So I have spent the better part of winter and the start of spring making beehives. I have finally finished my new 5 frame nuc hives- and also made a few 5 frame observation (ulster type) single frame boxes. I made these as complete hives- with screened bottoms, inner covers, upper and lower entrances with a range of reducers: the works! I made my own special shallow fry wax dipper with electric elements - and dipped them in beeswax and pine gum rosin at 140c for 10 minutes. It was a lot of work- but now I have many more hives to dip and I think it's easier than painting now I am set up.
Here are the first few in my new apiray:
the above hive has a small split in it- when they fill out the first box I will add another- when they have drawn out ten frames I will transfer the colony directly into one of my new horizontal hives (still to be assembled). I have read that bees tend to draw out comb faster and a straighter when confined in 5 frame nucs- it makes sense - more frames up against walls might make for straighter combs...
This one has a medium sized swarm in it- in just a week they have cleaned up two old plastic foundation stickies- rebuilt hem and started laying in nectar. They haven't started on the top observation frame yet- it will be exciting to watch them build it out when they do.
I plan to use 5 frame hives as back up colonies- for comb and queen production- and even to run some as complete hives with multiple boxes. I finished them just in time to put swarms and splits into them. So far the bees seem very happy.
The last hold-up in my production is those little conical springs that go in the window toggles. It's very hard to find them- and to get them made I have been quoted $1.25 per piece! I need several hundred of them. If anyone knows of a source for little springs like that: let me know!