Designs of different materials are used to keep bees. In most apiaries, they are made by the workers themselves. Usually bee houses are made of sturdy planks, but plywood hives are also widespread – warm, comfortable, durable.
About the material
Plates made of glued thin layers of hard or soft wood of deciduous and coniferous species are used for the manufacture of furniture, packaging of goods, in construction. The type of plywood is determined by the outer layers.
To increase the strength of the material, the rule of the transverse arrangement of the fibers of each layer to the previous one is observed. The number of layers is most often odd. The more there are, the thicker the plywood sheet will be.
The qualities of wood-based panels largely depend on their impregnation, with the help of which the resistance to water, fire, and physical wear can be increased.
Before making a strong hive, you should draw a diagram of its manufacture, choose high-quality plywood. It must be glued and impregnated with moisture-proof compounds that are harmless to bees. It is better if the slabs are made entirely of soft deciduous trees, but the presence of inner coniferous layers is allowed.
Plywood is a versatile material from which you can make any structure of the hive – vertical or horizontal – containing the required number of frames. It is suitable for making all parts of the bee house.
The elongated body of such a hive can accommodate more than 16 wax honeycomb inserts. The insect nest expands due to the frames located at the same level. It will be more convenient to work with them if you make the lid not just removable, but hinged.
To make a lounger from plywood and foam, rather thick, durable sheets are taken, for example, from birch fibers. They are connected to each other using:
- self-tapping screws;
- non-toxic glue.
Due to its large dimensions, the horizontal structure cannot be moved, especially after filling the frames of the hive with honey and brood. Additional entrances are cut at the longest sun loungers. When divided into 2 equal parts, each compartment may contain a family with a uterus.
In the apiary, where the air temperature drops sharply from autumn to spring, insulated versions of plywood bee dwellings are installed. Adding 1 more layer of material around the perimeter of the hive at some distance from it and inserting filler into the resulting gap helps to improve the microclimate inside the hive.
The structure will retain heat, while remaining fairly light, if blocks of expanded polystyrene are placed between its plywood walls, rather than sawdust. With careful handling, it will last a long time and will not crumble.
If it is necessary to move, it is not recommended to make the building too spacious – a house with 10-12 frames is best suited for mobile apiaries.
The outer layer can be added to any hive design. It should be thicker than the inner frame to protect the bee nest from cold and high humidity.
For large families in apiaries, vertical buildings with several stores for collected honey and 2-3 buildings are used. Different combinations are made from individual parts, they are interchanged if necessary. To easily rearrange the modules, they are made small, by 8-12 frames.
The nesting body of the hive should have a sturdy frame made of thicker plywood that can support the weight of the magazines installed on top, and promotes good thermoregulation. The outer layer is recommended to be made of fiberboard.
Features of the plywood and foam beehive
Wooden structures are more expensive and bulky, so many beekeepers prefer other materials – the same natural, safe and resistant with appropriate impregnation. They make beehives out of plywood and styrofoam.
The peculiarity of boards glued from wood fibers is the increased air conductivity. To prevent the nest from cooling down in the cold season, the body is often insulated using double walls with polystyrene foam between them.
Plywood and Styrofoam hives have many positives:
- Relatively low weight of the finished structure.
- Maintaining a comfortable temperature, low humidity inside the case.
- Good ventilation of the nest.
- Frame strength.
- Insulation protection from damage, spillage.
- Low price, availability of materials.
- Ease of manufacture and connection of parts.
A plywood hive with a foam insert is warmer than a plank construction. Homemade structures made of glued wood boards are convenient for bees, durable, and easy for the beekeeper to work with.
Plywood and foam product
To manufacture the selected design of the hive, you will need detailed drawings of all parts with dimensions, as well as high-quality material and tools:
- dried plywood sheets for the bottom, roof, store and nest modules;
- wooden planks to strengthen the frame from the inside;
- foam blocks of medium thickness;
- power saw or hacksaw;
- hammer (drill), nails (screws);
- grinding tool;
- PVA glue or other waterproof.
