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Thread: Homemade Hives

  1. Default Homemade Hives

    Hello all!
    I have been making mead for a few months now and the person that taught me used to keep bees with his father.. his father still keeps them but he is looking to start and I was thinking... One of my other hobbies is woodworking so does anyone have any thoughts on homemade hives?? I have found a few plans online but have heard that if the fit isn't PERFECT the bees may seal the sections together.
    Any help is appreacated.. I am trying to up my sources of Free Honey for my meads


  2. #2

    Default Re: Homemade Hives

    Yes, homemade hives could be a mess. If the spacing isn't right the bees will do all sorts of things you didn't intend. My aunts husband built me a couple of deeps and some supers last summer, and a couple of nucs. I have only had the chance to use one of the hive bodys and things seemed to work out ok, other than the colony dying over the winter, not the equipments fault.

    You will want to buy frames, they are cheap and prolly more work that it is worth to make home made. has plans to build hive bodys, it is the same plans my Aunts husband used for the ones he built me.
    I would suggest buying some frames first and put a few together and then sort of build the hive body's around the frames so you get a nice fit. Stick with one manufacturer of frames. The dimensions vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

  3. Default Re: Homemade Hives

    I agree on the stick to one brand of frames.

    The size of the box and the space inside is critical. An extra 1/16 of an inch and cause the bees to do some strange things with burr comb or prop.

  4. Default Re: Homemade Hives

    yeah I wanted to give it a try.. I concider myself pretty handy with the tools but wasn't sure how exact things have to be. Guess I will have to keep an out out for any sales or on craigslist see if we can get some cheap..


  5. #5

    Default Re: Homemade Hives

    Don't be discouraged, like I said the home made body I used last summer worked ok, in fact I will be putting bees back in it this year. Do some googling about bee space, that is what you have to keep in mind. The worst that is going to happen if some of your spacing is off is a big mess and a pain to pull frames out for an inspection.
    In fact this is the time of year you might want to get a hold of some of your local beekeepers who may be willing to sell off some of their equipment.

    There are a few beekeeping forums on the web also, I am sure that there is more than a few guys there that have built hive bodies and can give you some pointers.

  6. Default Re: Homemade Hives Brushy Mountain bee farm

    Just got 8 medium supers from Brushy Mountain
    Bee Farm.

    Will try to put them togther today 3/25/07
    Just watched/help install 11 bee packages
    with our mentor.

    Our bees are currently scheduled to get here
    10 Apr 07, coming from Georgia.

    Take a bee class. There is so much about bees
    that I would never have thought about without the

    And just found out that no honey for us til about july 08.
    First year hives need the honey to over winter.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Port Orange, Florida, USA

    Default Re: Homemade Hives

    You can pull some honey off of the hives the first year if you get a good flow and feed the bees 50/50 sugar water in late summer. Just don't get too greedy. As to making supers, the ones I've made worked out OK but unless you can get free wood it is not worth it. You end up spending more in materials and time than just buying it will cost. Even with my woodshop I really don't think I would take on cutting out a bunch of frames, there is no way I could make them better and cheeper than the big suppliers.

  8. Default Re: Homemade Hives

    I'm not a woodworking wiz or anything, but I've made a good deal of the hive equipment that I have.

    Boxes, frames, tops, bottoms, feeders, observation hive, etc. With just a $120 Crapsman table saw. Saved myself more than the saw cost. It took hours, but with a pregnant crabby wife, I appreciated the shop time.

    Whereas the hive dimensions need to be pretty close, it isn't critical. If you are off by a 1/16 or 1/8, it will still work. If the beespace is to big then they will draw burr comb in the space, and if too small then they will propolize it up. There are ways to break the burr comb between boxes if that becomes a problem.
    Needless to say mine aren't all on spec.

    They will draw burr comb and propolise things up anyway. Its just a bit of extra work.

    I don't think that I'd do the frames again en'masse...they are a lot of tedious cuts that need to fit togather pretty well. As far as the boxes, the lumber costs only a little less than what you can pick up economy boxes for if you can avoid the shipping costs.

    I don't think I would try it without purchased template parts. There are a lot of cuts on the plans and purchased frames that aren't strictly necessary, but you will need some experience to see what those are.

    If you buy equipment from more than one supplier, or use different aged stuff, you will run into these problems anyway, since there isn't much of a strict standard out there.


    PS if you want a simpler project to make and don't want a huge surplus of honey, look into a top bar hive. There is a whole forum dedicated to those.

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