision was what colors to paint the hive. We scoured the web for ideas, ultimately settling on barn colors. You can also call it cream and crimson if you are an Indiana Hoosier 🙂 My wife and I spent four nights taping and painting (two coats for each color).
The finished product is below. It turned out great in our estimation. And the project ended up being a lot more fun that we thought it was going to be. We kind of wanted it to keep going, so we decided to add a couple of modifications to the hive. We added hinges on the roof so the top could stay open on its own, and we also added a way to secure the top down to protect from marauders.
You can see our hive in action in most of the posts on this blog. Now that our hive is finished and no longer vacant, we are setting our eyes on building another hive. This one will be built from scratch and will likely be a hodgepodge of ideas from around the web. Hopefully we will get started in the next couple of weeks.