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Hive Maintenance

Care of equipment increases the useful life

Over the years I have seen some hives in a very sorry state, simply because they have not been looked after well. In general the quality of equipment from U.K. suppliers is exceptionally good, although I have seen a small amount of rubbish - usually from some of the many small outfits that start up in the "good times". To have a tree grow for a number of years, then cut it down and turn it into beehives, with the resulting waste and cost to the planet, then let it rot or fall to pieces due to neglect in a shorter time than it took to grow in the first place is beyond me.

I am a practical chap and am able to repair things when they need it. Much of my equipment is home made from whatever wood I can scrounge, or given to me and repaired. Even hives made from softwood will last a long time if well cared for.

The care of equipment is something that is forgotten in these days of the throw-away society, but I have some hives that are well in excess of 50 years old. I can tell that because of the manufacturers name tags. I know of a family of commercial beekeepers where the vast majority of their kit is a similar age - or older than mine. All that has happened is the hives have been kept fairly dry, had bees in them, repaired when needed and treated - they are valued.

Roger Patterson.