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One of the most critical decisions you ought to make as a beekeeper is the selection of the bee hive box. This is the home for your bees. It will determine whether the bees will thrive or vanish. If you choose a quality hive box, then it becomes much easier to manage your bees. Bees are certainly self-sustaining and require a little of our support. However, a bad hive can turn things into a nightmare. When you notice that a hive is not doing well for a number of reasons then it should be assisted.
One of the biggest challenges in beekeeping is weather changes. It brings along with it pests, invaders, and food shortage. A combination of any of these can result in a colony die-out which can be devastating. The change in weather cannot be avoided but fortunately it is manageable. Food shortage is best managed by providing sugar and pollen substitute. Pests and predators can also be curtailed by choosing a hive with a design that keeps them off. You can also use bee smoker fuel that contains elements that eliminate pests and predators.
With a hive such as the Little Giant 10 Frame Complete Beehive, honeybee management becomes so much easier since it is built with the natural behavior of honeybees in mind. It has all that the bees need to thrive in their self-sufficient colony.
About the Little Giant 10 Frame Complete Beehive
Bees are drawn to hives that imitate their natural environment. Little Giant as a manufacturer of hive boxes strives to come up with hive kits that come as close as possible in similarity to natural bee habitat. The Little Giant 10 Frame Complete Langstroth Beehive comes with features that appeal to the honeybee. It is made of unfinished Eastern Pine and delivered ready for painting. The unit has good quality parts, all which contribute to reinforcing the hive box.
The interior of the hive is well aerated and its telescopic cover functional so as to protect the bees against extreme sunlight and rainfall. Bees can easily move in and outside the hive given the entrance design and the queen bee has been apportioned its own area, free from interruption and secluded to facilitate maximum production of eggs. Some of the notable features of the hive kit include:
- Eastern pine has been used in making the hive box. It is not pre-painted but it is smoothened and ready for painting or applying some finish.
- All joints interlock to ensure a perfect fit for all hive components.
- The hive top is flat and it has a metal cover that shelters the bees from elements of weather.
- Included is a telescopic outer cover that directs rain water and unwanted material away from the hive.
- The hive box also has a vented inner cover.
- It has a 10-frame, 9.5-inch deep hive body.
- The 9.125-inch wooden frames that come with the box have wax-coated foundations that are black in color and made of plastic material.
- The hive box also has a screened bottom board.
- Available also are mite grid for keeping off mites and entrance reducer.
Pros and Cons
- The hive box is assembled and ready for use.
- Made of good quality Eastern pine and its components made of high quality material.
- It is spacious hive box that will provide enough room for a huge bee colony.
- It has all that the bees require in order to thrive.
- The hive interior is well ventilated so as to prevent moisture buildup and guarantee bearable temperature levels.
- It comes with a telescopic cover and has an inner cover to help shelter the bees from elements of nature.
- Sturdy and longer lasting, thanks to the good quality wood.
- It is compatible with other standard hives.
- Well designed to keep off mites and other predators.
- Comes with plastic foundation.
- The hive joints interlock so as to reinforce the hive box.
- There are no cons that I could find during my time with this hive box.
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When it comes to capacity, ventilation, usability, and future expansion, the Little Giant 10 Frame Complete Langstroth beehive is among the best. It is expandable and offers sufficient space for the bee colony to move around and enjoy quality air circulation. The unit is also kept dry and free from moisture thanks to the telescopic cover coupled by the ventilation in and out of the hive. This box is also well-protected from mites and other bee and honey invaders. It is a unit that will suffice for all skill levels.
Maximize Hive Health and Honey Production
Two beekeepers can be stationed within one location, be subject to same weather conditions and yet one will do better in beekeeping than the other. How can this be justified? Well, it can be attributed to beehive management practices. You may not have as many hives as another beekeeper but with good management, your bees can produce more honey than several hives combined. Some of the ways to maximize hive health and honey production include:
- The hive frames should be free from dirt or any debris such as snow and dust.
- Feeding should be undertaken whenever necessary.
- Keep the hive box away from direct winds. You can wrap your hive with a tarpaper so as to keep the hive interior warm and minimize wind infiltration.
- A top insulation board is required. Outlet should face front of the hive and the slot the frames.
- Consider placing some weights on the telescopic cover so as to keep it well-secured in place.
- Conduct hive inspection before winter to ascertain whether the bees have enough honey reserves for winter months. If not consider supplementing their food.
- Once the queen begins egg-laying ensure enough food is provided for the brood.
- Hive entrance should always remain clear and clean. Any dead bee should be removed from the entrance.
- There should always be enough space for the bees to expand and store.
- Hive should be monitored during peak months for swarming.
- Mites and other predators should be monitored and kept on check.
- The queen should be monitored closely at all times and where necessary requeen especially when the hive is queenless or when you have a poorly laying queen.
- Never expose harvested honey since it lures robber bees that are difficult to manage once they begin stealing. Cover the harvested supers.
- The bee colony should be monitored for hive diseases. When you identify any, treat it immediately and do not attempt to treat the colony with honey supers in place. These should be removed before treatment. The wax moth, a common problem should be continually be evaluated and if present frames should be exposed to sunlight ad air.
- Mouse guards should be installed to keep mice at bay. You should also use medications as advised at all times.
