“How high off the ground is the hive stand going to be?” I remember asking my husband this question when we started beekeeping four years ago. We didn’t realize how this decision could make for one tall bee hive! (I know! What is tall to me may not be a big deal to others but tall hives can have safety issues for the beek!)
When we set up our first stand it was higher on one end than the other to make it level. We justified it by saying we were going to have HIS and HER hives. He is tall so he would get the high end. I am short so the low end was perfect for me. (I thought.)
Fast forward a couple of years and he is no longer taking part in the beekeeping aspect of the farm. Now I am responsible for all the hives and I am too short for that stand.
Danger! Tall Bee Hive!
In my ignorance (that is, not thinking about the future), I put a hive on the high end of the stand. The high end combined with just two deeps and two mediums has given me a nice tall bee hive and it is a problem for me. I knew I was in trouble the day I added the second medium honey super. The extent of my trouble became crystal clear the day I had to remove that super (and put it back) and it was full of honey.
I found myself trying to put that very HEAVY, fully loaded honey super back on the hive. I tried standing on a cement block and was still too short. I know I looked like a cartoon character as I strained and heaved that box. (Praying I wouldn’t get stung!) But I just was not tall enough to get it back on the hive. Hubby came home for lunch in the middle of my ordeal. He was clueless to my wrestling match with that box! I had to put an empty super on the hive and take the frames out of the other one at a time so I could close up the hive.
I found myself lifting something too heavy for me at an awkward angle and I put myself and the bees in a dangerous position.
- I risked being off balance and falling.
- I risked injuring my back.
- If I had fallen the box could have landed on me and broke something on my body.
- If I had fallen I could have been stung MULTIPLE times.
- If I had fallen I could have fallen INTO the beehive and destroyed the bees and equipment.
To help myself in the future I will be setting my hives up on cement blocks or stands about eight inches or so off the ground. I am also considering going to all medium boxes and top bar hives.