Flashing and Wire for Building Your Beehives
Wood isn’t the only material you work with while building your hives. A number of honeycomb designs use metal – specifically, aluminum flashing and wired hardware cloth.
Cut and bend flashing metal
Some beehive plans specify aluminum flashing as the ceiling material. It is very thin and easy to cut and manipulate. This is the same material that roofers use to insulate critical seams. Any major home improvement store carries aluminum flashing. You need a 20-inch-wide material, which likely comes in a 10-foot roll. You can use additional materials when building four additional cells.
The edges of the shiny metal are very sharp. Use caution when handling flashes to avoid injuring yourself, and consider using work gloves.
Easy flashing cut off. You have two options:
You can breeze through it using a pair of tins; Make sure to measure and mark it carefully before making the cut. To create your fingerprint, you can scratch the metal with a nail or use a stylus pen. Note that the clips tend to bend the cut edges a bit, but that’s not a big deal.
Alternatively, you can use a sharp, detailed knife to cut the flicker. With your flasher lying flat on the workbench, measure and mark where you plan to make the cut. Place your calendar on the mark and make several reliable passes with the knife. Finished!
Aluminum flashing is very thin, and it is easy to bend. You do not need special equipment. But for the most fragile of bends and folds, bend the sheen to a 90-degree edge of a table or the edge of a plank of wood.
If you trade and decide to use 40 ounces of polished copper on your hives, this bending is best done using a special machine called a sheet metal brake. Metal brakes allow you to create perfect folds when using a heavier material (such as a copper sheen). You can find them online, at major home improvement stores, and at sellers of roofing supplies.
Cutting and shaping hardware wire cloth
Metallic cloth consists of woven wire and welded into a mesh. You can use it to prevent bees from moving from one part of the hive to another. Here’s the thing: It’s very easy to find a piece of cloth with 1/4″ or 1/2″ square holes in the mesh, but those holes are just too big, and bees will swarm through them.
What you need is a piece of cloth with 1/8″ square holes. It is known as the No. 8 hardware cloth. They usually come in rolls of 3 feet by 10 feet. If your local hardware store doesn’t have the #8 cloth, you can easily find it online. Some beekeeping supply stores sell it on foot (see Bee Trade or Brushy Mountain Bee Farm).
Cutting hardware cloth is easy using tin snips. Or you can use heavy-duty scissors. Keep the cuts as close to one of the vertical wires as possible to avoid torn horizontal wires from sticking out from the side. Ouch! Use the marker to measure and mark the size you want to cut.