So I mentioned earlier that I was having a custom made two hive metal stand made. And here it is. I took the dimensions to a local welding shop here in town, Amos Welding and Machine Shop, and asked Wesley Amos what he could do for me. I told him I needed something wide enough for two hives, 4-feet wide by 2-1/2 feet deep, and the legs 24 inches long. And to help with debris, mites and ventilation, I asked him to include heavy duty screen for the top. Well, in about 15-minutes, Wes had it all figured out, and I really liked his design. Instead of four legs, he decided to go with six to give extra strength in the middle. On Tuesday, when I ordered it, he said it would be the end of the week and it would be ready. On Wednesday morning at 8:45, he called and said "come and get it" and so I did. I was very impressed with the design and the craftsmanship and know that this will last for many years.
To install my new two hive stand, I would have to move the colony I have now which was sitting on a concrete pedestal I created. That would be no problem but I was concerned about confusing my girls who were returning back and found the hive moved. When Don Hopkins, the state apiary inspector was here this past week, I asked if he thought it would be a problem, and he said no. His advice was to move the hive a few feet forward and that way, when foragers return, they would find the hive missing, but still be close enough to drift to the new location once they see it. So I moved it five-feet forward of the old location, and things went extremely well. The girls were well behaved and I used about four puffs of smoke from the beginning to the end of the move. While I was digging the holes for the legs of the stand, I had a few foragers buzz around me, but I watched them do just as Don said they would do..they flew around me and then eventually found the temporary location. By dark, I only saw a few bees flying where the hive was before.
After I moved the hive to its temporary location, I decided to put something over the entrance so they would have to re-orient themselves to the short move. So I used a couple of bamboo reeds with some foliage at the top to cover the entrance. Wihin a few minutes, they were all over the bamboo, crawling up the front of the hive, and then taking very short flying manuevers and returning. The bees that returned to the original location would fly around, then fly back to the temporary spot, so I knew they were getting it. You can see the hive top feeder on the ground. I will refill it tomorrow with sugar syrup so they can get back to building comb in the top chamber.
Next to my bee colony, I think this is my pride and joy. My new two hive metal stand with a fresh coat of paint. Under it, I planted some kind of creeping Japanese ground cover (the name escapes me) to control weeds. And to make sure it doesn't sink in the ground, I put Quikrete (fast acting concrete) in the holes I dug out for the legs. At the far end, closest to my smoker, the legs stick up 14-inches out of the ground, and almost 21-inches at the end closest to the camera. And it is perfectly level, front and back and side to side. After allowing the Quikrete to cure overnight, I'll put the hive back in the original location at around lunchtime tomorrow.
So there you have it, my brand new metal bee hive stand. Since I'm thinking about next spring already, I'll have a place ready for my second colony of bees. And just think, if I grow tired of beekeeping, I can always use the metal stand as a huge barbecue grill -- large enough for a whole side of beef! Ya'll come!
When I put the colony back tomorrow, I plan to do an inspection to see if my queen is back to laying and maintaining her duties. If not, I'll order a new queen from Busy Bee this week and requeen and get things going before I leave on vacation in September. But I hope she's back to normal..and I'm sure the girls will be glad to get back to their original location -- and with a new and improved hive stand to boot!