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The Modified Layens Hive Plans

These instruction are for the hive body and lid only.  Custom Hive Stand plans are here.  I have tried to make sure that these plans are complete and understandable.  In doing so I have delayed posting them until now.  I have finally realized that the best way to proof them is to make them available and let you find all the errors I have missed.  So please let me know if you have questions and or corrections. Contact me here.  If you think something is missing, I apologize and ask that inform me of the omission.  Thanks and enjoy the build.


1/2 Plywood - untreated

3/4" plywood - untreated (Can substitute 1/2" if desired. Explanation in assembly instructions.)

1 - 2 x 6 x 10'

1 - 1 x 4 x 16' - Treated

1 - 4' x 8' x 3/8" Siding ("Smart panel siding")

2' of 1" thin wall PVC pipe

3" x 8' flashing

1 - 4' x 8' x 1-1/2" Insulation board (polystyrene)

#8 Hardware cloth - 1" x 12"

Wood glue (Titebond II)

Bubble wrap insulation

Roof metal 34" long x 25" wide

10 - 1" roof metal screws

24" of 3/16" rope or 1/2" electrical pull tape

2 - Hinges

1 - Latch

Misc. fasteners - The ones I use are detailed in the assembly instructions.

Tools I use:

Table saw, miter saw,  drill/screw gun, hammer, pneumatic nail gun and staplers (narrow and wide crown), metal snips, 3/16" & 13/16" drill bits, 1-5-16" hole saw,  shop vac, rags and sanding block.

Cut List:

1/2" plywood - 2 pieces @ 17-7/16" x 20-1/4", 2 pieces @ 19-3/4" x 21-7/8".

3/4" plywood - 1 piece @ 17-3/8" x 25-3/4". (this can be 2 pieces of 1/2" cut this size)

3/8" siding - 2 pieces @ 25-7/8' wide x 21-1/2" tall, 2 pieces @ 18-3/16" wide x 21-1/2" tall.

2 x 6 x 10" - rip into 1-5/8" wide strips. Cut 4 pieces @ 21-7/8", 4 @ 17-7/16" and 8 @ 17".

1" PVC - 8 pieces @ 2-1/4" long. 4 pieces for entrances on one end only.

1 x 4 x 16" treated - 2 pieces @ 27-1/4", 2 pieces @ 20-1/4" and 3 pieces @ 18-3/4".  Rip the remainder into 3/4" wide strips.

#8 Hardware cloth - 8 pieces 1" x 1-1/2".

Bubble wrap insulation - cut this during assembly.

Assembly :

Framework.  Build the framework for the walls first. Use the 1-5/8" x 1-1/2" pieces cut from the 2x6x10.  Make sure pieces are turned so that the finished frame is 1-1/2" thick (not 1-5/8"). There are 2 walls @ 21-7/8" x 20-1/4" and 2 walls @ 17-7/16" x 20-1/4".  I only put one nail in each joint, as the next step will be the strength of the wall.

Plywood.  Glue and staple the plywood  into place. This will be the inside of the hive, so place the best side facing toward you.  I run a small bead of glue around the frame and staple (1" narrow crown staples) the plywood flush with the bottom of the frame first, then the sides, making sure to flush all edges with the plywood, then the top.  When assembling the ends, the plywood is flush with all edges, but when assembling the sides the plywood is 1/2" shorter than the sides.  This is the frame rest.  If you will flush and fasten the bottom first, then up sides, this will work out correctly.

Fasten walls together.  Sides go inside the ends.  I use a framing nail gun with 3" nails to do this, but screws will work as well.  Make sure top edges are flush as you join them. Do not be overly concerned with squareness yet, just flush along the top and sides.

Attach the bottom.  Turn joined walls over so the bottom is accessible. I use 3/4" plywood for the bottom but 5/8" or two layers of 1/2" works as well.  I glue and staple (1-1/2" narrow crown staples)  the bottom into place.  The bottom will be slightly smaller than the framework but use it's edges as a guide to make sure the frame is square.

