Fighting Challenges & Building Hives

This journey began long ago and the road has stretched out longer than we might have guessed. In the beginning, we were simply looking for a box into which we could put a swarm (if we were able to catch one).

The fun accelerated when we were able to figure out a box which might actually work, and put bees inside.

First prototype with happy bees

Next came the fun part, how to get more of these built, enough to test them in Spring of ’22. I thought I’d be good at this, but as simple as it seemed, no one came through and built parts as they’d promised (even when sent hundreds of dollars). I set off to get my boxes and use the local lumber company for parts.

We made it! Our 1st “shipment” of cooler boxes, safe and sound. (My own trailer)

To overcome the cutting errors, we dug up my skill-saw table and went to cutting plywood.

Not exactly a table saw, but got the job done, recutting the interior boards

So at the moment we have boxes in 5 states with 3 in MN. Not where I’d like to be, but a good test.

This one is north of St. Paul
This one is on the near-north side of Chicago (I’m really rooting for this one)

We’ll keep you posted on how they shake out. Hopefully we will get at least a handful more when we get some frames built.

4 Replies to “Fighting Challenges & Building Hives”

  1. I view the design of a bee habitation as architecture. I was one.
    Addressing a colony of bees as the client I arrived at the ZEST hive and it seems to be perfect for them as an environmental control device, including it being varroa free. I invite you to check it out on
    Do you think that the bees handle all that water by the process of reverse osmosis? The bees crop is semi porous and may allow the passage of water into their trachea and then to outside, but retains the thicker nectar. The wing muscles are of course the pump to pressurize the system.

    1. Wow Bill, Great to hear from you! Sorry I didn’t realize there were any comments on the site. I’ve watched your videos on zest hives. This might be called a ‘beer cooler’ hive. Developed from an insulated shipping box. I was interested in Layen’s frames and wanted something turn key with little maintenance. Derek Mitchell has a lot on hive moisture. He gave me permission to use his info –

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