Beekeeping may appear daunting to any rookie apiarist. There's the fact that you have to deal with thousands of flying insects with painful stingers. And there's the challenge of finding these honey-makers a cozy home. If you have the budget to buy top-of-the-line bee hives, good for you. But if you don't want to blow your cash, worry not. You can always build your own bee hives. We came up with a list of the best bee hive plans you can use at home.

 

Product FAQ

bees on a hive

Before we go to our list, we answered some questions you might have regarding construction your own bee hives.

 

1. What Are Bee Hive Plans?

Bee hive plans are guides that you can follow to construct your own bee hives. They come with images and step-by-step instructions.

 

2. What Materials Can You Can Use For A DIY Bee Hive?

Beekeepers pride themselves for being close to nature, so do-it-yourself bee hives should be made of recycled or re-purposed materials such as wooden boxes, glass bottles, plastic buckets, and other pre-existing materials. Bee hive plans detail which materials to use.

 

3. What Tools Do You Need?

No industrial-level power tools required. Hammer, screwdrivers, a drill, and some screws and nails are all you'll need.

 

4. Where Can You Buy The Materials?

No need to buy. The materials are things you already have at home like plastic bottles, glass bottles, etc.

 

5. Build Or Buy: Which Is Cheaper?

Depending on your material cost, DIY bee hives are often cheaper than pre-made ones. Not to mention the satisfaction of building your own is priceless!

 

6. What Are The Benefits Of DIY Bee Hives?

Building your bees' home using DIY bee hive plans has many advantages.

 

Pocket-Friendly

DIY bee hives are much cheaper than buying pre-made commercial ones. If you are strapped for cash, then DIY is the way to go.

 

Eco-Friendly

Reusing old stuff is one good way of reducing waste.

 

Creative

Branded bee hives often have the same boring boxy designs. Building your own unique bee hives can set yours apart from other apiarists out there.

 

Easy Maintenance

For people still learning the ropes of beekeeping, a small DIY bee hive is ideal as it is easier to keep and maintain.

 

Good Creative Project

Building your own bee hive is a good creative workout that will unleash your artistry as well as develop your woodworking and carpentry skills.

 

How We Reviewed

We came up with our list of best bee hive plans based on the following criteria: Design, Benefits, Materials Used, and Ease of Construction.

 

Overall Price Range Of This Product (And Similar Products)

The common theme among the bee hive plans in our list is they are all built with reused materials, so you don't have to spend much. Tools like nails and screws will make up most of the cost.

 

What We Reviewed

Here are the bee hive plans we reviewed:

  • Beehive in a Bucket
  • Long Langstroth Beehive
  • Mason Jar Hive
  • Wooden Pallet Beehive
  • Top Bar Barrel Beehive
  • Plywood Swarm Bait Catch Hive
  • DIY Warre Beehive
  • Holzer Style Log Beehive
  • The Bee Box
  • The Tire Beehive
  • Totally Do-It-Yourself Beehive


Description

One of our bee hive plans is literally a "bucket list". This uses an old bucket (water or paint) and a thick PVC pipe. The finished product looks like a white lamp shade (although with bees inside). The inverted bucket serves as the main hive while the PVC pipe is the entrance for your bees.

 

Benefits

  • Simple and easy - Just attach a PVC pipe to a bucket and you're all set
  • Weather-resistant - Plastic buckets are waterproof, sunproof, rust-free, and rot-free
  • Subtle and minimal - This design doesn't look like the normal bee hive at all so it can easily blend in your garden
  • Cheap - The materials cost little or even free

 

Materials List

  • Bucket (10 gallons or more)
  • PVC pipe (at least 3 inches in diameter)
  • Plastic glue

 

Instructions.com


 

Description 

This bee hive plan features the classic "Langstroth" bee hive construction but with a creative twist. Instead of the traditional vertical layout, this design flips it to the side to create one long horizontal house for your busy bees.

 

Compared to the other bee hive plans in this list, this one will require you to put on your carpenter's cap. Depending on your carpentry skills, you can finish this project in hours or days. But after assembly, you can paint the hive walls with colorful paint!

 

Benefits

  • Classic - The Langstroth is timeless so you it's good to have this in your yard
  • Spacious - This hive can fit 10 frames
  • Expandable - There's always a room to add for your growing hive
  • Customizable - You can paint the walls to suit your style

 

Materials List

  • 1 x 4 " pine board
  • 12’ board
  • 1/4" thick plywood
  • 1/2" chipboard
  • 2 x 4 " board
  • Roofing paper
  • Paint

 

Instructions.com


 


Description 

If you have a small living space (ex. apartment rooftop), the Mason Jar hive is perfect for you and your bees. All you need are a dozen mason jars and a couple of wooden boards.

 

This bee hive project requires some DIY skills but you can finish in a day or two. The final product looks rustic with glass-and-wood elements, which makes it a good garden ornament as well.

 

Benefits

  • Rustic design - The mason jar and wood elements give rustic/country vibes to your bee hive and garden
  • Easy to build - This project will only take hours to build
  • Easy to maintain - Seeing your bees form their colony inside transparent jars makes maintenance easier
  • Space-saving - Ideal for those with small living spaces

 

Materials List

  • 12 pcs wide-mouth mason jars
  • 1 pc 1/4" to 1/2"-thick plywood
  • 4 pcs 1" pine wood board (for top frame)
  • 4 pcs wood board (for side panels)
  • Bottom board
  • Brood box

Instructions.com



Description 

Wooden pallets are often discarded but you can turn these into homes for your bees. Like the other bee hive plans in our list, this wooden pallet bee hive project reuses discarded materials.

