Hive Parts


Metalwork for Brood Boxes and Supers are sold seperately. Please select from the bottom of the left hand column.

Bottom bee space is standard. If you prefer top bee space then please advise.
National Varroa Floor
Comes with Yellow Correx slide out tray for Varroa inspection and entrance block.
national hive open mesh floor with slide out tray
Assembled Cedar £33.52 Assembled Red Deal £29.76
National Brood
assembled national hive brood box Assembled Cedar £54.52 Assembled Red Deal £39.89
Flat Pack National Brood
flat pack national hive brood chamber Cedar £44.96
Red Deal £33.56
National Super
cedar national hive super Assembled Cedar £42.96 Assembled Red Deal £31.21
Flat Pack National Super
flat pack national hive super Cedar £34.85
Red Deal £22.30
National 4" Roof
assembled cedar national hive roof Assembled Cedar £53.97 Assembled Red Deal £46.50
Flat Pack National 4" Roof
flat pack national hive roof Cedar £42.22
Red Deal £35.52
National 6" Roof
assembled cedar national hive 6 Assembled Cedar £56.23 Assembled Red Deal £49.90
Flat Pack National 6" Roof
flat pack national 6 Cedar £47.77
Red Deal £42.89
National Gabled Roof
national hive gabled roof Assembled Cedar £65.65 Assembled Red Deal £53.45
National Hive Stand W Splayed Legs and Large Landing Board
national hive stand w splayed legs Assembled Cedar £39.22 Assembled Red Deal £33.86
National Hive Stand W Landing Board
national hive stand Assembled Cedar £34.22 Assembled Red Deal £27.86
Flat Pack National Stand W Landing Board
flat pack national hive stand Cedar £29.96
Red Deal £21.24

Double Hive Stand
double hive stand Assembled and finished. Just attach legs to top with supplied bolts. Assembled Cedar £75.22 Assembled Red Deal £54.86
National 14x12 Brood Box
national hive 14x12 brood box Assembled Cedar £72.87 Assembled Red Deal £50.54
National Standard Floor
Made from Cedar or Red Deal with a ply floor and timber lipping. Comes with entrance block.

national hive standard floor Assembled Cedar £34.02 Assembled Red Deal £28.55

Flat Pack National 14x12 Brood Box
flat pack national hive 14x12 brood box Cedar £59.25
Red Deal £37.66

Framed Queen Excluder
Framed Queen Excluder Framed Queen Excluders suitable for both top and bottom bee space. £17.89

Apiguard Crown Board
Apiguard Crown Board Facilitates administration of 'Apiguard' and can be used as a Clearer Board with the supplied Porter Bee Escapes. £17.23

Crown Board
National Crown Board Can also be used as a Clearer Board with the supplied Porter Bee Escapes. £13.55

Polycarbonate Quilt
National Polycarbonate Quilt Transparent alternative to the Crown Board. Allows viewing bees with minimal disruption to the colony. £17.21

Snelgrove Board
National Hive Snelgrove Board Invented by Leonard Snelgrove for the purpose of effective swarm/colony splitting and management. See Snelgrove Method

Travelling Screen
National Hive Travelling Screen Allows bees to breathe/stay cool whilst being transported. When moving a hive over a long distance remove the roof and crownboard and replace with a travelling screen. Hold in place with one or two hive straps. 3mm mesh to ensure no bees escape. £16.59

14x12 Eke
Used to convert a standard brood box to take 14x12 frames. Requires metal runners or castellated spacers (below)

national hive 14x12 eke Assembled Cedar £31.96 Assembled Red Deal £28.88

National Nucleus Hive
Suitable for 6 Hoffman frames with a higher roof to take 1/4 gallon liquid feeders. Comes with dummy board for easier inspection. Choose a timber and Assembled (Assm) or Flat Pack (FP)

National Nucleus Hive



National Nucleus Hive 14x12
As above but 14x12. Choose a timber and Assembled (Assm) or Flat Pack (FP)

14x12 nucleus hive



Ashforth Feeder
Lock Jointed Cedar. Inside sealed with three coats of paint. Perspex cover over bee area. Large holds 10 litres and Nuc 5 litres.

Ashforth Feeders



Nucleus Stand W Splayed Legs & Large Landing Board
nucleus hive stand with splayed legs

Assembled Cedar £34.45 Assembled Red Deal £27.12
National Nucleus Stand W Landing Board
nucleus hive stand

Assembled Cedar £25.79 Assembled Red Deal £20.94
Nucleus Hive Super
Supplied with fitted metal runners. assembled nucleus hive super Assembled Cedar £32.52 Assembled Red Deal £29.89
Castellated Spacers and Metal Runners
metal runners Metal Runners £1.30 per pair



Castellated Spacers £2.18 per pair.

castellated spacers



Porter Bee Escapes. £1.20

porter bee escape



Hive Tools
Manufactured locally in Sheffield.

Hive Tools





Mouse Guard
Mouse Guard

£1.21



National Entrance Block
Western Red Cedar with a small and large entrance. Made slightly overlength. Cut to fit your hive.

Entrance Block £2.54

Dummy Boards
Choose from National Hive Standard Brood, National 14x12 Brood or National Super

Dummy Boards



Frames
National Hive Hoffman, DN1 and SN1 Frames are now available in Flat Packs of 10 and 50. All packs come supplied with some frame nails to get you started.

Peak Hives Frames



Foundation Wax
National BS Wired Foundation. We Stock the most popular sizes. Deep, Shallow and 14x12 wax foundation.

