It arrived in two very large boxes.
From the ground up, here’s all the pieces and how they fit together. If you want to understand what everything is, here’s a great video by the maker.
The first two boxes:
Each box has top bars for the bees to make honeycomb on. This box has an added insert of a “queen ring”. See the little rectangle plug on the left? When my bees arrive, the queen will be in a separate box, just that size. I’ll take the plug out, and insert the queen’s box. Once the bees accept her as queen, they will release her into the hive, and I can put the plug back in place. It’s a brilliant little system that Sweet Valley Hives invented, and makes releasing the queen much simpler.
The boxes are made from cedar, and the bars are coated in a thin layer of wax; combined, the boxes smell so nice!
Each box also has a glass window in the side. With a Warre hive, the only time you open the hive is when you harvest the honey, so it’s great to have a way of checking up on what the bees are doing.
There are three boxes in total, then a screen to collect propolis.
On top of the screen is a quilt box, which will be filled with shavings. Sweet Valley Hives even included a bag of shavings! This quilt box helps regulate temperature, plus keeps moisture out of the hive. The latter is especially important in my climate.
Lastly, there is a very well ventilated roof.
We have to finish building the stone base, but we couldn’t resist sitting the hive in the place where it will eventually sit.
Right next door to the chickens. Antoinette doesn’t appear to even notice the new housing development going up!
I may have to put a divider up to redirect the bees out of the chicken yard, if there’s a problem, but I’ll wait and see. The chickens know all about bees and hornets, and give them a wide berth. When Josie was fostering her little chicks, one of the chicks found a dead hornet laying the ground. It started to peck at it, and Josie galloped over at her top speed, screaming. She grabbed that hornet away from her chicks and threw it as far as she could. And then gave them a really long, animated lecture on the dangers of stinging insects, telling them in no uncertain terms they were NEVER to touch one again. It was quite entertaining to watch!