The Great Bee Box Build of 2015 took place at the Heathcote Community on February 7, 2015. Seventeen men and women, some experienced beekeepers and some complete novices (“newbees”), gathered to start the process that will lead to a group of new beehives to be part of the Nucleus Hive Project of the Central Maryland Beekeepers Association. (CMBA). This project has the aim of both training new beekeepers and generating small complete bee colonies, known as nucleus colonies or “nucs”, for sales to beekeepers in our area.
On the main tables we had large cardboard shipping boxes full of hive parts, other boxes full of the various pieces for the frames that go inside the hives and on which the bees construct their comb. The group unloaded all the box parts and the gluing, hammering and nailing started. Within about 2.5 hours, 40 boxes had been finished and were stacked in the corner. We broke for a wonderful lunch prepared by Heathcote.
After lunch, some few more boxes were finished and we moved on to the frames. The CMBA has been experimenting with a frame construction that contains no wax or plastic, and which is built in a way that encourages the bees to build their own comb in the right area rather than following a man-made form. This has a number of health benefits for the bees, but as it is a new idea, we had to figure out the best way to construct these in volume using the standard wood frames, tongue depressors and bamboo skewers. The engineering types jumped to the new frame project while others used assembly jigs, glue and nails to supply them with the standard frames. Before long about 100 standard frames and 50 of the new frames were done and packed into the new boxes. The day was done, and well done.
A good day was had by all. Joy and camaraderie was shared, we helped the bees overall, and moved the CMBA Nuc Project forward.
by Roger Williams
Central Maryland Beekeepers Association