Peak Hives Wired Foundation



Plastic Frame Ends
Plastic frame spacers available in narrow and wide. Sold in bags of 100. Plastic ends are available in white in either a narrow or wide spacing.




Nucleus Colonies
Peak Hives Nucleus Colony

If you are interested in a top quality Nucleus Colony on 5 or 6 frames please email
nicholas@peak-hives.co.uk
and we will pass on your details to our bee breeder Helen. She's an expert with a wealth of experience and produces quality nucs with marked queens. She is also breeding now from newly arrived Buckfast Queens. The 2013 season price per Nucleus Colony is £175.00.

British National Beehives


Based in a small workshop in Tideswell in the Peak District we make British National Beehives out of 1st grade Western Red Cedar, high quality Red Deal or, when available, locally sourced Western Red Cedar according to the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) Modified National Hive Plans. Everything we sell we make here in the Peak District. We also stock other items of Beekeeping Supplies including Frames, Foundation Wax and Hive Tools. The driving forces behind peak-hives.co.uk are sustainability and quality workmanship. Sustainability because, well it matters quite a bit we think and quality workmanship because customer satisfaction is paramount.

University

Nick is currently studying teacher training full time at University and can only work on Peak Hives orders at the weekend and school holidays. If you're happy to wait then please place your order and it will be made up in due course. Many thanks to all our customers for their patience.




Fully Assembled National Hives

Customise to your requirements and choose either 1st grade Cedar or Red Deal. Standard Brood Box and Floor are included in the price. Bottom Bee Space is the National Hive standard so if you want Top Bee Space tick the checkbox. Don't forget to add on your metalwork requirements from the left hand column. We stock metal runners for Hoffman Frames and Castellated Spacers for SN1 etc. Please choose your hive options and extras below:

Supers:  

Roof:     

Floor:     

Crown:   

Stand:     

14x12 Brood Box + £16.20  

Framed Wired Queen Excluder + £17.89  

Top Bee Space. Free.  


red deal    Red Deal Discount.  


Total  
national hive in western red cedar



Flat Pack National Hives

Customise to your requirements and choose either 1st Grade Cedar or Red Deal. Standard Brood Box and Floor are included in the price. Bottom Bee Space is the National Hive standard so if you want Top Bee Space tick the checkbox. Don't forget to add on your metalwork requirements from the left hand column. We stock metal runners for Hoffman Frames and Castellated Spacers for SN1 etc. Please choose your hive options and extras below:

Supers:  

Roof:     

Floor:     

Crown:   

Stand:     

14x12 Brood Box + £14.53  

Framed Wired Queen Excluder + £17.89  

Top Bee Space. Free.  


red deal    Red Deal Discount.  


Total   
flat pack national hive in cedar or red deal


webcam...

Want to see your National Hive being made? Here's what's going on in the workshop right now. The image is updated every 10 minutes during working hours. Click to see full size...

webcam



blog...

The rest of the centre column is an ongoing blog of what's new at peak-hives.co.uk and other items of interest...veg garden...renewables etc, but please don't let reading about the allotment distract you from placing your order...:-)




Peak Hives Nucleus Colonies

For the upcoming 2012 season Peak Hives has joined forces with a local bee breeder and will be supplying Nucleus Colonies of bees.  We still have to cross some ‘t’s and dot some ‘i’s but if you’re interested in a ‘nuc’ then please email.  Our bee breeder is very experienced and has invested recently in some Buckfast Queens to breed from for the next season.  More on this soon…

New Product and 2011 Holiday.

Whenever I visit an experienced beekeeper I like to see how they operate and what modifications they have made to their National Hives to see if there’s an opportunity to usefully expand the Peak Hives product range. I don’t want to manufacture anything that isn’t good for practical beekeeping. On a recent visit to one of the Chesterfield BKA members apiary I noticed that he was using polycarbonate quilts. I’ve seen them before, of course, but having received the stamp of approval of a beekeeper with many years experience I decided to add them to the PH product line.  Framed in Cedar here’s No 1 in our apiary…

Polycarbonate Quilt

Polycarbonate Quilt

Peak Hives polycarbonate quilts are now available to purchase in the left hand column.

We’re off on our annual holiday tomorrow.  Back in 2 weeks to apply the Apiguard and resume production.

Varroa Floor Improvement

From now on the slide out trays used for Varroa inspections on Peak Hives Open Mesh Floors will be made from 4mm Yellow Correx rather than the 5mm ply previously used.  This change applies to full National size Varroa Floors and our Nucleus Hive Varroa Floor.

Open Mesh Floor Improvement

Open Mesh Floor Improvement

At Peak Hives we take suggestions/requests from our customers seriously.  Generally speaking I’d say that if a customer suggests an improvement it doesn’t always register as I’m so busy working on orders that product modification isn’t foremost in my mind  but if it’s asked for again then I try to stop what I’m doing and give the matter some serious consideration and come to a decision.

The main reason for this change to Yellow Correx slide out trays is better visibility as compared to the ply trays I previously manufactured.  It is much easier to spot a Varroa Mite against the Yellow Correx background than against the purpleish coloured ply.

Of course if you’re a previous Peak Hives customer and would like a Yellow Correx slide out tray then just get in touch and we can sort you out with a new tray at cost.

