Hive Guide Mike Alsop

Hive Guide 2011 By Mike Alsop Last modified - March 2011 Contents • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Intro Hive Parts Hive summary The Nation...
10 downloads 0 Views 2MB Size
Hive Guide 2011 By Mike Alsop

Last modified - March 2011

Contents • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Intro Hive Parts Hive summary The National Hive- 1920's The Deep National Hive – 1946 revised 1960 Top Bar Hive – circa 2650 BC The Dartington Hive – 1975 / Beehaus - 2008 The WBC – 1890 Smith Hive – post 1920 Commercial Hive – 1960's Modified Dadant (MD) - 1917 Langstroth Hive – 1850 Langstroth Jumbo Hive - 1905 The Warré Hive – circa 1951 Rose Hive – post 2000 Poly Hives Poly Nucs Plastic Frames Which hive is the right one for me? Thymol (Varroa control – Treatment in syrup)

Intro Modern Beehives Since becoming a bee keeper a few years ago now, I've had a chance to see first hand most of the various types of hives. As time marches on some of these hives are disappearing from apiaries and new designs are being introduced. Last year I suffered with a prolapsed disc and as a result I had plenty of spare time laying about doing next to nothing to do the research which lead to me creating this guide to try and help others decide which hive would best suits your needs as a bee keeper.

The Primary function of a hive (from a bees perspective) Bees are incredible masters at adapting to what they can find to make into a home, they don't always select the best places to start a new nest but once they have found a new site they will often construct several good sized combs in a matter of days working themselves literally to death to ensure the next generation will hopefully not only survive but flourish and continue to throw out further swarms. I'm not even going to try and explain the processes behind how a swarm selects the most suitable site, but I will generalise a little and say it needs to be some where dry, reasonably draft proof, free from disease and pests, a suitable size as well as many other factors like competition from other colonies, quantity of pollen and nectar in the local area through out the season and no doubt many other factors we don't understand or know about as yet, but when it comes down to us humans in most cases they will find themselves put into a box and not given a choice where they are located so it is important they should feel reasonably happy with the hive you have provided and where they are located or they could well abscond within a few days. As long as you try and cover the basic requirements and place them in a clean, disease free hive in a reasonable location which gives them half a chance the colony will adapt and will make do with what they have been given. If you expect to take their honey the least you can do is give them a good home in a good location.

Brand New or Second hand An old second hand wooden hive which has seen better days picked up for a bargain may seem perfectly adequate to us but please think again before you buy it. Consider in most cases you will likely pay good money for your first colony so its not worth trying to save money only to dump them in a hive which is only fit for a bonfire. If you are unsure but the hive looks in good condition use a scrapper and remove any loose wax and propolis, then use a blow torch and scorch all the inside surfaces of all the parts which make up the hive carefully trying to avoid turning the wood black. Hives made from pine or ply will last you many years provided you make an effort to retreat it every 3-5 years, however cedar will last 20+ years and shouldn't require any forms of treatment. In recent years in the UK some hives are also being made from plastic and polystyrene which can't be heat treated in the same way, but in most cases they can be taken apart and cleaned using some recommended disinfectants or other special solutions.

Where to start – KISS : Keep It Simple See My first recommendation to a new bee keeper would be to use the same type of hive as other bee keepers within your local area or association and if possible start with two colonies in case one colony has a problem, the reason I would suggest this is only a few hives have interchangeable or compatible sized equipment so if you have a problem there is a greater chance another bee keeper will be able to help you. For instance say during an inspection the queen is killed and the colony try to raise another queen unsuccessfully, to solve the problem another bee keeper may be able to give you a frame with eggs and larvae to raise another emergency queen, but for some reason you decided to go with a less common type of hive you may struggle to find someone who can help you quickly with minimal fuss.

Most hives contain the same basic parts although the dimensions can vary greatly depending on several factors but as a general rule you should confirm it has all the following parts included.

BS National Hive

----

Roof

----

Crown board

----

Super

----

Queen Excluder

----

Brood box

----

Floor

----

Entrance block

The Floor or hive base is a vital piece of the hive. Most floors are either made from a solid sheet of wood to help contain the hive temperatures and keep pests out or more recently with the increasing problems of the Varroa mite the floor may have an open wire mesh which helps remove the unwanted mite from the hive. In addition the mesh provides additional ventilation which some say allows you to keep a narrower entrance fitted all year around which is easier for the bees to defend. A good size of mesh has gaps of approx 4 mm large enough to allow the Varroa mite to fall through but small enough to keep the hive secure from most other unwanted pests. I would recommend a mesh floor. Entrance Block is fitted to reduce access to the hive during the winter time to help keep the warmth in and unwanted visitors out, during the spring and summer it can be partly or fully removed when the colony is of a suitable size to defend a larger opening and thus gives the flying bee's easier access directly into the hive. The entrance block how ever should be refitted with the smallest entrance if the hive is being attacked by another colony, wasps or if the weather is poor for that time of season. The Brood Box is generally the largest chamber in the hive, this is where the queen lives all year round and lays her eggs, the colony will also store pollen, nectar and honey for themselves in this chamber so its within easy reach as required. The maximum colony size is determined by the size of this box which is different depending on the type of hive. During the Spring through to Summer when the colony size has suitably built up, bee keepers will commonly split the colony by removing some of the frames from the brood box which contain plenty of eggs, sealed brood, pollen and honey to start a new colony in another hive nearby, then replace the missing frames.

