Running On Empty

Square Hive 1
Square Hive – A Beehive Which Dr Frankenstein Would Have Admired

Help! I’m running on empty, I’m just hanging on by my fingernails, it’s touch and go….

I’ve run out of beekeeping kit. I started this year with 3 hives on my roof. Today there are 8. Only a National nuc box and a single Kieler breeding nuc remain in reserve. That’s the beekeeping equivalent of the small change down the back of your sofa. It’s like a honey-boxed shanty town has crash-landed on my roof.

Of those 8 hives, 3 are full-size hives, 3 are small Kieler breeding nuclei, one is a 5-frame observation hive box and the last one is a bit of a Frankenstein creation: you won’t see many beehives which look like Square Hive.

The picture shows its unconventional arrangement, perched on its white-painted pallet set against an uncertain sky (for the technically-inclined, Square Hive is composed of a green plywood 5-frame 14” x 12” nuc box topped by National crownboard and a regular cedarwood super). Although it may not sound like it, everything really is under control. And since this is still only late May, there is plenty of honey-gathering potential yet for the bees, even after I have more than doubled my colonies. And three weeks from now, around the summer solstice, the rate of egg-laying by the Queens will decelerate and the bees’ swarming potential will diminish.

Mercifully, all of my colonies have now been split, artificially swarmed or snelgroved, so I shouldn’t need any more hives this year….and my intention is to end this year with four strong and healthy hives on the roof, all requeened in 2014.

Woody Allen once wisecracked: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans”. We’ll see.

2 Replies to “Running On Empty”

  1. Wow, Dale, sounds like a bit of an obstacle course up there! At least you have Barnaby nearby for equipment………

    1. Yes, Barnaby is so helpful (Twitter @BeeUrbanLondon) as a local Thorne’s agent, based in Kennington Park. And there’s a discount on Thorne’s kit, too !

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