We have a LEANER!!!

This beauty is an example of what I am dealing with.  I must thank Holly for helping me get things steadied.

Earlier in the year I had mentioned that I was using a new type of hive stand.  I never want to recommend anything untested and this new stand is an example why.  I still like the stands and with some tweaking they will be great, BUT I am having leaner(S)!!!

On the first year hives everything has been great.  Most of these are at two deeps.  A couple may have a single honey super on them.  Where I am having problems is in my second year and older hives.  Many of these are sporting 3-4 deeps along with anywhere from 2-5 supers.  I am finding as these hives pick up weight the 4 x 4 legs of the stands are beginning to settle into the ground.  It would be fine if they all settled evenly, but the problem is they DON’T DO THAT!  
So now I am faced with the worst possible scenario.  I have a tall hives that weights hundreds of pounds with a high center of gravity.  I could stand losing all of the honey, but if one of these things goes over in an outyard and I don’t visit for a while, I could lose that line of bees.

I have a couple of ideas already for making these things more stable.  One to increase the surface area in contact with the ground hopefully diminish uneven settling.  Another method I am thinking of is connecting two to three of these stands together as a single unit giving more points of contact with the ground.  Yet another option would be to place the hives on large paver similar to what Sam is doing over at SamsWildBees.

When I find a remedy I will pass it along.  The pictured hive has been steadied for now, but I need to do some more work on it once all of the honey is removed.

What is your preferred hive stand?  Do you have an idea that could help me with this problem? Please let me know in the comments section.

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12 Responses to We have a LEANER!!!

  1. Jarret Holman says:

    You could try taking some 1×4 and screwing it to the bottom so it has a perimiter around the legs giving it a bigger footprint but then you have to make sure your spot is completly level and not just four corners. I think i will update my design to include this new bottom perimiter. My grandpa and i use these designs and he has never went over two deeps and a super so the weight has never been to much of an issue. But if since I am going to be doing almost the same setup you are doing I am going to have to modify. Always leardning something new every day!

    • Jason says:

      That is also another valid option. I like the design of these stands. Just like anything they just need a little teaking.

      Beekeeping is just one big everevolving logic problem. 🙂

  2. Rachel says:

    What I did was look around and see what I had and I happened to have a half dozen 4×8 sections of “deck.” I think they were a hand me down from someones RV set up. I leveled the ground and it’s working great. I think I can probably do up to 4 hives per platform.

    • Jason says:

      Those sound like a pretty good deal. I only have experience with one type of hive stand that I can honestly say I hate. That is the old “pile of pallets on the ground”. One of my old mentors used to use that and I hate it.

      As with all things in beekeeping form and idea –> implement it –> re-evaluate –> improve if you feel the need. Are the sections all made out of 2 x 4 material?

  3. Lennie says:

    Its called “The leaning tower of Beeza”! I have 1 also!

    • Jason says:

      DARN! I need to start consulting you before I name my posts!!! That would have ben beautiful!!! I got things a little less precarious now. I will have a post about it next week.

      Thanks for reading and I hope you get things straightened out.

  4. Sam says:

    Something about those large pavers I’m using is when the ground dries out around them it pulls back leaving a small hump in the middle, causing the hives to be a bit wobbly, I am going to prop the corners with cement “stones” to fix this problem, somthing I never even thought of.

    • Jason says:

      Thanks for the letting me know before I get them. I have used a stand design in the past that works fairly well. Six concrete blocks, 2 – 8foot 4 x 4’s and 1 – 8 foot 2 x 4 cut in a way so that the 4 x 4’s are 22 inches apart from outside to oustide edge. From the 4 diffent stands I have used it has the best “set it and forget it” factor. I will have to do a post on them.

  5. Lennie says:

    I have been told by experienced beekeepers that the secret is to pull the hive down in the fall to only 2 supers or break them down in the spring to start off as 2 supers!

    • Jason says:

      That would work fine except I like to build up to 3 deeps as the “status normal” for my hives. I try to get them built up to at least two deep the first year and three by the end of year two. After that on year three they get to 4 deeps and 4-6 supers. At the end of the season I regress them to 3 deeps. In my short experience with bees, heavy hives tend overwinter better.

  6. Wow. And it looks like you have 6 supers, probably bursting with honey! I can learn from you.

    • Jason says:

      I can take little credit for the state of that hive. I believe it is all the genetics of those bees. They have not been treated (or re-queened) in many years. They have been re-queening themselves for years, just as they do in a bee tree.

      I am no bee genius. It takes a little faith to let go of conventional beekeeping ideas and allow some colonies to live and some to die. I hope we can learn from each other… 🙂

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