Part of this project was to expand the number of hives located at the apiary. Currently there are two established hives but we wanted to add a third. Setting up a colony of bees is relatively straight forward; All youou need is a Beehive and some Bees.
You can order a hive online and have it shipped to your door the next day, easy. But what about the bees?
Well you can actually do exactly the same thing (yes, you can order bees in the post) but I prefer to get mine from another local beekeeper who specialises in the production of what is called a Nuclei.
A Nuclei is a number of frames in a box upon which there is a mated and laying queen with a number of worker bees. These frames of bees are then placed inside your beehive and over a few months will hopefully expand and grow into a thriving colony. I have placed an order of bees which I will be picking up in the first week of April. I could split an existing colony to form a new one but I want those established colonies to start the year without having resources taken from them.
Having ordered the bees they will need a home to call their own.
Over the past 5 years I have always used Cedar hives which have not let me down thus far. A few disadvantages with wooden hives is they are quite heavy. During the summer months, a hive full of honey can be back breaking to manipulate and on more than one occasion I have felt my spine’s tensile strength tested. There are a number of alternatives over the traditional wooden designs and I decided to trial a poly hive because:
- They are significantly lighter than traditional wooden hive
- Have greater thermal insulation properties. The colony has easier control of temperature regulation keeping warmer in winter and cooler in summer
- Suffers less from the effects of damp
- Promotes a healthier colony
- Compatible with all my existing hives
- Has a number of features which make my life as a beekeeper easier
- Environmental concerns of the materials please read here
It will be interesting to compare the two different types of hives side by side over the coming years. The poly hives have been finished in hot pink which I am sure will go down like a lead balloon with the traditionalists.