The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
Revision of no.
Z 7 '2
Equipment and Structures
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville
John T. Woeste, Dean for Extension
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction . . . ... . 5
Low Cost Beehive . . . . ... .. 5
Pollen Collectors . . . .... ... 7
Pollen Trap Bottom Board Type . . . 8
Bee Trapping Equipment . . . . 9
Frame Wiring Board . . . .... ... 9
Frame Crutch . . . . ... . 9
Single Frame Glass Observation Beehive . . 9
Honey Uncapping Tank . . . . 9
Solar Beeswax Extractors . . .. . 9
Honey Extractor . . . . ... 16
Honey Dumping Board . . . .... 16
Honey Display Stand . . . .. 16
Small Extracting Building . . . .. 16
Extracting Building With Shop and Storage . .. 16
Six Deep Brood Frame Hive . . . .... 16
Typical Water Repellent Solution . . .... 23
The authors are indebted to the late Dr. Milledge Murphey, Jr.
for his many contributions to this publication.
Equipment and Structures for Beekeeping
T. C. Skinner, J. D. Haynie, F. A. Johnson and
J. E. Hudson
This publication is designed to be of assistance to the beginning bee-
keeper, youth interested in beekeeping as well as the commercial beekeeper.
Full scale drawings for many of the structures and equipment described in
this publication are available and may be obtained by contacting your local
Cooperative Extension Office or directed to T. C. Skinner, 101 Rogers Hall,
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 32611. Please order plans by
Low Cost Beehive
Persons interested in beginning a beekeeping project may save on the
cost of a beehive by constructing their own. The beekeeper would do well to
buy the inside equipment of the hive, including the foundation wax and frames.
The hive parts should be treated with a wood preservative which is not toxic
to bees (see page23), such as Pentachlorophenol, and all wood joints should
Hive parts should be cut accurately so that frames in the brood nest
and supers will have the correct space over the tops of frames, around the
frames and underneath the frames. This space is referred to as a bee space
and should be 3/8". If bees are given more than a bee space they will plug
it with burr comb. If less than a bee space is left between hive bodies,
the space will become plugged and make it very difficult to separate the
Plans call for 3/4" boards; however, lumber thickness may vary up to
one inch. Regardless of thickness of the boards, follow outside measurements
of plans. The bottom board may also be used as a cover, or 3/4" x 3/4" strips
may be put on a cover board and convert it to a bottom board. (Figure 1)
Bees collect pollen and nectar as long as flowers are active. Bees
must have pollen to raise brood. A good average colony needs around forty
pounds of pollen per season for normal brood rearing. Some years there may
be a pollen dearth. Pollen collected from the hive pollen collector may be
mixed in small proportions with a low fat soybean flour. Pollen and soybean
flour may be fed colonies in cake form or dry form in a hopper. Colonies
normally should have two frames of pollen. More pollen may indicate a poor
laying queen. Pollen from a pollen collector may be stored in a freezer for
future use. (Figures 2 and 3)
T. C. Skinner, Professor, Dept. of Agricultural Engineering; J. D. Haynie,
Extension Apiculturist Emeritus, Dept. of Entomology and Nematology; F. A.
Johnson, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Entomology and Nematology; and
J. E. Hudson, Chief Draftsman, Dept. of Agricultural Engineering.
-LOW COST BEEHIVE
Fig. 1. An Easy To Build Low Cost Beehive. Fla. Plan No.q20
Ola figs RAO= cog. CSION by HAZOOD arw .ei.,,
w E ., Pollen Collector
"fS 0' "1 pPollen is packed on the hind
W,,P ,*,, legs of the bee while visiting
flowers. When the bee returns to the hive, it is then packed in cells on the bee comb.
A .5" mesh hardware cloth is used for bees to pass through, on the entrance of the hive. .10" mesh
hardware cloth is used to catch the pollen over a metal tray.
Fig. 2. A Simple Pollen Collector for the Amateur or Professional Beekeeper. Fla. Plan No. 925
8 MESH TO INCH
(CUT T6 ILLUSTRATE)
(cuT TO ILLUSTRATE)
Fig. 3. A Practical, Easy
Based on Design by
To Build Bottom Board Type
Fla. Plan No. 921
Professor F. A. Robinson
:SPC IOEJ A
Bee Trapping Equipment
Bees swarm in early summer when the colony needs more room to raise
the brood and store honey. Often a crack on the outside of a building may
provide an entrance for the swarm to become established. After placing
the screen funnel over the entrance in the building and leaving it there
for six weeks, it may be removed. The outside colony may go into the old
entrance and use any honey left; however, there will normally be very few
bees left alive. Place one or two frames of unsealed brood and a queen in
the outside hive. The balance of frames should be drawn combs or foundation
beeswax. (Figure 4)
The wiring board is a simple piece of equipment that enables the
operator to wire frames and imbed the wire in the sheet wax foundation.
