Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Are beehives hard to assemble?

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am a High School Pre-engineering student and for my project I need to know if there is a problem with beehive cost and beehive assembly being to difficult
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,967 Posts
You might be surprised to learn that most (not all!)beekeepers think the cost of woodenware is reasonable. I think all would agree that the boxes are easy to assemble with minimal woodworking experience. The frames are a little trickier to nail or staple just because they are smaller. Of course, everyone would be in favor of cheaper and easier. J
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,531 Posts
Not sure what you are hoping to prove/disprove. Most woodenware is actually quite reasonable compared to the cost of the raw materials if one were to purchase the wood at one of the big box hardware stores. Cheaper usually means a lower grade of lumber. Poly hives probably have more room for movement as they are priced higher and I believe cost less in materials. Talk about your plans, the folks here will keep you on track.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
I am sure people would love woodenware to cost less. It has already been heavily optimized. It is a bit like building a better mousetrap, everyone would love it, but it is hard to do.

PS I am a mechanical engineer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,169 Posts
I have never thought the cost of beekeeping equipment was high. I figure it is about the same cost to get precut frames/boxes as it would be if I bought the material and did it myself. I also have trouble finding straight 1x lumber around here, so it is way easier to get precut equipment and assemble it myself. I have never had any really problems assembling beehive equipment that was not self inflicted (missing when I drive staples, ect). I occasionally end up with a box that is 1/8" or so out of square but the bees do not seem to care.

The only piece of equipment that I see that I regular think is overpriced is pre-made honey buckets. A honey gate is less than $5 in bulk, a food grade bucket is less than $3 in bulk, a lid is maybe $2, and 2 minutes to drill a hole should not cause a bucket to cost $30. This is what I am talking about https://www.amazon.com/Little-Giant...=honey+bucket&qid=1567566554&s=gateway&sr=8-2

p.s. I am also an engineer, I went to school for mechanical but I am working as a test engineer and do a bit of everything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,322 Posts
It may be that the OP is under the impression that there exists such a thing as 'a beehive'. The comments thus far certainly relate well to the standard Langstroth Hive design which readily lends itself to mass production - but there are many other designs which do indeed have issues with cost and difficulty in assembly.

Perhaps the best example of this is the A-Z (Alberti-Znidersic) Hive from Slovenia, which over recent years has developed a following in the US. Because of it's complexity and the need for precise workmanship, the advice frequently given to anyone wishing to build such a hive is to import one ready-made (at significant expense), and then copy it. If the OP is looking for a suitable engineering project, then the A-Z Hive might possibly fit the bill.
LJ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,555 Posts
It may be that the OP is under the impression that there exists such a thing as 'a beehive'. The comments thus far certainly relate well to the standard Langstroth Hive design .....
LJ
+1
An inherent problem in the US of A.

A bee hive can be as complex as a rocket OR as simple as a trash bin from Walmart (nothing to assemble and still perfectly usable).
Here - a hive ready to go (a perfect lid included too):
https://www.walmart.com/ip/13-3-gal-Hefty-Touch-Lid-Trash-Can-White-with-Decorative-Texture/14170570

People should seriously consider trash bins as backup nuc hives.
For sure it fits my vertical frames..
Hehe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,076 Posts
Here I was hoping to find a good quality beehive that would meet my needs, the bees needs, and still cost less than $5 each. Noting for the record that a 13.3 cu ft trash bin at $15 is a tad too high given that frames have to be built to fit. I figure cost of a square Dadant hive as follows:

1 - cypress migratory lid and bottom board: $25
1 - cypress square box with interior measurements of 18 5/16 X 18 5/16 X 11 5/8: $15
14 - frames cut and assembled by me valued at $2.50 each mostly because labor is expensive: $35
14 - sheets of beeswax foundation sized for Dadant frames at $2 each: $28
Total cost of my hive is $103.

