How To Build A Excellent Beehive Using Pallets

“Art is making something out of nothing and selling it,” Frank Zappa

I have been making beehives out of old pallets. I’ve built about 14 now. I had planned on building 100 but the process is just too time consuming.

However, if you are broke and want to get into beekeeping, then this is a way to build something great out of something free.

Now before I get started, there will be a lot of naysayers who will start talking about poisoned pallets and the such. This is not a real issue. In fact, I have used the unpainted type of pallets and have not had one ill-effect from them… well other than possibly Hive Beetles but I fixed that too.

The only three things you need to do to use pallet wood is:

1) Stagger the joints on the front vs the sides. I do this by simply cutting one of the side boards in half longways, and then placing half at the top of the box and the other at the bottom.

2) Fill in ALL of the gaps. I think failing to do this might have contributed to my hive beetle problem last year. Since the pallet boards are roughly 3.5″ wide, it takes three to make one deep box. If done poorly or if the wood is not exactly straight, then there will be cracks. Simply fill these with glue and sawdust.

3) Work from the inside dimensions. Since the thickness of pallet wood is notoriously inconsistent, you have to work from the inside out. This is easier then it sounds. I cut the front/rear boards 14 3/4″ long (this ensures the short side is correct).

Then I cut the long sides 19 7/8″ – however, when you assemble the box, adjust then end boards to a space of 18 3/8″. You may have a little wood sticking out past the ends but it won’t be much and will help to keep the stacks even as you add supers later.

Mabel got cold but refused to quit

By the way, I already had all my pallets taken apart, so it only took me 2 hours to build 3 deep suppers.

As for me, I think I am going to just start buying lumber. I have a little more money this year than I have had in the past, and so the expense won’t be too much of a burden. The time saved will be more than worth it.

The most important thing about this blog, is that I finally got back in the wood shop and back to working towards building my bee business.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    See this is what I was looking to do myself and I couldn't understand why I was getting told I couldn't


  2. Works fine… just takes a lot of patience


  3. Joe B. says:

    WilliamThanks for the interesting post. I have used pallet lumber for furniture, but never for bee boxes. Your idea for staggering joints makes great sense. One thing I do to minimize lumber cost is to watch the cull lumber rack at Home Depot. Hit 2 or 3 of their stores when you go down to Jackson (if you have a pickup truck). You can buy cracked or slightly warped lumber for 70% discount. If I buy an 8' board with a crack or chip in it, I almost always get 6 feet of hive size pieces out of it. Don't buy the badly warped stuff, it will just continue to warp even if you cut it straight. All of my bottom boards and tops are made from the cull rack. I often find plywood on the cull rack too.BTW my Dad hailed from Clarksdale.Glad I found your blog.Joe in Texas.Bee Peaceful Beekeeping


  4. Thanks, Joe. I will definitely check out cull lumber. Great idea!


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