The outer walls of the case can be made of boards (ordinary or intended for cladding), fiberboard, wood boards with a large number of layers.
First, the details of the hive are cut out from the sheets of plywood according to the drawings, they must be polished. You need to work with the material carefully – thin wood tiles can be easily damaged.
The procedure for making a nest housing:
- The walls are securely connected to each other using strips for fastening.
- On opposite sides, folds are formed for frames with waxes.
- The bottom is removable: then it will be convenient to clean it from accumulated debris.
- 2 holes are cut on the front wall. Valves are attached to them, and just below – bee landing bars.
In the process of work, you need to check that the edges of the module are at the same level, the product does not warp. All parts are tightly fitted to each other, connected with nails, smearing the joints with glue, and fixed.
The outer walls of the body are installed at a sufficient distance from the frame so that the foam blocks can freely fit in the gap. Plywood is greased with glue to attach the insulation.
Additional hulls, magazines are assembled according to the same principle as the main module, but without the bottom. The roof of the hive is recommended to be made with slopes and covered with a waterproof material, for example, a sheet of iron. After assembly, the outer surfaces are covered with moisture-resistant paint and thoroughly dried.
The bees can be moved into a new dwelling after it has been treated for infections.
The inner space of the hive is calculated for the number of honeycomb frames that are planned to be installed in it. The height of the walls of the nesting module, the store also depends on the waxes, which reach 23 cm in the Ruth hive, 30 and 14,5 cm – in Dadan.
It is necessary to leave a distance of about 10 mm for the movement of insects between the frames, under the roof or top module, at least 20 mm above the bottom. Thus, for the walls of the lounger, sheets of plywood with a height of 35,5 cm are taken, 2 of them are 81 cm long, 2 others are 45 cm long.For all 4 sides of the Dadan hive, 12 frames will need tiles 45×32 cm, Ruta for 10 frames – 45×25 cm and 37,5×25 cm.
External dimensions depend on the thickness of the plywood sheets used to make the bee house, the presence of double walls, insulation. The frame can be quite thin (0,4-0,8 cm), but it is advisable to make the outer layer more than 1,5 cm in thickness.
The bottom and roof of the hive should protrude slightly beyond the edges of the box – this should be taken into account if a structure with double walls is planned.
Blocks of polystyrene for insulation are taken with a thickness of 2 to 5 cm. In the front of the case, they are usually not laid so as not to close the upper notch. The distance between the walls remains free.
Parts for the hive are cut out of plywood in accordance with the dimensions shown in the diagram. Additional walls that are installed on top of the main frame are not usually depicted. The material for them is selected at their discretion, if it is necessary to insulate the bee dwelling.
You can assemble several cases, stores from plywood with your own hands: drawings of one part are used to make all such modules. Their structure is the same for the selected type of hive, in order to facilitate superstructure and replacement.
The drawing shows how to manufacture a popular plywood design with foam inserts. All parts fit tightly to each other. Slots and joints are covered with non-toxic glue.
In the process of work, you need to check that the upper and lower edges of the box are on the same level, otherwise it may skew.
“I made 2 plywood hives for testing in my apiary that year. Small, 12 frames. The bees are happy with everything, they have collected a lot of honey over the summer, and have had a good winter. I want to put together a couple more, it’s a quick matter, I have already prepared the material ”.
“My grandfather keeps bees only in plywood hives all his life. He is already over 80, and he still carries them himself – his lungs, even full of honey. With them in the summer it is convenient to move to the place of collecting nectar. “
“I think it’s a worthy replacement for wood. Serves, however, less, but also cheaper. But you need to take good plywood, check with what it is glued, so that evaporation does not begin in the sun. It is important to close up the cracks, otherwise parasites can start between the walls. “
Quality plywood hives are cheap and easy to make. Their service life is comparable to that of wooden structures. Well suited as an insulating foam insert, which allows you to keep warm in the nest of bees in winter and frost.