An automobile battery or toy train transformer will supply adequate voltage
to provide the necessary heat to imbed the wire in the sheet wax foundation.
A spur imbedder when heated may also be used to imbed wire in sheet wax
foundations. (Figure 5)
Many times the ear or end of the frame is broken off and there appears
to be no satisfactory way to repair it. The broken frame may be discarded
but with a frame crutch it can be kept in active use. (Figure 6)
Single Frame Glass Observation Beehive
The observation beehive lends itself to a permanent location or it may
be portable. A small 1" plastic hose can be attached to the hive and vented
through or near a window opening. If the hive is kept in a place where it
can't be vented to the outside, the hive must be taken outside the building
at intervals so that the bees will be able to have a cleansing flight. Thirty
minutes before dark will provide adequate time for this flight. Masonite
or similar material is used to cover the glass when the beehive is not being
observed. Observation beehives are very popular as exhibits in county fairs
or other places where the public will have an opportunity to view the hive.
They can be used by students and beekeepers in talks and demonstrations to
school children, civic organizations, and other interested groups. (Figure 7)
Honey Uncapping Tank
Honey should drain from wax cappings without being heated. After the
cappings have drained well they may then be heated and a cake of beeswax is
obtained. Honey-wax separators heat honey from the cappings. By heating
only the beeswax cappings, the beekeeper is able to obtain a better grade
of honey. (Figure 8)
Solar Beeswax Extractors
Many times culled combs from the brood nest can be put into beeswax
extractors and the wax in the combs saved. There is no need to have a large
accumulation of combs. The solar extractor allows the sun to melt the combs
slowly. (Figure 9)
BEE TRAPPING EQUIPMENT
(1) Screen Funnel make a funnel 12" dia. at one end,
dia. at the other, 18" long of metal screen
fabric. The funnel should be spliced with a piece
of wire taken from the scrap.
(2) Beehive constructed from plans in this booklet
or commercially manufactured.
(3) Smoker standard manufactured type.
TRAPPING THE BEES:
(1) Smoke the hole that the bees are emerging from.
(2) Tack the screen funnel over the hole so that it
slopes upward toward the hole.
(3) Plug all holes that are within 3 feet of the screen
(4) Place the hive so that its entrance is close to the
hole that the funnel is over.
(5) Hive should contain one queen and at least one frame
of unsealed brood from an established colony in
addition to new frames.
Fig. 4. An Easy Method of Trapping Bees
FRAME WIRING BOARD
2-5/8"X3/4"X 14" -
TRANSFORMER PLACE EMPTY SPOOLS ON
NAILS FOR STRINGING WIRE
SPOOL BRACKET 1/8 X 5/8 X 2
METAL FLAP STAPLE
Fig. 5. A Simple But Effective Frame Wiring Board.
ALL HOLES 1/8" DIA.
HED LINES "
Fig. 6. A Frame Crutch Can Be Used
To Extend The Useful Life
Of A Frame.
The frame crutch is used to repair damaged frames that have one
or both ears broken.
1 ea. 20 ga. Galv. 3/4" x 6"
4 ea. 3/32" x 3/8" Flathead Wood Screws
p ?-- '^ .METAL FiA/M GUIDE | i_
ENTRANt= ISOMETRIC 9-,. |,-sCTN--_ A. "..OD
SECTION b- SCALE : 3' '-0'
SINGLE FRAME GLASS OBSERVATION BEEHIVE
-- Observation beehives are usually an important part of honey shows at county fairs, etc. They
can be used by students, clubs, and beekeepers in talks to schools and civic organizations.
This hive also provides the teacher with an excellent portable colony for teaching science.
Observation hives may also be used by 4-H Club members to enhance their 4-H apiary projects by
including it in their display at fairs.
-- The masonite covers should be kept in place except during display as bees prefer a dark hive.
-- This plan is available through your county agent's office. Ask for plan no. Fla. 904R.
Fig. 7. An Observation Beehive Can Be An Effective Teaching Demonstration.
