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How to make a handy mobile storage dolly

By: Harrison Rogers

Vice President Harris County Beekeepers Association
Treasurer - Real Texas Honey Program - Certified Texas Master

Have you ever started pulling supers out of storage when the nectar flow hits and find out that you stuck empty boxes in the stack of ones with drawn comb, or partially filled boxes needing extra frames? This happens to us small scale beekeepers because we store boxes over different parts of the season due to dead-outs, extraction time, oncoming winter months, etc. If we just put the next box on top of the last one, we can end up with mix-matched equipment because the stacks of boxes are just too hard to access or move around and keep organized.

I like to build stuff, and this is one solution that has helped me a lot. I built simple dollies for stacks of boxes, making them super easy to move around and keep organized.

I can roll out a whole stack or two just to get to a particular stack of boxes behind them.

Pictured is what looks like a telescoping cover. In fact, it does have the same dimensions – just a simple tray made of plywood and 1X2 inch lumber. Four wheels on the bottom make it complete. I used 3-inch swivel casters with PVC wheels I found on Amazon. These roll extremely easily on a concrete floor. Now I can create a movable stack of supers with drawn comb, another stack with just frames and new foundation, etc. You get the picture.


So, you might ask what about protecting drawn comb. I once lost a lot of this valuable resource in the past by being negligent with the paradichlorobenzene (PDB) crystals, and allowing wax moths to enter cracks between stored supers. My dollies help make that easier. When I have supers ready to store after extraction time, I just start a stack on a dolly and start wrapping it with stretch wrap, available in the shipping or office supplies section of different stores.The plastic wrap

seals up any cracks between boxes. I put some PDB in the upper super and place a telescoping cover to seal off the top of the stack. To make sure no insects can enter under the bottom super, I used some closed cell foam around the inside edges of the dolly where the first super sits. This seals off any gap that might exist on the bottom edge of that super. If all the wheels are free-rolling the stack tends to rotate as you pull the stretch wrap around.    

So, if one pair of wheels are the locking type, they will keep the stack stationary making it easier to go round and round with the wrap as you apply it.       

When you need to add more boxes, you just start wrapping more, until you run out of height in your storage area.

When it’s time to put supers back on your hives in the spring, you can just take off as many as you need by cutting back the shrink wrap and then seal up the rest with the telescoping cover.

During extraction time, I use the dollies to move around supers heavy and dripping with honey, and others to accept the wet supers after they run through the extractor. If they were not to be used for dripping supers, the dollies could be made with just ¾” plywood about 16-½” X 20” with no 2” sides.

With the weight of boxes, especially full of honey - this dolly has definitely been helpful - Harrison Rogers


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