HBRC Equipment and Plans Transcript


Hi there, Paul Kelly here at the bee yard at the Honeybee Research Centre on a chilly April day. We’re going to talk today about beekeeping equipment. Lots of things we can buy from bee supply places, but there’s some specialized things I can’t buy. So I designed them and make them at home in my workshop. Since I need them, other beekeepers need them, so I’ll sell them locally. But we’d like to be able to share designs, and we now have a way of doing that. Let’s go through some of the items, starting off with queen rearing. This is the grafting frame that we use. Pretty simple device. Most people make them out of a normal frame and adapt them, but they’re not strong enough because there’s no comb in here. And everything that we make, I’ve designed joinery that makes things robust and so they will stand up well. For example, this is glued into place at the bottom here, and it’s quite a heavy end bar on the frame there. The bars that we use fit into the slots and then we put the cups on there like so. 

This is the grafting stand. We have two different designs of this. It’s designed to hold the frame at the right angle to be able to see the larva that you’re going to transfer for grafting. This is a cloak board, kind of a hard item to come by, but it’s a device that’s used in queen rearing. You can see in our videos on queen rearing how we use this board. It has a removable metal slide, mitered and spline corners to make it very strong. Moving on. This is a labeling jig that we use to put the labels on our jars. It adjusts this to different sizes for different sizes of jars, and you get your label on nice and straight that way. When we’re working in the hives, we often use a stool like this, and it’s made to be able to – so you can seat comfortably while you’re looking through a brood chamber or going through colleagues to find queens for when you’re doing harvesting made with queens. So somewhere to carry your smoker, somewhere to sit, somewhere to carry the caged queens, and then all the tools that you need for the job right at hand. 

We also have a hive top feeder that works very effectively for feeding large quantities of feed, especially in the fall of the year. And then this is a jig made for assembling frames. So you stand all the end bars up in here, put all the top bars on, flip it over, put all the bottom bars on, holds everything nice and secure and square for frame assembly. Our bottom boards are a little bit unique in that they’re shorter. They’re just the right – the same length as the box. And then we use a screen bottom board as well. The original pollen trap was invented right here at my workplace. It’s called the OAC for Ontario Agriculture College. So the OAC pollen trap, we’ve developed OAC 2.0. It works really well, and it has some unique features. Then there’s just the basic boxes themselves. Some of these we buy, some of them we make ourselves, but we are working on plans for them as well. Our brood chambers are all deep boxes. Our honey supers are all medium-depth. And then we use a cleat for handholds just on the honey supers. 

I find it’s much more ergonomic that way. For making up our winter losses, we make up splits in one year and then put them into these double nuc boxes, winter them that way. And then we have two hives coming out in the spring. Then down to the bottom here, we’re down to our wheelbarrow. It’s a two-wheeled wheelbarrow, we modify by making a flatbed for it. You can carry your smoker along there and carry all your boxes and move around in the bee yard. So I like to design things and love building stuff at my home workshop. I’m not great at drawing plans though, so it’s hard to share this information until Fred came along. Fred’s volunteering with us to learn beekeeping, but he’s an expert at drawing up designs. 

Hi, I’m Fred Fulkerson. I teach solid modeling using SolidWorks software for Conestoga College. And I modeled up all the items you see here, and there’s a few more coming yet. And all these items are available for download from the Honeybee Research Centre website. OK, so if you want to find our plans online, first start at the hbrc.ca. Then come over here to ‘Resources for Beekeepers’ and click. And down here, we can see all the various plans. So to select the bottom board, I would click on Bottom Board Project. We’d scroll down to the bottom where I can see the plans and have a quick preview of them and then download them. So all the plans are designed for whether you use three-quarter wall thick hives or seven eight-wall thick hives. So make sure you download the appropriate ones. So I’ll just go back and there’s other plans. Here, they’ll always say plans. And I can scroll down through. Click the download button. So here’s two versions of the graft stand, depending on what type you prefer. 

Or if I go to the pollen trap, so if I click on Pollen Trap Blueprints, here’s the blueprints. Now, there are more elaborate sets, so I divided them up into three sets. So you want to download each of the three sets of plans so you have the instructions to make everything. 

So I’d like to thank Fred very much for all his efforts in preparing these plans so we can share them with you. You’re welcome to make these products and sell them commercially even. All we ask is the credit for where the design came from. But please share this information. That will help us accomplish our goals. Thanks for watching. See you another time. (MUSIC PLAYS)