14x12 National Hives

The season is more or less upon us and I’m too busy to take photos of everything leaving the workshop and blog it but here’s another recent order.  The customer is moving from standard brood box size to 14×12 brood boxes.  He had two national hives from us last season but this year wishes to move to 14×12 and expand his apiary.  So there’s two fully assembled hives in cedar with 14×12 broods, a nucleus hive, an ashforth feeder and two ekes to convert his standard broods purchased last year to 14×12 size.

14x12 Hives and Ekes

14x12 Hives and Ekes

 

After cocking up the first attempt at making the ekes (my bees have to suffer once again…) I’m now very happy with them.  They just drop into the standard brood box (after removing previous metalwork of course) and you have a 14×12 brood chamber…

I’ll be able to join the debate as to whether 14×12 or brood and a half is better later in the year as I’m going to be running both side by side this season.

Little 'n' large

A couple of hives finished today.  On the left is a five frame National Nucleus Hive suitable for 5 frames plus 8mm ‘wiggle’ room.  On the right a full sized National Hive also from first grade cedar.  Comes with a Stand with Landing Board, Varroa Floor, Standard Brood Chamber, A Framed wired queen excluder, two Supers, An Apiguard Crown Board and a Standard 4″ roof.

little-n-large

little-n-large

These are to go tomorrow to a repeat customer.  It is very rewarding to find that many Peak Hives customers are satisfied with their first order and purchase again.

All the best.  Nick and Adriana.

Beautiful Apiary!

A much valued Peak Hives customer has sent me this stunning photo.  It’s two Peak Hives Nationals painted up in white and set in his beautiful garden.  I think the white works really well here and paint is also the best protection for any outside woodwork including hives.

Beautiful Apiary

Beautiful Apiary

 

Aesthetically it very much puts my apiary to shame…but you know what they say… ‘cobbler’s children…’

Isle of Wight Order

Still busy up here and here’s a quick picture of the order made up over the weekend (Yes including Sunday)…The order was for 3 14×12 National Hives in red deal each including a Varroa floor, a 14×12 Brood Chamber, Framed Queen Excluder, Two Supers, a Standard Crown Board and a Standard 4 inch roof.  Sunday working isn’t so bad when you love your job!

Isle of Wight Order

Isle of Wight Order

Flat Pack 14x12 Apiary

Quite a big order this one.  It’s essentially an Apiary in a box.  There’s 2 Flat Pack Cedar 14 x 12 National Hives with Open Mesh Floors and Framed Queen Excluders with 3 National Supers a piece, Standard 4″ National Roof, Crown Boards and National Hive Stands with Landing Boards.

Also on the right is a 14 x 12 Nucleus Hive in Cedar with Varroa Floor.

At the back you can just make out a couple of Ashforth Feeders too.  One for the full sized Hives and one for the Nucleus Hive.

Flat Pack 14x12 Apiary

Flat Pack 14x12 Apiary

I think I’ll advise the customer to buy a BIG pot of glue!!!

Christmas 2010

Christmas comes but once a year and one of our clients has given permission to show this picture of a beautifully wrapped Peak Hives National Hive given as a present.  We were very worried that they might not get it in time for Christmas but as you can see it arrived in time for some luxury wrapping…

Christmas Hive

Christmas Hive

There were a few customers for hives as presents and thankfully we managed to get them all out in time for giving on the big day.

Happy beekeeping!

First National Hive for 2011

I’ve sent out a couple of flat pack hives this week but this is the first assembled British National Hive to come out of the Peak Hives workshop in 2011.  As can be seen from the photo the stand is ‘legless’.  I believe the customer has a bench arrangement in place and will sit the hive on this so no legs required.  The hive consists of National Stand, Open Mesh Floor for Varroa control and monitoring, National Brood Box, Framed Queen Excluder, 3 National Supers, A Standard Crown Board with Porter Bee Escapes and a Standard 4 inch Flat Roof.

An Ashforth Feeder was also included with the order and a 70mm eke in Cedar to use with a plastic feeder the customer already has.  Nice bit of kit if I do say so myself.

First National Hive for 2011

First National Hive for 2011

The 'art' of hive making

Arvind Mistry visited the workshop last week.  He’s a friend and a professional photographer and had been asked to do a ‘shoot’ of a production environment.  I was happy to oblige and here’s a PDF of some of the shots he took.

I was more than a tad worried that the sawdust and particles in the workshop would damage his very expensive gear but he didn’t seem in the least bothered so I cracked on making up a 14×12 brood box whilst he snapped away.  He (and pricey cameras) got covered in shavings and dust but some nice piccys came out of it I think.

–> Here’s the link.

Thanks to Arv.

14×12 Eke

Used to convert a standard brood box to the increasing in popularity 14×12 brood box.  Simply drop it into the standard brood box add new metalwork and it’s ready for 14×12 frames.  I’ve just added it as a Peak Hives product in the left hand column.

Are we in for another winter like last year only much much longer??? For my bees sake I hope not (and for mine).

14x12 Eke

14×12 Eke

All Season Workshop!

New for this winter is a workshop you can work in!!!  Last winter’s cold snap that lasted quite a lot longer than one would think a ‘snap’ would last more or less closed Peak Hives down while the temperatures dropped far far below ‘glue setting point’.  It was also physically very draining to be in there for any length of time.

So I’ve stumped up for some Kingspan and insulated the most exposed bits.  It’s already a big improvement and the rest will be insulated over the coming weeks.  As testament to it’s new found cosiness here’s a picture of the lastest National Hive to emerge from the new warm and snug work environment…

Bit of an odd angled view but it’s a large 14×12 National Hive in Cedar with Stand, 3 Supers and a Gabled Roof and it’s the only way I could get it all in shot.

