The bees are coming! The bees are coming! It has been almost a year since I started this project and it has been sitting in the garage all winter. It is now time to get out the hive and see what is left to get done before our bees arrive in two weeks!
Things to do: Construct a roof, add wire mess to the bottom, make the top bars, add a landing pad and drill entrance holes, and paint and seal the roof. With my mental list of things ready I think I'll jump into the roofing first since this is the most complicated and time consuming part left.
I had already cut both roof ends out of a piece of the old picnic table that I had cut last year. I cut an angle that would fit the pieces of wood I had and left about a 2" flat end on each piece. This will allow for a runner to connect the two pieces together to form the roof frame.
The roof supports were then attached and I drilled the holes for the hinge and the latch. I am using whatever I have laying around for this project to keep the cost as close to $0 as possible. I happen to have an extra gate hinge and a locking latch from something I planned to do last year, what was that again? Who knows:)
Next up is the top bars. There is a lot of info on the web about how these should be designed but after some research I choose 1.5" for the width. I have a bunch of extra pallet slats leftover from my raised beds this year so, more free wood, yay! I lipped about 1/4" off of one edge of each slat and then ripped them all down to 1.5"s. Each top bar was cut to length to fit inside the lid with a small amount of play for expansion and contraction. I also cut a 15 degree bevel on the ends to help the lid close with the bars in place.
I added a roof support across the center of the frame and also two runners near the peak to support the plywood. A piece of cheap 1/2" plywood was cut to fit each side of the roof top with an over hand of about an inch on all sides. I beveled the top edge to match the angle of the roof so that each piece of plywood fits together nicely with minimal gap. Wood glue and brad nails were used to secure the roof panels to the frame and then a coat of leftover paint and some spray lacquer to seal it up.
The landing pad/launch pad was made of another piece of scrap wood from the picnic table, two pieces glued together actually. This was cut on an angle to match the hive wall and then screwed into place with deck screws. Three 3/4" holes were drilled 2" apart just above the center of the Launchpad.
The hive is coming along nicely and is just about ready. I still need to come up with a mess for the bottom and finish the top bars, build a feeder, and follower boards. Stay tuned for part four!