1 - Moisture Control– When the colony is very little, moisture can take over in the form of condensation and mold. This happens in regular hives as well, just that you cannot see it very clearly on wood. Make sure you protect all the wooden pieces with paint, even the parts inside, with non toxic paint. When the colony is still little, they do not have enough bees to properly ventilate the hive, that is why there might be this problem. So at the start this is normal. If you see that suddenly in the middle of summer your hive starts to have condensation, this could be a bad sign pointing to population decline caused by other problems in the hive such as potential mites, ants, beetles etc… It’s best to inspect the hive thoroughly to understand the underlying cause.
2 - Ants – in some areas there is a high chance that ants will get to your hive, and there are many ways you can deal with these pests. One of the ways is that you can put cinnamon to create powder barriers around the legs. Find a useful link at the bottom of the page.
3- Queen Excluder – since the nest is in the lower area, the queen would be there most of the time. You can get a queen excluder if you want, but since the chances of the queen going up there are so low, this part is not necessary.
4 - Swarming – you can open up the hive to check on this like you would in a regular hive. Once the colony grows, it might swarm because that is their way of reproducing on a colony level. You can let them swarm, and half of your colony will leave in search of a new home, which is totally okay, or you can prevent it. There are two main ways you can prevent your bees from swarming. One method is by opening up the brood box and looking for queen cells and taking them off. This will prevent the hive from creating another queen with which half of the bees will swarm. You can also create more space in the hive by placing a super in between the honey harvesting system and the brood box.
5 - Screen covers – you can install a screen cover if you want by attaching two wooden bars at the bottom of the hive in order to place a varroa board. This would also be helpful in the winter – to cover up the screen at the bottom.
Protecting from wind – by attaching two parts of the “chimney” together, it could be helpful if you live in an area with strong winds. During the winter it would be helpful to place the B-BOX in an area shielded from the wind.
6 -Varroa – The B-BOX can be treated for varroa just like any other hive. For our hives, we use varroa strips and it works for us. However since everyone has their own special method, you are free to explore them. When treating, the access to the hive could be made equivalent to the one in a regular hive by taking off the chimney and inserting the treatment through the opening that would now be visible.