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Beehive Plans to Build Your Own Hives

If you have a desire to build your own hive, you need some good beehive plans. With basic woodworking skills 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.

Can I Build My Own Hive Successfully?

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.

Perhaps there is a “best possible choice” that a swarm of bees looks for in regards to interior space, size of the entrance and height from the ground.

In hive design and construction, the beekeeper must give some thought to what bees want. If they are not happy with the home you provide, the bees may leave the hive!

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 whether or not to build your beehive, one of the first decisions is which type you want. There are several different types of beehives in use around the world.

It is common to see diagrams of simple log hives. These types of hives are used in many under-developed countries where materials are limited.

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While log hives provide a home for a bee colony, they are not well suited for modern beekeeping.

Modern hives are designed to make hive inspections easier. When you are selecting a bee hive blueprint, check the specific inside measurements. The measures of most of the hive plans available should be very close in measurements.

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. It is impossible to manage a bee colony unless you can remove and view each frame during hive inspections.

Homemade top bar hive built using hive plans.

Building 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.

One thing to consider, 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.

A Langstroth Hive 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 Langstroth 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 measurement.

Beehive Plans for Other Hive Styles

Of course there are other types of hive that beekeepers enjoy or like to experiment with. Just be sure to meet the needs of your bees – this is the most important consideration.

Final Tips on Hive Construction

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.

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