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 £27.52 Assembled Red Deal £24.76
National Brood
assembled national hive brood box Assembled Cedar £48.52 Assembled Red Deal £34.89
Flat Pack National Brood
flat pack national hive brood chamber Cedar £39.96
Red Deal £25.56
National Super
cedar national hive super Assembled Cedar £37.96 Assembled Red Deal £24.21
Flat Pack National Super
flat pack national hive super Cedar £29.85
Red Deal £18.30
National 4" Roof
assembled cedar national hive roof Assembled Cedar £43.97 Assembled Red Deal £31.50
Flat Pack National 4" Roof
flat pack national hive roof Cedar £35.22
Red Deal £27.52
National 6" Roof
assembled cedar national hive 6 Assembled Cedar £56.23 Assembled Red Deal £39.90
Flat Pack National 6" Roof
flat pack national 6 Cedar £40.77
Red Deal £35.89
National Gabled Roof
national hive gabled roof Assembled Cedar £60.65 Assembled Red Deal £47.45
National Hive Stand W Splayed Legs and Large Landing Board
national hive stand w splayed legs Assembled Cedar £34.22 Assembled Red Deal £27.86
National Hive Stand W Landing Board
national hive stand Assembled Cedar £24.22 Assembled Red Deal £17.86
Flat Pack National Stand W Landing Board
flat pack national hive stand Cedar £22.96
Red Deal £16.24

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 £58.87 Assembled Red Deal £38.54
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 £24.02 Assembled Red Deal £18.55

Flat Pack National 14x12 Brood Box
flat pack national hive 14x12 brood box Cedar £49.25
Red Deal £27.66

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. £12.55

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 £28.96 Assembled Red Deal £22.88

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 £26.45 Assembled Red Deal £21.12
National Nucleus Stand W Landing Board
nucleus hive stand

Assembled Cedar £20.29 Assembled Red Deal £14.94
Nucleus Hive Super
Supplied with fitted metal runners. assembled nucleus hive super Assembled Cedar £27.52 Assembled Red Deal £21.89
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.



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...:-)




PH as Featured in the FT…

A month or so ago I was asked if we’d like to be in the FT in an article based around Artisans…

Here’s a link to the article.

https://next.ft.com/content/911e8538-1856-11e6-b197-a4af20d5575e

I’ll write more on this later but for now must get back to the workshop to make up some hives…

Nick

New Blades…

At the start of every beekeeping season I invest in new blades for all my machines. It’s not always so urgent because Cedar is a very forgiving timber to work and doesn’t cause too much wear on the TCT on a blade. But it’s more or less become a tradition in the Peak Hives workshop and it is nice when the new blades cut for the first time…hot knives through butter!!!

New Blades

New Blades

We’re now busy with our standard National Hive products so I can’t take on any ‘specials’ until the back end of this season…but I do like the odd Observation Hive or Top Bar. Nice to make a variety of things.

Happy New Year

And a Happy Beekeeping Season for 2016 from Peak Hives!

I hope this current unseasonal weather gives way to some more normal sharp frosts and perhaps a bit of snow to keep the children happy. our bees should be fine as we left on a full super of honey and unless there’s some significant cold weather heading our way that should see them through.

Meantime here’s a picture of a custom National Hive in Cedar built with half sized Supers. The customer didn’t want to be hefting full National Supers around and asked if I could make them 230mm wide instead of the standard National size of 460mm. At peak production times it would be harder to accomodate special requests as we are so busy with Standard National Hive orders there’s little time to find for anything out of the ordinary but in the quieter parts of the year we’re always happy to make non standard orders.

National Hive w Half Supers

National Hive w Half Supers

Here’s to 2016…

Snelgrove Board

Snelgrove Board

Snelgrove Board

We’ve had many requests for these and now the beekeeping season has quietened down I’ve finally got round to making the required jigs so they can be made consistently to a high standard. The Snelgrove method of swarm control is well documented and a very good description can be found from the Barnsley Beekeepers website Snelgrove Method

As with all our standard products they are made to National Hive size.

pour les abeilles françaises…

These two Top Bar Hives were ordered some time ago and are now ready to be shipped out to our customer Richard who lives in France.  Apparently once our previous Top Bar Hive had been seen on the Peak Hives website no other would do.  Nice to know our quality workmanship is appreciated.  They are Cedar and have hinged viewing panels for less intrusive inspections.  It’s a nice change to make a ‘special’ but our customer was also very patient and understood that we had to get on with our standard National Hive orders and work on these as and when we could.  One day I’ll make one for myself as they do look an interesting way of beekeeping.

