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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. This hive will hold 15 frames that have a width of 1-3/8", plans for frames are here. These plans are updated as of March, 2021. I believe they are complete and understandable.  But, 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 you inform me of the omission and I will be glad to correct it.  Thanks and enjoy the build.


1 - 4 X 8 X 1/2" Plywood - untreated

1 - 2 x 6 x 10'

1 - 1 x 6 x 8' - Treated

1 - 4' x 8' x 3/8" Smart panel siding - (This is enough for 2 hives.)

2' of 1" thin wall PVC pipe

4 - 1" PVC 90's

20' - 3" wide flashing

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

Wood glue (Titebond II)

2' X 3' of Bubble wrap insulation (or felt roofing underlayment)

Roof metal 34" long x 25" wide

2 - 2-1/2" Strap 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" drill bit, 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", 2 pieces @ 25-3/4" x 17-3/8", 1 piece @ 28-3/4" x 20-1/4" and 1 piece @ 27-1/8" x 18-5/8". See cut list diagram HERE.

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. Cut list HERE.

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 - 4 pieces @ 3" long and 4 pieces 1" long.

1 x 6 x 8' treated - Rip two strips - 1@ 4-1/4" wide x 8' and 1 @ 3/4" wide x 8'. From the 4-1/4" wide cut 2 pieces @ 27-1/4", 2 pieces @ 20-1/4". Set the 3/4" piece aside for later use during lid assembly.

Bubble wrap insulation (or felt) - 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 front and back 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 down the sides.

Attach the bottom.  Turn joined walls over so the bottom is accessible. Attach one layer of the 1/2" plywood.  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. Glue and staple the second layer over the first.

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 prefer to use the table saw to cut this so the edges are all very clean and fits snugly.

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.  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.  Assemble the PVC pieces as pictured.

Place a small film of wood glue on the pieces cut to 3" long.  Slide through the drilled holes (you may have to use a hammer and tap lightly) until flush with the inside.  The glue will hold the sleeve in place until the bees secure it with propolis.


Lid Assembly

  1. Assemble the treated 1 x 4-1/4" 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".

2. Attach the 28-3/4" x 20-1/4" piece of 1/2" plywood "Top of Lid".

3. Insulation - Cut two pieces of 1-1/2" insluation board to fit inside 1x frame. One is square on all sides the other needs a 3/4" x 3/4" rabbet cut on the bottom edge. This is where the 3/4 nailing strip for the bottom will be fastened. Place the square piece in first and the one with the rabbet in second with the rabbet facing up. Cut the 3/4' wide strip set aside from the 1x6x8' into 4 lengths to fit in the groove cut in the bottom piece of insulation. Fasten in place per picture.

4. Install the "Bottom of Lid" piece of 1/2" plywood next, fastening to the 3/4" strips.

5. Bubble wrap insulation or felt install. Fasten the bubble wrap with staples and then trim to fit. Cap the corners with flashing bent 1-1/2 X 1-1/2 like the corners of the hive body.

6. Attach the hinges and the latch. Hinges on the outside of the lid frame, 4" from each end. Center the latch and attach on the inside of the lid on the other side


7. 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 1" roofing screws.


8. Mount Lid to Hive.  Set the lid on the hive and center it on all edges around the hive body.  The mounting strip is not mentioned in the cut list because this can be made from 2x4 scrap or a piece of 5/4 deck board. 1" thick is necessary. I have ripped a 2x4 down to thickness, or ran it through a planer. If you can use a deck board it makes everything simpler. Here I will let the picture explain the process and pieces.

Screw the 1" x 3-1/4" x 25" piece onto the hive body on the hinge side remembering that you only have 2" of solid wood on each edge to attach to.  One screw on either end angled outward and one centered, angled upward to catch the top of the hive wall frame.  On the latch side, mount the catch for the latch in place.

Hive is Complete!


Frame Plans Here. Hive Stand Plans Here.