How to Build a Better Bee Hive, Step by Step 

Build your own horizontal Layens hive to save money while creating the best hive possible for your bees.

By Leo Sharashkin
August/September 2018

The Layens hive is the original horizontal hive with extra-deep frames, invented in the 19th century by Georges de Layens. More than 1 million hives of this model are in use today, and it’s the hive that I (and my bees) prefer.

This style of hive is ideal for successful overwintering and rapid spring colony buildup, even in cold climates. This model features 1-1/2-inch walls, which will protect your bees from summer heat and winter cold. This version accepts 14 Layens frames (which are equivalent to 18 Langstroth deep frames) and holds up to 45 pounds of surplus honey. If you live in an area with a more abundant honey flow, simply make the box longer by 19/16 inches for each additional frame you desire. Depending on the area and your management choices, Layens hives can consist of anywhere from 12 to 30 frames.