By , on June 30th, 2011

How to Build a Bee Hive

A set of downloadable plans have been added to the “In the Beekeeper’s Workshop” page on the MBA web site!  This new series of plans takes you step-by-step on building your own woodenware, starting with the hive stand and ending with the telescoping top cover.  Each set of plans includes detailed drawings, photos, list of materials, cut sheet and dimensions required for the different styles commonly found in a bee yard.

The plans can be downloaded and are free of charge.

You may find that building your own equipment adds an extra dimension to the joys of beekeeping.  Besides, the cost of doing it yourself is hard to beat when compared to commercially purchased hives. 

(click here for the plans!)

21 comments to How to Build a Bee Hive

  • dan wright

    could you please send me a download of how to build a beehive? it would bee greatly welcomed. thank you!

  • Stephen Tilmann

    The link was broken and should now be fixed. Try it again and let me know.
    Steve Tilmann, Treasurer
    Michigan Beekeepers’ Association

  • I am interested to know hoe to build a beehive, I intend to start keeping bees. could you please send me a download of how to build a beehive? it would bee greatly welcomed. thank you

  • Stephen Tilmann

    On its way! You can download these plans, and more, from the MBA web site.

  • eE.J. Burnett

    i need some plans i have a swarm on my tree, would like to give them a good home.

  • eE.J. Burnett

    what does “your comment is awating moderation” mean, are you sending plans?

  • Stephen Tilmann

    You can download plans from the MBA web site page…

    Let us know if you have problems doing this yourself.

  • Stephen Tilmann

    All comments are reviewed prior to posting on our web site. This way, we can delete any comments that are not relevant, spam or off topic.

  • Lisa

    Okay. I am jumping into bee keeping as we do not have enough bees here in South Georgia to make the fruit trees happy. Wish me luck. I have downloaded your hive plans and will make a go of it. They seem to be quite complete and the videos are excellent. It may be a little warmer inmy shop during the winter
    here, though!

  • Rick

    I have a swarm in the roof of my home. I’ve had it since I purchased the home 5 years ago. I have tried to get a couple bee keepers out to move them without destroying my home. No luck. So, I’m going to give it a try and become a bee keeper and move the swarm from the inside (I figure it is cheaper to take drywall down vice roofing). I’m using your plans to build the hive and I have a great place to move them in my back yard. The question I have, because I noticed that you carry bee keeper insurance, why would a person need bee insurance? I live in an older neighborhood.

  • Stephen Tilmann

    First, we do not know where you live but if it is the north then moving the colony in the fall will probably not work. This should be done in the spring or early summer for the best results. You can simply let the bees overwinter then do the job next spring when the weather warms and there are flowers about.

    Second, many beekeepers assume their homeowners insurance will cover them if there is an issue with bees. Most policies will not. We posted an article on the MBA website a while back talking about this subject which you may want to take a look at. If you are selling honey then the need for insurance rachets up a bit. Most of your issues, if any, will arise from pissed off neighbors. So be proactive and educate them as to what is going on. Give them some honey… show them the hive… bee a advocate. A little of this goes a long way. Also, follow GAAMPs (if you live in Michigan, most states have similar regs).

    Third, congratulations on your interest in keeping bees. It is a noble calling.

  • Barney

    Any plans for the frames? What would the side to side and front to back
    clearances be for the frames inside the body? Bottom and top clearances would <br<
    be good to. TIA Bob Phoenix.

  • Stephen Tilmann

    I have not done frames, as I only use the plastic frames. However, I have had similar requests for frames so maybe this will be a future project. You may want to check out Bee Source (
    Steve Tilmann

  • Will McDonald

    When I was growing up we had a colony of bees in the exterior walls of our home and my Father even built a bee hive in our garden. The colony of bees were in the exterior wall of the house for some 40 years no disturbed. Upon my father’s death, the hive left for some 15 years and then returned. Not sure what caused them to leave and what caused them to return. We were amazed to see them return. I am going to build a hive on my property, due to my concern with the bee population becoming extinct. People need to become more educated on bees and their place in our survival. Thanks to all that continue to help the bees !

  • Stephen Tilmann

    In the “old” days before varroa mites, like before 1990, it was certainly possible for a bee hive to persist in one place for a long time. Now, it is highly unlikely that a feral bee colony will make it more than a couple of years. The pressure on honey bees is just too great. What happens is that the colony dies and another takes up residence in the same location. That location is attractive for honey bees in the first place and after the founding colony dies, there is left behind comb, wax, and pollen. Scout bees sent forth from a swarm are very, very good at finding these locations. It is like moving into a furnished apartment with a stocked refrigerator.
    Steve Tilmann, Treasurer
    Michigan Beekeepers’ Association

  • Carlton Smith

    Could you please send me the drawings needed to build a beehive. I live in North Alabama and want to build my own hives.

  • Stephen Tilmann

    Being sent by email. Were you not able to download them yourself?

  • Richard Jauch

    Just a note of thanks for your efforts to enlarge the bee-keeper’s population.

  • Ken Jones

    Every year I plant a garden to share with my family and friends. For the first time ever I am watching the blooms and bloosoms on my plants wither and die due to lack of pollination. Any idea as to how to attract the bees to help with my pollinating? I am looking to build a hive to help further the future protection of bees in this area. I live in Sanger, Texas. But, until I get that part accomplished do you have any suggestions as to how to attract the needed bees now.

    Thanks for all of the valuable information on your site. It truyl shows your love of the bee preservation. I am on dissability so it will be a bit before I am able to purchase your assembled hives, but that is my desire and intent. You have the best product with the best prices I have found. Thanks again for beeeing such a great bee advocate.

    Kind regards,


  • Stephen Tilmann

    Ken, up here in Michigan it is getting a bit late to start new colonies of bees (this being written on May 19). Not too late, but getting there. However, we understand that it has been a very swarmy season in the south (at least parts of it) and the odds are pretty good that you can catch a swarm and start from there. However, a BIG word of caution: since you are in Texas the odds are high that any swarm you catch would be African-hybrids. This is not what you want, particularly when starting out.

    Your best bet would be to look into a local bee club (there are surely some around) and start there. You will find good advice, helpful people and local knowledge.

    As far as “prices” go for the plans on building your own equipment… the price is right since these plans are free to download and use.

  • Peter

    I am so grateful for all of your efforts to grow the community of beekeepers.

    There are simple plans for Langstroth style frames at:

    Thanks for all you do!

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