Building a beehive and keeping bees has always been an interest of mine. Bee's help plants develop and thrive. They also produce liquid gold. Yeah that's right, HONEY! I'm also an avid prepper and hobby homesteader so a beehive has been on my to do list for some time now.
Some say that bee's are disappearing due to heavy insecticide use. The saying goes that if this is the case we are in deep guano because bees are essential for plant growth. Without bees we would ultimately parish. Others say this is an urban legend. Whether this is true or not I cannot say. I am keeping bees to help my own garden, and the gardens of my neighbors, as well as the sweet golden honey they produce.
This project shouldn't take longer than a day with power tools, without them it shouldn't take longer than a weekend. Online you can find beehives from $150 to $600. You can make it yourself for free if you have the wood and tools, plus you get the satisfaction of doing it yourself.
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Step 1: Tools and Materials
I made my 10-Frame Langstroth hive out of reclaimed wood. Actually it came from a TV stand that fell apart during a move. I decided to repurpose the wood, and this project came up so lucky me! The wood was perfect for this project because it was 3/4" thick. I don't own any power tools (unless you count my dremel) so I had to do everything by hand. Here's what I used to build my Langstroth beehive:
- Queen Excluder (I bought mine online)
- 1/8" Hardware Cloth
- 10- Deep Super Frames
Step 2: Cut and Build the Supers
A langstroth beehive has three super (beehive box) sizes, deep, medium, and shallow. The basic beehive has two types of supers. A brood super, this is where the queen and growing colony resides, and a honey super, this is where the bees make their honey. Between the brood and honey supers is a queen excluder which prevents the queen from traveling into the honey supers.
Check out the pictures for dimensions and build your hive appropriately. Make sure everything lines up and is square before moving on to the next step. A wood rasp and sand paper came in handy to dial in any cuts that were off. I used a cinder block to keep my frames square before nailing them together.
Once the boxes are assembled, make a 1x2 handhold and attach it with nails or wood screws. These are essential as the honey super can be heavy when filled with honey (50 - 80 lbs.).
Step 3: Cut a Notch at the Tops of Each Box
Each super contains 10 frames. These frames need to rest so that they lie level and leaves enough room to add another bee box on top. To do this you will need to cut a notch into the top of each super. Measure 3/8" in from the inside edge and make a mark. Measure 5/8" down from the inside edge and make a mark. Cut out a notch using these lines as a reference. I used a dremel and a cutting wheel to do this. Dial in any rough parts with a wood rasp and sand paper.
Step 4: Beehive Base
I made the base by first building the outside frame, then nailing a piece of plywood to the frame. I used a cinder block to keep the corners square while I nailed the frame together. Then I used the frame to outline the proper size of plywood needed.
I cut out the plywood and nail it to the frame. Use a few nails on the inside of the frame to support the board while you nail it to the frame.
For added airflow cut a square hole in the base board and staple 1/8" hardware cloth to the board. This will prevent the bees from escaping, but allow mites to fall through.
Step 5: 10 Frames
Make or buy the frames for each box you have. I chose to buy mine because of the complexity of the cuts. This part of the beehive deserves it's own instructable so until then don't feel to bad about buying these online. Some of them come with their own honeycomb foundations which helps the bee's in forming a straight comb.
Step 6: Inner Cover
The inner cover is made similar to the bottom board except it has an open vent hole in the center of the board. It's made with a frame (16 1/4" x 20" x 3/4"), and a board (1/4" thick) that rests center on the inside of the frame. In the center of the board cut a hole (1 1/8" x 3 3/4") lengthwise. I centered the board to the frame the same way I did the bottom board, by resting it on nails, then nailing it to the frame. Remove the resting nails after the board is properly secured to the frame.
Step 7: Outer Cover
Instructions for a Telescoping Cover
The outer cover rests on top of the inner cover. It's made with a frame (17.5" x 22" x 3"), a cover that rests perfectly atop the frame , and a metal roof that wraps over the top cover. You can use aluminum sheet metal, galvanized steel, or foil tape for the cover. Once the cover is made make sure to prime and paint it.
Step 8: Prime and Paint
You don't have to paint your beehive, but you should at least put a coat of primer on it to weather proof it. Use an exterior oil based primer on all outer surfaces. Finish it off with a top coat of paint the color of your choice. Most people paint their hives white to keep it as cool as possible, but it's not required.
Step 9: Adding Bee's
Once your hive is complete you just need some bee's. There are several options to populate your hive.
I hope you liked this instructable. If you did, show me your thanks by voting for it in the "Outdoor Structures" contest (I could use the power tools)!
Runner Up in the
Animals in the Wild Challenge
Participated in the
Reclaimed Wood Contest 2016
Participated in the
Outdoor Structures Contest