Making Bottom Screens 2015

I keep mentioning that I’m “making equipment like crazy” this year, due to good weather and bee hive expansion.  One of the things that we make here at Brookfield Farm are our own bottom screens.  I don’t use bottom boards – just screens.  This is a pictorial blog: I took a bunch of photos of the process, and here they are:

The ever so tidy work area for building beehive bottom screens:

Beehive bottom screens

The Exterior Work Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wood is cut up by my husband whose normal occupation is making handcrafted furniture.

Ian Balsillie, Woodworker, and pieces of bee hive bottom board

Ian volunteers to cut wood

The beehive bottom screen base:

The base of the bottom screen is two inches tall.  Years back I read that if a mite falls 2 inches or more  it has a hard time crawling back up into the hive.  Will it fall between 1/8″ wire?  I doubt it, but I still do a two-inch base.

First the wood is clamped

 Clamped BeeHive Bottom Screen

Clamped before Nailing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then nailed – yes, nailed.

Bee Hive Bottom Screen Bottom Being Nailed

Nails! Yes, very retro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wire for Beehive Bottom Screens

Then the wire is prepared.  I use 1/8″ hardware cloth.  It’s too small for bees and wasps to pass through, big enough for a mite and a lot of bee debris to fall though.

Future base for beehive bottom screen: 1/8inch wire

1/8″ inch hardware cloth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unrolled Wire and tools for beehive bottom screen

On the Cutting Board with tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see why I do this outside – it takes a lot of space

The long ruler is to  mark the cut lines
The right angle is to keep those line straight
That wire snip was an anniversary gift from me to my husband – romantic, eh?

After a lot of cutting, I’m ready to attach the wire to the base.

 

1/8th inch wire stacked for beehive bottom screens

Stacked Cut Bottoms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attaching Wire to the Base of the Beehive Bottom Board

I staple it on with a stapler used for putting tar paper or tyvek onto the sides of houses.

Beehive Bottom Screen Wire Being Stapled

Stapling the Wire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stapled corners of beehive bottom screen base

Stapled corners of bottom screen base

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The staples don’t always go in all the way – that’s why there’s a hammer standing by as well.

Creating the top portion of the beehive bottom screen

At this point I’ve got a 2-inch tall rectangle with screen on it. Now the top of the bottom screen needs to go on.  It’s a one-inch by one-inch wooden rim that goes 3/4 of the way around the bottom screen, leaving a gap at the entrance.

Beehive Bottom Screen Edge top edge

1″ X 1″ wood – bottom screen top edge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once that’s on,  I cut and put on the front “stoop”.  Metal dry wall corner molds (I think, at least I get them in the dry wall section of the store), which are cut to the width of the front entrance.

Beehive Bottom Screen Front Metal

The front door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These too are nailed in place.

 

Beehive bottom screen front door metal in place

Metal front in place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally it’s done – no, not really….

A nearly finished Beehive bottom screen

Beehive Bottom Screen Nearly Done

Almost Done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two uses in one for the beehive bottom screen

When the screen is flipped over, it becomes the base I use when moving single boxes of bees.  The one inch side, in this case pointing down, allows for air circulation.  The two-inch side, now pointing up, keeps the bees from leaving.

Beehive transport base (flipped bottom screen)

Flipped screen: beehive transit base

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final work on the beehive bottom screens

I make a number of these at a time.  They often, like this year, get placed into service before they are really done.

 

Beehive Bottom Screens Stacked

Stacked Screens and Tops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see from the above caption, we also make our own beehive tops.  Back to screens: what these lack are the “hanger bolts” – these have screw ends on one side and threaded ends on the other.

Mouse guard support on bee hive bottom screen

Hanger Bolt being screwed in place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These will hold the mouse guards in place (I’ve still got to make more of those)

A Brookfield Farm mouse guard on a hive

Mouse Guard on Hive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the outside and bottom of the screen is either painted or stained.  I’m trying out an Eco Wood Stain that  this year.  Supposedly friendly to all creatures and the environment while protecting wood from wet weather.  Will it hold up here?  Who knows. But worth a try.

That’s some of what’s going on at Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey right now.  I’ve just finished doing my last group of splits for the year to accommodate queens arriving soon from Northwest Queens.  That meant clearing areas for the new hives and making sure I had all the gear they would need.  In the course I slated a few hives for walk-away splits that have grown way too tall.  The queenless ones of those will be given some of the new queens.

How is the bee season progressing in your part of the world.  We continue to be unusually dry and warm.  Nice, but worrisome – we do need the rain.

 

 

 

 

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About brookfieldfarmhoney

Brookfield Farm, a small off-grid apiary in Maple Falls, WA focuses on the beauty and bounties of Washington’s wilderness. I sell honey from our bees, whose naturally-treated, antibiotic-free hives are home to bees who fly Washington’s mountains and farmlands. Herbal salves and lip balms from Brookfield beeswax. Delicately infused honeys and vinegars. Varietal honeys from independent Washington beekeepers. Karen Edmundson Bean: beekeeper, photographer. Her love of the wilderness inspires her to discover new ways of bringing the wonders of nature to others. Brookfield Farm : the tastes, textures, sounds, and images of nature.
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5 Responses to Making Bottom Screens 2015

  1. Where do you get the 1/8″ hardware cloth at a decent price? I can’t find it anywhere in my town. Thanks.

  2. Pingback: Making Bottom Screens 2015 | Brookfield Farm Bees & Honey Blog | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

  3. Pingback: Bee Year 2015 Overview – Brookfield Farm | Brookfield Farm Bees & Honey Blog

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