Handygirl to the Rescue

I woke in the night worried about the bees in my three nucs (a “nuc” is a small hive—usually composed of 5 frames rather than 8 or 10—and is the abbreviated form for “nucleus” hive). It’s getting cold. Tonight’s temperatures will be in the 30s with highs today reaching only into the 40s. And the few bees in a nuc have trouble enough heating the hive. To make matters worse, I’ve kept an empty box on top of each nuc so I can fit a feeder jar…which translates into an entire box of dead space for the bees to heat. This is asking too much of them.

So, in the dark of the night, I decided to construct an inner cover for each nuc…one with a hole in the center through which I can still feed. In other words, I’ll construct a fitted plywood inner cover with a hole cut from the center; I’ll place that new cover directly over the 5 frames…which should keep the heat generated by the bees concentrated in the lower box; then I’ll place the feeder jar of syrup over the hole so that when the weather is warmer and the bees break cluster, they can eat from it; the empty box surrounding the feeder won’t need to be heated.

I have a rockin’ table saw and an ancient jig saw, so why on earth hadn’t I yet thought of constructing my own inner cover with a feeder hole for those nucs?! Sometimes, I am a dullard.

Jerod at Home Depot

Jerod's Top-Bar Hive

Jerod and I dedicated this past weekend to building our top-bar hives. It took us two hours at Home Depot just to collect our material, but once we got it all home and unpacked, and once we ate a bit of lunch and then pulled out all the tools, Jerod got down to work. And he worked for seven hours on Saturday and about seven more hours on Sunday. His hive is almost complete. He went off the plans there toward the end, and he’s now wrestling with his final decision: how to cover the roof.

Most blogs like this would tell you exactly how to build the hives they show you. Not me. If you want to know any details, you can ask in the comment section here. I’m just going to tell you that Jerod’s hive is pretty but somewhat complicated to build. So complicated, in fact, that I decided to build a different model (which you’ll get to see tomorrow).

I’ll tell you that having a building project in the works outside on a pretty day draws a good crowd. We had a lot of company show up…friends were pulling in right and left on their bicycles. We set up chairs in the driveway. We served refreshments. With that kind of distraction, I’m surprised Jerod could get two boards nailed together.

Jerod at Home Depot
Jerod at Home Depot
How a computer engineer checks out the plan
How a computer engineer checks out the plan
Deb and Stephanie at work
Deb and Stephanie at work
Stephanie and Jerod
Stephanie and Jerod
Almost finished top-bar hive
Almost finished top-bar hive

Help Is on the Way, Girls

Don’t bug me. I’m down in the basement constructing and nailing and painting new hive boxes, new top feeders, and new screened bottom boards.

There’s a possibility that temperatures will be above 50 degrees on Sunday, and if that happens, I’ve got to open the hive boxes and get those girls some food. Which means I’ve got to go buy a lot of sugar.

(Deb said this morning that it could be very depressing to open a hive box and find all the bees dead. She said maybe we should do it together. Wasn’t that sweet?)