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Hive Barrow or Hive Wheelbarrow

During the early 1980s I kept my bees on the flat roof of a very large building. This was asphalt covered concrete and to transport hives and empty hive parts on this roof (which was 600 feet long) I purchased an ordinary garden wheelbarrow and replaced the metal trough with a wooden platform that was a little larger than a British Standard hive, with a rim to stop the boxes sliding off.

Hive Wheelbarrow The large diameter wheel helps when negotiating rough ground. The Platform has holes to allow for ventilation when moving colonies that have mesh travelling screens fitted underneath, or in my case the floors have mesh panels permanently fixed. If I am using the barrow to collect full supers of honey I have a thin plywood blocking board that fits the platform to keep stray bees out of the supers. There are recesses at both side that allow for easy lifting by hand and these hand holds are fitted with

"Z" springs

so that the hives can be clipped securely within the rim. Wooden shoes are fitted to the legs of the barrow so that the area that the weight bears on is increased, this stops the barrow sinking into soft ground and helps the general stability.

Stainless 'Z' spring for retaining equipment on the hive wheelbarrow The view at right shows the clipping arrangement. All of my hive parts have these clips fitted and huge stacks of empty equipment can be transported with ease.

If hives with bees are being transported I only carry one hive at a time, mainly due to limitations in physical strength.

The 30 mm thick plywood base has survived over 26 years of exposure to the weather, although the metal parts are showing some rust. The barrow has had some rough treatment and has carried stacks of paving slabs and piles of bricks on occasions, as well as logs and bags of coal. I have re-greased the wheel pivot once, after about 14 years of use, and occasionally the wooden parts get a coat of linseed oil.

Hive Barrow shoe

The wooden shoes were made from off cuts of the plywood base and have a large base area that does not show up very well in the pictures.

The shoes are a loose fit on the tubing and are retained by coach bolts that pass through the loop of the tubular leg. This sloppy fit allows the shoes to adjust their position when the load is put down on uneven ground.

The portly gentleman at right is me, demonstrating that in use the barrow has a low centre of gravity, which helps with stability. Close inspection of the picture will show the number 500 on the right hand side at the front, this numbering system is dealt with on the hive numbering page.

  Hive Barrow carrying position

Original photography on this page by my father Albert Cushman.

Written... Summer 2001, Revised... 17 October 2001, Revised... 12 March 2002, Revised... 30 September 2002, Upgraded... 30 November 2005,
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