Hive Building

20160206_090240The hive body is the heart of a managed bee hive colony. It is where the queen lays her eggs, the house bees raise the brood and the workers store the pollen and nectar (converted to honey). To the general public, these large, white (generally) boxes are the most recognizable component of a bee hive.
The difference between brood chambers and supers?
From a construction point of view, there is no difference; the terms refer to the use by the bees and what’s going on inside the hive body Brood chambers are hive bodies where the eggs are laid and the young larvae are raised. Supers are hive bodies where the bees store their resources.20160229_144545
We use the general term “hive body” to refer to both. Hive bodies take a lot of abuse and need to be constructed accordingly. Not only do they have to bear a lot of weight (up to 70 pounds, or more) for a super, but the beekeeper will use their hive tool to twist and pry apart hive bodies after the bees glue everything together with propolis.
Of all the hive components, hive bodies have the most differences in size. There are four standard heights (referred to as “depth”) for hive bodes: deep, medium, shallow and comb honey. In addition there are three common widths: 10-frame, 8-frame and 5-frame.
20160206_120139Typically beekeepers just starting out should decide on one size hive body and then stick with it. That way, all equipment is interchangeable. Because a 10-frame deep super can be very heavy (70+ pounds), we suggest using 10-frame mediums (which usually top out around 35 pounds when full of honey).
Assemble the Hive Body
Dry assemble the hive body making sure the joints fit snugly
and are not too thick or too wide.
Check for square.
Disassemble the hive body and then reassemble gluing each
joint as you go.
I recommend Franklin’s Exterior Titebond® for the glue.

Bar clamp the sides together then nail along the sides using 18 ga. 1-1/2-inch finish nails.

If you use a heavier gauge nail, you may want to pre-drill to prevent splitting.
Personally, after doing it old school by hand with hammer and nails; I can’t say enough for using my compressor and shooting 1-1/2′ finishing nails.
WAY FASTER!! (I’m look at you T 😉  ).
*Careful how you set your nailer angle or the nails will curve in or out of the hive bodies.
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