The bees are working busily! They are working on attaching the combs to the side of the hive, which can be seen along the viewing window, and they’ve built comb more than halfway back. By my calculations, they should be hatching out new workers soon, if they aren’t already. Excellent!
They have one of the sturdiest roofs I’ve seen on a hive, built out of random scraps and leftovers we had hanging around our garage:
The entrance to the hive is at the bottom front, that thin “crack” where you can just make out a couple of bees hanging about. The viewing window is on the right side, with the wooden cover in place over it. The whole hive and stand are bolted to a concrete pad on the south side of our house, buffered on the east side by a large rhododendron to screen it from the street and keep the flight path away from the majority of the front lawn. Although most of our weather comes in from the south, which is the direction the opening faces, there are a couple of large trees between the hive and the incoming weather, which should help mitigate any winds.
In order to try to coax the bees to make the straightest comb possible, we are using top bars with a fully triangular cross-section, instead of ones with a thin strip inlaid as a guide. We’ve also made sure it’s level front-back and side-side; bees don’t care about aesthetics or straight comb, but they do react to gravity, so if your top bar or frameless bars are not level, the bees will probably build wonky comb, rendering it difficult to harvest cleanly. This is all purely for ease of harvest for the humans, as the bees don’t care what cross-section the bars have, or if their combs cross or wobble.
* Allowing my geekiness to shine for a moment, this is the phrase I’ll be woodburning on the cross bar under the roof, only I’ll be writing in Tengwar script. It’s Elvish, roughly translating to “Golden Honeybee Dwelling”. Laure Nierlonde (“Golden Honeybee Haven”) was another possibility, but that seems to apply more to the yard than the hive itself, so I chose the former. This is what happens when nerds decide to move to the country…