12 Free Beehive Plans

Langstroth beehive with white stacked boxes between outdoor bushes

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Whether you're just getting started with beekeeping, or if you've already got established colonies, you may decide that building a beehive is for you. These beehive plans are fairly straight forward project that's great for the beginner or intermediate woodworker. Building your own beehive means that you can customize it to make it fit in your space and work well for your bees.

There are three main types of beehive plans, Langstroth,Top Bar, and Warre. You'll be able to find several DIY tutorials for each of these below as well as an explanation of what makes these hives unique.

Langstroth Beehive Plans

Hives with bees
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When you picture a beehive, you're most likely picturing a Langstroth beehive. This is the most common type of beehive in the United States. These consist of several stacked boxes, the number of boxes dependant upon the weather and size of the hive. Inside each box is eight to 10 removable frames. This is a great choice if you have a lot of bees or plan to expand in the future.

Langstroth Beehive Construction: Ontario Bees has a free PDF available that will take you through the process of building a Langstroth beehive. This plan shows you how to build both the boxes and the frames.

10-Frame Langstroth Beehive: This one-page plan from BeeSource shows you how to build a 10-frame Langstroth beehive using 3/4" lumber. This plan is strictly for building a box that fits the 10 frames, not for building the actual frames themselves.

Long Langstroth Hive: This beehive plan builds a horizontal hive instead of a vertical one. It costs under $50 in materials and only takes a few hours to build. The walls are thick, meaning the hive will get extra insulation and be very durable. It fits 31 standard deep frames.

Langstroth Hive: This Langstroth hive holds eight frames instead of 10, so there's more space in between the frames and the body of the hive is lighter.

How to Make a Beehive: This version of a Langstroth beehive uses screwed on handles instead of point or notched hive handles, making it an easier build.

Top Bar Hive Plans

Top bar beehive
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Top Bar Hives are the simplest type of beehive that you can build. They are very forgiving and you can construct these out of materials that you have on hand. Not only are the easiest to build, but they are also the easiest to maintain for new beekeepers. Theses hives allow bees to build their own comb, taking a more organic approach to beekeeping. This type of beehive is a great choice if you're looking to start a small-scale beekeeping endeavor.

Build a Top Bar Beehive: This intermediate building project takes you through each step of building a top bar beehive. The plan includes a materials list, tools list, and step-by-step building directions with photos.

How to Build Your Own DIY Top Bar Beehive: This plan shows you how to build a top bar beehive out of cedar. Photos, diagrams, and a video are available to help you along the way.

Building a Top Bar Hive: If you're on a budget and looking to build a beehive, this plan is made just for you. The design is based on simplicity and is made with the least amount of materials and tools.

How to Build a Top Bar Beehive: Build a top bar beehive using poplar for this free plan. There's also a video that will take you through the process of building the hive.

Warre Beehive Plans

A Warre beehive is in between the Langstroth and Top Bar hives in size and weight. It's the lowest maintenance type of beehive and is very space-efficient. It is heavier than Top Bar hives and you'll have to add new boxes from the bottom of the hive.

The People's Warre Hive: Here are instructions on how to build a Warre beehive, which is a different take on the Langstroth beehive.

Warre Hive Construction Guide: This Warre beehive is a vertical top bar hive that's easy to build and easy to take care of. It takes 2-3 hours to build and will cost you $50-$75 in new materials to build one hive.

The Original Warre Hive: This beehive plan takes a look at the past and builds a very traditional Warre hive based on the original one built in 1948.