The Queen Excluder is either a thin sheet of steel or plastic with rods, slots or holes in it. The gaps are just big enough to allow a female bee through but too small to allow the slightly larger queen or male drone bee to pass through. This then allows additional boxes or supers to be placed above which will only be filled with honey as the queen is kept from laying any eggs in this area.

The Super is generally a shallow box of frames for the bees to store excess honey. When the honey is capped the bee keeper will remove the super and take it away to extract the honey from the frames. During a good year a bee keeper will often stack 2,3 or even 4 supers on top of the brood box and the queen excluder. The supers should be removed at the end of the season to reduce down the total amount of internal space of the hive to just a brood box or boxes to help the bees keep warm.

Crown Board is a flat sheet of wood some times with a hole in the centre or off set to one side. They are used primarily as a cover on top of the brood box. The board creates a barrier to separate the different boxes of the hive and those with holes can be fitted with a bee escape or used to support some feeders.

The Roof some hives have either a plain felt or a metal sheet covered roof, they should be made to be a good weight to stop them being blown off in strong winds and also help insulate the hive to trap the warmth in the brood box for winter time.

Hive Stand a simple method to keep the hive off the floor it should be tall enough 250mm or more to allow a flow of air to pass under the hive and help prevent any fallen Varroa from being able to crawl back up into the hive. Some bee keepers coat the legs of their hives stands with grease or sticky tar to prevent ants and some other insects from being able to access the hive.

Hive Summary

Hive Type

Dimensions

Brood box cells (Approx)

Bee Space Brood Comb area of both sides

Full Super Weight (Approx)

No of Brood Frames (Brood Frame size)

National

18 1/8” x 18 1/8” 460 mm x 460 mm

50000

Bottom 199 sq. in

25 lbs 11.36 Kg

11 (14” x 8 1/2”) 356 mm x 216 mm

Deep National

18 1/8” x 18 1/8” 460 mm x 460 mm

72000

Bottom 292 sq. in

25 lbs 11.36 Kg

11 (14” x 12”) 356 mm x 305 mm

Dartington

36 1/4” x 18 1/8” 920 mm x 460 mm

72000

Bottom 292 sq. in

If top supers then same as National

11 (14” x 12”) 356 mm x 305 mm

WBC

19 7/8” x 19 7/8” 505 mm x 505 mm

45000

Bottom 199 sq. in

25 lbs 11.36 Kg

10 (14” x 8 1/2”) 356 mm x 216 mm

Commercial

18 5/16” x 18 5/16” 465 mm x 465 mm

70500

Bottom 275 sq. in

25 lbs 11.36 Kg

11 (16” x 10”) 407 mm x 254 mm

Langstroth

20” x 16 1/4” 508 mm x 413 mm

61400

Top 272 sq. in

30 lbs 13.64 Kg

10 (17 5/8” x 9 1/2”) 448 mm x 241 mm

Smith

16 3/8” x 18 1/4” 416 mm x 463 mm

50000

Top 199 sq. in

25 lbs 11.36 Kg

11 (14” x 8 1/2”) 356 mm x 216 mm

Top Bar *

36 to 48” x 16 to 19” 914mm to 1219 mm x 407 mm to 482 mm

Varies

Bottom Varies *

NA *

NA * (varies per hive)

Rose

18 1/8” x 18 1/8” 460mm x 460mm

35000

Bottom 175 sq. in

30 lbs 13.64 Kg

11 (14” x 8 1/2”) 356 mm x 216 mm 190mm deep

Dadant & Langstroth Jumbo

20” x 16 1/4” 508 mm x 413 mm

85000

Top 340 sq. in

40 lbs 18.18 Kg

11 (17 5/8” x 11 1/4”) 448 mm x 286 mm

*-

The Top Bar and Warré hives are not always made to pre-set sizes or managed in the same way by using supers.

As well as those listed above you may come across two other hives not listed above.

Beehaus – this is very similar to the Dartington hive shown above. Poly Hive – or polystyrene hive, these are now available in BS National and Langstroth sizes see the Poly Hive section of this guide.

