How To Turn a 55 Gallon Drum Into a Beehive

Beekeeping is a rewarding hobby, but buying new equipment for it can deplete your bank account. Learn how to turn a 55-gallon drum into a beehive, so you can start beekeeping without annihilating your finances.

Gather the Right Supplies

The most crucial step to building your beehive is gathering all of the proper tools and supplies that you’ll need to be successful. Here, we’re looking at making a beehive using:

1.) A 55-gallon industrial drum

2.) 22-feet of nominal lumber

3.) 46-feet of regular lumber

4.) A 3×4 piece of tin

5.) 38 wood and metal screws of varying size

6.) 45-feet of thin molding

7.) Bungee cord

8.) Beeswax & lemongrass oil

To assemble your beehive correctly, you’ll also need the proper tools, including a circular saw, a drill, a tape measure, and a marker.

Build Your Hive

First, you’ll take the 55-gallon drum and cut it in half, lengthwise. Doing this is going to create the actual hive portion of the structure. After, you’ll want to cut away any plastic so your edges are smooth. Next, clean the interior of the drum thoroughly, then rub it down with beeswax and a little lemongrass oil. You must use plastic, food-grade drums for this project, rather than tin storage containers with lids, as they won’t overheat.

Fashion the Frame

You’ll want to take your lumber and cut it into pieces to fashion the frame of your hive. You’ll like it to have cross-sectioned legs so that it can stand up on its own while holding the drum in place. Then you want to screw and glue your frame together. Next, take your lumber and use it to create the structure that cradles your hive.

Measure your smaller pieces of lumber to fit your drum and nail these around the barrel, creating

a frame. Next, you take the larger pieces of lumber and assemble two A-shaped formations. Finally, secure these to both sides of the barrel, making a support stand for the hive.

Assemble the Comb Bars

Next, assemble the comb bars. Take the smaller cuts of lumber and fit them over the top of your drum. Once you have enough bars to fill your hive, take a smaller, rounded piece of lumber and nail it to the bottom of each one. Attach the thin molding to the center of each bar and rub it down with beeswax to encourage a straight-pattern honeycomb production.

Create the Roof

The last step is creating a roof with a thin sheet of tin. Cut the tin into even sections, carefully matching its measurements to the wood frame around the barrel and create a triangular roof shape with it. Use metal screws to secure the structure, bend extra pieces of tin down and screw to the sides of your frame, and put the roof atop the barrel frame.

Beekeeping is a gratifying hobby, and you don’t need oodles of cash to do it successfully. We hope this guide has inspired you with these easy steps for how to turn a 55-gallon drum into a beehive. 

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