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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Battle Ground, WA
    Posts
    2

    Default Hive construction question

    Hey there,

    I'm getting ready to build my first top bar hives and was wondering what are the best materials to use for the walls, floor and ends and why. I have 3 books on top bar hives and only one suggests pine, cedar or redwood but gives no reasons for that choice.

    Thanks for the help,

    Daniel

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaston, SC
    Posts
    309

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    price and availability

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    7,751

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    Welcome to Beesource!

    My opinion is that the best wood to use is free wood. If you are buying wood, these days redwood is unlikely to be "heartwood", and so has no significant longevity value. The same may apply to cedar, depending on your source. Pine is readily available, and generally the most affordable.

    If you haven't yet seen Michael Bush's Top Bar page, its worth a look:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Battle Ground, WA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    Yes I have seen Michael Bush's site and I have his books. I'm using Magnum's master template dimensions without the landing boards and handles and Bush's top entrance, length, top bars and migratory cover. It should be a fun project for me next week. Also I will get a bit artistic and burn some pictures on the fronts.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    I agree with Graham. Whatever you can get cheapest.

    Hank

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    331

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    Daniel
    I have five hives using Mangum's design, and it has worked out great! I have three hives made from scrap plywood, and two hives made from pine. I see no difference between the two hives at all, expect the plywood might be stronger. Welcome to bee source.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    801

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    Make it so you can put (langstroth) supers on top. Also, put an entrance at each end for ventilation.

    Most Top Bar Hives are no where near long enough, and the bees will fill it up and then swarm unless you can put supers on top.

    That's why I'm making Long Lang Hives. You can use top bars in these if you want, but you can also use standard frames.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    itawamba county, ms
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    Reviving this old thread because I have the same question
    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Welcome to Beesource!

    My opinion is that the best wood to use is free wood. If you are buying wood, these days redwood is unlikely to be "heartwood", and so has no significant longevity value. The same may apply to cedar, depending on your source. Pine is readily available, and generally the most affordable.

    If you haven't yet seen Michael Bush's Top Bar page, its worth a look:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm
    I've got "free wood". Free as in I see a tree, get it to lay down, run it thru my sawmill in 10 foot lengths and up to 20" widths.. Right now I've mostly sweetgum, pine, oak, red maple and some eastern red cedar in approximately 3/4" to 4" thickness, various widths (~8" to 20") dried. Plus I've all the tools to process it further, saws, planer etc.

    Based on my readings so far I was thinking of using the cedar. But can the cedar be a problem for the bees?

    Are there an "ideal" woods that I'm liable to find in north Mississippi? I've got about 400 acres of timber and a lot of it is mixed hardwood so IF Hickory (for instance) would hlep the bees double honey flow I could probably do it. Don't have any cypress

    thanks in advanc

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    London, United Kingdom
    Posts
    230

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    Pretty mush whatever. I have made one out of old pallets. As long as you weather treat the outside (mixute of raw linseed oil and beeswax) you should be ok. If you are worried about the wood containing something that "might" affect the bees then coat the inside of the hive (though NOT the top bars) with a shellac.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lamar Co. Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,087

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    newbury-cedar won't be a problem for your bees. Several beeks have posted of finding feral hives in old hollow cedar trees. Pine in a 1" thickness (actual not nominal) would give better insulation than the store bought hives and last a long time if painted or stained with a good quality product.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    286

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    newbury-cedar won't be a problem for your bees. Several beeks have posted of finding feral hives in old hollow cedar trees. Pine in a 1" thickness (actual not nominal) would give better insulation than the store bought hives and last a long time if painted or stained with a good quality product.
    I used some un-standard thickness wood and untill I got my first pattern hive done I ruined a few peices of wood. I guess my math sucked. I only point this out so that if you are using printed plans you do have to make adjustments if you want proper bee space. Even harder if you are mixing standard and nonstandard wood. My point is to make one first and check that you have it correct and use the correct one for you mass producing cuts.
    Just my opinion
    gww

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    I have one hive made from left over cedar decking boards. It works just fine.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    itawamba county, ms
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    I used some un-standard thickness wood and untill I got my first pattern hive done I ruined a few peices of wood. I guess my math sucked. I only point this out so that if you are using printed plans you do have to make adjustments if you want proper bee space. Even harder if you are mixing standard and nonstandard wood. My point is to make one first and check that you have it correct and use the correct one for you mass producing cuts.
    Just my opinion
    gww
    Thanks.

    I don't mass produce, I generally make one, modify, build, modify and often a project will go thru 4 or 5 major revisions.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Louisa, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    Quote Originally Posted by newbury View Post
    Reviving this old thread because I have the same question


    I've got "free wood". Free as in I see a tree, get it to lay down, run it thru my sawmill in 10 foot lengths and up to 20" widths.. Right now I've mostly sweetgum, pine, oak, red maple and some eastern red cedar in approximately 3/4" to 4" thickness, various widths (~8" to 20") dried. Plus I've all the tools to process it further, saws, planer etc.

    Based on my readings so far I was thinking of using the cedar. But can the cedar be a problem for the bees?

    Are there an "ideal" woods that I'm liable to find in north Mississippi? I've got about 400 acres of timber and a lot of it is mixed hardwood so IF Hickory (for instance) would hlep the bees double honey flow I could probably do it. Don't have any cypress

    thanks in advanc
    the bees around here say Gum (Nyssa) is nice...
    Starting 1st year, 3TBHs, 2 Langs, 10 empty traps d;^)

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    itawamba county, ms
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    Quote Originally Posted by Cub Creek Bees View Post
    the bees around here say Gum (Nyssa) is nice...
    Thanks, but do they say that because of the flower?

    I worked for 10 years in a building that had a 60+ foot Tupelo tree and it sure was pretty when in blossom.

    I believe I've a few in the "yard" (about 10 acres) at the house.

    I'll just have Mr. Stihl 660 talk to one of them and get it to lay down.

    And my site is about 30 miles from Tupelo, Mississippi.
    Last edited by newbury; 02-17-2015 at 04:12 PM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Ramona, Ca. , USA
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    Pick the wood that you like. I used pine. It's only the first year and it's holding up well.
    You stated that you have the skills and tools to build what you want. I watched a u-tube
    at wranglerstar.com , I made a few changes, It's good info.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    itawamba county, ms
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Hive construction question

    Quote Originally Posted by J-Rat View Post
    Pick the wood that you like. I used pine. It's only the first year and it's holding up well.
    You stated that you have the skills and tools to build what you want. I watched a u-tube
    at wranglerstar.com , I made a few changes, It's good info.
    I went to that channel and didn't see the bee hive vid. I did look briefly at "couple falls giant tree with ax" where they used a regular two man saw. And the tree definitely wasn't giant, it wasn't even big enough to warrant my 90CC saw, my 60CC would do..

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