The uncapping tank is used
to open the combs before
honey extracting. Two bas-
kets may be used leaving
approximately 42" to hang
x 2 x 6' Pine
x 4 x 26' Pine
lb. lOd nails
Basket 1 x 2 x 8' Pine
16" x 5' x "
mesh HDW cloth
Tank 4'-23/4" x
8'-6 3/4" x
26 GA. Galv.
FRAME TO SUPPORT
Fig. 8. An Easy To Build Honey Uncapping Tank
30 GALLON TANK
26 GAUGE GALVANIZED METAL
Fig. 9. The Solar Beeswax Extractor Should Prove Popular With The Present
Emphasis On Energy Conservation. Fla. Plan No. 913
SOLAR BEESWAX EXTRACTOR
The small four frame extractor referred to here should be put together
with readily available material. One may start with a new metal garbage can
or tank. Cut the material to fit the tank as listed. The reel holding four
deep frames can be placed in a 50-55 gallon honey drum. When the reel holding
four frames is placed near the top of the drum, there will be space below the
bottom of the reel that will hold around two hundred pounds of honey. This
tank space will act as a settling tank for the small beekeeper. When using
the 50-55 gallon drum it can act as both a settling tank and extractor.
Honey Dumping Board
Much time is spent prying frames of honey from supers. A time saver is
a simply constructed dumping board. The super of honey is turned upside down
on the dumping board. Lift the super and slice off the honey comb from the
frames. Usually it will slice off in a block. (Figure 11)
Honey Display Stand
A simple display honey stand can be cut from a 4' x 8' x 3/4" sheet
of plywood. The circle display stand is cut into two sections, which may
be used as two separate display stands. The design also allows the display
stand to be arranged in four different positions for displaying honey exhibits
at fairs, honey shops or other suitable locations. (Figure 12)
Small Extracting Building
This building is 12' x 16' inside measurement and has a two foot roof
overhang. The roof measures 16' x 20', and supers, lumber and other bee-
keeping equipment may be stacked under the overhang against the building.
Rough lumber can be used and may cut cost if available. This building will
handle up to 150 colonies. (Figure 13)
Extracting Building With Shop And Storage
This building should handle 150 to 600 colonies. The building may be
extended the long way to accommodate more colonies. A truck loaded with honey
is backed into the extracting room through a large door. The extracting room
may also be used to store the truck when it is not in use. (Figure 14)
Six Deep Brood Frame Hive (Double Three)
This hive is well suited to queen rearing as queens can be wintered in
this small hive; Some queen breeders sell these over-wintered queens in the
spring before it is possible for the commercial producer to raise queens.
These over-wintered queens have not had the opportunity to lay many eggs in
the small hive through the winter and are considered excellent for requeening
colonies early in the spring before young queens are ordinarily available.
Remove the center partition in the fall and leave one queen to six frames for
wintering. In the spring one queen to six brood frames can be used to build
up colonies or you may partition off three frames and use a mating nucleus in
1" DIAMETER WOOD HANDLE
/3/8" COPPER TUBING BUSHING
-1/4" x 3" STOVE BOLT 2-1/2" x 9/16" NUTS
2-1/2" x 9/16" NUTS
S1-1/2" x 6" x 3/16" CRANK ARM
WELDS 1/2" x,9/16" NUT BORED TO RECEIVE
1/2" NYLON BUSHING
x 3/16" PLATE 1/2" PLYWOOD TOP
_1/2" STEEL SHAFT
/2" NYLON BUSHING
/2" PIPE, BORED TO PASS BUSHING
/2" PIPE FLANGE
/16" TO 1/8" RUBBER OR CORK GASKET
HONEY EXTRACTOR PARTIAL SECTION
Fig. 10. A Do-It-Yourself Honey Extractor. Fla. Plan No. 903-R2
3" x 3"
^ CONTAINER BOTTOM
"4 _____: .1
AY... L_ .
UWISItAD UuMT SHOULDD SI PVA0T1P WITH PINT
APtVvO FOR UAe IN CONTACT WIT MOOD.
io10METrIC VIW DUMPING BOARD
The Dumping Board is used for emptying frames out of supers without damage. The dimensions
should be followed carefully and the finished board painted with paint approved for use in
contact with food. All joints should be glued and nailed.
Fig. 11. ve eke -er oul Ha A Dumping Board. This One Is Effective And Easy
AILL eLt 8'el.bo"
S3/4 PLYWOOD SHELVES
6" 412 2 4 1/2'"4/2"
L 1 1 1
I x Ixe8-8
The honey display stand is well adapted to both fairs
and commercial sales. The jars should be arranged so
that the smallest are at the top and the largest at
MATERIALS: 1 ea. 4' x 4' x 3/4" A-C Int. Plywood
3 ea. 1 x 8 x 8' White Pine or equal
lb. 6d common nails
Fig. 12. An Attractive Display Stand Gives Eye Appeal To The Packaged Honey Products.
