We are often asked, "how high should my hive stand be?" or "what is the benefit of placing my hive on a "higher" stand?" Both of these questions are great and led me to want to build a simple, affordable AND sturdy hive stand for my apiary.
To answer the two questions first:
Q. How high should my hive stand be?
A. While this is heavily dependant on your stature, an ideal height for a hive stand is approximately 18in off of the ground. Unless you are 6'5", this height will be ideal for working your hives without destroying your back. If you have kept bees in the past, you know full well that this hobby does rely on core strength, saving the health of your back is essential. Stands at 18in, make the hives easy to work, easy to manipulate boxes and are not too tall when the strong honey flow arrives and you have two honey supers on top of your brood boxes.
Q. What is the benefit of placing my hive on a "higher" stand?
A. My answer to this question is largely based on my location as a beekeeper, which is in Western WA state. Our weather out here during the winter presents a challenge with regards to ventilation and ultimately moisture control. Beekeepers are worried, and for good reason, that their hives will get too wet and stay wet during the coldest months of the year. This is dangerous because "raining" water from the lid/inner cover can get the cluster wet. We all know that a wet honeybee in the winter is ultimately a dead bee! The hive stand gets the hive off of the ground and away from the wet ground. It also allows air to move through from below and with the use of screened bottom boards, will let the air and water escape on a consistent basis. There are some other benefits, including pest management against Racoons and Skunks, but those have not been a problem for me.
Now on to the construction of the hive stand
This stand was designed with three to four hives in mind but will suit two hives just fine. Also, I would highly recommend the usage of Pressure Treated "PT" wood to slow the wood rotting from the weather. You will also want to make sure to keep the stands level, as you want to ensure that your hives are level.
Qty. 2 - 2in x 8in x 10ft
Qty. 1 - 2in x 4in x 8ft
Qty. 1 - 4in x 4in x 6ft
Qty. 1 - Box of outdoor deck screws ~30
Qty. 1 - Bag of play sand (Used for leveling stand)(optional)
- Cut the "4in x 4in x 6ft" into four 18in sections, these are the legs of the stand.
- Cut each of the "2in x 8in x 10ft" into two 95in sections, these are the outer rails.
- The remaining cuts from the "2in x 8in x 10ft" will act as the end caps.
- Cut 1in off of the "2in x 4in x 8ft", this will be the mid-rib of the hive stand.
Extra materials but not necessary:
- Mulch or rock for under the hive stands
- Weed barrier for the hive stands to be placed over
- Stain or exterior latex paint
Let us know if you build one of the stands or if you have any feedback on the design!