Lesson 01 – The Hive and Placement
The Top Cover
So, in my opinion the first piece of equipment you need is the bottom board. But before we place our bottom board, we have to consider where to place the hive, the direction the hive faces and how much to elevate the hive off the moist ground. I like to use 4 concrete blocks for a simple stand. this gets the hive up and makes it easy to work with the first year. The next year I lower to just one block high as we will be adding supers and the hive can get quite tall.
Then, I place my bottom board on the blocks. You want the hive elevated for two reasons: To make it less stressful on your back and to raise the hive above the moisture in the ground. Bottom boards do draw moisture and so will be the first item to deteriorate over time. So, keeping the bottom board dry will help then last longer. Plus, it also means less moisture in the hive. Elevating the hive makes it easier on your back. But, do remember that eventually you’ll have lots of supers, and if you elevate the first hive body to a comfortable range, you may soon find you need a ladder when you place 5 or 6 supers on. 5-6″ is a good range of elevation (or one block high) our second year of operation. In fact, you may want to start at this height this year.
Sometimes new beekeepers ask which way the bottom board goes. When the bottom board is in the correct position, the screen is up. You can see the staples going into the screen. Also, the top of the bottom board has three edges.
The next picture shows the larger opening on the entrance cleat. When would you use this setting? Anytime you need a larger opening, but don’t want to open it up all the way. This could also be used for all three reasons above