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Equipment and Materials

Why do we use single brood chambers?

Our preference is to keep hives in single brood chambers. We use queen excluders above the brood chamber and then add honey supers. We produce more honey managing our hives in singles vs doubles and we find the hive management much easier. It’s become quite common in Ontario, especially over the last twenty years.

Why do you use canvas for the inner cover?

We use canvas inner covers for a few reasons. They make it easy to take a quick peek in the hive, and are cheap and easy to make. They are light, the lids sit down well, there is less excess wax on the frame top bars, and we rarely need to scrape the inner cover. We use 18 oz (#8) canvas – otherwise known as cotton duck.

There will be some shrinkage, so cut it to 1/4″ wider and longer than the length and width of the box.

It is available in the USA online here, in Canada at here, or in Hamilton Ontario here.

Bees chew through thin canvas so a heavier weight is better. We flip it over periodically when new so the bees thoroughly coat it with propolis. An alternative is a feedbag folded in half.

Please watch the video “Our Equipment” for more details on the inner cover.

Where to purchase some of the products that we use:

  1. Coveralls:
    We really like Dickies 100% cotton coveralls. http://www.dickies.com/coveralls-overalls/deluxe-cotton-coverall/48700.html?dwvar_48700_color=GY#start=3. We use velcro to straps at the wrist and usually tuck pants into our socks.
  2. Plastic Queen Cages:
    Mann Lake (USA) and their Canadian distributors sell these. They are made by the French company Nicot. https://www.mannlakeltd.com/hair-roller-cages. I use a wooden plug on the bottom and screw it in place with a #4 screw after pre-drilling.
  3. Queen Grafting Microscope:
    view website here
  4. Mini/mating nucleus boxes:
    Mann Lake (USA) and their Canadian distributors sell these. They are originally from Europe but are widely available. https://www.mannlakeltd.com/shop-all-categories/hive-colony-maintenance/queen-rearing/nuc-boxes
  5. Queen Pheromone:
    The pheromone strips were developed in Canada. They are called Tempqueen and are made by Intko Supply Ltd. Suite 604, 3345 Kingsway VANCOUVER, BC, V5R 0A7 Canada (604) 356-7393. pheromonesupply@gmail.com. Mann Lake in the US and several Canadian bee supply companies carry them.
  6. 85% Acetic Acid:
    We have purchased 85% acetic acid from Anchem Sales, 120 Stronach Cres, London ON Phone 519-451-1614.
  7. Bee belt and bulk bee box:
    Our apiary manager Paul Kelly manufactures the Bee Belts and bulk bee box. If you are interested in more information, please email him at: pgkelly48@gmail.com.

How do you make pollen patties?

The patty is made from pollen we collect using pollen traps. We mix the pollen pellets with sugar syrup to a dough-like consistency, form the patties between layers of wax paper and then keep them frozen until needed. They will keep for several months in the freezer.

How do you make your grafting bars?

We cut the wood pieces and attach them to the graft bar with liquid beeswax. We then attach the cups with liquid wax. In both cases the liquid wax is applied with a large syringe. In the past, we made the wax cups but now buy them from https://www.kelleybees.com/.

Do you have building plans for the flatbed wheelbarrow?

Photographs showing construction details can be found here: https://honeybee.uoguelph.ca/resources-for-beekeepers/wheelbarrow-project/

Do you have building plans for the stools you use in the videos?

Plans can be found here: https://honeybee.uoguelph.ca/resources-for-beekeepers/hive-stool/

Do you have building plans for hive top feeders? What is the best way to set them up with straw for feeding?

Plans can be found here: https://honeybee.uoguelph.ca/resources-for-beekeepers/hive-top-feeder/. We fill the feeders up to the top with straw, but don’t pack the straw down. Then syrup can be added, with a little drip down into the hive to attract bees into the feeder.