Insulate.  Cut the 1-1/2" board insulation into pieces that will fit inside the framework.  I cut my insulation slightly larger (1/8")  than the area between the framework so that it is very snug when pressed into place. I use the table saw to cut this so the edges are all very clean, but it can be cut with a knife if desired.

Siding. Put siding on the sides first then ends.  I glue and staple (1") the siding into place.  Make sure the siding is flush with the top edge of the hive.  There will be overhang along the bottom.  This overhang will overlap the hive stand (Stand plans here) to keep the hive in place on the stand without having to tie the hive down.

Corners.  I make these corners out of aluminum coil stock, but 3" flashing, bent 1-1/2" x1-1/2" and cut to 20-3/4" long does the same job.   Fasten the corners in place flush with the bottom of the siding. It will be 1/4" short of the top.  The top edge will be under the lid and by leaving it a little shorter than the sides, helps to not snag my bee jacket when working the hive.

Entrance holes.  I place entrances on both ends for a couple of reasons.  Combining colonies and overwintering two smaller colonies in the same hive.  It is not otherwise necessary.  4 holes on one end is sufficient.  Use a 3/16" bit to drill pilot holes for the 1-5/16" hole saw.  Placement is 14-1/2" down from the top, 2" apart, centered in the end wall.  Drill the pilot holes as straight as possible, through the siding, insulation and plywood.  Using the hole saw drill the 1-5/16" holes.  Entrance sleeves.  Place a small film of wood glue on the outside of the 1" PVC pieces cut to 2-1/4" long.  Slide through the drilled holes (you may have to use a hammer and tap lightly) until flush with the outside.  The glue will hold the sleeve in place until the bee secure it permanently with propolis.

Lid.  Assemble the treated 1x4 pieces with the 27-1/4" lengths inside the 20-1/4" lengths. I use 2" finish nails.  This will give you a frame size of 28-3/4" x 20-1/4".  The 3 - 18-3/4" pieces go inside, flush with the top.  These will be where the bubble wrap and roof metal are attached.  Cut the 3/4" widths of the treated lumber to make a lip 1/2" up from the bottom.  This is where the lid will rest on the hive. Staple the bubble wrap insulation (1/2" wide crown staples) to the top of the lid.  Some bubble wrap is silver on both sides and some is white on one, silver on the other.  If yours is white/silver, place the silver facing up.  Next is the ventilation holes.  This ventilation is to help remove the heat absorbed by the metal.  Drill 4 holes 13/16" in size, along each end.  I drill 3/16" pilot holes on a spacing of 2-1/4" from the edge and 5-1/4" between.  ( 2-1/4"|5-1/4"|5-1/4"|5-1/4"|2-1/4" )  Cover these holes with 1" x 1-1/2" pieces of #8 hardware colt.  I staple into place (5/16" wide crown staples).  This will keep the wasps and mud dobbers out. 

Next, attach the hinges and the latch.  Hinges on the outside of the lid frame, 5" from each end.  Center the latch and attach on the inside of the lid on the other side. Lastly, fasten the roof metal into place.  I round the corners of the metal first.  Center the metal so the overhang is uniform on all sides.  Screw down with the 1" roofing screws.

Mount Lid to Hive.  Rip a piece of treated 2 x 4  into a strip 1" wide by 24" long. (If you build a hive stand according to my plans substitute a 12' 2x4 for one of the 10' 2x4's and you will have a piece leftover to make this from).  Set the lid on the hive and center it on all edges.  Screw the 1" x 1-1/2" x 24" piece onto the hive body on the hinge side.  Approx. 1/4" below the lid frame and centered edge to edge on the hive body.  Remember that you only have 2" of solid wood on each edge to attach to.  One screw on either end and one centered, angled upward to catch the top of the hive wall frame.  Fasten hinges to this strip.  On the latch side, mount the catch in place.  Once hinges are secure you can attach the rope or pull tape to the lid and hive body to limit the lids range.  You want to allow the lid to open slightly past 90 degrees to it will stay there while working the hive yet be close enough to reach when finished.

Roof Insulation.  Cut a piece of the 1-1/2" board insulation for the top of the frame and under the lid.

Hive is Complete!  If you need to build frames plans are here.