The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861
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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – December 2022

- December 1, 2022 - (excerpt)

Great Article on EFB

I wanted to reach out to you since I just read the article in your August issue on EFB [“European Foulbrood — Its Causes and Symptoms”] by Charlie Vanden Heuvel. I would have sent him an email but none was provided. This was one of the best articles I have read about honey bee disease states. Sometimes articles are written by academics and are hard for the general beekeeping population to read. The article was thorough, easy to read and understand for all levels of beekeeping. I hope to see more articles from him. AFB, Sacbrood, PMS, etc.

Regina Rhoa
Collegeville, Pennsylvania


AZ Hive vs. Langstroth frames

Nice to see some other hive styles written about [September, “Which Type of Hive is Right for You?”]. As an AZ Hive user for several years I want to put a little insight on one aspect of the article — Langstroth frames in AZ hives.

I designed and built my American AZ hives (AZ frames that are the same size as the Langstroth deep frame). I often teach others about them. I’ve done a bit of research, run a Facebook group for AZ Hivers in the Pacific Northwest (although I have beekeepers from all over the world), do presentations and write articles about AZ hives. With my experiences and feedback from other users I cannot recommend using Langstroth frames in an AZ hive. AZ frames like most frames are designed to work in that hive. I do use my AZ frames in Langstroth hives with modifications and on occasion put a Langstroth frame in an AZ hive but only for short time periods. I receive stories every year of people using some sort of AZ modified hive for Langstroth frames. They are all negative by the second year.

I note that one of the references is Drebbieville hives. Brian Drebber invented the American AZ hive in about 2015. He did not use Langstroth frames but changed the size of the AZ frame to fit foundation used by Langstroth frames. The comment in the article seems to say one can use Langstroth frames in AZ Hives: “One U.S. company is making an A-Z-type hive which takes standard Langstroth frames.” Another article [in the same issue] by Rusty Burlew, “A Slovenian-style Apiary Overlooking a Mountain Top,” shows AZ hives at Kay’s apiary. The AZ hives are from Drebbieville and are American AZ hives (same size frame as Langstroth).

Logic behind the issue: Bees love to produce burr comb and propolis, always in the wrong place. Every hive deals with this. Each is designed to combat the bees’ building instinct. In the AZ hives’ case it is all about the design of the frame. Langstroth frames are designed to lift out. They have tabs to hang the frame. The frame is spaced wider at the top for the 3/8” bee space. All pieces are flat wood. AZ frames are designed to slide on round rods or rails in and out of the hive back (inside bee house). AZ frames do not have tabs or extra wood at top. They are concave on the top and bottom. They get the ⅜” bee space by having metal spacers holding the frames on the front (bee entrance) and on the inner door of the hive.

The AZ hive is built into the bee house (the hive does not come apart). Access to the front inside of the hive is only when frames are out. The AZ frame is designed to have minimal contact with both spacers and rods. This assists in disconnecting when bees choose to build at that location. The frames are slid to the side at the back of the hive to disconnect. The Langstroth frame is flat on the bottom, wide at side, and has tabs, thus more connection locations.

Debra Langley-Boyer