14x12 National

14x12 National

4 different timbers?

Well no.  There’s just two as can be seen in the image below.  Western Red Cedar and Red Deal.  In woodworking it’s not often you come across a timber that can have quite such a gamut of colouring as that of Western Red Cedar.  As can be seen in the picture the leftmost timber is Red Deal but all the others are Cedar despite them looking nothing like each other.

timbers

timbers

Red Deal and Western Red Cedar have quite different characteristics.

Western Red Cedar has long been used for construction where timber is likely to come up against the elements.  It has natural oils that resist insect attack and protect it from the worst the weather can throw at it.  It’s also very light.  This is a big advantage when one considers the weight a beekeeper has to lug around in a super full of honey.  The reason it’s light is that it has a kind of honeycomb structure in the wood (i.e. lots of air pockets) which adds to it’s usefulness too in beekeeping in that it’s a good insulator keeping the precious bees warm in the winter.

Red Deal’s main advantage is price.  It’s certainly cheaper and if you don’t mind the extra weight it’s perfectly good as a timber in National Hive production.  It can also last a very long time IF looked after.  Looking round town houses in neighbouring Buxton it’s remarkable how many still have front doors that were constructed in Victorian times.  What’s made them last so long?  Paint!

National Nucleus Hive Stands.

I’ve had a few requests for stands for our Nucleus Hives so they are a new Peak Hives product which can now be found in the left hand column under the Standard Nuc Hives and the 14×12 Nucs.  The PH Nuc hives do look good when sat on one.  They are (as are the Nucleus Hives) 221mm wide by the National Hive standard depth of 460mm.

Nucleus Hive Stand

Nucleus Hive Stand

Peak Hives Apiguard Crown Board

A new product for Peak Hives and a few photos of recent items that have left the workshop.

After a suggestion/request from an experienced beekeeper from the Leicestershire and Rutland BKA Peak Hives will now be offering the ‘Apiguard Crown Board’.  It incorporates a modification to the standard Crown Board adding a 3/4 inch strip round the normally flat side of the standard Crown Board.  The purpose of the extra strip is to facilitate Apiguard treatment.  Under normal use the board is placed with the beespace side downwards but when it’s time to apply Apiguard (a Thymol based product which used in conjunction with other treatments has so far proven effective against Varroa) the Apiguard Crown Board is flipped over giving the 3/4 inch extra space for the Apiguard tray to sit in.  A simple modification but effective against the Varroa mite.

As with the normal Crown Board it also doubles up as a clearer board with the supplied Porter Bee Escapes.

It can be purchased either as part of a flat pack or assembled hive or seperately from the left hand column.

Here’s a few snaps of the new product.

Apiguard Crown Board 1

Apiguard Crown Board 1

Apiguard Crown Board 2

Apiguard Crown Board 2

Apiguard Crown Board 3

Apiguard Crown Board 3

I think the photos more or less explain the way it works.  Any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Now here’s a few photos of recent orders.  We’re still very busy and this is just a snapshot of a few that have been made up and shipped to hopefully happy Peak Hives customers.

Recent Cedar Hive

Recent Cedar Hive

Recent Deal Hive

Recent Deal Hive

A Couple of Flat Peak Nucleus Hives

A Couple of Flat Peak Nucleus Hives

Update complete for now.  I have a number of products in the pipeline but have to concentrate on orders for the time being.

14×12 Top Bee Space National Hive in Cedar

Here’s a 14×12 top bee space National Hive in Cedar.  It’s for an order but I shall also be moving my bees onto 14×12 top bee space in the coming season.  I’ve just about managed OK this year with the ‘brood and a half’ I got the bees on but I have to agree with Ted Hooper that a single brood chamber has to be better (easier) to manage and any help in making the transition from beekeeping novice to beekeeper is more than welcome!

14x12 Top Bee Space National

14x12 Top Bee Space National

This hive has been constructed using a mix of bought in and locally sourced Peak District Cedar.

Tideswell Dale Honey

Now we have a printer that’s working I’ve finally printed up some labels for our Tideswell Dale Honey.  It’s a simple affair and doesn’t precisely conform to the honey labelling regulations etc but we’re only going to sell around 60 of these jars locally.

Tideswell Dale Honey

Tideswell Dale Honey

14x12 Nucleus Hives in Cedar

With Peak Hives Nucleus Hive Ashforth Feeders.  These two will be winging their way to their new owner on Monday…along with the other two orders my slave driving partner Adriana has instructed me to make up this weekend (yes, weekend!).  Still, it’s better to have work these days so no grumbling from me!

14x12 Nucleus Hives In Cedar

14×12 Nucleus Hives In Cedar

Here’s a shot of the last batch of Peak District Western Red Cedar now ready for machining having spent the summer air drying.  I’ll be doing a post in the next few days about converting raw lumber like this into finished National Hive parts ready for our pollinating friends to occupy.  I’ve been today to see another local Cedar that has to be felled in the coming weeks to stop it falling on the owner’s conservatory.  Better it’s made into National Hives rather than firewood (Cedar is apparently a very poor firewood anyway so I’m informed)

WRC In The Workshop

WRC In The Workshop

Last Orders…

Holidays 2010!!!!  Woohoo!!!!

Just finished for the 2 week hols.  We’re taking the ankle biters to France camping.  Euro Exchange rate could have been kinder but what the hell…this year has been about building up to this so we’re going no matter what.

