Building a Beehive from a Hive Plan
Building a beehive from hive plans is really an unnecessarily ambitious endeavour! There are many, many places to buy all of the parts needed to put together a beehive, beehive kits that come with all the parts that simply need to be assembled, and beehives that are ready to go upon purchase. These come fully assembled and painted. Since they’re bulky they can be expensive to ship so buying kits saves money. Assembling a beehive kit, or the components of a beehive, is not at all difficult. There are, of course, lots of places to buy used beehives, as well.
If you are the kind of person who loves to do woodworking and is a skilled woodworker, you can save a bit of money (probably not as much as you think) by building your hives from hive plans. There are lots of places on the internet where you can get instructions for building a hive that starts with raw materials rather than premade or premade and assembled hive components. If you decide to “build from scratch,” don’t use treated wood. Wood treatments are poisonous to honey bees.
The easiest way to build a hive, very close to the least expensive, and the most accessible way for most people who want to build a beehive is to buy the components of a beehive, or a beehive kit, and assemble the hive themselves.
The component parts of a beehive are as follows:
1. The Hive Stand: the bottom board sits on the hive stand. The hive stand should stand on blocks to keep it off the ground.
2. A bottom board: this is a wooden stand that holds up the hives. Set it off the ground on blocks.
3. Frames and foundation: the frames are wooden and hold sheets of foundation that’s imprinted with cells. These are hexagonal in shape. Bees build combs on the cells.
4. The hive body (or brood chamber): the wooden box, which is called a super, holds ten frames of comb. This is where the brood, or baby bees, are raised and where honey is stored for them to eat. In areas where it’s cold, hives normally have two supers. Most hives kept in areas where the weather is usually warm have one super.
5. A Queen excluder: is usually only used if the beekeeper is using one hive body, rather than two. The queen excluder keeps the queen in the brood nest so that brood don’t appear in the honey supers. It’s usually placed between the brood nest and the honey supers.
6. Honey Supers: these are supers in which bees keep their extra honey – that which isn’t being fed to the brood. When a beekeeper extracts honey, this is the honey that’s extracted.
7. The Inner Cover: provides insulating air space and also keeps bees from attaching comb to the outer cover.
8. The Outer Cover: provides protection from the weather.
These component parts can all be bought from local farm stores, websites that specialize in beekeeping products, and advertisements in the backs of beekeeping journals.
Nancy Ketner has been fascinated by Bees for as long as she can remember. Sourcing good hive plans as a beginner can be difficult. To understand all about beekeeping, including information on hive plans come to BeekeeperCentral.com and sign up to our FREE mini Beekeeping Course e-course.