I've previously published here on beesource that I can build a complete hive for about $75 to $80 which is correct as long as I don't pay myself $2.50 each for frames. Actual cost of materials is about 50 cents.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,555 Posts
....... Noting for the record that a 13.3 cu ft trash bin at $15 is a tad too high given that frames have to be built to fit. ........
Not so.
All you need to do a turn that Lang frame just a bit.
Bees will never know.
Even if just stand the frames ad-hoc, bees will never know.
No one requires for the frames to be hanging. Just standing is fine too.
:)

Heck, forget $15.
Storage bin with a lid can be had for $5 on a good sale.
https://www.target.com/p/sterilite-18-gal-storage-tote-hazelwood/-/A-14757115
The Lang frames can be dropped in just as-is, if really preferred.
A couple wooden craps to be screwed in as frame supports - I guess that is some cost there.
:)

Folks could be surprised if to check out the storage/trash departments in most any big box stores.
Be sure to take a tape measure with you and explore what is possible!
There are lots of perfectly fine containers usable as near-ready hives.

PS:
these are all quick/temp/short-term options, obviously;
long-term I like building some solid rigs myself - but not always possible or needed;
those temp hives, however, tend to hand out forever and ever and just never go away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,555 Posts
....
Storage bin with a lid can be had for $5 on a good sale.....
Heck, I am talking non-sense.
I forgot I kept bees in computer boxes - $0.0
(but takes little more work - need wooden frame-supporting scaffolding as the cardboard is less reliable - made it once and reusable).
Nucs in the cardboard for a couple of months until built more permanent housing.
No problem. Works fine.
They never chewed the walls or the floor as someone predicted due to proper volume ergonomy.

Obvious disclaimer: provisions are needed to keep away the water - good roof or a shed or a bigger container hive.
20170524_172348.jpg
20170524_192823.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,822 Posts
if there is a problem with beehive cost and beehive assembly
Rather than the hive itself, you might consider exploring a "one man" device to lift, weigh and transport a hive over moderately uneven terrain. Lift min of 250 lb, lift range of 0 to 54" and easily loaded/unloaded into a standard pick up truck. You can search on BS to see some of the options folks have been modifying and some of the commercial products available. Cost, simplicity and reliability as key elements; bonus points for using "off the shelf" items with minimal "so it yourself" modifications.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
I just costed out making "UDAV" Style supers from osb and 3/4 styrofoam. It came out to under 2.50 per super. I also costed out 8 frame langstroth deeps similary constructed for 4.40 each.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,169 Posts
I just costed out making "UDAV" Style supers from osb and 3/4 styrofoam. It came out to under 2.50 per super. I also costed out 8 frame langstroth deeps similary constructed for 4.40 each.
I am not sure I would trust osb and styrafoam to survive when you get really big hives. My big hive hit about 375 lbs this year, and I don't think I have had any equipment on this hive break.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,169 Posts
Rather than the hive itself, you might consider exploring a "one man" device to lift, weigh and transport a hive over moderately uneven terrain. Lift min of 250 lb, lift range of 0 to 54" and easily loaded/unloaded into a standard pick up truck. You can search on BS to see some of the options folks have been modifying and some of the commercial products available. Cost, simplicity and reliability as key elements; bonus points for using "off the shelf" items with minimal "so it yourself" modifications.
I like this idea
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
585 Posts
I think assembling them is fun, and do that in the dark days of winter. I sell them in the spring for a few bucks less than the assembled hives from the big vendors. For that reason, I like that many people find them to much trouble to assemble, if gives me a better market.

To the question at hand - no, assembly of precut components is not difficult, and bought right is not much more than the raw unworked lumber.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,111 Posts
I recycle or re-purpose old fence boards, especially from my fences. 2nd choice is local rough sawn lumber, milled one side, rough in, dovetail and Titebond III glue - no nails or screws. I also like using old cotton tee-shirts as "quilt box" material, and insulating bottle feeders also as wet tee-shirt for closing up entrances when OAV'ing. The "easier, cheap way" is usually not the best way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,111 Posts
Use Titebond III and do not end grain nail - I uses an airgun, 5/8" braids and nailed-down-plywood rectangular-square jig for my frames while nailing/gunning - never broke or pulled out a fraem's top bar in 5 years.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top