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Have you decided to take up beekeeping? Maybe you’re already an established beekeeper and are ready to try your hand at building your own hive. If any of these apply to you then you may have wondered how to build a Langstroth hive.
A while ago, I was also looking for some good Langstroth Hive plans, but the choices out there were either expensive or were not detailed enough, so I made my own Langstroth Beehive plans!
To build a beehive. you don’t need to be a DIY whizz, just some basic tools and simple woodworking skills and by using my beehive plans, you’ll be able to follow easy step-by-step instructions to create a new home for your colony.
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Invented in the 1800s, the Langstroth hive is perhaps the most commonly used in North America as well as being a firm favorite for beekeepers Down Under. These hives were named after the guy that created them; Lorenzo Langstroth who is often called the Father of Modern American Beekeeping.
The hives feature several vertical frames, of which there may be 8 or 10. The hive is made up of boxes that come in either a deep, medium, or shallow depth. For beginners, it’s typically recommended to go for two deep or three medium boxes to start with.
The main benefit of using a Langstroth hive is that you aren’t limited to how many boxes you can use. These hives are fully customizable and interchangeable, especially because any equipment you buy is of industry standard so it’s a case of one size fits all.
What’s more, it’s often thought that honey production is much higher in a Langstroth hive and the design is one of the cheapest which again, makes it ideal for beginners.
Typical Ready-Built Langstroth Hives For Sale
One of the biggest considerations when it comes to choosing a beehive is whether it’s cheaper to build your own or buy a ready-assembled one.
Now, the cost of both of these things can vary greatly and it depends on several factors as to which method is going to work out to be more affordable. For example, I’ve seen some ready-made 4-box Langstroth hives going for over $400 and this is not uncommon. For a standard 2-box Langstroth hive, you might expect to pay around $200-$220. You can buy cheaper, ready-made hives for under $200, but the quality is then compromised to reduce the price.
However, sourcing the lumber and materials to build your own hive is often more affordable. Generally speaking, you should be able to purchase your wood for under $100. The catch here is that you have all of the relevant tools to build the hive. If you don’t, then buying these will definitely ramp up the price.
Another thing that’s really important to consider when building a beehive is the type of wood you’re going to use. You can’t just use anything and expert beekeepers will tell you that some types of wood are far more favorable.
As a rule of thumb, you want to be looking at coniferous woods such as pine, fir, and spruce. These are generally accepted as being the best woods for beehives as they are widely available and the bees take to them well.
When choosing pine, be sure to go for a clean grade that has as few knots as possible. Moreover, you’ll need wood that isn’t going to split easily. The benefit of fir is that it’ll adapt to weather conditions without warping and can expand and contract without damage. In any case, it’s still essential to treat these woods for preservation.
Another popular wood is cedar and this has a beautiful aroma that both you and the bees will appreciate. They’ll be quick to make their home in a cedar hive however, you should keep in mind that this is a far less affordable option than the woods I have previously talked about.
Even if you have never attempted to build a Langstroth beehive before, using a step-by-step guide is one of the best ways to go about it.
I’ve been working on some plans for a Langstroth hive that are ideal for beginners. I’ve detailed everything from the materials needed to precise measurements in both metric and imperial so you’ve got all the information you need.
You can access these plans by clicking the links below.
If you have never attempted this type of project before then it can feel intimidating. While building a Langstroth beehive is not the most complex woodworking task you’ll ever undertake, it does require a degree of skill and effort.
Therefore, one of the most important tips I can give you is to make sure you allow yourself plenty of time. Don’t expect to set aside a Saturday afternoon and have everything done before dinner time. Even if you did manage that, the hive certainly wouldn’t be of the standard and quality you have hoped.
In reality, I would allow a few days to prepare and build your hive, longer if you are not confident at woodworking. That may sound like a lot of time but it’s better to have excess time before your package of bees arrives than to be scrambling around at the last minute trying to finish their home.
I’d also urge you to think about how much you’re going to enjoy the project. If you’re totally new to woodworking or find these kinds of jobs challenging or, dare I say it, even boring then building your own hive probably isn’t right for you. This really has to be a labor of love so think about that before you get started.
Finally, when building your first Langstroth hive, you will probably find that it’s something of a learning curve. Things may go wrong and the overall result might not be perfect, but that’s OK. Unless you do this kind of thing for a living, it’s all part of the fun of beekeeping which is a hobby that always offers you a lesson or two.
Any issues that arise can be stored in your memory so that the next time you come to build a hive, you’ll have a new level of expertise.
Getting started with beekeeping involves several things but perhaps one of the most important is having somewhere for your colony to live. While it is possible to buy a ready-assembled hive, many people like the idea of building their own.
Langstroth hives are one of the most popular in the United States and building one from scratch is a great project for those starting in beekeeping.
By following my tips and my Langstroth hive plans, you’ll be able to build a home for your bees that’s been made with love and passion.