Top Bar Hives in Cedar

Top Bar Hives in Cedar

We are about to have our annual holiday so enquiries and orders for our National Hive products received while we are away will be dealt with upon our return.  All the best.  Nick and Adriana.

Season Update and Workshop Upgrade…

We’re mad mad mad busy making our Cedar National Hives. We haven’t had any quiet period this time around as we have fortunately had many returning customers which is great. I’m currently doing 7 day weeks (taking Sunday afternoons off to have a breather and do a bit in the polytunnel) and even so still struggling to fulfill all orders in good time.

One thing I have had opportunity to do though is an upgrade in the workshop. The crosscut saw is about the most used machine in the workshop and has up to now had a Beech fence with a home made fence stop. It’s been accurate but every now and then I would have to fashion a new fence stop to make sure all was working correctly. Accuracy wasn’t the problem with it though. As a home made solution it tended to be awkward at times and needed too much maintenance so last week I splashed out on a Datum FlipStop. Installed it and a new Ash fence last night with the difference that can be seen in the pictures below. Very pleased so far…

Old Fence

Old Fence

New Fence

New Fence

New Fence

New Fence

All the best to all our customers. Our National Hives are still our bread and butter product and we thank our customers for their patience.

Observation Hive For Scotland

Here’s a National Observation Hive which has just left the workshop on it’s way to Scotland.  Taken some time in the making and I prefer to do these specials when it’s the quiet season so I can spend a little extra time on the machining and getting it just right.  Many thanks to David for his patience.  It would have left the Peak Hives workshop last week but we have had a dump of snow and the gritters don’t come up our lane these days so it had to wait until the courier van could get to us.

Observation Hive Closed

Observation Hive Closed

Observation Hive Open

Observation Hive Open

For now that’s the specials done with as we are very busy with orders for our National Hives and looking forward to a great 2015 beekeeping season.

Polycarbonate Quilt Update

Here’s an incremental improvement to a Peak Hives product.  I needed to order new material for our Polycarbonate National Hive Quilts.  The new transparent material is 3mm thick instead of the old 2mm.  It’s a small improvement that adds stiffness.  I try to look for opportunities to make changes/add products to our National Hive range when the opportunity arises.

Polycarbonate Quilt Update

Polycarbonate Quilt Update

Despite the current weather and season our National Hive order book is still full.  I will make time soon though to set up the making of a batch of frames.  DN1, SN1, DN4 and 14×12 Hoffman are our usual range and I’ll be making up around 1000 of each…repetitive and tedious work but it needs to be done ready for next season.

National Hive Double Stand in Cedar

Our customer emailed to ask if we could make a specific height double stand.  After exchanging a couple of emails we had a design and at this time of year I can fit in the odd custom job. It’s 700mm high and designed to take two National Hives.

Double Hive Stand in Cedar

Double Hive Stand in Cedar

I was only supposed to make up a flat pack but got carried away and made it up. Suppose it means I like being in the workshop at least..

 

 

National Hive – 2014

Here at Peak Hives we’re gearing up for the 2014 season here’s the latest delivery of first grade Western Red Cedar delivered to us by our timber supplier.  It really does look super quality material.  After briefly changing suppliers for a cheap deal on short lengths it’s a relief to be back with the supplier who has provided us with top quality timber for a number of years.  We’ve always found that quality of relationship is very important with those who we deal with.

Cedar Delivery

Cedar Delivery

I’ve been asked a few times about whether it’s best to buy Assembled hives or Flat Pack.  I would say that the flat pack option should only be chosen if you’re a competent woodworker with the right tools and a suitable place to assemble.  It’s also useful to have seen a National Hive before or better still already own one.  So if in doubt choose an Assembled National Hive as a safer option and then perhaps if you need to expand your apiary later try a flat pack.

Last year we managed to get approx 120lb of honey from our small apiary and that included leaving 2 full supers on each hive as we nearly lost colonies through starvation due to the late cold snap in April.  Hopefully with the extra stores all our colonies with go through this years winter and we’ll get as good a honey crop as 2013.

