Bee house

I have a beehive, at last. No bees yet, but the house is almost ready for them…

If you had the stamina to read my last post you’ll maybe remember that I was toying with the idea of building a Horizontal Top Bar Hive as no great woodworking skills or well equipped tool shed were required.

In the end acquiring the timber was what really blocked me from the DIY route. If you can’t get to a timber yard (if like me you don’t drive) then getting just a few bits of wood is a challenge, timber yards deal with orders for big amounts of wood, they are happy to deliver you materials for 20 meters of fencing, but two or three planks, not so much.

Not so easy to just pop into B&Q or Homebase when you want a specific wood, Western Red Cedar, because of it’s natural weather-proofing oils, good insulation properties and low weight (it’s a bit like the expanded polystyrene of the wood world without the fragility).

inside of hive, mesh floor visibleLong story longer – (still half-looking for timber so I can build a second one myself) I decided to go online and find myself a local-ish hive builder, well at least someone in Gloucestershire. I was pleased to find a small family business who are also beekeepers, so you know they build with the benefit of hands-on experience, in fact I suspect this may be true of many offering this service to those of us who find sawing in a straight line a major challenge!

Even better they live close enough that they could deliver the hive themselves, not post it via courier, so I got to meet charming people who could explain a number of clever refinements they have designed in to this simple hive design based on that valuable first-hand experience.

Bee safe wood treatmentExciting too to learn that their bees have been out already this year despite the cold start, remember that one mild sunny day in early March?

Somewhere along the line I had also discovered a bee friendly wood preservative, not that Western Red Cedar needs it. However I was conscious from the failings of our lengthy garden fence, that wood in contact with the ground always suffers, as do sawn ends with open grain, especially those exposed to rain, like the horizontal tops of posts, so the tops and bottoms of the hive legs were likely to be particularly vulnerable.

soaking the ends of the legs for 24 hours in water repellantMy first job was to soak the bottoms of the legs for 24 hours in preservative, and then apply the same to the end grain at the tops of the legs too.

Once the preservative was dry, the legs simply bolt on to the hive and I get to admire it in all it’s elegance in the garden for the first time.

Coming soon I’ll post a ‘Part Two’ for a more in depth tour of the Bee house…

Thanks for the hive go to Catherine and family, especially her lovely Dad, at Bees’n’Blossoms

Bee-friendly wood preservative from Green Leaf

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