Bee Haven

Bee Haven is a home for our bee hives.  It is an outdoor platform and storage box for boxes and supplies. Eventually, an arbor and corrugated plastic roof will be added to protect the bee hives from rain. The most exciting part is planting a perennial bee garden with lots of herbs since bees love oregano, rosemary, etc.

Originally, two colonies were relocated from Sunnyvale in 2009, and the hives were placed around the heritage apple trees. They did not receive time or attention, and the colonies died out in early winter.

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In April 2012, we moved two new hives closer to the garden.  We wanted to add protection from rain and wind and keep the supplies near the bees. We enjoy watching the bees spin and twirl patterns in the garden.

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New hives on deck waiting for their new home at Bee Haven. April 4, 2012. Queens released.

Saturday, April 7, 2012: Framing a box

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Three redwood 4x4s cemented in place.

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Two more 4x4s were added, and the bottom of the box was framed. It was raised off the ground for water to flow underneath.

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Using recycled door to measure the exact space. The door is actually the top of the box where the hives will sit.

Saturday, April 14: Recycling planks from old tree fort

Probably 20 years ago, the former owner built a platform deck in one of the redwood groves. The platform rested on the top of an old growth, burnt out stump. The tree platform partially collapsed when a black locust fell on it in 2005, and then in 2012, we finally had the support beams sawed in half to use the lumber.

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Sunday, April 15: Sanding, Staining, and Framing

Recycled redwood was turned into beautiful pieces of lumber, with sanding and staining.

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Redwood planks cleaned off and drying in the sun after a week of spring rain.  Most of the lumber was rotted.

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The difference in patina after being sanded and then stained.

Friday, April 29: Building the sides

 The bottom of the box was built with the recycled redwood 2x4s that were in pretty good shape. They made a colorful pattern all laid out together. The box needed to be strong and sturdy since bee hives full of honey weigh 50-80 lbs. each. This structure has to hold up to 200 lbs. Also, it’ll be used to store boxes and supplies.

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The 2x4s were the hand rail on the platform and were in the best condition. The brackets and screws were also reused for this project.

Friday, May 11: Completing Interior Box

The sides were made from 2×6 and 2×8 planks, and these larger boards were more rotted which required a lot of time and energy to make the boards look refreshed.

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Friday, May 18: Swarming Season

Hives colorfully painted, and one honey super added to each hive to prevent the colonies from swarming.

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Friday, May 25: Adding Victorian Door

A heavy, recycled redwood door purchased from Urban Ore in Berkeley was used for the top shelf. The door was originally purchased for inside the house, but plans changed, and for eight years it was stored in the garage for future use.

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The box size was designed to fit the dimensions of large supers.

Because most of the large 2×6 and 2×8 lumber was rotted, and it’s rewarding to use up materials stored in the garage, the idea came to mind to cut up an old Victorian door which was the exact length to fit snug on the front of the box.

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Monday, May 28: Finishing Box

The old Victorian door was painted to match the door colors on the house and the Cordwood Masonry Studio and stenciled with flowers and leafs.  Little stands were also built and painted so the bees would have slanted ramps to walk up to the hive.

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Tuesday, July 3 and Wednesday, July 4: Designing the Landscape

In front of Bee Haven, we added a couple of new planter beds for herbs and flowers. In front of the structure, a pathway was created to make it easy to walk in front of the hives to add sugar water and other maintenance issues.

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Plots dug out and extra soil dumped into the chicken coop

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Next, line with gopher wire.

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Add weed barrier in the walkway.

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Add gravel to the walkway and border the plots with river rocks.

Sunday, July 8: Moving the Hives

Bee expert Frank Carrier advised me to move the hives in the middle of the day. I thought at night when they were all inside, but he said it would be better when they were out and about, plus, they aren’t that dumb to not find the hive. Well, there were a lot of bees flying around trying to find the appropriate hive.

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Bee Haven is a work in progress. The top of the arbor still needs to be completed.  In addition, doors will be added to the front of the box to keep out leaves from the oak trees.

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July 2013

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