How to Assemble Your Beehive for Beekeeping

Learn What You'll Need to Make Your Beehive

A standard 5-frame langstroth beehive.
Shawn Caza/Wikimedia Commons

You need to put together or assemble a man-made hive for your honey bees so you can help maintain the colony and easily harvest the honey. These parts can be purchased from beekeeping suppliers and put together into a beehive that will house your colony.

Often, beekeeping suppliers will combine these parts into a kit that you can purchase together.

Basic Langstroth Beehive

A basic Langstroth beehive, the most common kind, consists of several parts:

  • Hive stand. Something to keep the hives off the ground about 18-24 inches. Treated wood and concrete blocks are good enough. Some people use pallets. It needs to provide ventilation and a level surface to support the hive. You can also use a purchased hive stand.
  • A bottom board. This forms the bottom of the hive. It can be screened for ventilation and mite control, or slatted or solid wood.
  • Deep hive bodies. These are the boxes with frames and foundation in them where the bees will live and raise their brood. Multiple boxes are stacked together to form the hive. Inside each individual frame is the foundation, which the bees "draw out," forming comb.
  • Inner and telescoping outer cover. The inner cover provides a hole for the bees to get out of. Sometimes a pail feeder is inverted on top of this hole to feed the bees sugar syrup. The telescoping outer cover is usually covered in metal and provides a secure top to the hive.
  • Supers. The boxes where the bees make honey - and where you collect it. These are filled with frames as well.
  • Frames. Frames are wooden or plastic and are a rectangle shape. Frames hold foundation. The frames give you the opportunity to pull out parts of the hive to inspect the bee colony, or to harvest honey.
  • Foundation. Foundation is the base on which bees draw out honeycomb. The bees use the pattern on the foundation as a guide and add wax to the needed depth. Then the queen lays eggs in some of the cells. In others, the workers store honey and pollen. So a frame of foundation can have eggs, brood (developing bees), honey and pollen.