 

The idea is to use the planks from wooden pallets to construct the traditional box-type bee hives. You can either build a Langstroth-style hive or individual square boxes. Sawing, hammering, and nailing are required for this project. You can use paint if you want, but we recommend keeping the wood grain visible for a more natural look.

 

Benefits

  • Cheap - Discarded wooden pallets are much cheaper than fresh wood planks
  • Readily available - Wooden pallets can be sourced from supermarkets or hardware stores
  • Eco-friendly - You can breathe new life into used wooden pallets by turning them into bee hives
  • Easy to build - This project only requires basic woodworking skills

 

Materials List

  • Wooden pallets
  • Paint/wood wax or oil
  • Screws (or nails)
  • Power drill

 

Instructions.com



Description

Metal barrels are often re-used as barbecue pits or water reservoirs, but you can use them as new homes for your bees.

 

This project uses half of the barrel as the main house for the bees; it is placed atop a support made of wood. In absence of metal barrels, you can use plastic or wood barrels as an alternative.

 

Benefits

  • Stable - The weight of the barrel adds more stability to the hive
  • Cool design - The finished project gives off an industrial design vibes
  • Durability - The metal material does not rot or get eaten by insects, keeping your bees safe

 

Materials List

  • 55-gallon barrels
  • 1" to 2"-thick wooden planks
  • Paint

 

Instructions.com


 


Description 

Catching wild swarms is an exciting and satisfying addition to your apiary skills, so if you plan to catch wild bees, then start working on your own swarm trap.

 

Using recycled plywoods, you can build a separate hive for wild bees in no time. The finished project looks like a colorful birdhouse that doubles as a garden ornament. You can build your own hive stand or place it atop your roof or any medium-high surface.

 

Benefits

  • Easy to build - Basic carpentry skills are required
  • Eco-friendly - Save the plywoods from the garbage dump and turn them into amazing bee homes
  • Colorful design - The design allows you to paint it with any colors or patterns you like

 

Materials List

  • 1/2" diameter PVC pipe 
  • 1/4"-thick plywood  
  • waterproof wood glue   
  • glossy paint
  • mesh sheet

 

Instructions.com




Description 

If you have limited working space, vertical hives are ideal for you. Add carpentry to your beekeeping skills with our vertical Warre Bee Hive plan.

 

Warre-style hives are smaller than 10-frame Langstroth hives so they are good if for beginning apiarists with smaller swarms.

 

Benefits

  • Space-saving - Good for narrow spaces
  • Eco-friendly - Uses re-purposed woods
  • Cheap - Materials cost little (or even free)

 

Materials List

  • 1 x 4 " pine board
  • 1/4" thick plywood
  • 1/2" chipboard
  • 2 x 4 " board
  • Paint

 

Instructions.com


 


Description 

Nothing evokes the image of "natural honey" more than wild bees living in trees. You can replicate this "wild setting" using tree logs just like our DIY Holzer Style log bee hive.

 

This one is the most unique among the hives in our list as it incorporates the main material—the log—into the design. The hollow log serves as the main home while a swinging door allows quick access. This one requires woodworking skills, but we linked the instructions for you.

 

Benefits

  • Natural-looking - Bees inside a tree-shaped hive, how cool is that?
  • Rustic, organic design - The log element makes it look very organic
  • Eco-friendly - You can use a fallen tree or old logs from your stock

 

Materials List

  • Tree log (at least 12" in diameter)
  • Metal strip
  • Plywood boards

 

Instructions.com


 


Description 

If you are just starting beekeeping, you don't need to take care of big swarms right away. A small hive is ideal as a "starter" hive. And for your first swarm, why not build them a small bee box?

 

This project looks like a mailbox at first glance. You can install it on a post in the garden or rooftop. This project requires a bit of woodworking but nothing too complicated. You can use any used wood material for this project, but we recommended untreated wood.

 

 

Benefits

  • Easy to build - Each bee box can be built in an hour or two
  • Cute design - The hive looks like a mailbox which you can place around the garden
  • Easy to maintain - Small box means easier maintenance
  • Replicable - You can build 5 to 10 boxes easily

 

Materials List

  • 12' x 1/4" wooden boards
  • 1/4" thick plywood
  • Paint

 

Instructions.com


 


Description 

Bees are versatile creatures that can live in anywhere - even old tires! If you happen to have used tires lying around, you can transform them into DIY bee hives.

 

The finished project looks like something you'll find in a kid's playgrounds. The stacked tires serve as the main house for your bee hive frames. You can even paint the tires to add more playful vibes!

 

Benefits

  • Eco-friendly
  • Cheap
  • Easy to build
  • Easy to maintain

 

Materials List

  • Old truck tires
  • Hay
  • Plywood boards
  • Paint

 

Instructions.com


 


Description

Beekeeping is a very personal experience so the hives you build can reflect your personality. Among the bee hive plans in our list, this last one is totally up to you. You can build it in any design you want.

 

Benefits

  • Customizable
  • Eco-friendly
  • Easy to build and maintain

 

Materials List

  • 12 1/2" by 16" wood planks
  • 1/4" by 1" scrap wood
  • 1/2" spacers

Instructions.com


 

Comparison Table

The Verdict

We don't have any one favorite among the bee hive plans in our list, but if we're talking about unique design, we like the Mason Jar Hive and the Log Bee Hive. It requires some carpentry skills, but the finished project looks good.

 

The bottom line is you can transform scrap wood, bottles, metal containers, or any material into a bee hive. Happy building!

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