As I live in the south, the heat and humidity come at you pretty fast. It was getting warm and I started worrying about my bees and their ability to regulate hive temperatures. I figured I would install some screened inner covers. How hard could it be to make them? I have a full woodshop and well lots of wood laying around. Should not be a problem, right? Of course not. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Sure knocking up a couple of wood frames went without a hitch but try finding some #8 hardware cloth. Number eight is 1/8" squares. Too small for bees to move though but plenty big enough for say air and mites to get through.
Figuring the deal was pretty much sealed, I headed to the local Wal-Mart on the off chance that they had some. They didn't but no big deal the hardware stores are right down the street. So I hit the two local big box stores in a row. Guess what? Everyone has 1/4" but nothing smaller. So I figure I'll hit Tractor Supply. They HAVE to have it. Well, no, they don't. I am pretty desperate by this point and my wife says "get the 1/4 inch and shift it up and over a half square and like magic you'll have your 1/8" cloth. At this point I had nothing to lose so I ran with it.
Ok, cutting one piece of this stuff is hard enough but trying to cut the next one exactly on half square over and up is all but impossible. I figured I would cut it a bit small to give me some wiggle room. Finally after wrestling with this stuff for a good 45 minutes I get it all stapled down. Hmmmm sure seems to be a lot of space between the top and bottom piece. I bet there is enough a bee could wander through both pieces. To combat this I use stainless wire to tie the top and bottom sheets together. Looks good! Whew, thought I would never finish that. I sure hope I can fine some #8 before I start making bottom boards.
The moral of this story (which continues in the next blog) is that two sheets of quarter inch hardware cloth do not make eighth inch hardware cloth. Remember this well and you will be a happier bee keeper.