How to Build a Bee Shelter
I built a simple shelter for my bee hives. My shelter was to provide cover from snow and rain, protection from wind, and a level stone floor for the hives to safely sit on. Please bear in mind that I am not a carpenter.
1. Level the area. I leveled an 8’ x 8’ square for my two hives, with room for two more.
2. I dug the post holes. I dug 2’ deep, and set the posts in concrete making sure they were level and straight before putting in the concrete. I also set the north posts deeper, making them shorter than the south posts to give the roof slope for rain and snow.
3. I put down fabric to stop weeds from growing then installed gravel and 12”x12” leveled concrete blocks for each hive.
4. I placed two 2x4x8 support beams across the posts, connected with hardware.
5. I installed a 2x4x10 rafter every 12” to support the roof, connected with hardware.
6. At this point I realized that my 2x4x8 support beams could support about 250 pounds each with the boards turned up. So my roof could be no heavier than 500 pounds, and that was pushing it. It turns out that the rafters and roofing was already around 250 pounds, and if you throw on a 12” snow storm, I would be right at the limit. I had visions of a winter storm where my bees get crushed by a collapsed roof. The simple fix was to add two additional support beams, so now the structure can support about 1000 pounds. I noticed the structure was more solid right away.
7. Next I installed my roofing panels. This was fairly easy. I used Ondura panels, and set the panels so the corrugation lined up perfectly with my rafters. This is why you must set these 12” apart exactly, so they will line up. I used all 100 roofing nails that came in the box of Ondura nails. This will help with the heavy winds I get. It’s really important to nail these down really straight, but not drive them too deep where they pinch into the roofing. I was able to set the panels in place and then nail them down by standing on my “A” frame ladder.
8. I installed lattice on the North and West sides to stop the prevailing winds on my property. After doing this, I realized that it would probably break the lattice in a strong wind. That sort of defeats the purpose of a windbreak. So I installed some bracing behind the lattice, and screwed the lattice into the bracing. I used 2x4’s and joist hangers between the posts.
9. Finally, I cut some 2x4’s, and cut the ends at a 45 degree angle then screwed them into the posts and support beams for additional support. I pre-drilled everything.
Given my poor carpentry skills, I think the bee shelter turned out pretty good. All total, it was about $350 in materials. My labor as usual was free. Thank you to Mark for helping me set the posts straight.