Author Topic: Hive building decisions  (Read 1179 times)

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Hive building decisions
« on: August 10, 2016, 04:16:26 am »
I'm close to building my hives, but have a few things to work out first:

1) In order to increase the flexibility of my supers, I'm thinking of building standard medium sized supers, and then installing some sort of "board" in the centre, to separate the hive into two even parts. This way, there will be less volume for the captured swarms to operate from, essentially allowing my medium sized supers to act as nucs. When the swarm becomes strong enough to "move" into a full super, I can then simply remove the board that's dividing them.

Has anyone does something like this before? I'm not sure if this is an effective idea, or terrible one.

2) I've come to learn that, in my area, there's two standards for plank sizes; 19mm, and 22mm. Can I use differing thickness for my hives? Will this cause some sort of stacking issue and expose my bees to the elements? Should I just stick to 19mm for everything?

3) I've been told that it's best to create detachable bases for my hives, though I'm too inexperienced to know exactly what benefits this brings. I might be spelling this incorrectly, but could I simply use Tex screws to screw on the bottom board to the brood chamber, and then, if I need to remove it, simply unscrew the Tex screws to detach it?

I've had some bad experiences with detachable bases, where they've moved at the bottom when working on the hive, causing angry bees to fly out from the brood chamber. If I am not to use screws to attach the bottom board, what can I do to prevent the bottom board from moving, when in use? What sort of bottom board design should I build?

4) Is it important to put a metal roof on the hive lid?

5) I'm confused about the usage of linseed oil, and gum turpentine. Should I coat all of my wood, before building, with a mixture of linseed oil and gum turpentine? How about the inside of the hive? Or, how about the outside of the hive, before painting it?

Offline apisbees

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Re: Hive building decisions
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2016, 09:32:59 am »
1. Follower boards. Just cut a piece of plywood to fit inside the hive. Have it so it hangs on the rabbets and is deep enough to extend down to the bottom board. 

2. You are talking 6mm difference so they will stack with out creating gaps for the bees to escape. When building with thicker lumber for the super width us the outside dimension of 16 1/2". For the length of the super determine the length from the inside. Frame top bar length plus 1/8" from rabbet to rabbet.

3. This is where I think you are getting confused about the term. With a permanent bottom board attached, the bottom super will have the sides of the super deeper to allow for the bee space below the frames. Or the bottom board glued and nailed so it can not be removed. Having the bottom board secured to the bottom super by screws, hive staples, cleats, or the wire hooks used in Europe is fixing the bottom super to the bottom board. It is still removable It just requires a little more time and work. Fixing on bottom boards is done more by beekeepers that are moving their hives often to keep the bottom from shifting while moving the hives. it also allows the hive to be lifted by the bottom super hand holds with out the fear of the bottom falling off. On this one, to each there own, what ever works for you. I personalty do not attach as it makes cleaning the bottom board more difficult. It could hinder your beekeeping manipulations by making it more troublesome to reverse the super if it is required. need to do a news paper combine, you are unscrewing or transferring frames to another brood box.

4. No A good cost of paint will protect the hive cover well. Migratory covers that are used by most commercial beekeepers are only painted.

5. As discussed in other threads, check out what other beekeepers in your area or the area you are keeping your bees in, for what is needed to protect your hives from rot and bug infiltration. What I do to protect my hives may not work for you and depending on where you are in Australia, It will not work. In some places full coverage inside and out of the hive supers bottom and covers is required. This is a question that need a local answer as to what works in your area. Sorry I can't be any more helpful on this question.
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Hive building decisions
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2016, 11:08:28 am »
Yep, follower board!

   Hope that helps!!

   At one time I put metal on all my covers, but stopped doing that about four??? years ago. I still put metal on the tele covers I sell because people seem to LIKE them better that way...    I have found that the metal is not enough of an aid in protection to be worth it..    A Tele cover costs less than three dollars to make, the time and effort of bending the metal cover, AND the cost of the metal made me decide to go without..  (yah I am cheap)  I have not regretted that decision.  When I repaint boxes I simply repaint the top covers too.   The tele covers dont get PRIED on like the corners of the boxes, so there is less to cause the paint to chip away. Setting Rocks/bricks etc on the top covers can scratch them up, but for the most part I have not yet had to worry about it, none of the paint has worn through enough to allow moisture to the plywood... all in all I am content with no metal. AND, I am quite content with cheap paint..   I know keeps that dislike painting so much that they wont even paint their hives..  I tend to agree with them, But it does shorten woodenware life..   Many consider woodenware expendable/disposable..   when it gets bad replace it.   Making your own means that you do not have even a third the money invested in that woodenware that you would if you bought it commercially. I think it costs me under 50 dollars to build a complete hive if I BUY the wood to make it, (Rather than scrounging it) as opposed to over 200 dollars if you buy commercial hives.   I know keeps who DIP their hives in Hot wax and rosin. I know keeps that OIL their hives, I know keeps that paint their hives, and I know keeps that leave the wood raw..
   Heating wax over a fire to dip boxes in is beyond my comfort zone.. My LUCK was used up in its entirety when I met my wife, and I fear having 30+ gallons of near boiling wax anywhere near an open flame...  So I do not dip, but I hear it works to protect the wood quite well..
   Don't paint the inside of the hive, the bees will seal it all up in time anyhow. The bees will also chew the inside, if it is painted they are chewing the paint as well.  Again, I know keeps that DO paint the entirety of their hives and seem to do fine, I just prefer NOT to waste the paint OR take the time to paint more than I have to!  This is an area where YOU have to decide what works best for you.

   Board thickness is a personal decision.. I think Perry uses 7/8 boards. One of the local beeks near here uses 1.5 inch thick (Standard 2x8) boards to make his hives. As long as you keep the interior dimension the same, you can use whatever you like. Remember to adjust the size of your tele covers to fit over whichever thickness you choose. Using "standard" dimension lumber allows you to swap things around easier... in example, putting a 1 inch thick box on top of a standard 1/2 inch thick box would not be a problem, but putting the thicker box UNDER the thinner box would cause a ledge that water will collect on, and possibly leak into the hive..   You would also not be able to use a commercial, or standard inner cover on the thicker box etc...

   Like Apis said, bottom board attached or free is also a personal choice.. I have only THREE bottom boards that are hive stapled to the boxes and use them to retrieve swarms or under my Bee vac.  The bees will glue (Propolis) them together in time and you can do basic moves without the bottom board falling off, and it will no longer slide around.

   Relax and take a deep breath.  Beekeeping is not something etched in stone. START keeping bees how you THINK you want to do it. Use staples to hold your bottom boards on etc...   You WILL modify your own methods to suit YOU as time goes by. I recommend starting with the basics and figuring out how to keep your bees alive. basic hives, basic methods, basic wintering, and then progress from there....

    "Physicist Neils Bohr once quipped, An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.
   This definition clearly excludes me from being any sort of expert, since I exuberantly continue to make new mistakes in my own beekeeping adventures."
   Randy Oliver

   Hope that helps!!   Scott
Drinking RUM before noon makes you a PIRATE not an alcoholic!


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Re: Hive building decisions
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2016, 06:34:20 pm »
Some great information thanks. It's neat to see that my idea of using some hive divider is already been used and called a "follower board" :)