What is a Beehive?

The simplest answer is the home of a group of bees.

Bees naturally look for a dark enclosed space with a small entrance to build a hive in;  a hollow log or in the wall of a house. We can replicate  this and at the same time make it easier for us to extract the honey.

The old-fashioned skep was the answer for hundreds of years to the question – what is a beehive?  In times past bees were raised the classic beehive shape we all recognise, woven from willow or straw. The problem with



the skep was that the whole hive had to be destroyed to remove the honey at harvest time.

Development of the Langstroth Hive:

Then in 1851,  the Langstroth Hive was invented, with separate timber frames hanging inside a box.  Now we could inspect the hive and extract the honey without killing the bees.  This is the most common type in use worldwide today.

The boxes (supers)are manufactured from untreated timber and the frames from either timber or plastic.  The foundation (where the bees grow the comb) can be either beeswax sheet or plastic coated with beeswax.

The bottom box is occupied by the queen and is where she lays the brood which are cared for by the workers.  The bottom box will also have food supply including honey and pollen.  Once a colony is established, it is time to put on another super with a queen excluder between the boxes.  This is where your honey crop will come from.  The queen excluder ensures no brood will be laid in the top boxes so the honey will be clean.

The hive is placed on a base to keep it off the ground.  The entrance reducer prevents unwanted wasps, mice or other bees (robbers) from entering  the hive.  It also can be reversed to allow transporting of the hive without losing the bees inside.


On top of the hive you have a hive lid to protect from the weather and a hive mat inside to give you beespace and prevent the lid from being sealed down with propolis.

To see our options for starter hives click the following link:  https://www.hiveworld.co.nz/product-category/hiveware/hives/

About the author : Rod

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