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Feedback on Features I am thinking about adding to Hive


I am starting to design my hive stand and the final touches for the hive. I am toying with adding additional features. I have decided to replicate the base design found here (http://thumbs1.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mdM5_OOnHOweLEQ9pUPd7_g.jpg).

Below is a list of features I might add:

Some questions:

  1. What do you all think about these features?
  2. Are there any other features I should or could add?
  3. Is there anything I can add to help control mites/moths/mice/rats/skunks/raccoons/dogs (i live in central Texas, so no concerns about bears)?
  4. Has anyone had any success fitting an oil tray to the bottom board that comes with the hive kit?
  5. Does anyone have problems with ants getting into their hive (we have fire ants and other types of ants where I live), enough to warrant using water to eliminate the possibility? Does the water attract other critters making the problem worse? I was thinking about have the water at the feed be dual purpose, ant protection and and a watering hole for the bees? What about mosquito larvae growing in the water?
  6. How difficult it is to add features to the hive after the bees have already taken up residence? Do they freak out if you start drilling into their home?
  7. Any considerations I should make when decided how high off the ground to make the hive?

thanks everyone!



Looks like your doing well at thinking stuff thru, I have a commercial frame holder. These are handy n can be moved from one hive to another.

As for height: I like a solid stand n there are many thots n designs. Since it most hold couple hundred or more pound I have built my beefy. Mine are raised about 18" off the ground to help keep small animals out n away. The mice seem to crawl in when things get cooler or cold so I use a mouse guard during this prleriod to stop that problem.

The metal or plastic pans with oil are helpful but beetles are much of an issue in my region of Western Washington. It seems the varroa is the biggest problem n keeping our bees dry ( condensation during our winters)…

We don’t seem to have the big any issues like you but there are several ideas on the net regarding prevention n control. Water is very important so a local water source for you bees is needed. Sharing with other critters isn’t a problem up here. I have a small waterfall/pond water feature in my yard with fish but any pans or supplies are neccessary n needed when raising bees. If you have cattle troft that works. But some wood floats or rough side for bees to cling on are more than a good idea. These help your bees from drowning. The supply needs to be continuous ! Just like us … Bees need lots of water.

I am sure others will find you note here n add more because of there experiences. Keep at it n enjoy.


More features I am thinking about…


I also saw that some people out the entrance to the hive at the top of the brood box. I might do that.


And, what about a robbing screen?


Are there any modifications I should make to improve ventation during the winter?


What I have an all enveloping jacket of 50mm PIR insulation with 100mm on the top of the closed crown board. Insulation equals a warm hive and NO condensation. No need for ventilation.
My hives are bone dry through the winter.
Just my recipe.


Do you have a screened bottom board? What are your thoughts on them?


The insulation is a great idea, but, wouldn’t it obscure the beauty of the cedar hive.

I imagine the insulation would help during both the summer and winter by allowing the hive to do a better job of controlling temperature themselves.


I’ve done a lot of experiments and they are fun. Enjoy them. But in the end I’ve learned this:

“The master accomplishes more and more by doing less and less until finally he accomplishes everything by doing nothing.” --Laozi, Tao Te Ching

“Perfection in beekeeping is not found in a multiplicity of appliances, but in simplicity and the elimination of everything not absolutely essential” --Brother Adam, In Search of the Best Bee Strains

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”–Bruce Lee

“In general, the simpler the system, the more efficient and the larger the amount of work which can be accomplished in a given time.”–Frank Pellet, Practical Queen Rearing


I was thinking of the beehive equivalent of this…

and… when I googled for “Over Engineered Beehive” in an attempt to find a funny photo, the 2nd picture was that of a Flow Hive :smile:



I do but I have a solid board about three inches underneath with a gap at the back of the hive in winter.I am trying two boxes with a solid floor this year.
Most of my boxes are polystyrene though and don’t need extra insulation apart from at the top.

