Not Fit for Man or Bees

Hive Parts

Everything needed to assemble my first 8-frame brood box.

Well, hopefully it is fit for bees. I put a bee box together this weekend. Since you only assemble your first brood box once, I figured I should document the event. I am not the most handy person, as my lovely wife will attest, but my nails go straight most of the time so I ordered unassembled parts.

It has remained cold out, and with no good space inside the house I put on my coat and set up on the driveway. I originally intended to use medium boxes, even for brood. One of our instructors at bee school claims that the queen seems to prefer a larger frame, and the Russian bees I ordered are only available on deep frames. So I have a single deep box (just over 9.5 inches high) for the bottom brood, and plan to use medium boxes on top for additional brood and honey.

The pictures tell the story.

Pre-assembled Hive

Here is the pre-assembled box before the glue and nails. Yes, that is snow in the background.

Square Hive Corner

Looks pretty square to me. Time for the nails.

The First Nail

The first nail. You can sense the excitement. One corner at a time, with two nails each way to hold it tight. After gluing, squaring, and double nailing all four corners, I finished the remaining nails  There are 9 nails in each corner.

Finished Hive

The finished brood box, siting on the snow. I had a little trouble with a couple nails, but artfully arranged the box to hide any damage. Even so, it seems solid and ready to go.

I assembled my two brood boxes (one for each hive). The mediums are little smaller (just over 6.5 inches) so should go a little quicker. I am travelling for work this week, so the mediums will have to wait until next weekend. Our bee school is having a “woodenware workshop” so we can swap stories and make our mistakes together. I hope to finish the medium boxes and start on the frames then.


I looked high and low for a relevant quote related to assembling a bee box. There is probably a better one out there, but while searching for quotes I typed in “Bumble” and ended up at a site for the Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer cartoon.

As you may know, the Bumble is the terrifying Yeti in the story, and Yukon Cornelius, one of my favorite characters, has a number of good Bumble quotes that may serve us well in future posts. When he returns to the North Pole with the Bumble on a leash, he pounds on the door and yells “Open up! It isn’t a fit night out for man or beast.” Perhaps I was desperate at that point, but it just seemed to fit.

The quote originally comes from the movie The Fatal Glass of Beer starting W. C. Fields, released March 3, 1933, where Fields exclaims (more than once) “It ain’t a fit night out for man or beast.” The 20-minute movie is available on YouTube. Funnily enough, the film is set in the Yukon.

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