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My latest inspection went badly. I was trying (again) to have a look at the bottom hive box, and the darlings got a wee bit frisky. The frames on the bottom box are stuck to the ones on the top hive box, with wax and propolis, what a pest. The top hive box is also beginning to disintegrate, with old age and rot. Bees were getting in and out of the side of the hive, through a rot hole, and with all the effort to get the boxes apart they were getting a mite tetchy. My overalls collected a number of stings, one making it into my arm. Another found its way into my veil, which I really dislike. No buzzing around for that one, straight for my face, then POW. At least I don’t swell up much anymore, but I did have a very healthy looking glow on one side of my cheek.

On to more salubrious matters, that of needing to replace the woodwork. I went to my favourite bee shop, ekroyds. Since I intend to split my hive in the spring, I bought three full size hive bodies, a new top board, and a galvanised cover, as well as frames and foundation for two of the boxes. All up, about $140 worth. On a conservative estimate, if all goes well, next season will give at about 120kg of honey. Well worth it. If I sell 80kg at $10/kg, that is $800, and I will be in the black. Of course, there are many things which can go wrong, I am well acquainted with both Murphy, and the karma bus.

The bodies were quickly pinned together, then each corner had three holes drilled, countersunk, and screwed together – 12 screws per box. I did remember to paint the jointed surfaces first. Each outside surface received three coats of paint, (primer, undercoat, and a nice glossy white top coat.)

As soon as the weather improves, (cats and dogs outside today), I will swap the frames from the rotten box across. It sounds easy – just pull them out, and put them in the new one. Of course, I can picture thousands of annoyed bees, upset with me wrenching the frames free from the wax and propolis. (propolis, lol, sounds like a greek city).

Things I have learned:

  • Bees put propolis everywhere they can’t crawl through
  • Bees put wax anywhere more than 2 or 3 can crawl through
  • The insides of a hive have quite a lot of moisture, from bees busy respiring
  • Bees don’t like the inside of their hive painted
  • Children, skateboards, and freshly painted surfaces are a messy combination
  • I like my shed. You can’t hear Thomas the Tank Engine from the shed
  • I am not allowed to move into the shed

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