One of the main issues to consider in regard to bee hive construction is that the normal beehive will average 40 to 45 pounds of surplus honey a year, according to reports dating back a century. You do not have to settle for ‘average’ production though.
Stimulating Hive Population
Approximately 70% of the nectar flow in my area is from blackberry and clover, this occurs during the first 7 weeks of summer. To obtain high honey yields I had to invent methods to help the bees evaporate the nectar into honey more quickly, and I had to stimulate huge honey bee hive population without inducing swarming - both of which I detail in my book
Bee Hive Construction Stand
It takes twelve 2 x 4's to build a good hive stand. 7 for the bench, 2 for the upright cover supports, and 2 for the cover. Six 2 x 4's are cut to 66", by cutting off 10" and 20" pieces; the short pieces become the rectangular bracing used at each end and in the middle, as shown.
The 66" 2 x 4's are nailed and glued on the outside of the braces, resulting in a table 11 1/2" high and 23 1/2" wide. Two 2 x 4's are cut to 46" and become the front cover support, and the 50" halves become the rear cover supports, leaving a 4" drop toward the front to drain off rain.
The leftover 2 x 4's are used for the sides of the cover and for bracing under the hive stand, as shown. Pressure treated 2 x 4's are used, and the stand will last for decades.
The bee hive construction for rain shelter during winter
To eliminate ground moisture from under the hives I place the stand over a black plastic sheet. The elevated high stands are level side to side with a ½” drop toward the front of the hive so as to keep the bottom board dry. On the 10th week of autumn place the cover over the hive. It’s at that time you remove all honey supers and treat the hives for mites. Leave the cover in place until the last month of spring when the honey supers are placed atop the hive.
Working with beehives means lifting – so keep it light.
These are only a few high points on beekeeping. I highly recommend you spend some time reading about beekeeping. You will certainly be doing a lot of lifting as a beekeeper so keep that in mind when you are planning which equipment to purchase or for your bee hive construction.
A full Deep Honey Super
Lifting 90 pounds - at arms length – can be heavy work and a full ‘deep’ super can easily weigh this much. A ‘deep’ is not preferred as a honey super but can be used for hive bodies if you choose. A “western” or mid-length super (6 5/8”) weighs a little over 52 pounds when full of honey. You will find this yields about 37 pounds of honey and has about 15 pounds of wood and wax.
A Shallow Honey Super
When a “shallow” honey super is full it weighs about 38 pounds, this will yield about 26 pounds of honey.
You will need to consider the type of centrifugal honey extractor to use. My Maxant 3100 extractor holds 6 frames of shallow supers but only 3 “western” or deep super frames. Shallow supers are more efficient for me to use because of their lighter weight and for the extraction of the honey with my honey extractor.
Use a frame squeezer with an eccentric cam to tightly wire the wooden frames. This will allow the hive to properly handle the centrifugal force when you are extracting and it will last for decades.
PLAN AHEAD FOR YOUR BEE HIVE CONSTRUCTION
THE HONEY FACTORY