Introduction: 55 Gallon Top Bar Barrel Bee Hive

FPS combines my passion for hunting and wildlife conservation with the overall need for self sufficiency.

Step 1: This 55 Gallon Drum Will Be the Foundation of the Bee Hive.

Step 2: Using Standard Landscape Timbers, Measure and Cut the Four Legs. the Legs Should Be Somewhere Around Waist High to Make It Easier to Work the Hive.

Step 3: Once the Legs Are Cut to Length, Mark Notches on One End of Each Leg. These Notches Will Be Used to Support the Hive Frame and Roof.

Step 4: Closeup View of Markings.

Step 5: After Measuring for the Correct Depth, on a Radial Miter Saw, Proceed to Make a Series of Thin Cuts. It Will Then Be Easy to Chisel Out the Notch.

Step 6: Chisel and Hammer, Cleaning Out the Notch.

Step 7: This Is How the 2x4 Should Fit Once Completed.

Step 8: Continue to Notch All Four Legs.

Step 9: Using the Seam of the Barrel, Find Top Dead Center (tdc). the Seam Runs Thru the Center of Each Bung Hole and Is a Mold Mark From the Manufacturing Process of the Barrel.

Step 10: Once the Top of the Barrel Is Located Use Masking Tape to Mark the Saw Line All the Way Around the Barrel.

Step 11: Barrel Is Marked and Ready to Be Cut in Two.

Step 12: Yes, Trying to Cut a Round Plastic Barrel Is Awkward. an Extra Set of Hands Will Help.

Step 13: A Jig Saw May Work for Cutting the Barrel But the Easiest Way Is to Use a Reciprocating Saw.

Step 14: After Making Sure I Still Had 10 Fingers and 10 Toes, I Admired My Work.

Step 15: There Is a Barrel Lip on the Front Edge That Must Be Removed for the Frame to Sit Properly. Remove the Lip Down to the Yellow Mark.

Step 16: Measuring for the Hive Foundation Frame. Notice Why the Barrel Lip Had to Be Removed.

Step 17: This Frame Is Just Large Enough for the Barrel to Nest Into.

Step 18: With the Barrel Installed a Series of Screws Holds the Hive Foundation to the Frame.

Step 19: Now the Notched Legs Can Be Fastened to the Hive Frame.

Step 20: My Helper Is Making Sure Everything Is Level and Plumb, Lol.

Step 21: Measuring for a Cross Support.

Step 22: The Support Will Later Be Drilled for Vent Holes at the Top of the Hive and Will Aid in Controlling Moisture.

Step 23: This Cross Support Will Also Give a Little Clearance at the Entrance of the Hive Before the First Comb Is Started.

Step 24: The Woods Gnome Says Its Time to Start on the Top Bars...

Step 25: To Keep Everything Square, Rip the First Edge Off. These Edges Can Be Used Later for Spacers.

Step 26: The Top Boards Are Ripped.... 1 Inch Thick, 1 1/4" Wide.

Step 27: The Spacers Are Saved to Be Used Later When the Bees Start to Build Comb.

Step 28: Cove Moulding Is Attached to the Top Bars. It Gives the Bees More Surface Area to Attach the Comb to in Addition to Helping Them Keep the Comb Straight.

Step 29: Roughing Up the Cove Moulding, Gives the Bees a Better Surface to Grip.

Step 30: The Cove Moulding Is Attached to the Top Bars With Ring Shank Nails.

Step 31: The Top Bars Just Lay on Top of the Hive Foundation Frame.

Step 32: Bee View of the Front Entrance of the Hive.

Step 33: Honey, I'm Home!! (see What I Did There? Lol)

Step 34: One More Picture of the Top Bars Installed in the Hive.

Step 35: The Back Wall of the Hive Is Moveable So the Hive Can Expand As the Colony Grows. a Cardboard Template Is Used to Trace the Outline of the Barrel.

Step 36: The Back Wall Is Cut Out of a Piece of Hardboard.

Step 37: The Hardboard Is Attached to a Couple Extra Top Bars and Lays on Top of the Foundation Frame Just the Same.

Step 38: Backwall Installed With Plenty of Room to Expand As the Colony Grows.

Step 39: Another View of the Backwall With Top Bars Installed.

Step 40: Here Is the Backwall With More Top Bars in Place.

Step 41: Starting on the Roof Frame.

Step 42: The Roof Frame Is Wider Than the Cross Supports and Rest on the Tops of the Legs.

Step 43: Good View of the Roof Frame at Rest on the Legs.

Step 44: Tin Is Then Installed for the Roofing Material.

Step 45: Drill a 1 Inch Hole Below the Bung Hole, This Serves a Few Purposes...

With the small entrance hole being level with the floor of the hive it will be easier for the bees to remove other dead bees etc. This hole will also serve as the entrance reducer until the colony gains strength and finally it will help the hive stay warmer in winter because of the reduced size.

Step 46: A Standard Cork Is Used to Plug the Larger Hole When It Is Not Needed.

Yes, the cap for the barrel could be used but this barrel did not come with a cap and I already had the corks. As the colony grows the cork can be removed to give them a larger entrance hole.

Step 47: Drill Two 1" Holes in the Cross Support Bar and Cover With Screen. the Bees Can Then Plug the Holes With Propolis to Regulate the Air Flow Themselves.

Step 48: Also Drill Two Holes in the Bottom of the Hive to Help Drain Any Water Collected Inside Due to Condensation.

Step 49: Holes Drilled and Ready for Screen.

Step 50: Vent Holes Covered.... Ready to Cover Bottom Holes.

Step 51: Completed!! I Really Enjoyed This Project And....

Step 52: I Had So Much Fun I Decided to Build 3 More!!

Step 53: We Are Ready for Bees Next Spring

Step 54: Roof Off, Showing the Top Bars.

Step 55: These Hives Will Last a Lifetime and My Kids Will Be Harvesting Honey From Them Once They're Adults...

Step 56: Hope You've Enjoyed This Instructable!!

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