Well-made beehive stands are the key to easy, comfortable beekeeping. I prefer not to stand beehives on milk crates or piles of bricks. Old tyres are OK on the heather, but if you use them on the rape, you may find they’ve been occupied by a swarm.
Lifting, stretching, bending and twisting can all cause back problems. Respect your back.
I run all my hives with the frames the warm way, parallel to the hive entrance. I stand behind the hive, and I can work the hive without twisting.
Here are some of my hive stands…
Type 1. Basic hive stand, can be made on the bench. Two 4×2 or 4×4 pressure treated (Tanalith E) rails about 1700mm long, with three 4×2 cross pieces and four cut-down pressure treated fence posts, with the pointed end hammered into the ground. Check with a spirit level. Top of rail to ground approx 450mm. The corrugated iron keeps the grass down, shows any sudden increase in dead bees, and provides a home for mice, and also slow worms, if you are lucky. Screw together with no. 12 x 3½ or 4 inch screws. The stands should last 15 years plus. There is space between the hives for a hive roof and supers, while you are inspecting the brood box. The other hive serves as a stand for a smoker and hive records. Works a treat.
Type 2. This apiary is on an old concrete shed base, within reach of the heather. It was first used by Hywel Honey, Penmaenmawr, 50 or more years ago, and I’m the 4th beekeeper to use it. The hive stands are 225mm concrete blocks, sitting on the concrete base, with a loose fitting 4×2 frame, holding two hives, and maybe a nuc. Easy to set up.
Type 3. Making the best of a sloping site. Why not find a better site? This site is within reach of the heather on Tal y Fan, plus lime and sycamore, and can occasionally produce five supers of honey from the best hive. I made the stand on site: knock in the two long front posts, set the front rail level, clamp and screw together. Then set the rear posts and fasten the cross pieces, and trim the four posts. Plenty of spirit level work, but quick to make.
Type 4. This long rail stand replaced a collection of old tables, in an open-sided zinc barn. Two 8×3 pressure-treated rails 4.8m long are sitting on leftover 150mm concrete blocks. The front rail is clamped to the barn stanchions. The rails are leveled with pieces of wood and slate. The bees fly up and over the slate roof. (My builder refuses to work on this roof, as you can see). I use the small table to hold hive roof, supers etc. The middle hive in the picture is a scale hive.
We’d love to see pictures of your hive stands.