Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bee Hive Equipment

The modern bee hive is a functional replica of the honey bee’s natural home, a cavity in a hollow tree. Designed by Lorenzo L. Langstroth in 1851, the hive is a series of open wooden boxes with removable frames holding beeswax comb for the bees’ brood nest and stores of honey. The hive sits on a bottom board and has a cover to protect the nest from the elements. The cover is usually one of two styles. Bee hives that are permanently placed and not regularly moved usually have a telescoping outer cover and a separate inner cover. The outer cover is called “telescoping” because it can move up and down a small amount. This outer cover can also be moved from front to rear a small distance to open or close a ventilation port in the inner cover. The outer cover overhangs the hive on all sides, providing a roof to shed rain from the hive. The inner cover serves several purposes. It provides a path to chimney air through the top of the hive to provide ventilation in both the summer and winter. The inner cover also provides the proper hive bee space to prevent the bees from gluing the tops of frames to the cover with propolis.

Bee hives that are regularly moved from one location to another for pollination service usually employ a single migratory cover. The migratory cover does not overhang the hive on the two long sides. This flush fit of the cover allows for the hives to be tightly banded together for safe transport on trucks. Migratory covers usually offer lesser ventilation capability to the hive, and they are often more tightly sealed in place by the bees using propolis. Both covers serve well, and their use is the beekeeper’s preference The Peace Bee Farm hives shown in the picture are equipped with screened bottom boards, medium depth hive bodies and honey supers, and telescoping outer covers with inner covers.


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