Hive Stands

  • Create a clear, level work area around your hives.
    • Most of your time will be spent standing at the rear and sides of your hives.
      • Avoid standing in front of the hive and interfering with bees coming and going. It will upset your hive and increase your chance of getting stung.
    • Your attention WILL ALWAYS be focused on your bees.
    • You need room to put equipment and hive bodies nearby.
    • Have at least 3 feet of clear, flat area around the side and rear of your hive.
  • Your hive stand should be strong and stable.
    • A full hive weighs 100-200 pounds.
    • Remember rain and soft, wet ground.
      • Your hive stand foundation and legs should be on stable, well packed earth.
      • Avoid skinny hive stand legs that will sink when the ground gets wet.
  • Think about the height.
    • It is very possible you will have 2 brood boxes, and 2 or more supers on your hive.
    • Do NOT ever use a ladder or step stool. That is a formula for a very bad incident, very possibly with injuries. Do not have a hive that tall.
    • It’s a Goldilocks decision, depending on your height, strength and health of your back.
      • You don’t want the hive too tall, but it’s also easier on your back if it is not too low.
      • Using 8 frame vs 10 frame boxes will reduce the weight.
      • You can also remove some frames before pulling a box to decrease the weight.
    • Approximate height dimensions (see here for more info):
      • Bottom board – 2-3”
      • Deep box: 9 5/8”
      • Medium: 6 5/8”
    • A hive with 2 deep brood boxes and 2 medium supers is about 35” tall.
      • Example: a person 5ft 10in tall.
      • Let’s keep the top below shoulder height. We will subtract 12 inches from your height to get your shoulder height. So we want the maximum height of the hive at 4ft 10in, 58 inches.
      • So your hive stand would be (58 – 35) = 23” tall or less.
  • Your hive should be close to level.
    • Your bees can start building “crazy comb” if the hive is not level.
      • Comb running between frames.
      • It is very destructive to your hive to remove crazy comb frames.
      • Keep your hive level side to side.
      • Ideally your hive should be slightly tilted forward so rain and moisture will tend to run out the front entrance.
        • Slightly = 5 degrees… so this is *very* slightly tilted forward.
  • Create a comfortable, safe workspace.
    • Keep the area around your hive flat, level and clear of obstructions.
      • When you are working on your bees, your FULL attention will always be on your bees and hive.
      • You will not be paying much attention to the ground around you and where you are stepping.
      • Your suit will impair your downward view.
    • Think about where you will put your stuff as you are working, like:
      • Hive cover.
      • Frames full of bees.
      • A super or hive body full of bees.
      • An empty super you are adding.
      • Feeders you might be adding or servicing.
      • TOOLS.
        • Don’t start a fire with your smoker.
        • Your hive tool should always be handy.
  • Keep your hive area clear.
    • Clear any grass or vegetation.
      • It increases the chance of starting a fire with your smoker.
      • It provides a path and haven for ants and other insect pests.
    • Avoid falling or stumbling.
    • Dropping a hive box of bees is very unpleasant and possibly expensive.