Observation Hive No2

Earlier on in the year we were approached by a visitor attraction to build an observation hive to be installed for public viewing.  We were, as usual, too busy building our National Hives so we couldn’t accommodate them at the time.  Now that the main season is over I can make up special requests and this is the result

Observation Hive 2

Observation Hive 2

It will be wall mounted and takes 3 DN1 brood frames and an SN1 super frame as specified by the customer.  I was concerned that having only 4 frames it might be too small but the client assures me that they have seen similar observation hives run successfully over long periods.  They are also quite well in with local beekeepers so should have assistance on hand should they need it.  I’m currently discussing with the customer as to whether I travel up to the lake district where the attraction is to fit the hive.  Hopefully I will be and can make a weekend of it and do my best to get up Scafell.

 

A Cubic Metre of Cedar

Last order of raw materials for National Hive manufacture this season.  One Cubic Metre of Canadian Western Red Cedar.

A Cubic Metre of Cedar

A Cubic Metre of Cedar

Together with what’s already in the store we should have enough for our National Hive and Nucleus Hive orders up to Christmas.  It means I can spend a bit of time at the end of each day out of the workshop on other projects and the current job is erecting our polytunnel.  54 feet by 14 feet with double doors at either end.  Should be just what we need to extend the growing season up here in the Peak District.  Apart from Strawberries etc we will also be using it to start a micro nursery of bee friendly plants.  I’ve an extensive list of plants sent us by the British Beekeepers Association and need to decide on a couple of dozen which are not too difficult to propagate to get started.

2013 Holiday

Hi.

After a very busy season making our Cedar National Hive beekeeping equipment our annual holidays are coming up so any orders placed from today 02/08/2013 will be made up upon our return in the first week of September.  Many thanks to all our clients new and old.

Nick & Adriana.

Two National Hives and a 14×12 Nucleus

Latest lineup finished today in the Peak Hives workshop. The customer is, I believe, writing an article on beekeeping for a National Sunday Supplement which we’re very excited about. Would be great to see some of our National Hives in a widely distributed Sunday. Apart from our website we don’t advertise and we’re always busy so the thought of a deluge of orders the Monday after publication is a little daunting but in today’s economic gloom it’s definitely better to be worried about having too much work than too little.

Each hive comprises of National Stand, National Brood Chamber, 14×12 Eke, 2 Supers, Framed Queen Excluder, Apiguard Crown Board, Gabled Roof, Ashforth Feeders, Top Bee Space, all in first grade Western Red Cedar. The Nucleus Hive is one of our own popular 6 frames plus the supplied dummy board with a varroa floor again in Cedar.

Sunday-Sup

 

Given that we’re due about a foot of snow overnight it’s unlikely to leave the workshop tomorrow. Just have to work round them until the courier can get!

National Brood Chamber Cross Section

A very cross section indeed.  I’d made this National Brood Chamber up out of first quality cedar and after sanding it and finishing with metal runners placed it upon the rest of the order I was working on.  Summat not right there!  I’d made the sides about 35mm too short!  So after a mild curse it was destined for firewood.  Makes a nice cross section of a Brood Chamber though so here’s a piccy before it went on the fire.

Brood Chamber Cross Section

Brood Chamber Cross Section

National Observation Hive

One of our school customers wanted an observation hive and sent me an image of one they had seen to see if I could make a copy.  They also wanted it to be compatible with frames taken from their existing Peak Hives National Hive so as to facilitate colony management etc.  The photo they sent me was of a hive based upon the Langstroth so it did take a bit of modifying to make it National Hive compatible but here’s the result.

National Observation Hive

National Observation Hive

 

National Observation Hive

National Observation Hive

 

National Observation Hive

National Observation Hive

As you can see with the hinged doors open and the polycarbonate quilt it will make for easy viewing of the entire colony.  I added toggle latches to hold the floor to the brood chamber and to the modified super above the brood so as to make sure there weren’t any mishaps whilst the hive was being observed.  I’m pleased with the result and think our client will be too.

 

Snow

We’ve been having a nightmare getting deliveries out as we are well off the route the gritters and ploughs cover.  If there’s a hint of snow in the UK Tideswell always gets it bad.

One customer, Jim from Sheffield, decided to pick up his flat pack National Hive from the workshop but he had to abandon his car in the centre of the village and walk the rest of the way.  After boxing up his hive it was clear that carrying it wasn’t on so Jim’s order became the first Peak Hives product to be delivered by sledge.

Sledge Hive

Sledge Hive

Thanks for bringing the sledge back Jim and happy beekeeping!

 

Order Queue

Managed to get on top of the order queue.  With 6 large orders going today it means I can mostly concentrate on a huge order that doesn’t need delivering until Jan 2013 and fit in a little time for my own projects…

National Hives aren’t the only thing made from Western Red Cedar.  It’s a bit off topic for a National Hive maker but here’s how our Freedom 15′ Cedar Strip Canadian canoe is shaping up.

