This page is credited in full to Dave Cushman who created it. His voice is expressed in black colour text and any additions or comments in blue belong to myself. Credit: Dave Cushman’s website.
Bee Hive Design Parameters
The design of bee hives is not a matter of aesthetics or prettiness, but is regulated by what bees do, or will tolerate when they are presented with a ‘fait au complis’.
The various parameters that need to be regulated for the well being of both the bees and the beekeeper are set out in the paragraphs below and the pages that are linked in the menu at left or links in the text below.
I have spent thousands of hours researching and designing beekeeping equipment (for UK use).
I hope some of what I have learned in the process will be useful to others.
“A” Is the roof, lid or outer cover depending on which country you live in.
“B” This is the coverboard, crownboard or inner cover.
“C” Is a super or honey box, but sometimes this position is occupied by a section rack. On other occasions this position might be occupied by an overall feeder.
“D” Is a super or honey box. (There may be any number of these and they are commonly shallower than the boxes used for brood.)
“E” Is a queen excluder.
“F” This is the brood box or brood chamber (but may consist of more than one box).
“G” The floor or bottom board goes here but is sometimes replaced by a pollen trap.
“H” A stand is not absolutely essential in all conditions, but wherever damp weather prevails it is advisable.
The basic parts of a bee hive
There are other items that are used at various times during the season. They are:-
Ekes, Escape or Clearer boards, Feeders and various gadgets used in queen rearing.
Modularity in beehive design Ease of manipulation is greatly enhanced if a degree of “modularity” is present. This modularity can have horizontal as well as vertical influence.
For instance if an eke is 75 mm tall and a super is 150 mm the brood chamber at 225 mm can be adapted from an eke and a super or two ekes can be pressed into service as a super.
If nucleus boxes are made half of the width of a brood box and the same length then (with the British system) two nuc boxes holding 5 frames each can sit on top of a brood box holding 11 frames.
By the same token three nucs each holding three frames also fit this footprint.
I have also tried using four modules each containing two frames, but these are difficult for the bees to thermo-regulate. Also, they are unstable if used singly.
The principle of four, twin frame nucs can be followed using a brood box with dividers as indeed can the two by five frame and the three by three frame systems.
No matter how strong your urge to create a new hive is and no matter how much better than ALL the others your egos tells you it will be please please please resist. There are MORE than enough designs in existence already.
Honestly there are.
I mean it.