The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861
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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor – July 2018

- July 1, 2018 - (excerpt)

hive design

To the editor,

I am just finishing my latest beehive in my quest to find a perfect beehive! I thought your readers might find it interesting. With the attached photos I thought I would tell why I chose each detail of the hive design.

  • I chose Long Langstroth type hive because the hive takes standard frames that are readily available and inexpensive. They are also easy to handle. With a long hive you never need to lift a heavy super. The frames took my small strip of beeswax foundation which I prefer to use in wedge top frames. These frames would also take other beekeepers preference of different comb foundations.

To get a greater ratio of honey to wax I use a 9 frame spacer after the first 10 frames of brood frames. But you would not have to do this. These standard frames allow the installation of a common nuc or package of bees.

  • I chose a clear Lexan follower board because I want to observe progress on comb building after adding the nuc or package of bees without opening their space. I can then see when to add more frames without taking out the follower board and disturbing the bees. It is so interesting to watch the bees through this ‘window’.
  • I chose clear Lexan inner covers so I could open the top and watch them without disturbing the busy bees. This adds another element of fun to my hive and allows me to show others live bees working inside a hive without donning bee suits. I put small holes in the Lexan to allow air circulation.
  • The top will have a sheet of 1 1/2” Styrofoam insulation which is not installed yet in this set of photos. That insulation fits above the ventilation holes shown at the ends of the hive.
  • The top is hinged so old men like me can handle it by themselves.
  • A large wide entrance is in the end, rather than the side, to encourage all the brood frames to stay at that end. That makes it easy to harvest honey from the end away from the entrance. Generous space under the frames allows easy access for the bees to any part of the hives. No additional entrance will be needed. An entrance reducer is easy to control access in colder times. Only one entrance for guard bees to protect.
  • Heavier 1 1/2” wood sides, and bottom, for better climate control, especially in our Montana winters.
  • Having the hive off the ground on legs makes it more convenient and helps keep critters out of the hive. Legs do not have to be fancy and they could be just plain 2×4 lumber or even cinder blocks. I plan to finish it with clear, water based, exterior, Polyurethane and add some decorative metal accents from Hobby Lobby. The options for paint and/or decoration are endless. It can be a real piece of garden art.

These are not new ideas. Rather they are a compilation of ideas from….