Canadian Cedar Strip Canoe

Canadian Cedar Strip Canoe

I’ve been grabbing 20 mins here and there to do work on it now for over a year but now that the high season madness has subsided I can fit in a bit more time along with my son James (part of the idea is that he sees the value in taking time over – and finishing – a project).  We’ve just done fibreglassing and epoxy…When finished I’ll pop some ‘on the water’ piccys on the Peak Hives blog.

I’ve also updated the order turnaround time in the right hand column and it’s now approx 2 weeks from order to delivery for one of our Cedar or Red Deal National Hive products.

Double Brood Nucleus Hive

We’re back from our annual family trip to the Vendee and back into the workshop.

This client likes to use a double brood chamber on his nucleus colonies and asked if we could make up an extra brood chamber in nucleus size.  We’re always keen on custom orders and here’s the result…

Double Brood Nuc

Double Brood Nuc

As with all Peak Hives products it is manufactured to National Hive standard dimensions.  But we do our Nucleus Hives for 6 frames plus a dummy board (supplied) for easier manipulation.

Nucleus Hive Super

Time to respond to customer requests.  I’ve had numerous enquiries as to whether I’d make a ‘Super’ for a Nucleus Hive.  Well here it is (See pic below).  It’s sized to sit atop of our 6 Frame Nucleus Hive and comes with fitted metal runners.  The work involved in making one is more or less the same as for a full sized National Hive Super so unfortunately they can’t be sold for half price for the small amount of material that’s saved.  But they’ve been requested a good few times now and we try our best to satisfy demand.

Nuc Super

Nucleus Hive Super

 

They are now available to purchase in the left hand column.  All the best and happy beekeeping.  Nick and Adriana.

Two National Nucleus Hives

Quick shot of the order finished today.  Two Nucleus Hives in Cedar with Varroa Floors and our new Splayed Leg Hive Stands.  At Peak Hives we put as much work and attention to detail in making our Nucleus Hives as we do into making our full sized National Hives.  In fact the time it takes making one is not far off about the same as making a full sized hive as they have essentially all the same components but scaled down.  Stand, Varroa Floor, Brood Chamber, Crown Board and Roof.

Two Nucs

Two Nucs

All the best.  Nick.

National Brood Chambers

This stack of National Hive Brood Boxes in Red Deal has just been completed and is now ready for putting on a pallet for delivery to our beekeeper customer in Herts.  After sizing it up for delivery it was decided that a single pallet would be better as it would have taken 8 individual packages to be sent by the normal courier route.

National Brood Chambers

National Brood Chambers

We did have a relatively quiet period in November when I managed to get more or less up to date with the order queue but with the new season that’s now history and we’re as busy as heck and I’m currently working 7 days a week in the workshop trying to get on top of the workload.  Thankfully Peak Hives tends to attract customers that understand that when ordering from a cottage industry there may be a wait between clicking ‘buy now’ and delivery.  We really do appreciate our clients patience.  Our customer satisfaction rate suggests they think it’s worth it.

 

Cleaner Cuts

Since starting National Hive production at Peak Hives I’ve used my trusty Sedgwick morticing machine to cut the slots for the rails to sit into brood boxes and supers.  Cedar is an extremely light wood with air between the fibres therfore affording extra insulation to bees housed in a cedar hive, BUT that lightness means that on occasion the morticer can sometimes cut/crush it’s way through the timber rather than just cutting.  The image below illustrates the problem…

National Hive Rail Slots

National Hive Rail Slots

 

Time for a Dado head!  They’re not normally available here in the UK because of our Health and Safety laws but I’ve been searching ebay for a while and found one.  After making up a custom jig and some more fettling it’s doing a grand job.  Nice clean precise cuts every time and it’s also slightly quicker.

 

Dado Head

Dado Head

 

Custom Varroa Floors

Our client wishes to place his apiary with the back of his hives against a limestone wall.  After having picked up his original order for a National Hive in Cedar with a standard Varroa Floor he realised that the slide out Correx tray meant that his hives would have to be 1/2 metre away from the wall.  After a quick consultation with us we’ve come up with these bespoke Open Mesh Floors.  On one the tray slides out to the left and on the other it slides out to the right allowing two hives to be inspected from a central position.  We always try to meet any special requirements if we can.  If the customers happy, we’re happy.

