Assembling Our First Bee Boxes

in #homesteading3 months ago

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We just put together our first ever BEE BOXES!! We're going to be picking up a couple of nucs from Tender Hearts Honey Bees on May 15, so I'm kind of in crash course mode. I think I'm getting a handle on what I will need to do, but so far all I have is book (and YouTube) knowledge. I'm ready to get some hands-on experience, and that started with putting together our first bee boxes.

We will be starting with 2 hives. Each hive will start out with a deep box for the queen to start laying eggs in. This is generally referred to as a brood box. Later, as the hive grows, we will add a medium box for the worker bees to collect honey in.

The boxes came unassembled with each one consisting of four pieces. For a deep box, you will have two pieces that are 16" long by 19 5/8" tall and two pieces 19 7/8 inch long by 19 5/8" tall. The pieces on a medium box are same lengths as those of a deep box, but they will only be 6 5/8" tall. Each piece has joints that fit together nice and snug.

Joint Cut-Outs

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It is super important to keep everything nice and square as you put your boxes together. Not only does the finished product need to be stackable, but bees are very particular about the spaces inside of their home. Any gaps outside of their very specific parameters (known as the bee space) will be filled with either comb or propolis. So, if your pieces aren't square, it will throw that spacing off and you may end up with your hives glued together.

Interlocking Pieces

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As you put your pieces together, you will need to glue the joints and then hold them in places with screws or nails. The holes are already pre-drilled, but I went ahead and used a countersink bit on each hole. I wanted to use screws instead of nails, and I wanted them to end up being flush with the sides. I started out with just a couple of screws in each side so that I could still get a little bit of flex as I put the rest of the pieces on. Once all of the pieces were glued in and set all square, I put the rest of the screws in.

The finished products turned out pretty good, I think! I'm generally not very precise when I build things, so I was quite surprised that they all went together as well as they did. I'm sure if I can do it, so can you!

See Video Below For A More Detailed Explanation


I had looked into building kit boxes originally but found that I can get pre-built deep boxes with frames for $50 on sale at my local farm store. Each year I pick up a couple more to have on hand and to cycle out my really old boxes. You will likely want to paint the outside of the box or stain it to protect the wood from the weather.

Good on you for getting nucs, they are sooo much better than packages and have a much higher survivability rate, at least in my experience.

My experience last year really helped as both my hives made it through winter. The biggest things I did differently was to get any honey out by mid/late August then I applied Mite Away Strips, Super DFM, and Complete Bee. The combo of all these made it so both my hives survived very well. The smaller hive only had a single super but made it over winter.

Sweet! I'll have to keep an eye out for them around here. I would definitely like to have a few boxes on reserve just in case I need them.

What kind of paint would you recommend using?

You will want a low VOC paint. Do a search for it and you will find a few good links with some lists. Something I need to do on a few of my supers still that are bare wood as well.

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It's always exciting trying out new things and I can tell by your enthusiasm with building the bee boxes that you can't wait to get going with this.
You seem very resourceful and I am sure you will find all the helpful tips you need online and through friends. I'm pretty sure @riverflows may have some tips for you too so don't be shy to ask in the community.
Good luck and I look forward to an update on how you are getting on. 💚🤗

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