In answer to Michael.
I have kept bees only for 6 years so I have far less experience than him. But I do know that my insulated dry hives perform better and the bees are stronger in the spring than my neighbours’



Morning Lorne,

Like you I am zealous to get going ! Micheal had well quoted, reign back the ride n slow down. Most of your thots n questions will be worked out. Studying is wise … It gives you bases to fall back on.

I raised bees as a youth for 6 to 8 years so do have some memories (some successful n others not so much)… My local mentor is cautioning me to Slow-Down as well.

Enjoying the ride n excited that arrival Nuc’s day is moving closer one day at a time. Love the pix !

Gerald in Washington state.


Not sure that you need insulation in winter for central TX weather. Do local beekeepers use it? I doubt that they do - you might want to join a local club and ask around.

I would only get a robbing screen if you see signs that you need one. I haven’t needed one yet in over 20 years of beekeeping. Weak hives are more likely to be victims, especially if you don’t narrow the entrance, but otherwise you should be OK without one.

I like the screened bottom board. It is good for pest management, and I can close it up with a sliding corflute or other insert when I want to. Others differ in their opinions. :blush: I am also using a slatted rack under the brood box for the first time this year. Will be interesting to see what the bees make of it.



That gadget is severely lacking. It needs a retractable lease on the key ring… I mean how are you going to unlock your car while using the fork to eat at the same time!?


Do you have a winter?
What winter temperatures do you expect and for how long?
What local beekeepers use isn’t always the answer

Could you elaborate?
I was taught that SBBs were integral in varroa management but fashions change
We don’t have SHB here.


This probably was for Lorne, not me… :wink: However, I find it hard to resist answering questions.

Sure, San Diego has a very harsh winter. Day time highs can drop as low as 15 Celsius and nights it goes all the way down to +1 Celsius - bitterly cold. Once every 10 or twenty years, we can even get an overnight frost in the hilly regions away from the coast. Forty miles inland above 4,000 feet, they even get snow sometimes. Last night was very cold at +7, and today we are only going to get up to +28 Celsius… Savage winters, as you can see! :smile:

Yes for varroa management. I have not seen any SHB here yet, but I am certain it is only a matter of time. We have their preferred soil - sandy and soft. The only issue with SBB is if you want to vaporize oxalic acid, you have to close it off with something that is not plastic, otherwise the vapor all escapes and you melt the plastic too. Of course as oxalic vapor is not approved in the US, the SBB isn’t a problem here, is it?? :imp:


I barely have a winter. Where the hive will be located drops down to the low 20s (Fahrenheit) maybe twice a year, and below freezing up to 15 days out of the year.

In a home, insulation is good for both heating and cooling, as it reduces heat transfer out of the house during the winter and heat transfer into the house during summer. I was using the same logic with the bees. My understanding is that bees fan water inside the hive during the summer to create their own air conditioner. So… more insulation could lead to less effort needed for the bees to keep the hive cool.

The opposite example would be old Texas homes that were intentionally designed to be drafty because people didn’t have air conditioning.

So… during the hot Texas summers, what is better… (a) maximizing ventilation in the hopes that airflow will help keep the hive cool or (b) maximize insulation and leave it up to the bees to manage the temperature.

I think an insulated hive would more accurately reflect the thermodynamics of a hollowed out tree trunk or bees that decided to make a home inside the crawlspace of someone’s home. I wonder if anyone has done studies on this topic.


And I am sure that you are right. You sound like a general contractor, or at least a construction enthusiast! :wink: The only problem I can see is that I haven’t come across polystyrene hives here, which are one of the best ways to insulate. You can buy a “cozy” to wrap your hive in winter, but almost all of them are black, so you might not want that on the hive in the summer.

I am not sure that the experiment has been done in Texas, but as you guys have Texas A&M School out there, maybe somebody in your state has an answer. Might be worth a call to the Entomology Department. :slightly_smiling:


Derek and Elaine Mitchell. They have a paper on Springer

Largely disproved these days