Starting a New Hive

Starting a New Hive

Last year in 2011 we had a strong honey season with used hives. As new beekeepers, we wanted the experience of building a hive from scratch.

We consulted with a bee supply store and after a lot of phoning back and forth, by early-March we ordered our assembled hive, painted white, almost ready-to-go.

The hive base was shipped to us unassembled and unpainted.  It wasn’t a big deal, but it came as a surprise that we didn’t receive what we had ordered. We assembled and painted the base and installed it the following week.

Considerations when ordering a new hive:

  • Planning is mandatory.
  • Bees must be ordered in January.
  • Hive research begins in early-February.
  • Hive must be ordered by late February or early March.

Parts of a hive include:

  • Hive Base- (note: this arrived unassembled and unpainted)
  • Bottom Board- sits between base and body
  • Hive Body- the double-high box where Brood is made
  • 3- Supers, one large, two small (2 for brood, 1 for honey)
  • Inner Lid- supports feeder
  • Outside Cover- protects hive
  • Queen Excluder- keeps queen in brood
  • Reducer- keeps hive protected from pests and also ventilated in summer

If you don’t have your own honey processing plant (we don’t), it is important to determine what centrifuge size you’ll be renting when ordering the hive.  We ordered a hive with 5 ¾ size frames to fit our mentor’s centrifuge.

Supers ship in 8 frame or 10 frame sizes. A full frame of honey weighs 10 pounds. Therefore, if you are concerned about being able to lift 80 or 100lbs, this should factor into your decision making process.

The comb is available in waxed plastic sheets or as wax held together by crimp wire. I ordered the waxed plastic comb rather than wax with crimp wires because the latter often break during inspections.

Hive body plastic is twice the size of that found in the honey super. It is only available in black to permit inspectors to see eggs upon their inspection.

The cost of the hive was $300.00 and the cost of the bees was $80.00

Our plan is to create a “hybrid” hive by combining frames from a used hive with those from a new hive. The used hive contains drawn comb that will allow our queen to start laying eggs as soon as we install her. We are doing everything that we can to create a strong environment for the bees in their new home.

Watch our video about Setting up a new hive video by combining a brand new hive and a used hive.

Read our diary from start to finish about our first season becoming a beekeeper.