How To Build A Beehive – 6 Tips

How To Build A Beehive – 6 Tips

Article by Val Wilson

When you start beekeeping, there are certain pieces of essential equipment. Most of these, you will have to buy, but when it comes to the beehive itself, you have a choice. You can buy one (either ready assembled or as a flat pack for self assembly). But you also have the option of building your own beehive.

Obviously, this will not be for everyone. You do have to have a certain level of basic skills to be able to build a beehive. But you certainly do not need to be an expert carpenter – it is surprisingly easy to build your own beehive if you have a good set of plans and follow some basic rules.

So, if you would like to give it a go, here are some tips on how to build your own beehive and help to ensure that it turns out as you hoped – well-built, attractive, and long lasting.

1. Choose the right beehive plans

When building a beehive, you will need detailed plans and instructions. You can easily get free plans on the internet, but they are often very poor quality and difficult to follow – particularly for a beginner. Make sure that the plans you are using are comprehensive and easy to understand. The best plans include pictures from each stage of the building process or, even better, video.

2. Fully read the instructions before you begin

It can be difficult to resist the temptation to just get started, before you are properly prepared. Resist the temptation! Read your plans from start to finish before lifting any tools. This will give you an overall picture of the whole job. Without this, you will be likely to get confused and make mistakes.

3. Use untreated wood

When you are buying the wood for your hive, make sure that it has not been treated in any way. A lot of modern methods of pressure-treating wood use chemicals which can be poisonous to honey bees, so stick with untreated materials.

4. Do not take shortcuts with the glue

As well as nailing the parts together, be sure to use glue. Apply this just before nailing. It is easier to just rely on the nails, but glue provides extra strength and the extra effort will pay of in the long run.

5. Keep your beehive square

It is not essential that your boxes and frames are perfectly square, but they need to be reasonably square to allow the frames to fit properly. Use a carpenter’s square to make sure they are as true as possible.

6. Use paint or wood preservative

Hive bodies must be treated with wood preservative or paint. Apply a coat of good quality latex base paint, followed by an exterior latex paint, or else just double coat with an exterior wood stain. Either is equally effective – which you use is down to personal preference. Do not paint or stain the inside of the supers.

In very hot locations, painting the beehive white will help to stop it getting too hot in the summer. If you are going to keep a lot of hives in one location, it can be a helpful identification aid to the bees if each hive is a different color, although this is not essential.

Building your own beehive is really not that difficult, is a great way to save money, and is very satisfying – so go build a beehive today!

About the Author

Val Wilson is passionate about all things beekeeping! It is an incredibly rewarding hobby in so many ways, so if you would like more information about how to start beekeeping, go to for your FREE 7 day beekeeping ecourse.

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