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How to Build A Beehive - Part 5: Final Thoughts & Total Cost

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How to Build A Beehive - Part 5: Final Thoughts & Total Cost

Adam Koons

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This article is part of a 5 part series on building beehives. I have decided to build 8 frame hives in my workshop with common woodworking tools. I am building my hives myself to save money over buying, and to challenge myself on a fulfilling project. This is not a step by step guide for a novice woodworker, but a snapshot into my experience on how I built my own hives to use.


My hive got set up on April, 22nd and I am located in central Ohio. So far everything is working like it should and my bees are busy building out comb. I had an unfortunate event, where I killed some bees from my error, so at this time I am starting with one hive, and keeping an eye out for a nuc/split to set up a second hive. Things are happening though!

Bonus thoughts time.

After sharing the process of building my own hives, I thought it would be good to wrap things up by sharing a little more about what I learned and overall feelings on the project. It was a great project, and I plan to make more beehives in the future as I need supplies.

Here are my takeaways after completing my Hive Build:

  1. Give yourself plenty of time.

    I thought I had plenty of time before my bees were going to arrive, but it ran out quickly! The night before my packages were to be picked up, I was scrambling around with some last minute things. Then I realized that I didn’t have a hive stand after I picked up my bees, so that afternoon I leveled an area for some cinder blocks and 4x4 posts.

    If you are starting from scratch, I would allow for 3 months of building. In Ohio, the packages arrived in April, so be sure to start on the project in late January to allow enough time.

  2. Build it if it is a labor of love.

    I love woodworking. It is extremely satisfying to me to buy lumber, take it home and cut it into pieces, ant then create something useful. Building a hive probably ins’t a good project for someone just getting started in woodworking. However, if you start early, get into the project and it doesn’t work out, you could still order a hive online and get it from Amazon in a few days!

  3. It is CHEAPER to build everything yourself.

    Here is a rough idea of my costs. In total I spent around $176 for 2 hives.

    2 hives = 4 Deep Boxes, 4 Medium Boxes, 40 Deep Frames, 40 medium frames, 2 solid bottom boards, 2 inter covers, 2 telescoping covers, 2 feeders, 2 entrance reducers.

    1. Lumber - from Menards - $86 (1x12x8, 1x8x8, 1x3x8, 1x6x8)

    2. Aluminum Flashing - From home Depot - $20

    3. Hardware Cloth - From Home Depot - $20

    4. Scrap Lumber - 3/4” plywood, 1/4” plywood, 2x4s, 3/4” scraps - Free

    5. Wax Foundation - $50 (will need more)

    In total that is $176 for all that I built - or $88 per hive

    To order the same quantity of 8 frame Langstroth Hive compontents/Kit from MannLake - it is $225.50 per hive

    That is a savings of $137.50 per hive by building it yourself!

    Even if you had to buy all the materials, and had no scrap lumber pile you would probably save about $100 per hive. However, I understand the argument that this doesn’t take into account “paying myself.” To that argument, this is a labor of love and woodworking is another one of my hobbies. If I wasn’t making these hives, I would have made or been working on something else. What do you do from 9pm-11pm in the evening? What do you do on Saturday mornings, mow the grass (I have to do that too)?

  4. Beekeeping has been exciting so far.

    I am new to beekeeping and so far it has been great. I had a rocky start by killing a bunch of bees (my fault), but even after that it is great! I enjoy looking in the hive and seeing the bees use all that I built. I look forward to the benefits down the road.

  5. Epoxy and Varnish = Shinny Hives!

    I used left over marine grade epoxy and varnish from my boat restorations (see that story here). I am anxious to see how it holds up to 24/7 exposure to the elements. I love the natural wood hives and would recommend looking into marine grade products in their woodworking. I believe the will last a long time!

  6. Share this series with a friend.

    There is a lot of negative talk out there about building beehives. Clubs and organizations are generally against it in my experience. I don’t understand why, other than some sell kits for beginners and maybe they need to sell a certain quantity? If you know a woodworker that wants to get into beekeeping, encourage them to build their own hives.

The next part of this journey is to build out more as the colony expands and needs more space. I will have to do some more assembly and and finish work, but things are rolling for now.

After completing the process with standard pine, I have been eyeing some wide lumber that I had milled a few years ago. I have some clear Hickory that would look amazing as a hive body.

I guess things are never “done”.

I built my own hives and got some bees!

I built my own hives and got some bees!


This article is part of a 5 part series on building beehives. I have decided to build 8 frame hives in my workshop with common woodworking tools. I am building my hives myself to save money over buying, and to challenge myself on a fulfilling project. This is not a step by step guide for a novice woodworker, but a snapshot into my experience on how I built my own hives to use.

HOW TO BUILD A BEEHIVE - PART 1: THE PLAN AND PREP

HOW TO BUILD A BEEHIVE - PART 2: BUILDING BEEHIVE BOXES - DEEPS AND MEDIUMS

HOW TO BUILD A BEEHIVE - PART 3: BUILDING FRAMES

HOW TO BUILD A BEEHIVE - PART 4: BUILDING THE SOLID BOTTOM BOARD, INTERCOVER, FEEDER, TELESCOPING OUTER COVER

HOW TO BUILD A BEEHIVE - PART 5: FINAL THOUGHTS AND TOTAL COST