How to Build a Beehive for Free

You can build a Warre Hive for free! Don’t you just love it when you get great ideas? I know I do. This idea is a really good one too…

We all want stuff for free. So what if you could build a bee hive for free? That’s right…no materials cost, no wood cost, no glue cost. Free.

Free Beehives?

Would you do it?

Here is the basic idea…

Just build two hives and sell one.

All you have to do is this:

When you cut a piece of wood, cut one extra.

When you glue one side, glue one extra.

When you nail a board, nail one extra.

When you finish your Warre beehive, you will have one extra!

Then, sell it for whatever you feel is a fair value.

You could sell on Craig’s List. Or eBay. Or to your next door neighbor.

In the end, you will cover your hive costs.

Who knows, you might even make some money!

If you do this, let me know how it goes…I would love to hear from you!


22 responses to “How to Build a Beehive for Free

  1. …or alternatively, use an old pallet for your wood and then you are recycling. See (links to

  2. We are hosting an event to build a bee hive, it is a part of our urban sustainable plan. Thanks for the tips and really through instructions. We are going to try to build several Warre Hives at our RUST-E Bee party…thanks!!!

    • JanedaPain – Hey, that is great! Can you give me a link to your Bee Party? I will be glad to do a blog post on it. Might help you to get the word out.

  3. Scot McPherson

    I am recycling the wood from my old beehives. I have a bunch of Top Bar Hives I designed myself several years ago and built many to that design, I am switching to Warre’s and recycling the perfectly good wood. They are made of mostly complete 1×12 pine lumber. I am cutting some top bar hives down to 12 inches in length and without and entrance though to facilitate placing on top of the warres. If I keep a few this way I can migrate several hives at once to Warre hives, and after migrating them, I can use that newly empty hive the bees came from to make more warre’s. Not exactly free, because I paid for the lumber a few years ago, but it is good to recycle what you can to not outlay more money.

    Nick, nice blog….I would really like to learn more about colony management in a Warre though. I mean things like doing splits, and combining weak hives, etc etc etc. Maybe you could point me in the right direction…Thanks muchly.


    • hey scot.
      i’m considering whether to build a top bar hive of the horizontal variety or a warre type hive.
      i would be most grateful if you could tell me why you are switching over to warre.
      best wishes,

  4. please mail to me a complete set of beehive constructin pans. Sincerely. roy rayner 2117 south 48th. st. omaha, nebraska 68106

  5. yes, very interested in building bee hives and interested in organic bees ? need all the help i can get (retired) cabinet maker. live on a farm and raise acres of sun flowers

  6. I am a ‘new’ beekeeper of only 2 season’s experience and I have 2 commercial hives. I have never liked opening the hives because it seems obvious that this is going to stress the colonony. I have just read about the Warre system and it just ‘feels right’. I live in Devon (near Newton Abbot) and would welcome any advice about building a hive (I would find it easier it there was one to copy so would be happy to buy one ) and using this system. Is there anyone out there who can help? Anyone who would like to sell one? I don’t fully understand about what you do to get the bees to build without frames and how the honey is extracted


  7. Michael,
    Download the plans from this website. It makes it really easy to understand how to cut and assemble the lumber. Very simple very clean design drawings.

  8. I have standard hives designed to take frames. They were built by my husband. Can I convert them to Warré style hives? He can make the top bars for me and do any alterations necessary. We have lots of wild swarms around here and I am keen to house a few.

  9. this is crap what you are giving me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. I’d love some feedback on my query – I need to put my colony in a new brood box this spring. They were given to me by a friend and I want to change them over to a new hive. I’d love to change to TBH . Can I get some advice from anyone. I have standard national boxes built by my husband. The internal dimensions are slightly smaller than the national because he used thicker timber for insulation. What do you think would happen if I put a brood box under the colony with Warré type top bars and no frames. Would it be a disaster. I hate opening the colony and so do my bees – they are very productive and very strong and I don’t want to lose them or mess them about.

    • Nicki, from reading “Beekeeping for All” just yesterday (such is my entire experience with Warre hives), it appears that the standard boxes are too large to work effectively as Warre hives. It seems as though it would be much, much simpler to just start from scratch and build Warre hives. Then you could maybe sell your standard hives to recoup some of the expense!

  11. Thank you for that comment Laura. I shall probably build some hTBH like Phil Chandlers. They will be easier for me than the Warré hives. I was just trying to utilise what I already had – but take your point – I can probably sell them quite easily.

  12. Pingback: How to Self Build a Beehive

  13. We love Warre beehives so much that we set up a small business making and selling them. They are quite straightforward to make and easy to maintain. Of course, if you want one but can’t or don’t wish to make it yourself take a look at our website.

  14. I have linked to this article in blog article about building beehives

  15. Terry Middleton

    After some 30 years of beekeeping in many bee associations as Chair,seccy etc largely experimenting and now ageing a little have a single Warr’e. One word of warning. Do make the hive of rough timber, pallets probably not thick enough timber in the UK. Making from any form of ply and putiing any form of safe protection coating will prove too smooth to permit an easy climb in for the bees.
    I have a swarm that is trying it’s darndest to make it for the third day despite my pre rubbing old comb on all the internal surfaces and giving some good drawn comb.
    It would seem that the rougher the timber the better.

  16. A point that may be useful to those beginning and choosing a hive style – Top bar hives are great for warm-weather locations where wintering over is not an issue. Bees prefer nest sites with vertical space. They have a natural tendency to move upwards, making use of the principle that warm air rises, and can access combs above in colder temps more readily than getting across/around combs to food stores sideways. Because of this, a vertical orientation is more effective than horizontal where is gets cold.

  17. Suz, the warre top bar hive is a vertical orientation hive.

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