Beekeeping sure is a lot of fun when everything is going like it should. On Friday, a day before my inspection, the new toys arrived in the mail from Dandant.com.
The first toy is one Beemax medium Super ($11.80). I want to consider myself an organic beekeeper, but sometimes I feel like using Beemax hives and plastic frames is anything but organic. My thought on it is that I’m putting to good use some plastic/foam on its way to a landfill. The best way I can think of describing Beemax products is to imagine taking regular packing foam, dipping it in Fiberglass resin and then shaping it like a Hive. The material is harder than packing foam, lighter than wood, but it probably doesn’t have the flexibility that a plank of wood would have. Meaning that if I were to sit on a wooden plank the same size as one of the Beemax pieces, the wood would bow but still hold me. I don’t think the Beemax material will, but it seems to be design to take the weight of a hive. All my hives are from Beemax, two deep brood boxes and three medium supers. I can’t say they are the best things I have ever used, since they are the only things I have ever used. Lets say I am completely satisfy, and so far have no complains about it. I like how simple they are to put together, and I can’t imagine that the high Florida humidity and afternoon rain storms will make the material flake the paint off, warp, or rot away. Aside from the four hive panels, the only other thing to assemble on the beemax bodies are the two frame runners. These are simple "L" brackets who's short ends slide into the panel. The beauty of the Hive is how light it is, and how fast it can be assembled. The picture shows my new medium supper all lay out. Notice the bottom left is upside down - it is possible to assemble it upside down. The edges won’t be even with the adjacent sides, so confirm all sides are in the right orientation before you tap them together. Just in case you do what I did today and in the past, it is not impossible to slide them apart as long as the glue has not dried.
My next toy is a Frame Griper; I simply don’t know how anyone does without one. It makes pulling that first frame out so much easier. The bees don’t seem to care about the cold metal intruding into their space. A few decided to investigate the metal, but I didn’t mind as long as it wasn’t my gloveless fingers they were investigating. It was well worth the $14.00; I felt like a veteran beekeeper pulling and replacing frames into the hive. I was displaying more confidence with my new frame griper or the bees were a lot calmer during my inspection. I hardly found a need to smoke them.
Last thing in my order were ten wooden frames, $8.60. I decided to assemble the frames, use a plain wood strip as the starter strip, and to alternate plastic and wood frames in one of my medium suppers that came with my starter kit. I wanted to have it ready depending on what I saw during the inspection.