I was invited to have a hive at a new apiary, another large gardened countryside house. I had decided that I should sort out a new hive in order to do this, and someone had just mentioned they had some old WBC hives for sale. I quite fancied the idea of trying out a WBC hive, they do look quite nice after all, the classical image that people have if you say bee hive to them. The one I bought had five lifts (storeys if you like) and was in need of a bit of renovation and modernisation.
I stripped it down, sanding everything and removing the paint from the metal covered roof. The roof was quite rusted in parts and the wooden strip down the middle that covers the gap between the sloping panels of metal was rotted. Still, that was a good excuse to use my table saw to its fullest, including the 45deg tilt I could get on the blade. With a bit of sanding I got great results, looking like an oversized toblerone, to go along the top of the hive.
I’d decided that the obvious colour for the classic hive was white, but I really don’t like dealing with gloss paint, and having to deal with a primer and an undercoat, so I opted for garden wood paint. I also needed to coat the metal roof; so, after stripping it down I painted it with hammerite to give a good protective layer. The hammerite was bright red and as much as it looked nice, it stood out a little to starkly for its intended destination I thought. I sprayed paint over this base, trying out a few light colours to start with but they didn’t quite look right, not contrasting enough to look quite right. I settled on a mid blue, which struck the right note; and interestingly ended up looking quite greek (blue and white being the classic house colour in greece).
Oh and I said modernisation; well that was a case of cutting a hole in the floor and giving it a varroa mesh floor. It wasn’t quite the full floor size due to the entrance slope which I didn’t really want to cut into; still it should put a dent in the varroa hopefully, and give some nice ventilation either way. I used a 14 x 12 deep national as the brood box rather than reusing the pre-exisitng brood box which remains in need of some serious clean up.
Anyway, the end of the story is a successful merge of hives with a lots of brood, a nice south facing site with wind protection from a 5ft hedge and an extra bonus of 20 acres of borage being grown a mile away.