My daughter had to give a presenation at school about an animal. Her grandfather is a beekeeper, so the choice was obvious: she talked about bees. She got a lot of stuff from her granddad, including a small colony of bees in a so-called mating nucleus bee hive. She wanted to keep the bees, so I agreed to make a hive for the bee family. The Obamas and the Britain's Queen keep bees, so why don't we?
We got the bees in a small mating box where a young queen was housed together with a small part of a colony. The purpose of this work was to make an enclosure for the little box, well-isolated so that we could let the bees get in and out. This is not a description for a full-sized beehive. After spending some weeks in our beehive, the colony will be tranferred to a bigger hive.
The first thing I came across while I was looking for something to make the beehive, was an old computer, so I used the cover as a starting point. Other restrictions I imposed myself were: The footprint should be very small. As it is a temporary home, I didn't want to ruin the lawn and didn't want to add new obstacles when mowing. It should be very well isolated because bees like a constant temperature in their living room. The work should not take too much time so that there would be time left to write an instructable. Finally, all materials should be free. I am lucky to have a pile of wood left over from our house construction.
- Bee (!) careful! Working with bees can be dangerous. Do not try to become a beekeeper when you are allergic to bee stings.
- Do not swat at the bees. They may get angry and sting you. They are social beings, so you may be attacked by the whole family. If they attack, cover your face and try to get in an closed place.
- Obtain the bees from a trusted source. There are many varieties and they are bred and selected for their properties.
- Check with legal prescriptions and restrictions in your country. Keeping bees is often restricted to open spaces, certain distances from houses, registration etc.
- Get more information about the life of bees, their behavior and legal issues. As a strarting point see here for example: http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/Get_Started/How_to_Get_Started.htm
I am not a professional beekeeper, I barely can distinguish a drone from a queen. This project was only done to make an enclosure for the box that my daughter got. If you plan to become a real beekeeper, the best thing for starting is to go to an experience beekeeper and ask for advice. Very likely you will get this for free.