- The hive should be well ventilated so as to allow moisture to be directed out of the hive. The cover should keep rain water out of the hive. Moisture is the worst enemy to bees.
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Replacement Hive Parts for the Little Giant 10 Frame Complete Beehive
Hive replacement parts are essential in beekeeping. You usually get these components build into the hive box upon order. However, with time one may outgrow some of them or even find it necessary to get new ones. Some of the hive replacement parts include:
Replacement Outer Cover
The replacement outer cover for the Little Giant 10 Frame Complete Beehive is designed to meet the needs of the beekeeper. It weighs barely 3.50 pounds and is compatible with standard beehive boxes. The item is eligible for international shipment and according to the manufacturer it usually takes between 1 to 2 business days to be delivered within the United States.
The inner and top covers are the topmost accessories of the beehive. The inner cover is placed on top of the top super. The top cover on the other hand is placed on top of the inner cover. Perhaps you have heard about a telescopic top cover, it is the same thing as top cover. This usually hags over the hive body, say about 1-2 inches.
The top cover should be kept securely in place by placing a solid item on its top end. Strong winds at times can blow away the lid and expose the bees. Metal top covers are not mandatory but are ideal for protecting the wood from weather elements. It is also important to ensure the top cover is well-ventilated so as to prevent moisture from condensing and settling within the hive during winter. Moisture can cause the bees to die due to wet conditions. Therefore, the replacement top cover should provide a little ventilation so as to help evaporate the condensed moisture.
Replacement Inner Cover
The inner cover is essential for any standard Langstroth hive. The replacement inner cover for the Little Giant 10 Frame Complete Beehive is designed so as to ensure proper moisture levels and ventilation are kept within the hive. The replacement inner cover weighs about 2.25 pounds and is compatible with all standard beehive boxes. You need the inner for a number of reasons.
To beginners, the need for two covers does not really make sense. However, it is important to note that the inner and top cover play an important role independently. The inner cover assists the bees to some extent. It helps boost ventilation within the hive and also allows the bees to have a top entrance and exit since most inner covers have a hole at the centre. The inner cover can also help you when you need to move the bees to another location. In fact, some bees hang around the space between the top and the inner cover at times. The inner cover also makes it easy to remove the top cover. It is therefore clear that the inner cover serves many purposes.
Replacement Screened Bottom Board
The replacement screened bottom board for the Little Giant 10 Frame Complete beehive weighs approximately 1.25 pounds and is designed to add some extra convenience to the honey bees. This item can also be used on all other Langstroth Beehives and should fit perfectly. You need the bottom board for a number of reasons.
A bottom board’s main objective is to keep hive well secured from elements. A screened bottom board helps ventilate the hive and comes in handy during hot seasons. Those who reside in hot climates cannot do without a screened bottom board. You can choose a solid or screened bottom depending on the type of hive you have. The local climate and pest management strategies will also determine whether you get a screened or solid bottom board.
The good thing with this Little Giant beehive is that it is a Langstroth hive and that means the bottom boards can be easily changed at any time even during the peak seasons when you have an active colony. Therefore, you can buy both a screened and solid bottom board so as use them interchangeably.
Replacement Entrance Reducer
The entrance reducer for the Little Giant 10 Frame Complete Beehive can also be replaced. You can get the replacement entrance reducer anytime it is needed. The item weighs about 0.38 pounds and is universal meaning it can be used on all other standard Langstroth beehives. This item plays an important role in the beehive.
The entrance reducer helps minimize the hole used by the bees to enter and exit the hive. This will ultimately enable the beekeeper gain more control of the bees. Remember the population within a bee colony does not remain constant throughout the year. Winter leads to lower numbers and hot months increase the population. Therefore, as the beekeeper we should be responsible for supporting the bees whenever it is deemed necessary. Small and weak colonies should be protected.
The entrance reducer should be removed during peak seasons when there is plenty of nectar. It should also be removed when bees struggle to get in and out of the entrance. A small entrance means a few guard bees and more forage bees which translates to more nectar collected and ultimately more honey produced.
Hive Foundation Replacement
The hive foundation for the Little Giant 10 Frame Complete Beehive also has its replacement and just like other accessories, this item fits all standard Langstroth hives. It is a plastic made foundation that is coated with beeswax and is delivered ready for installation in a frame. This item has dimensions of 18 x 10 x 5/8 inches length, width, and height respectively. It is black in color and weighs approximately 1.25 pounds. The hive foundation plays a critical role in a bee colony. You have three options to choose from when considering foundations: plastic, wax, or foundationless.
Some of the purpose for foundation include: helps the bees build straight combs since it acts as a guide. The plastic foundation is also strong and keeps the combs securely attached. The foundation also allows the beekeeper to increase the size of the cells.
If you choose any one of the three foundations then do not attempt to mix it with another type of foundation. The plastic foundation has many advantages which include: readily available, easy to use. Furthermore, you do not have to buy new ones; you can buy from other beekeepers, clean and reuse them.
The Little Giant 10 Frame Complete Beehive has all you can demand of a hive box. It emulates the natural bee habitat and is a unit that is build to last. Those who have used it before share similar accolades for this product. I highly recommended it. You may also have to buy some replacement hive parts which are explained above. All these are essential for your success in beekeeping.
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