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The Skinny Mini (2-frame nuc)

Skinny Mini

I learned about this hive last year from Barnyard Bees in Georgia (great YouTube channel). He has a video with the dimensions if you want to build one. So these are great hives for a few purposes. What I successfully used them for last year was to split a package of bees and to split a hive.

Packages of bees are so expensive!! What I did successfully last year was to split one package of bees into four of these hives! I had to buy three other queens as well but that was so much cheaper then buying 4 packages! All four hives we a little slow to start but took off becoming four amazingly productive and populated hives in my apiary! I figured it was a $250 savings which goes a long way when you are a beekeeper!

Once I graduated these four colonies I then used the skinny mini to split a large hive in my apiary. I put a frame of fresh eggs and plenty of brood with many nurse bees and an empty frame into the skinny mini. I checked it in two days- add a lot of bees because some will migrate back to the original hive if they are in the same bee yard or close by. Within a few days, queen cells appeared so I let nature take its course. In a few weeks I had a new colony of bees with a new laying queen.

If you are interested, I do sell Skinny Minis at Hillside Hives. You can find information here. Also, remember to visit Barnyard Bees on YouTube if you want to build your own!

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Garden Roof Plans

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I really like the garden roof I use on all my hives. Yes, it is a little more costly and labor intensive but the benefits of it are worth it.

First of all I love the looks of the roof. They stand out in the apiary and look great in flower gardens- a wonderful place to put a beehive!

The function seals the deal for me. I really like the weight of the roof on top of the hive and how it extends down a few inches over the box below. I like this because it comes down over my upper entrances so the bees have a “hidden” entrance which they use.

I also like the ventilation feature. The air blows through the roof cooling any heat building up from the sun as it pounds down on top of the hive.

Here is a copy of the plans I use. We did not create this design but adapted it for our use from ideas we found online. It is also really enjoyable to make!

Garden Roof

 

 

 

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My Inner Cover / Feeding System

I think I break every traditional beekeeping rule! I started with the traditional inner cover when I first started in beekeeping but then transitioned over to this feeding system model. I added two sugar feeding ports and a pollen patty feeding port last year which really worked out well.

This year I added the back ventilation port and doors over the pollen patty opening and one of the sugar water openings (not really necessary but I thought they looked neat with the doors plus I like gadgets of all kind). I can close these during times I am not feeding and want less ventilation during cooler times. I can also open them during hot spells to add ventilation to the hive.

I also like this design because I can fill sugar water bottles and add pollen patties without actually going into the hive or having bees escaping out the top!

Check this out! I modified it some more. I cannot wait to try it out in the spring.

 

 

About us

Our Beekeeping Philosophy

I must have researched for over a year before my first hive arrived (my best education came, though, when I started to care for the bees!!). Coming from a permaculture philosophy from our urban farm, I wanted to incorporate this into beekeeping. I wanted to stay as natural as I could- well as natural as getting three pounds of bees from a box and putting them in another box that does not resemble what they would use in nature! I decided to research chemical-free beekeeping to avoid adding more chemicals to our environment. There are so many resources out there but I settled on using essential oils as prevention. I use a combination of lemongrass oil, spearmint oil, tea tree oil and peppermint oil  and add it to my sugar water. This is a great prevention of mites and fungus. I also assure proper ventilation in my hives and keep a vigilant eye on them to assure I cannot detect disease or unwanted critters in the hive!