Tuesday, 3 April 2012

How to build a bee hive from scratch and scrap wood

Back in January i wrote why i thought of becoming a bee keeper. Now shortly before the start of the swarming season I want to explain how i built my hive from scrap wood. After reading David A. Cushman's and other plans to get an overview for sizes I decided to start small and build something between a nuc and a British Standard Hive hive.

Starting with the brood box (pic 2) in which the bees will grow their larva I went for a deep brood box with a standard frame length. The length of the frames were the most important to me as i might convert to a different hive such as a top bar or national bee hive if the colony gets too big. The entrance reducer is a double sided board which has a slot on one side and a 12.5mm (the biggest drill bit i've got) hole on the other side.

The bars (pic 3) are spaced by a screw and lined with a line of bees wax to improve the smell of the scrap wood and give the bees a guidance for building combs. Bee space (between the bars and frames and housing) is somehow very important to professional bee keepers. I am not sure why but i think it is more a philosophical question or of efficiency. But do have wild trees in which bees live naturally the same designed spaces? I doubt that and that is why bar length was more important then bee (bar) space to me.

The super (pic4) in which bees deposit the honey is a mix of a standard hive and a top bar hive. Standard because the depth of the box and the frame length is the same as a professional but the top bars do not have gaps. It is also just 7 instead of 10 frames. I am not sure if the air circulation will suffer. Please leave a comment.

I had some wood left overs from which i built a crown board (pic 5). It isn't really necessary as long as i don't have bar gaps in the super. on top is a 4in roof (pic 6) covered in some old felt which i found in a skip. Everything stands 15in high on a stand with landing board.  A varroa mite mesh which i find very important for keeping bees healthy and hopefully without any additional mite reducing substances.

The entire bee hive was built from an old bed. the brood box has been built from the slatted frame glued together with waterproof wood glue . The frames are old roof battens which i cleaned, the mesh is bought as well as the bees wax and the lemongrass oil which i drizzled on the bars as a natural queen pheromone. The total cost of the hive did not exceed £10.

If you would like to host or get your own hive the please get in touch

If you are keeping bees yourself then please comment about my design. Thanks and happy DIYing.

You can read David A. Cushman's website for hive measures and
A good book written by the National Trust for starting beekeeping


  1. Replies
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