Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Building a Hive Lifter

Once all of Brian's thirty two handmade bee hives were painted and populated, he set to work on building a hive lifter to assist with moving all of them to their more permanent homes.

A hive with multiple boxes can weigh hundreds of pounds when full of honey.  A hive lifter makes it easier to move hives but commercial models are expensive and difficult to find. In his research, Brian found a video of a beekeeper who'd made one for himself using a hand truck (dolly) with rugged wheels suitable for uneven ground. As he'd been wanting to learn to weld for some time, this was a perfect opportunity to learn a new skill and craft something valuable.

As Brian's father already had an oxygen/acetylene cutting torch, all he had to acquire was the welding torch and tips, the steel and filler sticks and some safety clothing. He found that learning to weld wasn't all that difficult and watching the metals melt together was really interesting. The measuring, cutting, grinding, and fitting took the most time and required the most effort. He found the actual welding to be relatively quick and easy. 

The final product has arms that grasp the hive boxes and a hand crank winch for raising and lowering the boxes off of their platforms.

So, as you can see, both the basement and the garage have been buzzing with activity! I sure hope the bees appreciate all this effort and reward us with copious quantities of honey. On second thought, we'll be happy if the bees just survive the winter!

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