2i "' 4'-0' A '- 4'-O L .'-
f SLAb "/6x6*IOMCS5- I
2ZX'S OVER DOOR.
.'2X( sRi o
712 DOOR RiAME<
NOTTC END VEE
rOOV ERJ AN C
-5 V C. RIMP ROO
t PURLINS IG'O.C.
G RA-FTE12 16' LONG
A, -O- t O C.
NOTE:L USE DOUBLE ACTION IINC.ES.
2.USC 1-' SCaEEN ICK-PADS.
3.USE 'CYPRESS FOi DOOR F7AAE.
4.SILL ANCWO0ED WITI PRECAST 3/e' OLT5.
5. POST 53r* TOP,CREOSOTE D
&ABROOA- rFISU FLOOI
This is an extracting house for up to 150 colonies. The
12' x 16' building provides adequate work and equipment
space inside and storage space under the 2' overhang out-
side. The construction is wood and galv. metal on a con-
crete slab foundation.
Complete plans are available from your county agent. Ask
for plan number Fla. 911-R. Extracting house must conform
to Section 1, Chapter 7E-6.09 Florida Administrative Code,
Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Fig. 13. A Small Extracting House.
Fig. 14. Extracting Building With Shop And Storage.
Extracting house must conform to Section 1
Florida Administrative Code, Florida Dept.
Fla. Plan No. 915
of Agriculture and
EXPLODED ISOMETRIC VIEW
SIX DEEP BROOD HIVE
Fig. 15. An Easy To Build Brood Hive. Fla. Plan No. 924
1. PARTS NO. 6 & NO. 7 TO BE REMOVABLE. DO NOT GLUE OR NAIL.
2. PARTS NO. 1, 2, & 3 MADE FROM 1" x 2" PINE OR CYPRESS.
3. PART NO. 6 MADE FROM 1/8" EXT. A-A PLYWOOD.
4. ALL OTHER PARTS OF 5/8" EXT. A-B PLYWOOD.
5. TREAT ALL PARTS WITH PENTA SOLUTION.
queen rearing. When the colonies become strong, the bees and combs can
be transferred to a standard hive. The beekeeper should keep one spare
queen in the small hives for each ten colonies he operates. Colonies may
be requeened most any time during the year with a queen and two frames of
brood and bees. Be sure to remove the old queen from the hive before putting
the new queen in. The beginner will find this small colony of six frames easy
to handle and to work. (Figure 15)
A Typical Water Repellent Solution (WRP)
When wood weathers naturally, it is important to use nails that are
highly resistant to rusting. Iron nails rust rapidly and produce a severe
brown or black discoloration around the nail. Aluminum nails and galvanized
nails are corrosion-resistant and prevent such difficulties.
WRP solutions are widely made and distributed and are available in
most paint and lumber stores. The following is a simple formula for a water-
repellent preservative that will serve effectively both as a pretreatment
of wood for painting and as a natural-type exterior finish for wood.
Ingredients For 1 gallon For 5 gallons
Penta concentrate, 10:1 1-3/4 cups 2 quarts
Boiled linseed oil 1-1/2 cups 1-3/4 quarts
Paraffin wax 1 oz. (1/16 lb.) 5 oz. (1/3 lb.)
Solvent (turpentine, mineral
spirits, or paint thinner) 3 quarts 4 gallons
(Additional solvent may be added to make a full gallon or 5-gallon measure,
Mixing The Ingredients
Melt the paraffin wax in the top unit of a double boiler or some other
container heated by hot water. Don't use a direct flame as paraffin wax is
highly flammable and will ignite. The solvent should be at room temperature
(600 to 800 F.) before mixing. While vigorously stirring the solvent, slowly
pour in the melted paraffin. After the paraffin wax and solvent are mixed,
add, in order, linseed oil and penta concentrate. Stir until the mixture has
a uniform consistency.
The ingredients will separate if the solution is allowed to approach
freezing temperatures. If this happens, reheat the solution to room tempera-
ture and stir to re-dissolve the ingredients.
AUG 2 9jirC
This document was printed at a cost of $498.25 or 10 cents per copy to inform Florida Beekeepers about equipment and structures for
Single copies are free to residents of Florida and may be obtained from the County Extension Office. Bulk rates are available upon
request. Please submit details of the request to C.M. Hinton, Publication Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of Florida,
Gainesville, Florida 32611.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, University of Florida
and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
K. R. Tefertiller, Director
I U IVERS IT OF; FLORJ| |ID .I