Gordon Williams 's Profile
Gordon Williams
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Joined:
02/02/2011
Last Updated:
20/02/2011
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NSW, Australia
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Warm Temperate
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Male





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I got stung in the eye so I built a beehive

Posted by Gordon Williams almost 6 years ago

When I got stung by a bee and my eye became so swollen that I couldn't see our of it. It looked like I had been in a bar fight. I couldn't help but wonder about the kamikaze insect that died to protect its family. So over the last few years I have learned

When I got stung by a bee and my eye became so swollen that I couldn't see our of it. It looked like I had been in a bar fight. I couldn't help but wonder about the kamikaze insect that died to protect its family. So over the last few years I have learned a few things about bees from different places but now it's time for me to build a hive and learn a whole lot more. And yes, I will be investing in a veil.


Warre Bee Hive

I'm not building just any old bee hive. It's a Warré hive which will allow me to keep my future bee colony a bit more like they would live naturally. It's a tall hive made up by stacking individual hive boxes one on top of the other to make a space a bit like a cavity in a hollow tree. The bees start building their honeycomb at the top and build downwards and when they reach the bottom box the hive is lifted off the base, a new box is put on the base and the rest of the hive is put back on top. The bees then just keep building down and the boxes on the top can be removed to harvest the honey.


 Using a router table to make rebates for the top bars.


I've made the hive a little bit differently to the original design by old French beekeeper extraordinaire Emilé Warré (see the links below). Not because I know better than him but because I couldn't get timber exactly the same dimensions as he specified and I wanted to save myself the effort of ripping it down to that size. I used knot free pine and selected boards with the straightest grain to reduce potential for it to warp over time. I did use hardwood for the base. Mainly because I had some already.

Cutting three top bars at a time with an end stop to make them all the same length.


Each box has the same internal measurement of 300mm square but it's slightly taller than on the plans. 235mm instead of 210mm tall. The rebate for the top bars was made using my makeshift router table (don't try this at home kids).


A V groove in the top bars for wax starters and corresponding pins in the rebate to hold the top bars in place.


The top bars are 24mm wide by 9mm thick and spaced 12mm apart.I had to narrow the 30mm wide timbers up to make the bars the right width so the bees could get through.



The quilt box and roof are a little deeper. Again due to the available timber sizes.


I made the base a little differently too. I saw some pictures of the ones used by Tim Malfroy here in New South Wales and went with something similar to that. I just added some slope to the landing area to help shed rain water away from the opening.

I'm yet to put wax starter strips on the top bars and seal the timber but plan to do use 20 parts linseed oil to 1 part beeswax for the finish.

Click here to see the next post on finishing the hive.

If you keep bees or even if you don't I'd love to know what you think so leave me a comment.

Resources:
Beekeeping for all (PDF) by Abbe Emile Warre
The plans that i used for the hive here (PDF)

Comments (1)

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Cecilia Macaulay
Cecilia Macaulay : I Love the beveled timber at the bottom. This hive is for super-stylish bees. Your story reminds me of the opening scene in the Japanese eco-anime, Nausica, when she whispers to the little creature who just sunk its fangs into her "Don't be scared, Don't be scared". It gives her a lick to say "Sorry", and goes on to be her lovely ally. Like your bees for you.
Posted over 5 years ago

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