When I was planning for our Flow Hives, I knew that I didn't want to go the traditional route of placing them up on cinder blocks; like most folks. I wanted something nicer, and settled on building a stone hive stand.
These are super easy for a procrastinator like me. Actually, I don't even know if it is procrastinating or just utter busy-ness, exhaustion, etc. The last few weeks have been brain-busting-busy around here. Drywall in the kitchen, re-finishing of floors, new bees...on a scale of one to exhausted, I'm definitely...exhausted.
The funny thing about farm life though, is that it doesn't wait for you to have time. Whether you are exhausted or not, the days go on. Spring takes over and in one warm, breezy, moment, lazy days by the fire are a thing of the past. You wake up one morning and realize that you haven't built hive stands for the bees that you are picking up the next morning.
When you are building a stand, make sure that it sits 13"-18" off the ground. This prevents moisture from getting into the beehive and splashing up off the ground into the entrance when it is raining. Raising the beehive above the ground can also help deter some insects and other predators.
I didn't go into The Home Depot with a certain plan in mind but rather worked it out when I got there. I knew that I wanted some kind of stone base. There were a lot of options when I arrived but most of them were too angular for the look I was going for. I wanted an older more established, rumbled, tumbled look and ended up finding the perfect stone. The product that worked best for the aesthetic I was looking for was Rumblestone.
I started by digging out a small area of the ground that would sit under the stone. I then laid down four of the 7"x7" square stones, and began the tedious process of trying to level them. It became apparent to me almost immediately that I should have bought a bag of sand. If I had, the leveling process would have been much easier. It would have filled in the peaks and valleys, and I could have been on my way. Instead, I spent an hour laying on the ground trying to get it right. Remember...I procrastinated so there was no time to go back to the store and pick up sand.
After the first four square stones were level, I laid the smaller stones on top. The second layer is made up of two thinner square stones in the middle and four brick shaped stones on the outside. This gives it a more random stone look that will be sturdier than just stacking four squares all the way up. I repeated the process, checking the level on each layer, for five layers. Five layers makes the column approximately 14" tall.
Next, I used a large square Pavestone paver to act as the cap. I didn't like the pattern it came in so I flipped it upside down so that only the smooth side was visible.
Ta-dahhhhh. A stone hive stand for the beehives. I looks so much more purposeful than a bare cinder block or two. The cost though, was slightly more than two bare cinder blocks. Each Rumblestone cost between $.68-$2.18. The total cost for two columns was around $75.00.
In the end, this was a super easy project. The leveling was the hardest part, after that, stacking the stone took less than five minutes.
UPDATE: Subsequent hive checks have proven that my stands are level. There is no cross combing.
Rumblestone use for hive stands