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Using newsprint sheets in beekeeping

by Gladstone Solomon

Newsprint sheets are a useful commodity in my beekeeping enterprise.

I am a self-employed beekeeper managing about eighty colonies for honey, wax and I pollen. I also generate revenue from queens and nuclei and have been in the business for eight years.

Newsprint sheets are made from aluminium and are inexpensive, light-weight, durable and easily manipulated. Used or damaged sheets are purchased from either of our two daily newspapers for about US$0.17. Used sheets may require cleaning with gasoline or kerosene to remove the ink, depending on what they will be used for. A regular detergent should then be applied to remove the gasoline or kerosene.

I use newsprints sheets as follows:

1. Hive covers. I previously used galvanised sheets. Newsprint sheets are less expensive, easier to work with and lighter, they also do not corrode: an important factor as I live close to the sea.

2. Hive repairs. Particularly useful for sealing damaged or rotten hive parts, especially where colonies need to be made bee-tight for transport.

3. Division board feeders. For use with super or brood frames. The feeder holds about one litre of syrup. See description below.

4. Weed control. Sheets are placed below the hive or hive stand.

5. For making water or oil troughs. These are useful where colonies need protection from insects. Two sheets should be used together for reinforcement. | use them to contain both parallel bar stands and individual hive stands by placing concrete blocks in the troughs to support the bars or hive. The troughs are constructed using the same guidelines for making the division board feeder, and should be 7.5-10.0 cm larger than the block, forming a moat when filled with water or oil.

Making a division board feeder using a 5⅜ in (13.7 cm) super frame and a newsprint sheet

1. Cut a cleaned newsprint sheet to size 9 x 26 in (23 x 66 cm).

2. Place a frame lengthways on the sheet so that the bottom bar is 4 in (10 cm) and the end bar is 4'/2in (11.5 cm) from the of the sheet (Figure A*). sides

3. Fold the sheet against the length of the frame (Figure B*).

4. Nail the sheet on to the end bar on both sides of the frame. Use four regular frame nails, placing each nail ½ in (1.3 cm) from the top of the folded sheet.

5. Fold the remainder of the sheet up against the end bar, seam the sheet at the sides of the end bar to form triangles — be careful to avoid the sheet being torn at the corners. Torn sheets may be repaired by using duct tape (Figure C*).

6. Fold triangles against adjacent sides of the frame (Figure C and D*).

7. Fold the projecting corner of each triangle over the side of the sheet (Figure E*).                                                                                                                   

* Where reference to figures is made, please see the original journal article