Not currently accepting any more orders for woodenware. On the Blog page, use the Search feature in this header bar to find a topic.
Not currently accepting any more orders for woodenware. On the Blog page, use the Search feature in this header bar to find a topic.
Cart 0

Bee Tree Hexagonal Hive

Obviously, honey bees love hexagons.  That's why I built this hexagonal bait hive.  It has 40 liters of interior space (per Dr. Seeley's research).  It has an entrance hole that has an area of 2 square inches and is located below the brood nest (both characteristics also in response to Dr. Seeley's research).

The hive is built of 2 inch thick western red cedar which is about 5 or 6 times as insulative as 3/4 inch pine, and is also far more hygroscopic than pine.  In addition, the interior surfaces of the hive are rough to help promote a propolis coating.

It has six top bars...

... with drawn comb.

The next photo shows the bottom of the latch-on top.  The interior of the top is insulated with 2" thick foam insulation, but has an air space at the front and the back for ventilation.  At the front and back of the underside of the top are 3 vent holes that are smaller than bee space.  The bees can easily propolise these to control both the amount, and route, of the ventilation escaping out the top of the hive.

The vented air ultimately escapes out screened vent holes in the front and back of the latch-on top.  These holes are screened with aluminum screen to keep insects out of the front and back air space inside the top.

The interior of the hive is open all the way to the bottom, which is screened.  This allows for the creation of an eco-floor.  The purpose of an eco-floor is to mimic the biological environment that would be found in the bottom of a living hive in a hollow tree.  Here is a photo of the screened bottom of the hive:

I harvested nearly 5 gallons of detritus from the hollow cavity of a dead, rotting tree.  This will be poured into the bottom of the hive, to within an inch of the entrance, to provide the eco-floor contents.


Older Post Newer Post


  • BillSF9c on

    Larry, why do you want a hexagonal hive? Bee like hexes, but horizontally. 😏 They are not unattractive. You almost need a tabkesaw or semi-advanced skills to use a long straightedge and clamps and a radial saw for the angles. You can see the insides. None are required. Here’s an easier solution, arguabley better for bee health, but maybe less beautiful in shape. Use a square – perhaps a Warré. Infill corners w an equalateral triangke firming an octagon. Simple strong square outside, thermalogically close to a cylinder, inside.
    For 7 combs use about 10-10.25". For 9 use 12.75-13". Use 2x lumber; it’s 1.5" thick. If you use 10" 10/2.414 gives the inside walls. A 4×4 split once or twice gives the corner infills. Perfection of a “regular” (‘perfect’) octagon is not required, but one beats a hex and thicker wood insulates better. 10" is like Seeley & Morses’ ‘Typical Tree Cavity of 1976. 12" is like a Warré 8 topbar. I have the 9 topbar.
    You want about a 45 liter 12.5 gallon minimum. I like 17.5. (231 cu in/gal.) Liter or quart – bees don’t care.

  • BillSF9c on

    I’m w Mike but the cure is easy; 2 stub topbars, held with some sort of “pin”/headless nail..I chased the hex and overcame many ills that a gal has not who, after my posts, had a woodworker help her put some together and a lawyer got her a patent. ~“He said I could.” Prior art would block any patent fight. The hex has unfound advantages but too many weak aspects. I understand the natural desire to put topbars that way. More study might convince you to rotate them. Bees naturally start centrally with the longest comb which expands the fastest and most economically, in a cylindrical cavity. This will yield 2 decent sized combs (aspect ratio, not too narrow,) against the 2 outer side walls. I wish I had your major and minor diameters. You might want to adjust size a tad, but I bet combspace works out ok as is. Leave extra honey cell space at the 2 outer walls; wider combspace, only there, perhaps only on one side if the comb. Best of luck! Keep us posted!

  • BillSF9c on

    I’m w Mike but the cure is easy; 2 stub topbars, held with some sort of “pin”/headless nail..I chased the hex and overcame many ills that a gal has not who, after my posts, had a woodworker help her put some together and a lawyer got her a patent. ~“He said I could.” Prior art would block any patent fight. The hex has unfound advantages but too many weak aspects. I understand the natural desire to put topbars that way. More study might convince you to rotate them. Bees naturally start centrally with the longest comb which expands the fastest and most economically, in a cylindrical cavity. This will yield 2 decent sized combs (aspect ratio, not too narrow,) against the 2 outer side walls. I wish I had your major and minor diameters. You might want to adjust size a tad, but I bet combspace works out ok as is. Leave extra honey cell space at the 2 outer walls; wider combspace, only there, perhaps only on one side if the comb. Best of luck! Keep us posted!

  • Larry Haigh on

    I would like to construct this hive. Are your plans for sale? Is it possible to view internals for education use? Thanks for sharing!

  • Mike on

    I think there’s too much space on either side which will promote burr comb. Just a thought.


Leave a comment