We have taken delivery of a flat-packed National Hive, comprising a brood box, 2 supers, roof, mesh floor, queen excluder, crown board, frames and foundation. A contact feeder, hive tool, bee brush, smoker and cartridges were also included. As far as clothing goes, we have 2 smocks with veils, 2 pairs of gloves and 2 ‘observer’ smocks with integral veils.
A National Hive is constructed (from the bottom up):
- Mesh floor; allowing any varroa mites (I will talk about these another time) to drop through onto the ground and out of the hive
- Brood box; where the Queen lives and lays eggs for nurse bees to raise, some easy access stores of honey and pollen are also kept here
- Queen excluder; a slotted metal screen that the Queen is too large to fit through, preventing her from travelling to the supers
- Super; a shallower box where honey is stored
- Crown board; sits on top of the super and has holes to allow a feeder housed in an empty super to be used
Our bees will arrive soon, the first ones are for this hive in mid June and the second for the other hive (same construction but minus frames as yet) in late June.
The next challenge is to assemble the brood box, super boxes and the floor. At a recent Waveney Beekeeping Group meeting we were taught that the key elements are to maintain a ‘bee space’ inside around the frames and to ensure that all is absolutely square. I will let you know how it goes!