If you recall from my first post (A Bee Journey Vol 1), I mentioned that getting into beekeeping is not cheap. So how did a frugal girl reduce her start-up costs? She asked her carpenter boyfriend to help her make bee boxes instead of buying them! So, on a Saturday in April, we stopped at Home Depot for wood and spent 5 very productive hours in the workshop, cutting enough wood to make 4 bee hives. While he cut, I gave cutting directions and sanded the newly cut pieces. The total savings were $300, which was about the amount that I had to spend on frames (this is where the bees store their honey, eggs, pollen, etc.) I needed to buy 120 frames for only for 4 hives. Imagine how many you’d need for a 50-hive apiary (that’s around 1500 frames!).
Then came the fun part, picking paint colours! My favorite colour is teal, so three shades of teal it was. Bees see blue, green and ultraviolet, which means they see colours differently than we do (humans see red, blue and green). So any colour in their spectrum works, but not red. Bees don’t like red! You don’t want too dark a paint as it will increase the internal hive temperature, which will make the bees have to work harder to keep the hive at 34C. This will cause them stress and we don’t want that. Many factors affect honeybee survival and it’s the beekeeper’s job to manage factors that can cause them stress.
So, now I had unassembled hive boxes and paint. We spent a good portion of a day gluing, nailing and screwing the boxes and frames together. Then another afternoon of painting. And I think they turned out pretty good. Now I just have to be patient and wait for the bees!