Making my own Warré bee hives

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My new set of Warré hives
My new set of Warré hives

When I started with beekeeping at the beginning of the year, I purchased a set of Warré bee hives from Natural Beekeeping Australia (Tim Malfroy). These are lovely, and made out of 22mm Macrocarpa Cyprus, they’re built to last.

In the quiet winter, it’s a good time to plan for the coming spring. I’m hoping to add a second bee hive to the roof, and so a second set of boxes are required. After some helpful advice from Tim, I decided to make my own.

Routing a 11mm x 11mm rebate for the frames to sit into.
Routing a 11mm x 11mm rebate for the frames to sit into.

The first step was to rout a 11mm x 11mm rebate into the sides of the boxes, for the frames to sit into. I borrowed a router off a friend, and even with no prior experience, I had the rebates done in about 30-40mins.

Sides for one box, ready to be screwed together.
Sides for one box, ready to be screwed together.

Some careful cutting with my circular saw produced the first set of box sides in the first hour, after a bit of initial stuffing around.

A completed box, screwed together and ready to go.
A completed box, screwed together and ready to go.

After a quick dash to the nearby Bunnings to get some clamps big enough to hold the box together, I had the first box screwed together.

Four completed boxes.
Four completed boxes.

Repeat three times until a complete set of boxes is created! All that’s left is the base, roof, and quilt box.

The completed set of hive parts is shown in the first picture in this post. From a standing start, and with a lot of on-the-job learning, the whole process took about 2/3 of a day. It will be a lot quicker next time around!

All that’s left to do is to install a Beeltra trap in the bottom and paint the hive. 🙂

Materials used

  • 10.8m of 240×190 radiata pine (6 x 1.8m)
  • 6mm marine ply (small amount)
  • 15mm ply (small amount)
  • recycled hardwood (small amount)
  • approx 40 of 8g x 35mm square drive screws
  • approx 150 of 8g x 65mm square drive screws

The radiata pine was the only material I was able to easy source locally. So while it’s a bit thinner and less robust than the cyprus used by Tim, it’s still fine (it’s painted to protect it from the elements). The key thing is to ensure the interior dimensions are 308 x 308 mm, so the frames fit.

I used some left-over ply to make the base and lid for the hive.

The total cost of materials was approx $120.

Tools needed

The tools needed for the job, nothing too unusual.
The tools needed for the job, nothing too unusual.

These were the tools I used for the job:

  • circular saw
  • router (borrowed from a friend, in my case)
  • impact driver (electric screwdriver would be fine too)
  • 4 clamps
  • combination square
  • builder’s pencil
  • glue for joints
  • tape measure
  • safety glasses
  • ear muffs

This is pretty much a set of standard tools for the typical DIY’er. Using a circular saw for accurate work is a hassle, but possible. It would be much easier with a good-sized mitre saw, or bench saw.

To end on a very geeky note, making your own hives as a new beekeeper feels like a young jedi making their first lightsabre 😉

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3 thoughts on “Making my own Warré bee hives

    Two bait hives ready for spring | Lewisham House said:
    August 7, 2013 at 8:39 am

    […] photo above shows two bait hives ready for spring. I made the boxes myself (as per my previous post), and painted them a very pale green. I also made the two bases, which are a bit rough, but […]

    Expanding Our Apiary | Welcome to Humpy Creek said:
    August 22, 2013 at 11:48 am

    […] are following the plans written by another of Tim’s past students for a version of the Warre hive suitable for Australia (including provision for removable frames, […]

    […] this year I decided to make my own hive boxes, which wasn’t too hard, even for a novice such as […]

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