Many methods are used by beekeepers to raise their hives
from damp ground or simply to create a comfortable working height.
Stands for National Beehives
Pallets are sometimes used, either to facilitate transport
or just because they are "available". I have used this method myself
and I found two disadvantages, firstly they are usually only about
150 mm in thickness, and in the circumstance of using a single
National brood box, the topbars of the broodframes are too low for
best comfort. The second reason is that they are usually made with
slatted tops using boards of roughly 100 mm width and spaced 20 mm
- 25 mm apart, this restricts the airflow and renders the area under
the hive much more damp than you would expect.
In USA they commonly use a stand that is only 100 mm tall
and has no airflow underneath at all... This allows a great deal of
moisture to wick up from the ground and saturate the timber structure
of the hive itself. Which in turn makes it more difficult for the bees
to shed moisture whilst clustering (because the wood is already wet).
This is made worse by the widespread use of paint on the exterior of
the hives and so they have developed the technique of forcing
ventilation by introducing a "top" entrance, albeit only small (10
mm hole) which allows the excessively damp air to escape. This again
gives rise to increased consumption of stores by bees that are under
I have seen plastic milk bottle crates used as hive stands
and if they are placed onto individual paving slabs (to block the
damp) they are reasonable, but airflow is still very much restricted
under the hive itself.
It is also common to place timber rails accross supports
such as fly ash (breeze) blocks and place several hives on the rails.
This is very good from the airflow point of view, but vibrations are
transmitted to all hives whilst any one is being manipulated. This
disturbance can make the subsequent manipulation of the other hives
difficult. Sometimes the rails are formed into a raft by the addition
of cross pieces.
The version shown in the drawing below has proved durable
and effective. Many may consider that it is "over the top" and that
any old object will do, certainly the bees will not object either way.
I have found that using a standardised item of this type is convenient,
comfortable, very strong and stable and as a result I would recommend
that the principle is more widely upheld. It is drawn to a scale of
1 pixel per mm.
|Parts List||All dimensions mm||All parts pine|
|2||460||44||18||Outer top rail|
|2||424||44||18||Inner top rail|
Gluing and screwing is recommended and stands are one of
the few beekeeping wooden parts that I treat with paint.
If this type of stand is placed on a paving slab with gravel
surrounding the slab itself, this will help to keep weeds at bay or
on uneven ground the slab may be bedded into the gravel for levelling.
(Not a perfect level, just a slight lean towards the front for water
Written... 28 February 2002