Here’s a quick piccy of a 14 x 12 Nucleus Hive.  The customer wanted a stand to suit so endeavouring to please I’ve made one up to the nuc size.  The Nucleus was ordered flat pack but as a token compensation for her patience in waiting for the order I decided to build it up and throw in one of the small hive tools and frame lifters too.  Must be the holiday season going to me ‘ead…

14x12-Nucleus-Hive-With-Stand

14x12 Nucleus Hive With Stand

All the best and here’s to bountiful honey crops for all.  See you in 2 weeks or so…(and yes I do have work waiting for when we return but I’m going to put it well out of my head for the next fortnight)

Nick

Branding and Calendar Widget

A quick note before I head for the Cedar…news of some planned product improvements and workflow/customer service.

First of all I’m having a branding iron made for Peak Hives.  It will allow me to brand all Peak Hives assembled products both inside and out with a unique serial number should the client request it.  There’s been quite a few hive thefts in Derbyshire (see latest Beecraft) and as bees and hives come to the fore and increase more and more in value I think putting an indelible unique identifier on each hive is a good idea.  The serial number will be the customers ‘PHXXXXXX’ order number which is unique to each customer and it can be burned into the timber as the hive is assembled so I can do it both inside and out in places that would make removal very difficult indeed whilst not affecting detrimentally the look of the hive.

Following on from that I’ve decided to implement a calendar widget on the Peak Hives web page where customers can check where their order is in the queue.  We are a cottage industry striving for sustainability and mass production isn’t what Peak Hives is about.  But we are a business and keeping customers happy is core to any business.  The idea is that for every order received there will be a ‘PHXXXXXX’ serial number generated which would be sent to the customer.  This would then be placed on a frequently updated calendar visible on the main page.  The customer could then easily check where their order was in the queue and have peace of mind as to when it would be finished and despatched.  There’s a bit of programming to do on the page so it won’t be done until this current busy period is over but it should be a helpful improvement in future.

Finally, I always like to put up some visuals so here’s a piccy of a couple of National Hives that recently left the workshop…

National Hives

Standard National Hives from Peak Hives

Ashforth Feeders

The weather’s turned a bit unpleasant here in the Peak and due to my swarm control activities I have a new nucleus colony.  I’ve decided to feed them up and made up a pair of Ashforth Feeders, one for a full size National Hive and one for my 5 frame Nucleus Hives.  I tried the plastic contact feeders that most of the other suppliers sell and having been warned by experienced beeks that they were rubbish I can confirm from my own experience that they’re right.  They are rubbish.  I’ve decided to opt for the Ashforth as the best feeder.  The other option would be the Miller but according to other beeks they are not as good as they require your hive to be perfectly level (and I know mine aren’t).

They are made of First Grade Cedar and have a bee space underneath to allow the bees maximum access to the syrup.  The full size feeder can easily accomodate 10 litres of syrup and the nucleus size around 5 litres.  I’ll be adding them as Peak Hives products as soon as the broadband arrives at the new house.

Ashforth Feeders

Ashforth Feeders

One BIG Order!

After dedicating myself to getting up at 5am and finishing in the workshop at 11pm for the last week I’ve finally finished Matthew’s 23 fully assembled Cedar National Hives.  That’s 23 National Hive Stands, 23 Varroa Floors, 23 National Brood Boxes, 46 National Supers, 23 Framed and Wired Queen Excluders, 23 Crown Boards with Porter Bee Escapes, 23 National Hive Gabled Roofs and a partridge in a pear tree.

Here’s a piccy of Matthew (and Alexandra, one of mine) who runs Honey Bees At Home just about cramming it all in to a long wheel base Mercedes Sprinter Van.  Many thanks to Matthew and all the best with Honey Bees At Home!

I am well and truly knackered but will be making up orders again tomorrow first thing…it’s a good job I love my workshop.

23 Hives

23 Assembled Hives!

An inspector calls...

Regional FERA Bee Inspector Tim Roper called round under the FERA free inspection offer (you need to register with Beebase in order to qualify for a free inspection and it’s definitely worth it.  My opinion is that it in these times registration should be obligatory.  Anyway, after looking at Peak Hives 2 colonies he pronounced them in good health.  There was some evidence of chalk brood but not enough to cause too much concern.

The bees are now filling up the new super with drawn comb and there’s the ‘old socks’ smell of Dandelion honey.  Tim says it’s quite nice to eat though.

Fera Bee Inspector Tim Roper Inspecting Peak Hives Apiary

Fera Inspecting Peak Hives Apiary

Monitoring Varroa

We’ve now got two strong looking colonies of British Black Bee (Apis Mellifera Mellifera) in the Peak Hives Apiary. On inspection the other day with our experienced beekeeping friend Carl we popped off a cap from a drone cell and there looking up at us was a fat and annoyingly healthy Varroa Destructor mite. Today I decided to start a monitoring process using the slide out trays on our Varroa floors which will be in the hives for the next seven days. When they are removed the mite drop will be counted and action taken if the mite drop is above certain suggested levels (see the Beebase page on Varroa and the very useful Varroa Calculator).

I read somewhere about putting oil onto the paper laid on the slide out trays to make sure the little buggers can’t get away or don’t blow away and in the photo you can see the two trays that went into the hives today at 4pm. On the right is just plain white paper and on the left the paper has been liberally coated with sunflower oil. I did wonder if the smell from the oil might cause fright to the bees. Perhaps someone with better knowledge could comment on that. Anyway in they went and now to wait for the results.

