I'm delighted to announce that we have agreed a season long sponosrship deal with the very nice poeple at Happy Valley Honey here in the UK.
I've never used Langstroth beehives before so when Paul Beardmore from Happy Valley Honey got in touch to discuss sending over a range of their hive products I jumped at the chance.
I asked Paul for a few words about his business,
"We are situated in Bollington Cheshire where we produce honey, beeswax candle and retail Beekeeping Supplies. I started beekeeping in 2008, With around 3 hives, situated at my workplace, I had no idea that this was actually the profession I wanted to be in. Largely single-handed, I have around 120 colonies of bees, divided between 10 apiaries.
The Bees forage for nectar and pollen in the fields, gardens and hedgerows of The Macclesfield Borough, and During the spring and summer months some hives are moved to take advantage of the changing nectar flows from the Heather in the Peak District and the Oil Seed Rape.
Being a Local Beekeeper, on a small scale ensures that the honey is direct from the hives with minimum interference from the outside, just as mother nature intended. We are also proud to be a member of the Bee Farmers Association".
It was quite a task unboxing all of the equipment but once we had it stacked up it was a bit easier to understand how it all fits together. It's quite simple really and is exactly the same as a standard wooden hive. You will notice in the picture there are considerably more floors than brood boxes, I'm expecting another delivery of boxes in the coming weeks to top up and blance all of the hive components so we have complete hives for the apiary.
I asked Paul to tell me some more about the Honey Paw hives,
"Our Honey Paw langstroth polystyrene hive is tested and proven to work in the extreme conditions of Finland’s harsh winter. Our polystyrene hive is light weight but designed to last for many years of use. The hive material density is over 100 kg/m3 which makes it by far the thickest on the market.
Our Polystyrene Hive offer exceptional thermal performance with higher honey production with a unique and ergonomic design. Higher insulation capability works on both cold and hot weather countries keeping the hive warm during the cold winter and keeping the excess warmth out of the hive in hot temperature.
Honey Paw polystyrene bee hive material is better, stronger and with higher thermal value than normal polystyrene beehives".
The moulded floor with integral feet is nice and firm, a solid moulding makes for a good steady platform for the rest of the components to sit on. I discovered that the floors sit perfectly well on a standard hive stand I use for both my commercial and National hives so I won't have to worry about making up new stands for all of the Langstroths. The moulded "mesh" floor is fixed into position with a little silicone and allowed to set.
The brood box is surprising light even with the ten frames inserted. I imagine it will be significantly heavier once it's full of bees but for now I'm pleased it won't take quite so much lifting as my wooden hives. The brood box sits tightly against the floor leaving a full width entrance to the colony that is only a single bee space high. I'm told this will prevent mice from getting inside, we'll see what happens with that!
The Poly Feeder that comes with the hives sits nicely on top of the brood box. It can hold up to 15 litres of sugar syrup, plenty for a hungry colony. It has two clear perspex covers that fit across the two feed compartments to prevent the bees from getting into the syrup reservoir and drowning. A nice touch is the edge of the feed compartment is ribbed to allow the bees to be able to climb out once they have had their fill!
For a static site I guess most people will go for the standard roof. It is exactly as it is described, a standard roof with sides and ends that drop down over the top of the hive whether that be a feeder, super or brood body. The Migratory Roof is the same density/thickness as the standard roof but fits flush at the sdes and ends. This allows the hives to be stacked closer together when moving them from apiary to apiary.
The Ventilated Floor has a removeable inner base which can be used to either seal the ventilation or open it up. It's probably useful to have it open to improve the ventilation and this also has the added benefit of raising the floor surface closer to the bottom of the brood nest.
It can also be removed entirely and replaced with a pollen trap, more of that in another blog post.
The frames were delivered with the wax supplied separately, I've never embedded wax foundation before but it actually turned out to be quite straightforward. They provide a large brood nest area which hoepfully my local bees will find easily big enough for them and hopefully store excess honey and pollen around the brood nest for Winter.
I'm really looking forward to putting these hives to good use and moving some of my bees across into them from my commercial hives.
I've produced a couple of videos already showing the hives, please do take a look at them if you would like to see how I get on and don't forget to pop over to Paul's website at Happy Valley Honey to take a look at these nice looking hives.