- Assembling the Frames
I managed to find a series of videos on YouTube which helped me come to my own way of putting everything together. I'm a big fan of doing what makes most sense to me (and not necessarily anyone else), so I watched many videos and read numerous blog posts about this topic. In the end, I used a beeswax foundation secured by monofilament fishing line as suggested in this video by FatBeeMan. While I thought his idea of using bobby pins as the side braces was inventive and probably fine, I didn't like the idea of using painted metal with plastic tips, so I used some heavier stainless steel brads instead. I feel like they came out really well.
- Painting and Weather-proofing
Ross Conrad mentioned in Natural Beekeeping that bees can be sensitive to chemicals in paint and that oil-based paints will not only cause immune issues in the colony, but also crack and eventually allow water to settle between the paint and wood causing it to rot. His suggestion was to use a light colored outdoor latex-based paint. I managed to find an "eco" brand of latex paint and slapped on one nice, thick, uniform layer.
I didn't feel that the paint would be sufficient weather protection (and might still bother the bees), so I did some more research and found that some people have had success in coating the exterior of their hive in an oil-beeswax mixture after painting. I had some pure beeswax pellets on hand and some grapeseed oil which hadn't been touched in a while and decided to give it a shot. I mixed 1:3 beeswax to oil, heated it in a double boiler, then started painting it on. I quickly noticed that the paint brush was giving me more hassle than help, so I tossed it aside, dipped my hand in the waxy mixture and started finger painting. That was definitely the way to go...who would have thought that this would be such a fun process?
We're almost there, and tomorrow, the bees come home! Stay tuned...