Varroa Mite Monitoring

Varroa Mite Monitoring

Peak District Cedar National Hive

It’s taken up most of the afternoon but I’ve just been down to Rowsley Sawmill and picked up the latest batch of locally sourced Western Red Cedar.  I’ve had a towbar fitted to the Peak Hives Berlingo this morning and then borrowed my brothers 3/4 tonne trailer to pick up the lumber.  It will now join the Chatsworth Cedar to be seasoned ready for making up into National Hives.  The Chatsworth Cedar is feeling lighter by the day now and I’ve started machining up some hive parts with it. Cedar is an incredibly good wood to work and it’s characteristics are so well suited for beehive construction.  Many thanks to Adele and Dave at the Peak Park for helping me get to the trees before they were chopped up for firewood!

Peak District Cedar

Peak District Cedar

Peak Hives Quality Control

There’s nothing worse than woodworking for leaving you with egg on your face.  It happens in even the very best cabinet makers.  Just as this standard National Hive floor was about to leave the workshop to be sent out to the customer I decided to lay the tape measure across it and lo and behold it was 8mm short in one dimension!  The workshop air didn’t quite turn blue but I did sigh with relief that I wasn’t going to get a call in a couple of days asking why my National Hive floors were different sizes to everyone elses.

oops!

oops!

The only solution was to quickly make up another as the rest of the order was ready for delivery.

To err is human.

Peak Hives Apiary!

The idea of turning the joinery workshop into a National Hives business originally arose out of my own desire to start beekeeping and a few months ago I was lucky enough to meet Richard H who offered a couple of colonies in exchange for equipment.  Last week I travelled down (in the new Peak Hives livery) and picked up two hives bursting to the seams with British Black Bees.  After a very nervous journey up the M1 I made it back to Tideswell and with some effort in the dark managed to get the hives in place.  I was concerned that it might have been early in the year to bring colonies up here to the cold Peak but the bees were ready so delay was out of the question.

Yesterday I had a window of opportunity to do a first inspection and super the colonies.

First Bee Inspection

First Bee Inspection

So far, to my untrained eye, everything looks good.  Now to see if the combination of the often inclement (to say the least) Peak District weather and my inexperience as a beekeeper will not result in disaster.  I will do my very best.  Fortunately I’m with Chesterfield BKA who are known to be very supportive and also have a couple of aquaintances who are experienced beekeepers who might be able to lend a hand.

Stoneleigh Convention

I’ve had a few enquiries  as to whether Peak Hives will be exhibiting at Stoneleigh.  I won’t be able to attend even as a visitor this year as I’m busy with orders and can’t spare the time.  Hopefully I’ll get chance to get ahead of the game for 2011 and have a stand next year.  To all of you who can get to it this year have a great time!

Fitting National Hive Metal Rails for Top and Bottom Bee Space

Hi.  Answering a few queries I’ve had about fitting metalwork to National Hive Brood Boxes and Supers here’s a quick and simple guide to correctly fitting metal rails to the woodwork.  The image is more or less self explanatory but the essence of the procedure is to turn the brood/super upside down and place some sized bits of timber (10mm for bottom bee space and 18mm for top bee space) under the metal runner to give the correct gap.  The metal runner just rests on top of the wooden spacers while you pin it into place.  Once done you are guaranteed the correct chosen bee space.

Bee Space Spacers

Bee Space Spacers

Time to squeeze in an allotment update…

Spring is finally here in the Peak District so here’s a photo (panorama of four photos stitched together) of where I’m currently up to.

Lots of red onions because my partner Adriana is from Peru and they’re used widely in Peruvian cooking.  A new area for soft fruit (Blackcurrants, more Rhubarb, Autumn and Summer Raspberries, Redcurrants, various varieties of Gooseberries and more…) replacing a nettle patch that discouraged the family from venturing down to do some weeding/fettling.

Prior to this year the plot had been one area with treaded down paths every 4 feet or so and nettles all round. I was given some weatherproof boards back end of last year and slowly started making up the raised beds in the picture.

On the far right there’s one high raised bed which will be followed by three more of which two will be given to the kids to grow what they will and two will be used for root veg or spuds.

Mi Corazon!

Amor Mio!

The panorama is perhaps a future bees eye view as I’ve taken the photos from where I’m planning on putting my two Apis Mellifera Mellifera colonies that I have coming in a few weeks.

National Hive Supers to the Rafters!

With the order book so full I decided to work through the Easter weekend. By Monday I had a stack of Red Deal National Supers reaching up to the rafters of the workshop!

National Hive Supers in Red Deal

National Hive Super Stack

Completely cleaned me out of Red Deal.  There’s more being delivered on Thursday and luckily I’ve a good stack of cedar to work on in the meantime.  It’s a good thing that Andy came up with a transit van to pick up at lunchtime today otherwise I’d have struggled for room in the workshop.

Van Full of National Hives

Van Full of National Hives

Once he’d taken away this large order I managed to squeeze out a couple of Nucleus Hives by close of play.  Phew!  Friday is holiday!  My boy James is doing very well at school and as a reward the lot of us are off to Alton Towers Water Park.  I suspect that Saturday may bring more workshop time for this blogger but I’m going to allow myself a little R and R and enjoy Friday!

Peak Hives on TV!

