So I'm a compulsive list maker......checking tasks off of my lists gives me a feeling of accomplishment and it helps me to not forget things I really want to get done. One of the wintertime items on the list was to get the hives ready for the bees' arrival in the spring.
The last post was about building the boxes and assembling the frames. The hives have been sitting on the back porch (in the way, I might add) waiting for me to get back to them. With the holidays over and the upstairs floor at least nailed down (not finished yet) I was able to get back to the hives. The quilt is nothing more than a rectangular frame, just slightly (like 1/8" smaller than the supers. This facilitates the burlap being stapled to the outside of the quilt and still maintain airflow to the roof cavity.
First off I used a piece of burlap that's about 3 inches larger than the bottom dimension of the quilt. There just so happened to be a piece of burlap in my fabric stash, so I stapled the selvage edge first along one long side of the quilt. Then it got stretched really tight and I stapled the other side in a few spots just to hold the fabric tight, then the excess was trimmed and the edge turned under to keep it from raveling.
One of the quilts was fabricated from some scrap oak that was laying around and it was really difficult to get the staples to go all the way in. It's also quite a bit heavier than the other one, which is made from pine--but---it was scrap.
Here is the hive with the quilt in its proper position--wood shavings go in when the hive gets set up in the apiary. Bees keep their hives really warm during the winter--I think around 95 degrees or so. When the warm air hits a cold roof cover the moisture in the air condenses and drips back down onto the bees, which could chill them and kill them. The quilt absorbs the heat and humidity so condensation doesn't occur, plus it provides insulation from the cold and heat in the summer. I've read that some people treat the burlap with a flour paste to keep the bees from shredding it. That will get done closer to "bee-arrival" time.
You can see the burlap stapled to the outer edge of the quilt. Don't worry, the roof will cover that.....
In fact, the roof covers the entire quilt and part of the top box.
Here is the first completed beehive. Rough sawmill lumber was used for the roof gable ends because the lumber purchased from the sawmill wasn't wide enough for the peak of the roof. There was a board left over from the house siding (hemlock) so I used that. It soaked up a lot more of the wood sealer than the finished boards. The roof has a flat board inside that rests on top of the quilt so mice can't get into the nice nest of shavings. A screened bottom board will allow for ventilation through the hive, and the little ramp at the bottom is for when the bees are tired and they can stumble into the hive (that's what I've read, anyway). An entrance reducer will be added to keep the opening smaller when necessary or opened up all the way. I'm not sure about all that yet, but I'm still learning.
I decided to name my hives after the signs of the zodiac--not that I believe any of that--but it made a convenient way to keep the first twelve hives separate for recordkeeping purposes. A woodburning tool made the name permanent, rather than paint. The Happy Hoer was born in the sign of Virgo