Plastic Beehive Frames

Plastic Beehive Frames

I’m a bloke with a small garden, allotment, beehives, wife, small child, full time job and a bee blog. In winter it’s manageable, it’s mainly the job and the family to contend with. But in summer, I literally run around the lawn with my push mower, do 2 hour emergency weeding once a month and have 30 minutes for weekly bee inspections.  It does not feel like the good life until 10pm when I’m sitting on my bench with a beer staring at the stars and wondering what I can do less of.

After spending 1 hour and 40 minutes assembling 10 frames for another super and realising I needed an extra day (that I didn’t have) to assemble more, I thought I’d google and see if there was a better option. An option that would hopefully mean I didn’t bodge frames so badly that they needed to go on the fire, or that the remaining 80% of my frames had minor defects.

Finding a time-saving solution became even more pressing when I realised that, when I’d originally put my frames together a couple of years ago, I’d glued in both the bottom bars, not appreciating that I would need to take out the wax every few years. Rather than this being an excellent idea of mine to ‘ad lib wih the instructions’, it turns out that I’ll probably need to build another fire to chuck on some more useless frames I’ve spent time on!

Anyway in order to save you guys time – here’s what I’ve found out …

Plastic Beehive Frames

Beesy Frames

I’d seen an advert in the BBKA magazine for Beesy frames (link below) which used plastic corners and MDF strips: “Snap together, no more nailing” – sounded perfect – especially as they cost just £10 for 10 frames.

These frames are definitely worth considering and the cheapest I have found (cost comparison below).

Beehive Bits

Next, I came across Beehive Bits.  Their frames are 100% plastic.  Their website stated “They are delivered to you already made and just need foundation. To do this just prise the frame apart with your hive tool, slide your chosen foundation into position and close the two sides back together. No more nails needed and ready to use within minutes. They can be cleaned very easily by simply boiling, a plastic bag in the deep freeze or even cleaned through a dishwasher therefore making them ready to re-use”.

Even though they were a bit more expensive I decided to go with them because of the dishwasher bonus and, er, because they looked shiney and red.  Here I am assembling one:

I am delighted with these frames as it took me less than 15 minutes to make 10 of them.  Now I just need to see how the bees find them. They don’t make them for 14×12 frames, so I might call Beesy over the winter.

Grateful for any comments on people’s experience of plastic frames.

Price Comparisons

These prices do not include wax foundation or delivery or bulk pricing and are correct as of 6 July 2014.

  • 10 Beesy super frames: £10.00
  • 10 flat pack super frames (bee equipment suppliers): £12.00
  • 10 Beehive Bits super frames: £18.50

With the Beehive Bits frames you can use the unwired foundation, saving yourself £1 per 10 frames.

Photos Of Plastic Frame Assembly

Plastic Beehive Frame 1
Plastic Beehive Frame – Prising Frame Apart
Plastic Beehive Frames 2
Plastic Beehive Frames 2
Plastic Beehive Frame 3
Plastic Beehive Frame 3


Super Of Plastic Beehive Frames
Super Of Plastic Beehive Frames

Hive Update

  • I saw a Queen hatch out in Hive Two – pretty sure it was supercedure as there were eggs in the cells and I heard a laying queen piping a few times as I searched all over for her
  • All hives have laying queens
  • I have a total of about 2 supers of honey so far from 3 hives (hive three has not produced a surplus yet)

Read More

Hive Three & A Confession

Life is pretty busy at the moment – that’s what I told myself as I succumbed to the temptation  of buying an ASSEMBLED, yes, yes, yes, ASSEMBLED hive.

I’m ecstatic at the relief of allowing myself to buy an ASSEMBLED hive.

I saved a day and the stresses of hammering, gluing and generally bodging flat packs.

I blamed the fact that buying an assembled hive was only an extra £25 (brood box and stand assembly charge).

My Guilty Pleasure - Assembled Hive In Box
My Guilty Pleasure – Assembled Hive In Box

Now, I just need a swarm or I’ll split my current hive into three hives.

I’ve written quite a lot about building hives:

PS. I did a Varroa count today (counted 5 mites over 14 days) and the count has dropped to less than 140.  The previous count was 980 and I haven’t done anything in the meantime.  Strange. More info at Hive Two Record Card.

A Visit To Maisemore

I had heard of these places whilst on beekeeping training courses and in whispered conversations. They had evoked more fear than curiosity … until now. Yes – I am talking about beekeeping equipment suppliers!

