A Bee-utiful Bee Box for a Hive




Step 1:

We went to the Habitat for Humanity restore and bought an old drawer for $5.00, and two recycled paint cans for $.99 each.

Step 2:

We then removed the hardware and front face of the drawer.

Step 3:

Ben passed the box through the table saw for the front opening.

Step 4:

Trevor cut the top bars 1 3/8 inches thick, and the length was equal to the with of the drawer.

Step 5:

Trevor and Ben passed the box through the table saw, to make notches for the top bars to fit into.

Step 6:

Ben used a hand saw to cut out the top bar notches.

Step 7:

Next, we nailed and glued two surfaces of the top bar together and placed them within the notches of the box.

Step 8:

Step 9:

Ben made a base for the box using the front drawer piece we had taken off earlier.  Ben was sure to add a small ledge for the bees to land on.

Step 10:

Trevor and Ben used a hole saw to cut viewing windows in the side of the box.

Step 11:

I mixed our two paints for the perfect bee-attracting blue hue, and painted the box.

Step 12:

Trevor and Ben added Plexiglas to the inside of the viewing holes.

Step 13:

Trevor made the viewing door with a scrap piece of wood, and hinges previously purchased at the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  Ben hand turned the knob on the lathe especially for the bee box.

Step 14:

I added a few purple flowers and a "Welcome Home" sign for the bee entrance.

Step 15:

I made a lure of lemon balm, lavender blossoms, mint, catnip blossoms, agave nectar, and royal jelly.   I mashed the items together and placed it in the box.

Step 16:

Trevor made a lid out of a scrap piece of particle board and a piece of hardware previously purchased at the Habitat for Humanity Restore.

Step 17:

Lastly, we mounting the bee box on the back fence.

Step 18:



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    13 Discussions


    3 years ago

    How well did it work for you? The outside of the beehive boxes can be painted but you really should have natural wood on the inside. Did you have any issues with spacing the frames? Just curious as to how well the bees thrived inside the bx.


    4 years ago on Introduction


    While the box is vey pretty, I suspect it is not very bee friendly. Painting the inside is not a good idea, IMO. Also, the box seems very small. If I judge it correctly (based only on the pictures) it is probably not more than 20 or 25 liters? While swarms MAY use boxes this small, they prefer not to. In nature the preference is for about 40 liters, allthough they will use somewhat smaller and a lot bigger if they have to... Thomas Seely made avery nice study on this and other aspects of swarm's preferences in the 70's. You'll find details in his book "Honeybee democracy", and a lot of info if you search for "seely bee swarm preferences" on duckduckgo.com (or even google, if you're so inclined)...


    5 years ago on Step 18

    Perhaps you already know but it's quite difficult to lure mother-bee to a hive, but you can buy 'pregnant' mother form beekeepers.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    nice looking box. I have a suspicion the bees don't like the presence of the chemicals in the glue or the paints.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    That was very clever to use an old drawer for the box. Great idea!
    A hive with no bees will never do!   Here are some resources to get your hive populated:
    Sometimes you can find someone who has a swarm on craigslist. (swarming bees are actually super easy to handle)
    The Bee Guardians also remove swarms and help people who keep bees.  They may have someone in your area.
    If you want to spend some money I buy my bees from Ruth at Wolf Creek bees. They raise small cell bees i.e. their natural size.
     Michael Bush is a great resource for top bar beekeepers as is Les Crowder. (he'll even answer your questions directly)
    Finally, there is the organic beekeepers forum on Yahoo.
    Good Luck


    7 years ago on Introduction

    wow!..you guys did a great job in building this bee home..i am sure if one bee inspects these fine accommodations she will tell all her friends and you will have a full house


    7 years ago on Step 18

    Have you been able to get any Bees as of yet?


    8 years ago on Introduction


    Yes! Bees can make their own frames but, they stick all together. If YOU don't organize, then, when harvesting, you have to see you are killing a lot of bees with wet eyes. Loves.



    8 years ago on Step 17

    Is the purpose to make a nice house for the bees or to collect honey? Or both? If not, why not?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    will the bees still make straight combs with only a top bar? I have only seen bee boxes with full frames. is this your idea, or have you seen it done before? Either way, I think it is a nice idea. and the stars are a nice finishing touch.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    This technique is called a "top bar" hive. The alternative, with the full rectangular frame is called Langstroth. I certainly did not make up the top bar approach. It is the more earth-loving, holistic approach to bee keeping. The bees will form their own comb in a natural circular shape.