Last week marked another period of sustained cold weather. In the last week and a half or two there have been night-time lows near zero degrees F. We also have had a couple of days peppered in there where it nearly made it to 60 degrees F. I’m getting more than a little nervous thinking about what’s going on in the hives. To keep my mind off of the uncertain status of my bees I busied myself with hive maintenance. I have been working at our new place with no heat so extreme cold resulted in a schedule change. I spent a couple of days being thankful that I had access to a heated shop.
Last Summer I purchased some used boxes for $2 a piece (see New Beekeeping Friend). At the time I though I was making out like a bandit, but upon closer inspection I don’t know how I made out on the this deal. Many of these old boxes were very loose in the corners and a lot of nails were backing out. Without serious attention they would not be usable at all. Even with serious attention some of the boxes will be converted to swarm traps.
I had a couple tools on hand to help out with getting these boxes in shape. The next time you are at a flea market keep your eyes pealed for nips or nippers. I have been using what my Dad called “Bull Nips” since I was a kid to pull nails. These tools have many potential functions, so they are useful to have around. Pulling nails was one of my most hated jobs growing up, but all that experience came in handy on this particular day last week.
Thirteen of the boxes needed to have nails pulled and screws put into the holes. It really doesn’t seem like that many, but there was a considerable amount of time involved refurbishing these things. Two inch, triple coated deck screws were used to tighten the joints. I hope they provide a couple years of service to justify doing this work and the expense of the screws. Remember, I keep telling myself, they can always be turned into swarm traps.
I have been up to some other stuff too, but that will wait for another post. How are your hives doing?
Hope you are busying yourself in preparation for the Spring. Dandelions will be here before you know it.
Below are pictures of all three types of nips used last week.