Pics of our first hive

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Hi Phil,welcome to the forum.
Did you make it yourself? If it is a purchased hive it should already have the ventilation built in.

Do you have 2 small squares of mesh in the roof about 3in long?
Do I need ventilation in the roof if we have an open mesh floor?


ventalation:---one question to which you will get several answers

if i have a OMF on, my bees( italians) block the vents in the roof ,so they do not like the vents, and all bees i have had do that in all season except high summer, the italains do it all year round

i now run one without vents but with OMF, i have had no trouble in summer
We made it all from scratch, excepting the metal work.

We could easily add ventilation to the roof but it wasn't clear from what I had read if we needed it as we have a open mesh floor providing ventilation from the bottom. Some of what I read seemed to maybe imply this.

I have seen plans for several forms of ventilation in the roof. Considering the open floor mesh what type of ventilation, if any, would people recommend in the roof?

Yes, the roof space should have ventilation.

The crown board, however, does not. The crownboard could even have a layer of insulation over it at all times; it would make little odds. Some may even advocate it all the year round. Mine stays on until May and some all the year. I consider it a wise investment for the winter months.

Likewise, the entrance slot could have been made one bee width. It would not make one jot of difference, except perhaps of reducing visibility into the hive entrance in the winter months! That is just another of the design changes that have not been incorporated since the advent of the OMF, and, of course, the reduced wooden lathe above the floor material might be a bit too thin for the duty.

Looks like a competent job well done. Easy isn't it?

Not quite sure what the board(?) is over the brood box - presumably a queen excluder? Most lay the metal slot type directly on the tops of the frames and it can be peeled off when needed. So is yours a wire version?

I always scew the side lathes from the inside - less places for water to enter the woodwork and no corrosion points. Not a big criticism, just a small suggestion.

Regards, RAB
We are beekeeping and woodworking novices so easy would not be the first word that came to mind ;-)

But was fun, forgetting the moments when the air was blue with curses and recriminations over mixed metric and imperial measurements ;-)

The excluder is one purchased from throne made to lay directly on top of the brood as you mention. We worried if looked like it was going to let a draft in so framed it.

Thanks for the tip on screwing the lathes from the inside.

The entrance slot bar is not fixed in place and has small stops behind it so it can be changed out at will. I had thought a wider entrance bar for summer and narrower one for winter?

Can you expand on "he reduced wooden lathe above the floor material might be a bit too thin for the duty". I'm numb and not following this one.

Thanks for feedback.

Hi Phill,

the reduced wooden lathe above the floor material

At the moment it is 22mm? If the entrance were only a bee space wide, that is all the cover would be around the rest of the floor (between floor mesh and brood box). 8 mm thick (or thin!) might not be robust enough.

It all looks very good. OK, the next one(s) will be easy! The first is always that much more difficult.

You now need to make at least two more! I always advocate two colonies minimum, if possible, to make the beekeeping that much easier, and then you will need more kit, for swarm control, eventually.

Don't believe anyone who says they keep bees with just the one hive only. Just not true (unless they have a Dartington or similar), unless they take drastic measures to prevent swarms, use shoe boxes to hive swarms, or just let them loose (neither efficient nor (possibly) socially acceptable these days! Spring cleaning is easier too.

Regards, RAB
We are lucky enough that we share a garden with a neighbor that also wants to take up beekeeping. He is sourcing one hive and us another. But with your advice and some reading if seems like a 3rd hive might be a good idea incase of swarming.

Maybe a national with top bee space? My wife ,(and me to be honest), is quite keen on the looks of a WBC. Anyone ever hear of folks making a pretty WBC like cover for a national?
Is this a trick of the light ? or does the timber have a green tinge?, if so make sure that it isn't tannalised. If it is give it a spot of weathering before introducing bees!
Having said that, I believe copper is one of the ingredients of the tannalising fluid and has been advocated as a varroa treatment in the past (although outlawed pdq!).
The hives look the part, well finished ,hopefully the dimensions are accurate although anyone finishing to those standards will be aware of the importance of the "bee space" bee-smillie.

John Wilkinson
Nice Job!
Try not to mix top and bottom bee space. Propolis or brace comb will be a pain unless the two formats are kept strictly apart from each other, or other 'untidy' precautions are taken.

I prefer top bee space, the most popular hive format on the planet uses top bee space, but some don't. That is another 'whole can of worms' as a discussion topic!

Regards, RAB
Well done on what looks like a well made hive.
It has being mentioned on this forum in the past
that a national hive can actually fit inside the lifts of
a WBC hive so go for it the WBC hive in a garden looks great.
WBC? Well, yes, as Tom says. However the classic tapered lifts which are, IMO, better looking than some of the 'vertical' offerings, are a little more complex to build - especially for a beginner. But looking at your first attempt it should be no more than a 'good challenge' for you!

Regards, RAB

You have sharp eyes mate. Only the lathes on the supers are made from off cuts of tannalised wood. The roof also looks a bit green now I'm staring at it but it looks red in real life.

Can you elaborate when you say a spot of weathering?


Might make all going forward top bee space. Wasn't aware of the existence of top bee space when we started. But it would be a shame to one bottom and and several top space hives.

Ho hum

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By a spot of weathering I think he means leave out side in the weather for a few weeks.
For internal sufaces an alternative might be to coat with an impervious, benign treatment.

Regards, RAB
Well dun

Very good Phill a very nice need job, as a newy here I have looked and looked about ventilation in the roof, the more I read and look the more confused I become, how about the roofing material, galvenised sheet is quite good and cheap but does it cook the bees in summer, the temperature must rise considerably inside the hive. Have started by making my hives out of WPB 18mm ply, national's just like yours, have made 1 roof so far and is there a trick to bending the steel, have cut the corners and soldered them, does anybody else bother with this or just nail it on?
I must say I am really glad to have found this forum, so much info to read my better half thinks I have a mistress in the office .
In my experience the trick with the steel is to buy it ready made.

I make my own hives from Pine and 18mm ply but purchase the floor and roof sheet metal with the roof already formed.

Regards having a mistress I have been told that member Hedgerow Pete has a dress or two with sequins on.

Glad you are enjoying the forum :cheers2:
thanks for that admin, will look in the hedgerows (how do you put smilies on this?) Having bought an 8 x 4 sheet too late but think might consider the floor.

Many thanks

I buy my roof metal covers and (floor metal already cut to size) from Thornes maybe not the cheapest or best but I have a branch 15 minutes away so collect.

There is a company many members buy from called bj engineering who ship?