Well I wouldn’t call it the big time but a Peak Hives National Hive has had a minor appearance on telly.  Matthew Austin from Honey Bees At Home called me and was keen on using Peak Hives Nationals for his London based business managing beehives in the gardens of the capital city.  He came up on Sunday and picked up a standard National Hive in Western Red Cedar with a gabled roof.  The next day it was on the Alan Titchmarsh show in this brief slot…

YouTube Preview Image

Ted Hooper MBE.

I was just addressing some issues on the website and I noticed on the news feed from the BBKA that Ted Hooper has passed away.  As a new beekeeper myself his book “A Guide to Bees and Honey” is the bible on beekeeping and his passing is a sad loss to the community.

A National Hive from Peak District Cedar

Had a busy and tiring day felling two Western Red Cedar trees with tree surgeons Paul and Dan.  The trees had to come down anyway as they were about to topple the chimney stack on the house they were next to.   Once they were down I sliced them into National Hive sized logs and then as soon as possible it’s down to Simon at Rowsley Sawmill where they’ll be milled into 2″ boards ready for air drying this summer.

Peak District Western Red Cedar

Peak District Western Red Cedar

Here at Peak Hives we’re very keen to obtain locally sourced materials if at all possible and many thanks to Dave for giving the heads up on the trees and to Paul and Dan for letting me come along on the day.  Can’t wait to get one of Peak Hives National Beehives made up out of Peak District Cedar.

More locally sourced Western Red Cedar

Local tree surgeon Paul has contacted me with regard to a couple of Western Red Cedars that he has to fell.  They need to come down anyway as they are threatening the buildings nearby.  He’s been very helpful and positive about these trees being used for National Hives rather than just burning them as firewood and is in negotiation with the owners now to see if it’s possible to do a deal on their unwanted trees.

Peak District Western Red Cedar

Peak District Western Red Cedar

Many thanks to Paul!

National Hive Queen Excluder

Peak Hives are now producing framed and wired queen excluders suitable for National Hives with either top or bottom bee space.  Our metalwork supplier sent us the metal grills a few weeks back and I’ve just had the chance to set up the workshop jigs to produce high quality frames to go round the excluder grill.  As with all our other National Hive seperates they can be found in the hive parts section in the left hand column.  I’ll also add them as an option on purchasing a complete hive this evening.

Framed Wired Queen Excluder

Framed Wired Queen Excluder

Queen Excluders

My metalwork supplier has recently sent me a batch of high quality queen excluder grills.  The mission before me (…’should I choose to take it’. R.I.P. a fond childhood memory – Peter Graves) was to come up with a frame suitable for both top and bottom bee space.  To tell the truth they’ve been sitting on the shelf for a couple of weeks now irritating the hell out of me that an obvious solution wasn’t immediately at hand.  The National Hive order that I’m currently working on includes a couple of excluders so in the end I bit the bullet and spent a couple of dead (£££) hours ‘uhmming and aahing’ and making up various workshop jigs.  By five o’clock PM with the help of the new Startrite Pillar Drill I’d got this far…

Making Queen Excluders

Making Queen Excluders

By six I’d cracked it and I’ll make up the two for the order in the morning and tomorrow evening have them on the site as a Peak Hives product.

Happy beekeeping 2010.  Nick

Custom made National Nucleus Hives

These four flat pack cedar national nucleus hives were custom made to the client’s preferred dimensions.  Took a little longer than usual as I had to order special meshes for the varroa floors but they’ll be packaged and sent today and I’m sure the customer will be satisfied as will their bees…

Custom made nucleus hives

custom made nucleus hives

Machinery Upgrade.

Hi.  I’m always on the lookout for new machines and I came across this Startrite Mercury Pillar Drill.  There’s not much to be done with one of these for making National Hives but seeing as I had been coping with a much inferior machine bought from B&Q or a.n.other vendor of rubbish machinery I jumped at the chance.  The new machine is 3 phase and very good at what it’s supposed to do…the old is single phase and rubbish…easy to see which is the better machine.

Startrite Mercury

Startrite Mercury

Hive Tools from Peak Hives.

In our endeavour to provide everything for the National Hive I’m pleased to say that we’ve found a local producer of National Hive Tools.  Made in Sheffield.  They are now listed in the left hand column for purchase.  Here’s a picture.  Click on the pic to see it in higher resolution.

Hive Tools Made in Sheffield

Hive Tools Made in Sheffield

Locally sourced Cedar for National Bee Hives.

Hi.  Dave and Adele at the Peak Park have come up with another Western Red Cedar that is about to be felled.  More locally sourced timber for National Hives!  I’m very pleased and would like to thank both Dave and Adele for their support for the cottage industry that is Peak Hives.  The tree is due to be felled anyway as it’s leaning a bit too close to it’s owner’s conservatory.  My opinion is that it’s better used as timber for National Hives than put through one of those awful chipper machines and ending up as garden mulch.  I’ll have to arrange milling again into 2″ boards with Simon at Rowsley Sawmill and then it can join the Cedar from Chatsworth that is already sticked and seasoning.  It’s not really economically sensible to do this as the time and effort it takes is enormous but there’s definitely a satisfaction in knowing that the timber I’m working came from just down the road rather than the other side of the world.

Here’s a pic.

Locally Sourced Western Red Cedar

Locally Sourced Western Red Cedar

National Nucleus Hive Options.

Here’s a couple of National Nucleus Hives I’ve finished today.  On the left a flat pack National Nuc in Red Deal with a standard floor.  On the right a fully assembled Cedar National Nuc with Varroa Floor (with slide out tray).  Both take 5 Hoffman DN4 frames with an extra 8mm manipulation space.