 

Custom Varroa Floors

Custom Varroa Floors

 

Hoffman Frames

Finally got round to making all the jigs and workarounds to make the production of Hoffman Frames viable.  They’re now added to the frames section in the left hand column.  We’re offering our frames in flat packs of 10 or 50 and the Hoffmans are available in standard National Hive Brood Box size and 14×12.  All our frame packs come supplied with frame nails.

Hoffman Frames

Hoffman Frames

As is the case with all our National Hive products every stage from raw material to completed frame is done in our workshop in Tideswell.

 

6 Frame Nucleus Hive!

Here at Peak Hives we take product development seriously.  When we get National Hive suggestions from customers they are always considered carefully and incorporated into our product line if they’d be a useful addition to the beekeeping experience.  Hence the new Peak Hives Nucleus Hive.

6 Frame Nucleus Hive

6 Frame Nucleus Hive

The most noticeable improvement is our new Nucleus Hives have room for 6 frames instead of the previous 5.  But also we’ve built in room to add a dummy board (which comes included) alongside the 6 frames to make inspection easier.

As can be seen from the photos there’s the optional 7 litre Ashforth Feeder sized to sit perfectly on top of the brood area.  The other feeding option is provided by the feed hole in the crown board which allows the use of a contact feeder should you prefer.  Also optional is the Nucleus Hive stand with landing board again sized to sit perfectly under the hive.

 

6 Frame Nucleus Hive

6 Frame Nucleus Hive

We’re the only National Hive makers to incorporate a Varroa Floor with our Nucleus Hives and with the new 6 frame Nucleus Hives and that will continue.  Whether a hive is for a nuc or a large colony it’s always useful to be able to inspect for Varroa infestation.  As can be seen in the photo we use yellow correx trays in our Open Mesh Floors to aid visual identification of the mite.  The standard floor will also continue as an option should you prefer.  Both floors come with an entrance block.

 

Nucleus Hive Varroa Floor

Nucleus Hive Varroa Floor

And of course we’re offering the new product in standard National Hive brood size and 14×12.  All in Western Red Cedar or the more economical Red Deal.

Frames and Dummy Boards

Just added Frames and Dummy Boards to the Peak Hives product list.  They can now be purchased from the left hand column along with all other Peak Hives National Hive products.

These two products have been requested umpteen times.  Dummy Boards present no problem it’s just that I’m so busy with existing orders it takes some time for me to fit into the work schedule making up anything new.

Dummy Boards

Dummy Boards

Frames are another matter.  Each frame consists of 6 seperately machined elements and yet they command such a low selling price.  I’ve been working on this problem for a while and whilst it’s been sorted some time ago for supplying my own apiary I have been wary of offering them as a PH product up until now.  Various jigs have been designed and made and then remade and then again reworked but I’m now finally confident that they can be viably produced in batches meaning I’m not having to work for two penneth an hour.

DN1 Frame Pack

DN1 Frame Pack

So far we’re offering the bread and butter DN1 and SN1 frames in packs of 10 in the flat.  Hoffman brood frames will come before the new 2012 season.

Alea Iacta Est.

Quick Update

We’re very busy!!!  Lots of National Hive products being made up and sent out to PH customers.  I’ve had to put the mobile phone on one side to allow me to maximise time in the workshop so apologies if I don’t answer.  Best bet is to email and we’ll try to answer asap.

First pic is of a machinery upgrade.  I’ve had my tenoning machine for some time now and it’s served me well.  It had old style cutting heads but they are now illegal and they also require sharpening quite frequently so I’ve bitten the bullet and bought some new TCT cutting heads made by Whitehill.  They are the business!  Nice clean cuts every time and they won’t shoot out a piece of high speed steel at 100mph to boot.

Tenoner Upgrade

Tenoner Upgrade

Next is an upgrade that I’ve been looking to do for a while but have only just found a supplier.  Flat pack hives don’t look their best if they are made up with clout nails.  I’ve been on the lookout for galvanised lost head nails for some time.  Found them!  So all Peak Hives flat packs will now be supplied with galvanised nails.

Nail Upgrade

Galvanised Hive Nails

Frames are on the way…DN1 and SN1 are up and running.  Will add as a PH product after I’ve made up a few hundred…

Frames!!!

And as usual I like to put a piccy of some recent orders made up in the PH workshop.  Here’s a load of National Hive equipment in the newly tidied storage area awaiting dispatch.

Latest orders

Latest orders

 

That’s it.  Workshop tomorrow.  Working for yourself has many benefits but one can’t shake off the feeling that you should be in there all the time.

PS.  Don’t forget the photo competition!!!

