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Custom Lift For Heavy Bee Hive Boxes
John Carson of Sunshine Bees in Sherwood Park, Alberta made a lift system to move bee hive boxes full of honey, which can weigh up to 125 lbs. each. “Bee Boxes full of honey are awkward to handle. Too many people get out of beekeeping or don’t get into it because of this issue, which is a shame,” says Carson.
Carson originally built a hive lifter that was portable, but it didn’t work out so he designed a post and rail system. “The hives at our operation are on a concrete pad, so we anchored the posts. We used scrap square tubing and angle iron, but other materials would work too. We used Unistrut for the channel and rollers, but barn door rollers could also work.
“Our posts are spaced 10 ft. apart and 8 ft. off the ground. Two boxes of honey can weigh 250 lbs., so you don’t want to space the posts too far apart. Most bee work happens behind the hive, so leave as much space as practical,” says Carson.
For hives that are on the ground Carson recommends drilling in wood posts on each side of the hive, and connecting them with 2 by 6 lumber that the track could hang from.
“We built our system in a couple of days. Any 12-volt winch will do. The cradle that holds the boxes is welded together from 1 by 2-in. rectangular tubing. I have not seen another system like ours. We placed a hinge on a horizontal bar of the cradle and added handles. Squeezing the handles opens up the cradle,” says Carson.
According to Carson, the cost for a small system to handle around 6 hives would be about $400 US. Larger operations use truck-mounted lifting systems that can cost as much as $ 40,000.
“We don’t have plans drawn up for the system, but I would be happy to take a look at plans if someone wants to build a system,” says Carson.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Carson, Sherwood Park, Alberta (ph 780 686-4773; sunshinebees@mail.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #3