Well, my complete kit arrived this afternoon, and my daughter was keen for us to put it together immediately. So I thought I’d share my thoughts here.
Before I do, I need to point out that I’m a complete newbee… so I’ll ask questions that might seem really daft to you experienced folks out there - sorry about that!
First up, its all packaged up beautifully, without any plastic (other than the protective film on the windows :). That’s nice to see.
The actual construction itself is pretty easy. I had a drill driver on low torque to drive in the screws, which made easy work of the assembly. Make sure you use the clamps… I had a 4 point box clamp handy which made it really easy too.
Problems with the kit were minimal, and amount to the following:
assembling the brood frames was fine right up to the insertion of the comb guide. Three of mine were too thick for the slots in the frame, so I’ll be dragging out my thicknesser on the weekend to fix that problem.
There are 8 brood frames in the kit, but the box appears to be able to fit 9. I presume they spread out to allow access for the bees (see… newbee… )
The instructions for assembling the roof indicated that the side pieces were pre-drilled on backs of them. My sides were not pre-drilled at all. It turned out that stacking two comb guides on top of the ridge piece was exactly the right height to take care of the offset in the back piece (I hope )
Pilot holes on the front and back pieces of the roof would be very useful for all but the most experienced kit builder. Without them the alignment is a bit of guesswork. For those not well versed, put your screws into the first shingle and make them protrude from the back just slightly, and then position the shingle until you think its in the right place. Press down firmly, lift it again and the impressions will tell you if it’s in the middle of the sides or not (the last thing you want is screws poking out of your beautiful new hive), Once your first shingle is on, the rest will fall into place, so it’s really worthwhile spending a bit of extra time getting this one right.
On the cover of the instructions, the diagram has some sort of narrow frame between the roof and the flow box… does anyone know what it is? It certainly doesn’t appear to be in my kit…
The queen excluder is included, but where do I put it? it looks like it just sits freely between the brood and the flow box, which seems a bit shaky… and that leads me to my biggest hassle withthe boxes…
There is no keying of the boxes together, so as far as I can tell they’re supposed to sit loosely on top of each other. Is that normal in bee hives? I’d have thought that there was some sort of guide that would make sure the boxes were well aligned and stayed that way if they are knocked of hit by strong winds… So I’m thinking of adding my own key strips to the outside of the brood box. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?
If anyone has any thoughts I’d be happy to hear them. I’m looking forward to getting it oiled and then startingn to populate it!