National Nucleus Hives

National Nucleus Hive Options

National Hives from Chatsworth Cedar

The first batch of locally sourced Chatsworth Western Red Cedar has been milled up by Simon at Rowsley Sawmill and I’ve just stacked and ‘sticked’ it to air dry.  Simon’s milled it into 2″ waney edge boards which I can then machine up into either national hive rails or slice down the middle for hive ends/sides.   Kiln drying would be too expensive so we’ll stick it cover it to protect it from the rain and wait…

Chatworth Western Red Cedar

Air Drying Chatworth Western Red Cedar

Top and Bottom bee space National Hive

I’ve had quite a few requests to produce top bee space national hives.  Got an order finished this morning so just before my lunchbreak I decided to ‘jig up’ for offering top bee space nationals.  Basically the difference in machining requires the production of a deeper top rail for supers and brood boxes and a suitable mortice in the brood/super sides to accommodate the deeper rails.  Anyway to cut a not very long story shorter here’s a couple of pics showing the standard British National Hive option of bottom bee space and the new optional top bee space…

Bottom Bee Space National Hive

Bottom Bee Space National Hive

Top Bee Space National Hive

Top Bee Space National Hive

I’ve also put together a little page on the debate between top and bottom bee space…here

I’ll update the site to allow choosing top bee space as an option later tonight.

Flat Pack National Hives picked up from the Workshop

Hi.  Rich came up on Wednesday to the Peak Hives workshop and picked up his flat packed national hives.  Was good to see him again and Steve who came along too.  Rich is an experienced beekeeper so by agreement (and the fact that they wouldn’t fit into his car otherwise) I didn’t seperate them out into individual units.

Here’s the kit he took…

Flat Packed National Hives

Rich's Hives

I’m getting plenty of enquiries about making up batches of frames and will endeavour to have a go this weekend (I do have to make a special meal for the oldies though on Saturday as it’s their golden wedding anniversary).  The other thing that I need to respond to is enquiries about ‘top bee space’ national hives.  It’s technically sorted but I want to have a go at machining some up before offering it as an option.  Coming soon, probably tomorrow.

Allotment news is that I made some space this afternoon for another fruit tree in the garden…it’s getting tight on space and I’ve another two trees to plant.  I wonder if the farmer who owns the field across the road would mind.

All the best and as usual, happy beekeeping 2010!

Cedar National Hives ready for shipping

Here’s a couple of cedar national hives ready in the workshop for shipping on Monday.  Here at Peak Hives we’re busy working away in spite of the cold weather that just doesn’t want to go away.  When Spring actually comes I’ll be one happy camper although the local allotment association reckons we’re ‘at least a month behind’ everywhere else…I do wonder if that means I’m going to have a hard time of it keeping bees here in Tideswell…seems likely.

Assembled Cedar National Hives

Assembled Cedar National Hives

Cedar National Hive with Gabled Roof

This national hive in western red cedar with a 14×12 brood box, 3 supers and a gabled roof is only going 10 minutes down the road so collection from the Peak-Hives workshop is on the cards.

cedar national hive with gabled roof

cedar national hive with gabled roof

Our gabled roofs are now made with a single piece cover of galvanized metal sheet providing the same protection as the single piece cover for the standard roofs and our nucleus hive roofs.

British National Hive in Red Deal

Now that the big freeze is over (at least for the moment it looks that way) we’re back in production.  Here’s a British National Hive with 2 Supers in Red Deal.

British National Hive in Red Deal

British National Hive in Red Deal

Here’s to a successful beekeeping 2010.  I’m long overdue to start frame making and I’m compiling a list of potential customers for DN4, SN1 etc.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get that thin kerf blade in use soon…

Allotment news is that I’ve just planted 2 out of 6 trees supplied by Rogers of Pickering.  1 Bramleys Seedling and 1 Spartan apple (recommended by Carl with thanks).  I’ve a couple of pear trees to plant next (Buerre Hardy and Conference) and 20 odd raspberry canes along with some plum trees and gooseberry bushes.  When we moved here as a family in the early 60s all these things were here and producing fruit.  Somehow they’ve been left to grow old and wither…(I blame the supermarkets..grrr).  With some luck and cultivation we’ll be back to picking our own fruit in a couple of seasons…

National Hive Varroa Floors...

Phew.  Now that the worst of the big freeze appears to be over I can start working away in the workshop again…Next winter I’ll have dry lined it with kingspan insulation (if the temp goes below 5 deg C then glues don’t set which as things stand pretty much closes the workshop down!!!).  Apart from the difficulties that the extreme weather has caused work wise it’s been hard enough just keeping warm at home…Managed thanks to the Husqvarna and a beautiful Jotul 602N.  Best thing my Dad ever bought!!!

Any road up…here’s a couple of Open Mesh Floors…One for a full size British National Hive and one for a National Nucleus Hive…One in Cedar and the other in Red Deal…

I do find the Nuc one cute…there again I need to get out more…

British National Open Mesh Floor with Slide out Tray

British National Open Mesh Floor with Slide out Tray

British National Nucleus Open Mesh Floor

British National Nucleus Open Mesh Floor

Btw,  the jury’s still out for me on the OMF versus Standard Floor…

National Hive Stand Assembly Instructions

As requested here are the assembly instructions for Peak Hives flat pack National Hive Stand…

National Stand Assembly

Happy new year to all Peak Hives customers!!!