How to make a honey bee box – explained

Knowing how to make a honey bee box requireknowing how to put honey bee boxes together properly without making some common mistakes. There are few tips and tricks that are invaluable to making your hive last longer. The bulk of this article will deal with the construction of a pre-purchased hive. Competent DIYers don’t despair – we’ll have a look at some plans for constructing your own hive and the beekeeping supplies you’ll need to go along with it. 

What Type Of Hive Do You Have?

We’ll assume you either have the popular Langstroth style hive like one of these three: 


how to make a honey bee box

Langstroth Style Hive

A top bar hive

or a Warre hive:

To the uninitiated, these plans are daunting – often to the point of paying someone else to do it.  You got this!   

So Get some friends, get some nibbles, crank some easy listening tunes and let’s have some fun. 

What Do I Need To Make My Honeybee Box?

First, you need to decide how you are going to use the nails that came in the kit or use screws. It is highly recommended that you use screws. This will involve some pre-drilling and possibly some up-skilling, but the results are worth it. You need: 

  • Hammer or drills
  • Drill bits – regular boring bits and driver bits
  • Screws – something around the 2” mark.  Go stainless steel if you can as they last longer 
  • Exterior, non-toxic glue 
  • Sandpaper – something around the 240 – 320 grit


Optional Equipment – probably best to ask friends and family to turn up with these if you don’t have them already: 

  • Carpenter’s square 
  • Clamps – preferably ones that open around the 20” mark
  • Rubber mallet 

While you’re there ordering your beekeeping supplies– get some tung oil or exterior grade primer and paint to finish the job properly.

Time To Make A Honey Bee Box

Once you have all your pieces laid out in front of you, the question reigns: ‘How to make a honey bee box?’ Your box will be manufactured with joins called finger joins. The ‘fingers’ cut into each piece interlock with the matching piece at right angles to make the join. Pre-fit the joins to check that it’s all going to work once you introduce the glue and screws. If the joins are too tight then gently tap into place with the rubber mallet.  

Okay, so now you know everything fits.  Check – are all of the handles on the outside of the box? Are all of the pieces of your honeybee box the right way up with the handles at the top of the board?  

Good, now disassemble the box and reassemble with a thin line of glue 1/8th of an inch) on each contact point involved in each and every joint.  Use the clamps if you’ve got them now to hold the join in place.  Get the carpenter’s square or another right angle to ensure the internal angle of the join is at 900. 

Okay, halfway to knowing how to make a honey bee box.  Time to introduce the nails or screws.  If you are using clamps, keep them in place. It is highly recommended to pre-drill any holes.  Pre-drilling is important to ensure the wood doesn’t split when the nail or screw is driven home.  Find a drill bit that is slightly narrower than your nail or screw.  Make the smaller hole with your drill and then send home your nails or screws.  They should just ‘bite’ enough into the wood to complete the join.  

Give your new honeybee a sand to tidy up the joins and prepare the wood for paint, stain, or oil. Don’t skimp on the sanding, the wood will absorb finish that little bit better. Done, now let your hive ‘gas off’ for a few days before installing your bees. The smell of fresh paint or oil is unattractive to our bee friends. You’re one step closer to extracting your first batch of liquid gold.   

That’s a wrap!

You’re done!! The voice of generations past should be echoing in your head – ‘measure twice, cut once’.  While the majority of people won’t be cutting their own honeybee boxes, the sentiment remains. Take your time, do it right the first time. Adding people to the build is recommended, adding skilled people to the build is even better. That’s how to make a honeybee box. 

If you’re still undecided about whether you can or want to make a honey bee box, check out beehives for sale.

If you did manage to make your own honeybee box (congratulations!!) and the DIYer in you needs an itch to scratch then check out one of the following books to guide your journey:

Happy beekeeping!