Box Builder Challenge 2022

Make your own version of Dean Haleys Honey Hive (open source)

With everyones skills maybe you could improve it? You don’t need the plastic honey trays, you can use slim super trays or even design something new!

Facebook link to Deans page:

Visit Native Bee Hives Facebook Page to see more…

Quote: “I encourage other beekeepers to copy and build their own versions of my box. If you could acknowledge my contribution in inventing and designing this box, that would be appreciated.”

A copy of Dean’s post below:

TrueBlue Bees Honey Hive

I invented the Honey Hive back in 2015. Back then I was involved in early trials of Bob the Beeman’s honey frames which he was 3D printing. After observing how bees used, or sometimes frustratingly did not use the frames I came up with this revolutionary design.

Left to their own devices, carbonaria bees have a definite layout to their nest. In the front is the entrance tunnel, or entrance structure. This front part of the nest also includes pollen pots. In the centre is the brood, and furthest from the entrance is the honey. Carbonaria always build this way, and only as they mature and strengthen do they store honey and pollen above or below the brood area.

Bob 3d printed me some more frames, and Native Bee Nick built my prototype box.

The Brood Chamber;

The brood chamber was built after observing many boxed, as well as log hives of carbonaria. It is 15cm x 15cm x 15cm tall and the bees fill this entire area with brood. I have a 3/4 inch hole directly below the brood covered with a fine screen. This breather hole allows the bees to ventilate without relying on the entrance hole. In later versions of my box, I have placed another small breather hole in the upper side of the brood chamber.

The brood chamber has two levels surround by a mesh. Pulling carefully on the mesh produces a ‘Split’ where a 7.5cm tall section of brood is lifted from the box. This brood lift can be transferred to another T.B. Honey Hive to propagate a new colony.

The Honey Chamber;

The Honey Hive was designed to have a stack of frames behind the brood chamber. A 15cm x 15cm x 15cm honey chamber fits a stack of 7 frames. Being involved in early trials of Bob’s frames, I knew that they could be very difficult to remove from a box, especially if the bees glued them in place with propolis. You could break frames trying to lever them out of a super. So I designed my box with the back wall removable by removing 4 screws. With the back wall removed, a thin bladed knife can be inserted on all sides of the frame stack, and the frames gently removed. Anyone using Bob’s frames will immediately see the benefit of this.

The carbonaria bees did not disappoint. Following their normal building patterns, they easily and reliably filled frames in this location. Having a stack of frames in this location behind the brood is my key innovation and contribution to the use of frames, because I did not see them reliably filled when placed in supers above the brood.

Filled honey frames can also be transferred to a new box to support a brood lift and creation of a new daughter colony.

The Entrance/Pollen chamber;

At the front of the hive is a chamber smaller than the other chambers. From observing naturally built log hives, I suspected carbonaria would restrict the amount of pollen stored if there was a chamber of limited size. This is sometimes seen in log hives where the natural hollows are in several semi distinct chambers. So I built a smaller front section to limit the carbonaria enthusiasm for collecting pollen, reasoning they must then concentrate on collecting nectar to make honey when the pollen chamber was full.

I encourage other beekeepers to copy and build their own versions of my box. If you could acknowledge my contribution in inventing and designing this box, that would be appreciated.

Deans website:

Hivecraft - Australian Native Bee Supplies

Native bee boxes available at

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