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My experience building the complete kit


#1

G’day everyone,

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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… :slight_smile: )

  3. 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 :slight_smile: )

  4. 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.

  5. 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…

  6. 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…

  7. 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!

Cheers,

Andy


#2

[quote=“adavison17, post:1, topic:3466”]

First up, its all packaged up beautifully, without any plastic (other than the protective film on the windows :). That’s nice to see.[/quote]

Yes that was very good and you can use the packing paper and boxes as smoker material

Please explian?

You and me both also I put my slats on the wrong way

Normal don’t worry

Do you mean the crown board? Goes on before the roof - allows for a feeder to be attached. Cover this if not in use to stop bees propolising or building comb in the roof space

Yes very normal. Bee boxes just sit on each other

Most people have something to keep the roof on - Rock, Brick if you have bears, badgers or similar, high winds etc you can get straps to lock the hives down - I use ratchet straps

Well done any pictures?


#3

Hi Valli,

Unfortunately I didn’t think to take progressive pics… I’m not part of the whole “unboxing” generation :smile:

On Point 1, the brood frames have the two sides and the top and bottom. There is then a thin wooden shim that (I presume) is inserted into the top slot to give the comb foundation somewhere to sit against? all but three of these shims fitted in snuggly, but the other three are too thick to fit in the slots. The first pic here shows one frame with the guide in and another without it.

Re: point 5, oops. I had that between the brood and flow boxes. Again with the newbee…

Re: Point 6, as an engineer, I’m inclined to add a couple of little locating lugs to make it a bit more secure… is there a reason not to that I’m missing?

I just tried posting some more images, but as a newbee I only get one image… c’est la vie!

Cheers!

Andy


#4

Sorry I didn’t make up frames for the brood I already have over 100 of various frames - my girls built Strips of wax into their own comb - partly why I didn’t have any honey to harvest this year they were busy building comb. 1lb of wax needs 6lb of honey to build it.

You can nail in or wire in Wax sheets, or plastic sheet if you guys can get them. or you can let the bees build their own wax - especially if you get a swarm - you want them to use all the old honey for building - less transfer of any diseases, helps keep the bees healthy and I feel more natural.

Some Nucs come with 4-6 Frames of brood, honey and pollen stores, so if they have brood on them they will go in the middle of the Flow Brood box and put the new Frames on the outside. Don’t split the brood ball - think of the brood as a rugby or Aussie rules ball - The ball can be any size from 3 or 4 frames in one brood Nucleus box across or 2 or 3 brood boxes - depends on the number of bees you have Nucs have about 5,000 - 8,000 bees. A ball or 2-3 lb ball or package of bees about 5,000 - 8,000 bees. A hive with 3 brood boxes will have about 80,000 - 100,000 bees so you can see it is exponential depending on season and health of the bees.


#5

When using the hive tool we tend to split between the boxes from the corners and run the hive tool along the side lenghts - they are usually held together by propolis and/wax curtsey of the buzzbees.

If the lugs can fold away from the join when doing inspections it may work - some people use a latch system - see if I can find you a piccy


#6

This is on a TBH (Top Bar Hive) but shows the type of latch I mean


#7

Thanks Valli, that’s great info!

Andy


#8

In regard to #7. The bees will use propolis to glue the boxes together. As well as the additional weight of frames honey bees etc. You are going to be happy they aren’t also locked in place with lugs when they start getting heavy.


#9

Hey adavison17,

I had the same experiences as you! I am a newbie as well hah

  1. I have the same problem with two of my comb guides were too thick to fit in the slots, so I will try making the guides thinner so they can fit in. But if not, I will place those 2 frames on the outer of the brood box and hope that by the time the bees make the combs from them, they know which way to build them without the need of a comb guide!

  2. I noticed that too but is that the thing with the big hole in the middle? Or a separate part not included in the FlowHive full kit?

The other experiences I had were:
8) I was unaware the brood frames from FlowHive would be foundationless let alone come without any wires. Or did you get wire with yours?

  1. I used regular wood glue to make the frames and I hope the chemicals in it wont hurt the bees. I dont think so but please let me know for the sake of my peace of mind!

#10

@Philip_Waters

  1. Can always use a strip of Wax - starter strips this is what I use
  2. The crown board see my notes
  3. Most frames come that way it’s normal
  4. Gluing will not be strong enough with 3 lb of honey or brood in they need to be held with the Gimp Pins provided - Small narrow nails

#11

You could drink most traditional wood glue, and other then being disgusting, you would be fine. So the bees will be fine. I would agree with Valli though, you should nail or staple them as well. With all the humidity and weight they probably won’t stay together long term with glue only.


#12

@adagna @Valli
Thanks for your really quick responses!
Sorry I didnt make it clear but I did use nails to secure the frames as well as glue. I was just curious to know about the wood glue so am glad to know it is fine for the bees as I suspected.
Did any of you get wire with your kit or is it not included?


#13

@Philip_Waters Normally they are just nailed when you buy the wax foundation you buy the wire then - not everybody wires - it is optional


#14

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