BeeFree Pallet Hive Agroplaza Getafe

BeeFree Pallet Hive Agroplaza Getafe

Shipping pallets and their versatility and availability are all the rage. I know the boards are often finished with harsh treatments to endure their continuous life cycle , but if sanded down and retreated with a natural finish why not turn them into a beehive?


I was given the opportunity to do just that a few weeks back at a 2 week long sustainability event held in the Madrid suburb of Getafe. With only 3 hours over 2 days to carry out the workshop on how to build a hive out of pallets, I had a bit of prep work to get done before it started.  As the Beefree beehive design came together last month in Andalusia and is already proving to fulfill the bees needs, I combined the same hybrid style beehive design with the urban areas locally available materials.  


colmena de palet getafe

Following a brief introduction and photo slideshow of the various beekeeping experiences which have led me to prototype this model, a diverse group of workshop attendees enthusiastically assisted me in the assembly of the precut boards.  

kahlyn taller palet

By adapting the design to the width of the pallets I had available I was able to respect the 40 liters of interior space bees look for while swarming in nature,  provide side walls with angles of 30 degrees, as well as assure its top opening compatibility to the standard Langstroth dimensions.  

pallet hive getafe

Now time to fill it with bees and let the real prototyping begin. 

Inovation, Creation and Technology

Inovation, Creation and Technology

I can´t help but be amazed these days as myself and my team of talented and creative artists bring the BeeFree beehive design to life.


Its not easy bringing a paper creation to virtual reality and I have David and Nelída to thank. 


What evolved last year as a result of an inspirational beekeeping project initiation in Ethiopia, and a frustrating bee year in our small Madrid apiary was a prototype that combined the best of both beehive styles into one. 

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Understanding that following the period of natural hive division through swarming,  bees look for a 40 liter space, more or less, to begin their new colony, I was inspired to combine the top bar style hive that we use with Ethiopian beekeepers with the typical Langstroth hive used by modern beekeepers across much of Europe and the Americas.

After a few measurements were made with the assistance of an online calculator equating the interior space of a trapezoidal fish tank, I adapted the top openings to match that of the interior space of the Lorenzo Langstroth beehive and worked my way down.


The beauty of top bar hives is that they allow for bees to naturally build their honey comb depending on their colonies needs.

By providing a top bar with an indication of where they should begin their work, and providing side walls between 30 and 60 degrees, bees,  while naturally forming their new home, resist attaching their wax to the side walls, leaving each panel independent from the next. 

It seams that Varroa destructor, the infamous tick thats sucks all nutrients from developing bees is here it stay. And while we as beekeepers can treat our hives from season to season with the latest biologically advanced and ecologically approved chemical or not treatments, Varroa only seams to adapt and each year the following treatment must be stronger. 

So rather than irradiate the parasite it seems our best option is to strengthen the colony throughout this rather abrasive co-existence.  

By allowing the bees to build their honey comb panels we allow for them to draw each of the cells out according to needs leaving no extra room for the Varroa Destructor.


After a full season of colony development and hive establishment within the KTB style brood box, the Beefree beehive allows for the addition of Langstroth style honey supers directly on top. 


Like I said before, my team here in Madrid is making this all come together. With the use of the laser printers and the CNC digital router were currently working out all the kinks with the bees comfort in mind. 

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