I imagined it to be like an old-school DIY store, the sort of place where beemen and beewomen would hang out to shoot the breeze. They would look me over and make me feel very small. It would be difficult to have a private, one-to-one conversation with the owner. “Yes I am a beekeeper. I’d like some bees and hives please,” I would ask quietly. “What type of bees and what type of hives?”, would start a conversation where I would gradually have to reveal the depths of my ignorance. I’d leave the store and they’d be thinking “I give him a year”.

But being a beekeeper and blogger I thought I should be brave and it was time I visited an equipment supplier rather than just buy online.

So, was the visit to be like my recent experience at a local DIY store to buy some curtain hooks? (After several visits I ended up buying all the packets of curtain hooks, none of which fitted).

Maisemore – My Local Supplier

Maisemore are just 45 minutes drive from where I live.  I first read about them on their website and was really pleased to find that they operated 1,000 hives across a number of locations. They were still practicing beekeepers and would understand my issues.  They are also a family run business in its 3rd generation.

Maisemore Apiaries
Maisemore Apiaries Warehouse

I arrived to find a big warehouse, a shop, lots of planks of cedar wood and some beehives in operation. Not clean, shiny beehives like my own, but proper working hives that had been built decades ago and stood the test of time.

Maisemore Shop
Maisemore Shop

Johnathan, who owns Maisemore with other family members, was behind the counter. Whilst I was there a few people came in asking about Queens and buying equipment, but nothing like the scary dudes of my imagination. Johnathan knew his stuff and we got chatting. We got on so well in fact, Jonathan kindly agreed to give me some equipment in exchange for some mentions on this blog – hence my new Beekeeping Equipment page!.

Why I Liked Maisemore

  1. They know their stuff – They operate 1,000 hives and understand beekeeping. Their products are not over-engineered and they rely more on word-of-mouth than big budget advertising.
  2. Great value – Their “Rock Bottom Bee Hives” are made of cedar and I couldn’t find any cheaper on my searches.  I have listed and provided links to other suppliers here: Beekeeping Equipment Suppliers
  3. Wide product range – They have all the equipment a new beekeeper needs. If you visit the shop, 95% of the equipment you would need is in the shop and I am sure Jonathan would be able to lay his hands on anything else you wanted, either out-the-back or in the warehouse
  4. I got some free stuff!

If you do buy from their store, please give me a mention (they deliver nationally and internationally). Next year, I’d love to negotiate a good deal on this yellow suit for my “Guest Beekeepers” 😉

Beekeeping Equipment
Beekeeping Equipment In Maisemore Shop

Read More

  • My wife has banned any further spending on beekeeping equipment and I have now started a very small relationship with Maisemore which I talk more about here: Beekeeping Equipment
  • Link to Maisemore Website:

The Bodge Hammer Returns

Crikey.  This was to be my third hive.  I’ll soon have to bump up my BBKA insurance!  Hmmmm … and I’d better start making some honey.  Or maybe I just shouldn’t blog for a few years and start writing again when I have made a year’s supply of honey, rather than appear to be the beekeeper with all the gear and no idea.

The good news is that I am much improved at building a flat pack beehive.  Yes … the frames are not perfectly square, yes it wobbles, yes there are gaps and yes, the bodge hammer made a few appearances … but the gaps are smaller than a bee, and with a few kilos of honey, some weathering and propolis from the bees … it should be alright.

Flatpack beehive
Flatpack beehive

Even though it has been eight months since I built the last hive, the subconscious is a wonderful thing.  It keeps on learning even after the event.  This time I anticipated problems.   Before I applied hive glue, I hammered in nails, so that they had gone through one piece of wood and nearly ready to go into the next one.  I punched holes through plastic rails using the larger nails.  I was on fire!  It only took me two hours to build the hive stand and open mesh floor.  I think this demonstration of anticipation, is evidence that my Man Intelligence (MQ) has increased in the last year.

As my own workbench had no vice or “things” (also known as vice pegs or clamping dogs) to stop the pieces of wood slipping around, it was a bit tricky, but the garage wall helped.  Ironically, pieces of wood are more slippery after the glue is applied rather than more sticky.  It often felt like a two man (or person) job but I was going to do this by myself.

Slowly, I am dissolving away the idealist in me that would like to make perfect square hives that don’t rock, and who would like to know what is going on in the beehive.  I am trying to become someone who is happy when it’s good enough.

I am not yet that person … “where’s the bodge hammer”??!!

If you liked this post you might want to read the first mention of the bodge hammer.