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Beehive Plans for Hive Construction

If you have a desire to build your own hive, you need some good beehive plans. With basic woodworking know how and good measuring skills, you can construct a hive that your honey bees will enjoy. There are several types of hives to consider with the most common being the Langstroth hive. But, you can decide which one best fits your style of beekeeping.

DIY Beehive Plans to Build Yourself

Homemade beehive made using hive plans for bottom image.

Every beekeeper has a desire to have the very best bee hive for their colony. If you are someone who enjoying building things, you may wish to build your beehive instead of purchasing one.

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Honestly, you will likely find that it is not less expensive to build a hive rather than purchase one. Unless, you have access to wood at a reduced cost.

But, many folks enjoy the tasks of constructing wooden hives and like the idea of providing a special handmade item to use in their beekeeping. Done right it can be a very rewarding feeling to install your bees in your own creation.

Bee Boxes that Bees Prefer

In the wild, bees will chose what is available. But even then, they are comparing several different types of sites and choosing the best one.

From studies we know that a swarm of bees tends to look for certain specifications in regards to interior space, size of the entrance and height from the ground etc.

When setting up swarm traps we use these same concepts in hope of catching some free bees. A swarm will sometimes surprise us with the choices they make. Yet, providing what we “think” they need increases our chances of success a bit.

In hive design and construction, the beekeeper must also give some thought to what bees want. If they are not happy with the home you provide, the bees may leave the hive! This is called absconding and no beekeeper wants to experience bee loss in this manner.

When we build and design hives, our goal is to mimic the site that bees are hoping to find. The proper interior size, tight fitting parts that do not let in rain, small entrances easy to guard etc.

This is why is it important to make sure your homemade beehive matches the bees’ preferences not just your own.

Wild bees living in log hive brought back to bee yard by a beekeeper.

DIY Beehive Plans

As you consider starting to build your beehive, one of the first decisions is which type you want. There are several different types of hives in use around the world. While bees can and do survive in many different structures, some are more fitted to modern beekeeping than others.

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It is common to see diagrams of simple log hives hanging in trees. They are not the best choice for most beekeepers you or I would meet. However, they are used in many under-developed countries where materials are limited.

Modern hives are designed to make hive inspections easier. Being able to remove the frames of honeycomb during hive inspections is vital. Based on years of experience, good hive building plans will have the correct measurements for each part.

When you are selecting a bee hive blueprint, double check the inside measurements. The outside of the hive doesn’t really matter as much as the inside. However, trouble is brewing when you build something outside the industry standard.

In that case, other pieces of beekeeping equipment that you wish to add may not fit. A top feeder or additional bee boxes all work much easier when all of your equipment is standard.

Homemade beehive with correct blueprint measurements image.

If you choose a bee hive plan that calls for using wood of a certain thickness and you use different lumber – you must adjustment the measurements.

Wooden ware built to the wrong measurements will still work for the bees. However, the beekeeper will face a constant battle with the bees building comb in undesirable places. The colony will fill any open space with extra honeycomb or “burr comb”. This makes hive inspections difficult if not impossible.

Homemade top bar hive built using hive plans.

Building Plans for Top Bar Hives

If you want to build the most simple beehive possible, most beekeepers would tell you to choose a Top Bar Hive. This hive style was developed in Kenya.

The top bar hive could be constructed with materials that were readily available. New beekeepers did not have to find and purchase special items. There was no need to order materials or build structures requiring exact measurements.

Historically, beekeepers used any natural materials that were available. The luxury of a beekeeping supply story or online ordering was not possible.

However, modern Top Bar Hive Plans do have instructions for measurements in their design. Constructing this type of hive is not difficult.

But, after the hive is built and bees are inside, you have to manage the colony. Management tasks vary a bit with different type of hives.

Do you have someone in your area who is using the same type of hive? If not and you are a beginner, the Top Bar Hive might be a project for next year.

Free Plans for a Top Bar Hive

Here are some free plans for building top bar hives. Some plans are more detailed than others – find one that fits your needs.

Langstroth Bee Hive Blue Prints

The most readily available DIY beehive plans are for construction of Langstroth Hives. This hive type is the most popular hive in the US.

It is (often called a Lang) and is considered to be the best choice for new beekeepers. Because it is the most commonly used hive, it is easy to find others who can advise you on hive management.

Langstroth Hives commonly have 10 removable frames inside each box. But Lang Hives with 8 frames per box is gaining popularity.

A Langstroth hive usually consists of several stacked boxes. The number of boxes needed depends on the climate and needs of the bee colony.

Free Lang Beehive Plans

Langstroth Hive blueprints are fairly easy to follow. The most difficult task is cutting the shelf for the frames to sit. Be sure to double check those inside measurements. Some beekeepers are enjoying horizontal hives that are similar to the Langstroth.

Beehive Plans for Other Hive Styles

Of course there are other types of hive that beekeepers enjoy or like to experiment with. Some require the same management and others are specialized. Do your research as part of your beekeeping education before building.

Measure Twice and Cut Once

Before you rush out to buy materials and build your own beehive, take the time to consider which hive is best for you. There are many hive plans to consider.

Find one that fits your needs and style of keeping bees. Check out several books on building beehives – they are a great reference.

Once you have completed building your hive, it time to consider how to paint a beehive. And then, finding the best place to put your hive.

Another great idea is to make sure your friends and family are aware of your passion for bees and try to get them to include some cool little beekeeping gifts on their list when your special occasions come around.