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

Product Improvement – Cedar Staining

Cedar is a superior timber for making hives partly because it has natural chemical constituents that protect it from insect and fungal attack.  These chemicals can cause a side effect though in that they can react with the iron content of standard nails and cause staining if the wood is wet.  I’ve been wetting the wood in picture every day for a couple of weeks and you can see the stain from the standard steel nail starting to spread.  Of course this doesn’t occur if the hive is protected with paint or Danish/Linseed Oil but some prefer to leave their woodwork untreated to age and weather naturally.

On the left you can see the stained standard nail.  On the right you can see no staining around the galvanized nail fixed in place by my new Air Nailer.

Cedar Test Piece

Cedar Test Piece

Here’s the old technology compared with the new.  Hammer vs Air Nailer.  Won’t be throwing the hammer away just yet but the Nailer certainly speeds up hive assembly leaves a neater finish and, using galvanized nails, gets rid of the staining issue.  Peak Hives assembled National Hives will from now on be constructed using the newer method.

Hammer vs Nailer

Hammer vs Nailer

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!!!

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.

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.

A 14x12 and a Nucleus

Two orders made up today.  One 14×12 National with 2 Supers and a Nucleus Hive.  None of this is new but we’re proud of making our products out of locally sourced materials and both of these are constructed from Peak District Western Red Cedar.

National 14x12 In Cedar

National 14×12 In Cedar

Standard Nucleus Hive In Cedar

Standard Nucleus Hive In Cedar

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.

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

Autumn?

I’ve not quite forgotten how to post articles onto the Peak Hives website but it has been a while…

There’s more than a couple of reasons why it’s been so quiet on here but one major reason is while we were away on hols the camera got dropped into the sea!  Digital cameras and salt water don’t mix it seems and no matter how much drying time I give it it refuses to take another piccy.  Took receipt the other day of a new camera and can finally take some shots to put onto the site again…One of the other reason it’s been so quiet is I’m spending as much time as possible in the workshop to make up orders.

Off the top of my head this weeks production has included…around 50 flat pack national supers, 25 flat pack national brood boxes, a dozen or so of broods and supers assembled, several Varroa Open Mesh Floors, two standard floors (yes there are still experienced beekeepers who use them), around 14 4″ roofs, 1 complete 14×12 hive in cedar and an accompanying nucleus hive (pictured) and a few ashforth feeders…phew.  There’s lots more to make up though and we certainly do thank our customers for their patience.

14x12 hive and nuc

14x12 hive and 14x12 nuc

Up here in the Peak the season’s well and truly over as regards the buzzers…they’re settling in for winter.  Started with 2 colonies and looks like we’ll end with 2.  Now to see how they fair in the Peak District winter…

Think I’ll give them a little help with some cut up Kingspan.

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!

Peak Hives Has Moved.

Into the house next to the workshop!

Partly due to workloads and also the need for a better place for my own brood we decided to move into the house next to the workshop.  Peak Hives customers will be pleased to hear that this allows me to get into work at around 6am and leave around 10pm…has to be done but I’m not sure how long I can keep it up.  I’m currently awaiting a broadband connection which is due on the 10th of June.  One that’s in then my plan is to install a Peak Hives Workshop Webcam so that clients can see their National Hive being machined and assembled.  The move will also allow me to develop new National Hive related products when I have a bit of spare time…watch this space.  First on the list is going to be Ashforth feeders for both full sized hives and nucleus hives as my own recent experience suggests that the contact feeders are rubbish.

Working from Home

Working from Home

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.

Air Drying Chatsworth Western Red Cedar

Whilst the locally sourced timber is sticked and stacked in the now nice and dry spring weather I’ve been conducting a little experiment in timber drying.  I cut a piece of the Chatsworth Cedar to the dimensions of a National Hive top or bottom rail and I’ve been taking photos of how it’s gone on weight wise inside a centrally heated house…the difference is dramatic to say the least.  From a whopping 372 grammes and feeling like a truncheon it’s now a mere 145 grammes and feeling like a piece of balsa wood.  It’s incredibly light.  Part of the reason why hives are made out of cedar is that it’s light but the reason why it’s light is because there are lots of air pockets in the timber which gives it another potentially useful property.  It’s a good insulator.  Nice warm bees in nice light and comfy cedar hives…

Drying Western Red Cedar

Drying Western Red Cedar

Every now and again I go to the lumber stack and ‘heft’ a piece of the Chatsworth cedar and I can feel it getting lighter in weight almost day by day.

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!

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