Saturday, March 7, 2009

T Minus One Month - Time to Paint

I just looked at the calendar, and couldn't believe that it's a little over a month that I will have my hands full with 10,000 worker bees and a queen. I will pick up my package in April from New England Bees.

I previously purchases the woodware from them in December. The hive has been sitting in my basement since then. Since the woodware comes "raw," I chose today to start the painting process. The weather was in the 60's (so they say), which is rare in New England this time of year.

Because the hive sits outside all of the time, I want to make sure my investment lasts. So I decided to put down a coat of primer first before painting the hive. I've seen pictures of hives which aren't well painted, and they don't last long. I guess those hives are from commercial beekeepers where they have too many hives to paint them individually, and can afford to replace wood more often. This is my first and only hive, so I want it to last.

I chose a light brown/tan as the final color, in order to blend in a little where I will be putting the hive (which is right behind the edge of my lawn, slightly into the woods). After the primer dries, I'll paint the final color. I'm not sure if it'll take one or two coats; but I won't begrudge a little painter's elbow in order to make things last.

One of the things which did not come with the hive kit was the "landing board." This is a sloped board which the bees use to land on. I suppose I could do without it (since the bottom board sits out about 3-4 inches from the hive). But I think they look neat! I don't have any plans or schematics for such a board, so I kind of eyeballed the design and cut things out of 1x3 pine I purchased. Let me tell you - when all you have is a cut-rate router and band saw, it's very hard to make precise groves for the boards! The tolerance on the ripping fences and other parts of the saw and router leaves a lot to be desired. But that's what you get for economy parts.

You can see the results of my work here:

(it is still being painted in this picture)

It's not perfect, but I hope the bees don't mind :-)

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