Brood chambers You will often hear the terms in the UK of single brood, double brood or brood and a half. So before we begin let me explain want these mean. As a beginner most of you will start off with a nuc or a package of bees which is on average about 8000 - 10,000 bees. It will take several months for the colony to grow and expand to fill a single brood chamber. As a result your first year in bee keeping should be relatively simple and you shouldn't need to worry to much about swarm control or putting on multiple supers if the colony is given all fresh new frames which need to be drawn out before they can be used. An average colony can still peek to about 40,000 bees in its first year if they need to draw out all new frames which will slow the colony development down, although under the right conditions some strains can build up to 60,000 to 70,000 bees very quickly. Single National Brood In the picture below, you'll notice the shaded yellow areas roughly represents the area the queen will use to lay eggs. In most hives the queen will not lay in the outer two frames unless the colony is very strong. More often the colony will use the outer frames to store excess honey and pollen in reserve for when its needed. A single National chamber has enough space to home a colony of about 25,000 – 30,000 bees until the nectar flow starts when supers should be added for the colony to store the excess nectar to convert it to honey. Double National Brood Two single chambers stacked, this gives the queen twice the area of a single brood chamber. During inspections an expert bee keeper can look between the two chambers to see if there are any queen cells. This option is very popular with commercial bee keepers and during the early to mid part of the season the queen can lay almost non stop and produce a huge colony under the right conditions. A double brood hive using National chambers is enough space to home a colony of about 40,000 – 50,000+ bees until the nectar flow starts when supers may be added for the colony to store the excess nectar to convert it to honey. See below Queens and Colonies. Brood and a Half With the modern prolific queens some bee keepers believe the single National brood chamber is to small and the colony will prepare to swarm once it reaches a critical size. To delay this natural instinct a super can be placed on top of the brood chamber without a queen excluder in between to give the queen more room to lay in both chambers through out the season. The super is not removed at the end of the season as it will contain the vital winter stores.

Above: This is a very crude example of the laying patterns of a queen. Queens and Colonies It is important the colony is given enough space according to its size as the internal hive temperature needs to be kept at about 32 – 34'C for the brood to develop. Too much excess space will result in the queen not laying across the frames which can not be held at the right temperature thus stunting the speed at which the colony grows. To little space and the colony will fill the brood nest area is filled with pollen and nectar blocking the queen from being able to lay. As a rule it is better to give the colony slightly more room than they need and allow them to expand into the excess space. Also bear in mind some queens will only ever build up to a medium sized colony so giving her two full brood chambers may be too much space and you may find the upper chamber is only used to store the excess honey and not used by the queen for laying in.

Hives

The National Hive 1920's The National Hive is the most popular hive in the UK. This then makes life easier for bee keepers to purchase packages of bees on frames and exchange equipment with other bee keepers. Although many bee keepers believe the national brood box is too small for a prolific queen. The National supers when full of honey can contain 20-25 lbs of honey plus the weight of the box and frames. This sort of weight can be a little difficult for some people to manage solo.

Frames The standard brood box is 8 7/8” deep and takes 11 frames. The most popular brood frames are the DN4 and the DN5. Both of which have the Hoffman side bars, which means the side bar is wider at the top and narrows towards the bottom. The DN5 has a wider and stronger top bar than the DN4. Hoffman frames tend to be favoured because they are self-spacing and do not require any extra equipment to keep them the correct distances apart. The bevelled edges at the top of the side bar allow the bee keeper to see clearly when pushing the frames together to help avoid any bee's getting trapped and killed between the frames. Additionally there is a smaller contact surface area between the frames for the bees to glue together with propolis, which makes inspections far easier. A complete hive comprises: standard floor, brood box, a queen excluder, a super, a crown board and a metal sheet metal covered roof. Most National hives are made from Cedar, which does not require any preservatives as cedar has its own natural "camphor" type preserving oils. This natural wood oil protects it from the weather and discourages insects from eating the wood. Cedar wood is an ideal timber for hives in the British climate and will last over 15 years. Frame Options 11 Hoffman (self-spacing) frames in both the brood box and super plus a dummy board. 11 frames on narrow ends in the brood box plus a dummy board. 10 Manley frames in the super 9 or 10 frames on castellated spacers in the super 8 frames on wide ends in the super Summary This is good hive for all bee keepers as it is a reasonable size. However, the colony needs to be carefully monitored throughout the year as a prolific queen laying at her maximum rate will create a strong colony in a few months which could lead to problems of swarming if left unchecked. The frames are easy to manage even when full of stores as they have long lugs to hold the frame by, most bee keepers prefer to use Hoffman self-spacing frames in the brood chamber and Manley frames in the super. The hive is square and can be orientated either the 'warm way' or the 'cold way', in other words the direction of the frames in relation to the entrance.

