Looking for ideas for building 8 frame medium bee boxes. Have limited tools available so must be simple.
Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Homemade (Feb 11, 2016)
I am a beekeeper, and id say if you want simplicity and cheapness, the ware hive is the exact opposite of that. It looks very cool, but to be honest its the most complicated and therefore expensive hive. The good old fashioned langstroth is about as basic as it comes, and there is a good reason why it is the most popular choice of hive in the world, and that beekeepers have literally been using it for centuries without much change. The biggest disadvantage with the ware and top bar hives, is the single bar instead of a full wired frame. This makes extraction basically impossible without destroying the comb, Which means you cant reuse it, are all your poor bees hardwork is constantly being destroyed. In terms of adding boxes from the bottom instead of the top, you can do that with a langsroth too. But again i question the wisdom of forcing the bees to move there brood nest every time you add a box....sorry if that's more info than you asking for, but my suggestion, if you want cheap and simple is download a free langstroth plan off beesource. Build it using the cheapest wood you can get, and use box joints, coat the whole thing in wax dip or waxol.
I guess it depends how many hives you want to build. If you're just wanting to have one or two, then by all means, you can afford to take the time to make intricate designs, like sloped roofs, and glass inspection windows, etc. The top bar, wbc, ware, etc are in my opinion not neccessarily better, but the WBC for instance is very pretty, and the inspection window on the ware, is a lovely little feature. But they arent practical if you going to be building and maintaining lots of them.
Last edited by Lenny; Jul 28, 2015 at 12:07 AM.
More on the topic of your question, exactly what woodworking tools do you have? Do you have a router or a circular saw?
If you have one of those you can use box joints, which are incredibly strong, second only to dovetail joints. You could make them by hand with a saw and chisel but it will take forever! The reason why joints are prefered, in beehives is because they are very exposed to the elements, and I've used butt joints with glue and screw, but that usually only last a year at best, before the wood warps and the joint fails. But if you don't have tools, you can try that in the mean time, just make sure you seal your wood as best you can, to try an keep the moisture out.
Last edited by Lenny; Jul 28, 2015 at 12:17 AM.
We have 5 old used hives we bought but they are 10 frame deeps and I just have a great deal of trouble lifting them. I think we are going to go to 8 frame mediums so they won't be so heavy.
Yesterday I went out to check on them and found Yellow Jackets killing the bees so now I'm just hoping to save the bees from them.
I reduced the entry and taped up all the cracks I could find. Then went and got a bunch of yellow jacket traps and hung them.
Will try to find the nest, but have had no luck at that so far.
Okay so probably the easiest will be just building boxes with butt joints. Use a good waterproof glue, and lots of screws, make sure you pre-drill pilot holes though first. If you can afford a wood that can handle moisture well that would be preferable. Then as I said earlier concentrate on getting good waterproof coating. If you chat to other beekeepers, ask if there is not someone locally who can give your hives a wax dip in paraffin wax. It will safeguard your bees in case any of those old hives had AFB, and it makes the wood basically impenetrable by water.
Yellow Jackets are a pain, I'm also trying to find a nest near our apiary.
BTW, have you visited Beesource.com - Beekeeping resources for beekeepers since 1997!. It's the largest beekeeping forum on the internet, and extremely helpful.
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