Well, with only one week until the bees should get here, I made a design change. It wasn’t a big one, but it made the work I talked about in my last post irrelevant.
Before I get tho that though, I finished the follower boards. When I explained what I still had to do in the previous post, I promised a picture so that it would make more sense. The idea is to have the feeder stick through the bottom of the follower board (much like it does through the wall of the hive). This is so the feeder can be used when the bees don’t have access to the back of the hive because of the follower board. I simply had to cut a 5″ long slot in the bottom of the follower board. I also have a scrap piece of thin plywood to place under the feeder to spread its weight out more since its just sitting on the hardware cloth screen.
On of the additional finishing touched I needed to do was to make a cover that would close of the slot for the feeder (at the back of the hive) when it was not in use. Along with this, I wanted to have a way to reduce the size of the entrance if needed. Looking around my house for possibilities, I found some leftover slats from some blinds we had installed a while ago (you remove the slats on the bottom to get the right length for the blinds). I figured they would work, and first painted them to match the hive.
I could then cut them to the length I needed and use bolts to attach them. I decided to embed the nut into the 3/4″ plywood of the hive. This would keep me from losing the nut, and would mean that I wouldn’t need to use a wrench on both the nut and the bolt. I pre-drilled a 1/4″ hole (the size of the bolt), and then on the inside of the hive drilled a little bit in using a bit slightly smaller than the nut. Then I just tightened the nut and bolt until it pulled the nut into the hole (and it was flush with the surface). I removed it, added glue, and put it back in again. Here is what it looks like:
After cutting the slat from the blind to a good length and dripping a couple of hole in it, I had my entrance reducer. Notice the second hole. that can be used for a still reduced but slightly larger entrance.
I did a similar thing for the feeder slot, except I have a bolt hole on either side of the slot and completely cover the opening.
Now for the design change…
I had originally put the slot for the feeder above the cleanout door. My last post shows some pictures. I realized that this causes part of the feeder to extend into the hive a few inches, about half way between the bottom and top of the hive. It would actually stick into an area that could in theory be occupied by honey storage comb on the last top-bar. Even worse, since it is a bit up above the hive bottom, the bees could possibly build burr comb off of the bottom of the feeder. That would be annoying. I’m not sure these things would be a problem, but they could be.
I decided to patch the current feeder slot in the back of the hive and make a new one in the clean out door. I marked on the door where the bottom of the hive was, so that I could cut the slot to be even with it (so the feeder was at the bottom). I removed the clean out door from the back of the hive, and used the table saw to make the cuts. I did this just like I did originally, but made it 1/2″ wide and 5″ long this time. I again squared it up using a hand saw and chisel. Here is a picture of the clean out door, with the feeder fit through it:
I cut a small piece of 3/4″ plywood to fit in the current feeder slot. Using staples, I attached it from the inside of the hive and used wood paste on the outside to smooth it off and fill any cracks. Here is what it looks like with a clean out door reattached (with the slot covered and with the feeder in):
After the wood paste dried, I sanded it smooth and painted over it. You can now hardly notice the patched hole from my changing the design. 🙂
I think the hive is completely done now. All I have to do it get it to the place where I will keep the bees and then wait the last week for the bees. The legs can be removed for transport to make the hives take less room. I’m excited to get going and start beekeeping instead of just building hives! 🙂