Bee Hive Building – what to build, and not to build!

Why would anyone get into bee hive building?  Well, because it’s really fun, hands on, satisfying and rewarding – a lot like beekeeping itself.  My goal for building bee hives was actually to return all gear I borrowed from my friend by next spring, and have a full set of my own gear!

The easiest part of hive building

Focusing on the basic woodenware is the best place to start your hive building.  Over the last 2 weeks I have built 4 deeps, 2 screened bottom boards, and 2 ventilator rims/screened top covers which can be turned into moisture quilts.

My design for the boxes is based on a wonderful how-to provided by the Ontario Beekeepers Assocaition.  Check out the results below-


Just built up this hive this weekend.  Made the base from some pallet wood (HT only) and 2×4’s I had laying around, a screened bottom with more 2×4 wood plus some reclaimed window screen (#7 would be better for SHB I know), the deep from bought plywood, and ventilator rim reclaimed wood and window screen.


Making frames – and why not to start from scratch!

After repairing one of my greenhouses this evening, I dedicated myself to making my own frames!  It’s quite tedious and so far I can’t think of a good way to make frames without building up dedicated jigs.  In the process of making a couple with a dremel I realized it’s not going to happen fast enough to be worth it using my current tool set!

I recommend buy the frames un-assembled from a beekeeping part supplier, and assembling yourself.  It’s still fun, and for approximately $1 per frame, your time will be better spent than doing battle with a dremel, and risking the safety of your fingers!

Foundationless frames

Sealing the hives and protecting the wood

I’ve been melting down burr comb and propolis, and using that to seal the wood.  Comes out pretty well, time will tell though.  Check out the two boxes below finished using this method.

Home Made Hives, with Hand Assembled Foundationless Frames
 my friend coined the “Tembees” thing and I really embraced it… 🙂

The danger of putting your extra boxes on too early

My initially stronger hive had a couple of hive beetles to contend with, but I think its main issue was having another deep on top too early.  The problem with an extra box on when the bees don’t truly need it, is that it’s harder for the bees to keep the hive at their ideal temperature, and patrol the comb and stop small hive beetles and wax moths.

Fixed that today, hopefully they’ll have an easier time dealing with the cooler weather now. Looks like they’ve pulled in a lot of nectar these past 2 weeks, thanks rain!

My bees have been quite happy lately – I was surprised that my smallest/weakest colony is actually now the most active.  It built up fast.  Still keeping a close eye on things as the season changed, but doing my best not to disturb them and the brood nest as much as possible.

Believe it or not, I think ants are actually the major pest i’m dealing with for now – they do a great job of aggravating my bees when my ant defenses aren’t 100%.

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