Last Updated on August 14, 2022
There are a number of reasons why we need to know how to build a beehive stand. These are only necessary in certain areas, and there are different reasons why they are necessary. This will determine the design of the beehive stand, how to build a beehive stand, and how much it costs. Let’s have a look at a few inexpensive options.
Bees have existed for a lot longer than we have – in fact when bees first started being bees, our ancestors were small, dumb, rat-like things. To cut a long story short we figured some stuff out, got opposable thumbs and now we can help the bees out a bit by using this big brain and opposable thumbs to build stands that protect the bees or the hives from various things.
Depending on where you are in the world, a beehive stand can serve different purposes. We will progress through the various options. Beekeepers should be problem solvers – there are off the shelf solutions – and there are simple things that we can recycle into beehive stands. The choice is yours!
Why Do We Need A Beehive Stand?
There are many different reasons we could need a beehive stand. Here are a few:
A Beehive Stand Protects Your Back/Knees
A brood box with a lid and bottom board is only about 14 or so inches off the ground. A hive that is on the ground will necessitate that you either bend over the hive – and that messes your back up a lot – or you have to kneel, which messes up your knees. If you kneel next to hives you invariably mess up your knees and get bursitis (I have had this from working hives, and it is really horrible).
Buy a set of knee guards such as these that you can strap over your bee suit pants. I cannot stress this enough – you do not want to get bursitis – most people will read this and think “Crazy guy rambling on about things” and then you will get bursitis and you will understand what I was going on about.
If you have bees in your backyard, a beehive stand lifts the bees up and makes working them far more pleasurable.
A Beehive Stand Stops Moisture Seeping Into Your Hive Making It Last Longer
Having your beehive raised off the ground stops moisture from penetrating into your hive. Moisture makes wood swell, and it also makes bees more inclined to get sick.
Learn more about: How Far Apart Should Beehives Be Placed?
My friend Kola has his own way of keeping bees. He makes his own boxes and does not use any hive stands at all. Each person has their own way of doing things, but you can see here that the grass is definitely going to grow into the bottom boards, followed by fungus and chaos. Again, there are no hard and fast rules – Kola has 4000 hives and produces three times as much honey per hive as any other beekeeper in the area.
A Beehive Stand Acts As A Barrier To Stop Roots, Grass and Fungi From Growing Into Your Hive
This may sound silly but it happens. Fungi form a network in the soil and will grow out of the soil into your beehive (assuming it is wooden). The fungi then make holes in the bottom board and the grass grows through the holes and then gets tangled up inside the frames and just makes a terrible mess.
Knowing how to build a beehive stand helps you provide a barrier to these forms of nature entering your hive.
A Beehive Stand Lifts The Hive Up and Can Protect Against Ants, Termites and Other Pests
In areas where ants and termites are a big problem, knowing how to build a beehive stand with legs and an ant/termite guard can help. In some cases you could place the legs of the commercially available stand in tins with water and a bit of oil on the surface – glue a lid further up the leg to stop rain from getting into your water/oil mix. This acts as a barrier to termites and ants. Ants can quickly destroy the bees in a hive, and termites can quickly eat the actual hive.
Using A Hive Stand To Limit Damage From Honey Badgers
In parts of the world where honey badgers are a problem to beekeepers, hive stands and hive straps help to keep these critters away from your hives. Read more here.
How To Build A Beehive Stand
Simple Low-Cost Beehive Stands
Crates Zip-tied Together
If you zip-tie two crates together and place them open side downwards they can support a hive. The reason I use two of them is that I have found that if you use one they can fall over. You will also not be able to stack these more than two deeps and one shallow high. Anything above that and they just collapse. When it comes to simple methods of how to build a beehive stand this one is a winner – waterproof, light and quick!
A few Cinder Blocks (Concrete Masonry Units) make a perfectly decent stand. These can support a significant weight. When I use these I normally place a bit of black plastic sheeting below the blocks. This stops moisture from getting into the bricks, and it also kills the grass and weeds below the hive. It takes limited time and skill to figure out how to build a beehive stand from Cinder blocks.
Old Car Tyres
These are inexpensive (just go to a tyre fitment centre). When considering how to build a beehive stand with old tyres please remember that placing the same plastic sheeting mentioned above can be useful too.
A few times I have had hives that actually extended the beehive into the car tyre below the hive! This was insane as we ended up with about 10lb of honey in the car tyre below the hive. We only noticed this when loading the hive! The combs mainly broke off and fell into the tyre – the black plastic sheeting was fortunate here as it stopped the honey from getting covered in sand!
Old car tyres work for a few supers, but much like crates, they can suddenly collapse if hives get too heavy.
If you want to know how to build a beehive stand on an extreme budget, use discarded brick pallets. You can attach a few legs to the pallet, or just prop it up on cinder blocks. Scratch around on construction sites – you may have to swop a bottle of honey or two with the builders and you will get a heap of pallets.
You can get really fancy building hive stands – if you are a good carpenter I do not need to tell you how to build a beehive stand. If you are a bad carpenter, rather use the above methods. A badly built wooden hive stand will just collapse. A competent carpenter will know how to build a beehive stand that will suit their budget and skill level.
I hope this has helped to show you how to build a beehive stand from simple readily available materials. By showing you how to build a beehive stand by repurposing old waste products such as car tyres or brick pallets into hive stands I hope to help the environment too. If you feel you know how to build a beehive stand, make sure your skill level is up to it. There is nothing worse than coming back to an abandoned apiary because your hive stand collapsed. If you enjoyed this please share.
Read more about: How To Make A Honey Bee Trap
How tall should a beehive stand be?
This will depend on how tall you are! Ideally a hive stand should be at least 8 to 10" off the ground. If you have to keep the bees away from ants, you may need to double this to allow for ant deterants and such.
What do you put in a bee hive stand?
As few moving parts, and as few weak parts as is humanly possible. Ideally, if you can get by with an old car tyre, a milk crate, or a few cinder blocks, you are making a good choice.
How do you make a slatted rack for a beehive?
This is a quick answer section! A a slatted rack is a type of insert that places a layer of air flow enhancing slats below the brood box in such a way that the bees can venitlate the hive better. To explain it in a paragraph is however impossible! We will have an article on this soon. This is a big topic!
Do beehives need to be in sun?
No. It can help if they are. If you are in a very hot area, placing bees in the shade is actually a good idea. Generally, a good rule is that bees thrive if they catch early morning Sun, and have a bit of shade for the hottest hours or the day. Naturally, if you life in a cold wet soggy climate, they need as much Sunlight as they can get.
Dr. Garth A. Cambray is a Canadian/South African entrepreneur and beekeeper with 28 years of experience in apiculture and specializes in adding value to honey. His Ph.D. research developed a new advanced continuous fermentation method for making mead that has resulted in a number of companies globally being able to access markets for mead. His company, Makana Meadery, exports honey mead to the USA where it is available to discerning connoisseurs. He has also developed technologies to commercially manufacture organic honey vinegar in Zambia for export globally. He holds a few patents globally in the ethanol industry and believes in technology and knowledge transfer for human development and environmental sustainability. One of his proudest achievements is the fact that the wind farm he started at one of his old apiary sites has essentially made his hometown carbon neutral.