I think I might have the Lays Potato chip syndrome when it comes to bees. I started out with two hives, after all, that is what all the books say to do. This way you can compare one to the other and get a better understanding of bees and how they live. That was in class #1. It is only in class #6 do you learn about swarming.
Swarming is a colonies natural instinct to ensure survival of the colony and despite man’s best efforts you will usually have a swarm in at least some of your hives. So, this means I should probably have a couple of hive bodies and some frames set aside just in case I come home from work one day to a buzzing mass of beemanity in my yard (read more likely my neighbors yard) and have some plan in place to deal. It is a natural extension that if I have to add a hive I’m going to need someplace to keep it….so here is a list of what I did and how I set up two more foundations. This is very similar to setting up my original two but these are a little bigger. You can read that post by clicking here.
The reason these foundations are bigger is because I’ve decided to go with 8 frame westerns as I expand my apiary. I purchased a nuc from brushy mountain and 5 unassembled western 8 frame boxes from Mann Lake. I think this will allow maximum flexibility with dealing with a swarm and swapping frames from hive to hive if I need to. To accomodate the larger hives here is my parts list for two foundations:
4 16x16x2 cement pavers
8 8X16X6 concret blocks
Left over bag of sand from my first two foundations
I like to use the 16×16 pavers because they are easier to level, then put the concret blocks on top to give me a little height and to allow me to run a web strap over the hive and through the concret blocks. This will add some stability in the winter time when the winds pick up.
So this year I may end up with 3 or 4 hives….what happens next year if say 2 or 3 of the hives swarm….there you go….you can’t eat just one 🙂