Warre Beehive


Matt and beehive


Slot on bottom of "top bars"

Beehive Quilt

The quilt in place on top of the boxes

Beehive Roof

The roof in place

Blackwater River Guitars
Warre Garden Beehive

May 5, 2012 - Our son, Matt, wanted some help building a beehive. On a weekend visit with his family, we spent an afternoon making a Warre Garden Beehive from plans he found on the Internet. Here's the link.

We made the entire hive with scrap wood that my friend, architect/builder Chip Conway, gave me. It was junk from a job that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. Chip is an excellent architect and builder. If you live in the Smith Mountain Lake VA area and want a custom home designed and built (or a renovation), you should check him out. You can learn more about Chip at www.conwaydesignbuild.com.

Parts of the beehive.

Click on a picture to see a larger image.

Clockwise from center:

  • The Floor
  • The Boxes (3 - all with top bars in place)
  • The Quilt
  • The Roof

The Floor

The floor includes an angled notch that serves as the entryway to the hive.

The notch was cut in multiple passes on the table saw. The curvature of the blade naturally angled the notch.

The landing pad (alighting board) extends a few inches beyond the floor.

The Boxes

These are the main part of the hive where the bees attach the honeycomb to the underside of the top bars.

The bars have a slot down the middle of the underside (photo left) that will be primed with beeswax to give the bees an anchor point for the honeycomb.

Our boxes are 13" square (outside dimension). We made 3 boxes - one 11" deep and two 8-1/2" deep. Each box has a ledge (rabbet or rebate) on one pair of opposite sides to accommodate the top bars.

One box is set on top of the floor and the other boxes are simply stacked on top of the first box to build up the hive.

The Quilt

The quilt sits on top of the boxes and just under the roof. It serves a number of functions.

It covers the top box and acts as a layer of insulation to help keep the hive cool.

It has a burlap bottom that overlaps the sides. This overlap provides a breathable gap around the perimiter of the hive.

Dry leaves, wood shavings, or other insulating material is placed on the burlap

The Roof

The roof covers the hive to protect it from the weather. The box part of the roof is made larger than the quilt and boxes so that it fits over the hive like a box lid. It extends below the bottom of the quilt to protect the burlap of the quilt.

Beehive Roof Beehive Roof


The hive will be painted with an exterior paint and then it will be ready for the bees.