The most popular type of beehive, and the one seen most often, is a Langstroth hive. This is a collection of what looks like boxes stacked on top of one another, and it’s also the hive we use at The Copper Trinity for pollination services.
The hive we use the most is a variation of the Top Bar hive, a horizontal Langstroth hive. As we are in the process of building more of these types of hives, we’ll be uploading a tutorial on how to make them very soon. By clicking here, you can see what we use and where we obtained our plans from: https://horizontalhive.com/how-to-build/long-langstroth-plans.shtml
Below are the construction details for a 10-frame Langstroth beehive. They were created by Barry Birkey at BeeSource.com, and the direct PDF link for the plans.
Most beekeepers will assemble pre-cut beehive equipment at some time. Others go farther by manufacturing their own equipment. In either case, it is important to use standard dimensions and assembly methods to ensure that the equipment will be interchangeable, strong, and durable.
The species of wood used to make a beehive can vary depending upon what is available in your area. Pine or cedar is usually recommended though, except for the top cover and floor of the bottom board which use ½” plywood. This is because plywood is less affected by changes in temperature and moisture.
All wood pieces must be flat. Small knots may be acceptable, provided they are not close to the edges or where handholds are to be cut. Box nails (1⅛” in.) are recommended for nailing supers, bottom boards, and covers.
The minimum thickness should not be less than ¾”. If you are using standard dimensional lumber, you can use 1×8 (¾” x 7¼”) for both shallow and medium super, and 1×12 ( ¾” x 11¼”) for the deep hive body.
Start cutting the boards to length. For fronts and backs, cut them slightly over 16 ¼”. For sides, cut slightly over 19 ⅞”.
Trim to exact size before assembling. Cut box joints on all the board ends. Rabbet joints are an acceptable alternative. You can find detailed instruction for box and rabbet joints on websites like this box joint tutorial from PopularWoodworking.com.
Now that you have the joint cut and the boards cut to finished size, cut the ⅝” x ⅜” rabbet on the 16 ¼” boards, stopping just short of the box joint pin at each end. Chisel these square after the boards are assembled and note detail of the frame rest at left.
Pre-drill holes for nails in each pin.
Assemble boxes with glue and nail each pin with a 6d galvanized nail. Attach 1×2 handholds with screws and glue. Attach metal rabbets on the frame rest notch. Fill any holes and paint all exterior surfaces, both top and bottom edges, with primer and finish top coat.