The Deep National Hive 1946 revised in 1960 The Deep National Hive is fast becoming a very popular hive in the UK. Some Bee Keepers have either modified their current National hives or they have bought a replacement Deep National brood box to allow for their prolific queens. The outer dimensions of the Deep National hive are the same as the National hive apart from the depth of the brood box which allows for deeper frames to be used. The 14”x12” frame greatly increases the total number of cells per frame for the queen to lay in and also for the colony to store greater amounts of pollen, honey and nectar in.

Frames for the deep national hive are called 14x12 which means 14” x 12” frames. Left: I modified this National hive with a home made 90mm eke to allow the use of 14” x 12” frames in the brood box. This is a better option than running a brood and a half but will requires all new larger 14x12 frames and foundation.

Left: As the colony prepares for winter they can store a greater volume of honey on each 14x12 frame. Underneath where the bees are mostly clustering you can just about make out the darker coloured comb from where bees have emerged from these cells over the season as this frame was being used as part of the brood nest where the queen has been laying eggs. Most of the frames in this hive were close to being 50% filled with capped honey by the end of November '09 so even though we had lots of snow that Winter, the colony survived and came through strong and healthy with plenty of excess stores.

Summary This is an excellent hive size and better suited to a colony headed by a prolific queen. Once a BS National hive has been modified to take the larger 14” x 12” frames and colony has more space to expand into it will delay a colony from swarming very early into the season and it is considered unlikely the queen will become naturally honey bound. However some bee keepers may find these frames a little tiring to manipulate if they contain lots of capped honey but I believe the benefits outweigh this minor issue. I would recommend this option if a BS National is too small for your queen.

BS National & Deep National Hives Since these hives are now the most common in the UK for their ease of transferring equipment between bee keepers and the fact commercial suppliers of packages also use these hive types it has simplified many of the problems bee keepers faced when wanting to exchange colonies or equipment.

Hive Type

Dimensions

Brood box cells

Bee Space Brood Comb area of both sides

Full Super Weight (Approx)

No of Brood Frames (Brood Frame size)

National

18 1/8” x 18 1/8” 460 mm x 460 mm

50000

Bottom 199 sq. in

25 lbs 11.36 Kg

11 (14” x 8 1/2”) 356 mm x 216 mm

Deep National

18 1/8” x 18 1/8” 460 mm x 460 mm

70000

Bottom 292 sq. in

25 lbs 11.36 Kg

11 (14” x 12”) 356 mm x 305 mm

With a prolific queen who can lay upwards of 1500 eggs a day, the number of free cells in the National brood box is considered by many to be too small, so careful attention is required during the spring time to avoid the colony swarming. The Deep National (14x12) is considered by many to be more suitable and the 70000 cells should be more than enough space to help prevent early swarming. When a standard national sized frame is placed between two deep national frames (14x12) the bees will make good use of the space and will build fresh comb downwards from the bottom bar. Commonly the comb cells are made slightly larger for drone brood (Male bees) as the bees are not forced to follow the embossed pattern on a sheet of foundation. This drone comb can then be removed as part of a pest management program when sealed drones are present. Left: Circled in red are normal worker cells the other cells around these are larger and will be used for the drone brood. (Male Bee)

This then saves the colony from having to modify their existing worker sized cells for this propose, drone cells are likely to attract and contain the highest levels of the Varroa due to the drone bee taking on average 24 days from egg to male bee. Tens to hundreds of Varroa can be removed in one go by removing this comb, although more recently this practice is thought to be one of the causes of why some queens are not able to mate as well as they could and they only last a couple of years as a large numbers of drones are killed each time. Another feature many bee keepers like about the National hive is the entrance block which can be turned or removed to give a different entrance size depending on the time of the season. Although you may well read some conflicting advice it is generally recommended a smaller entrance size is kept in place if a mesh floor is used throughout the season and only removed for a few weeks a year during the main honey flows. During the winter time when we tend to suffer higher wind speeds and driving rain and the treat of woodpeckers it is worth securing the hive with a cargo strap and cover the hive with a fine wire mesh like chicken wire or pin plastic bags on all four sides but making sure the entrance is kept clear.

Top Bar Hives I have made a few over the last couple of years of different designs.

Left:This next hive design was a copy of a hive I saw when our association went to visit Tony Herbert near Salisbury. I have since recycled this hive as well as the doors warped badly.

Left: This TBH was designed by Phil Chandler of www.biobees.com and although it looks very small it is in fact four feet long and has a greater volume than a National hive. This design is very simple and uses follower boards to divide the hive into different sizes depending on what is required. Several different entrance holes are made and then plugged with corks when not required. The plans of this hive are free to download. http://www.lulu.com/content/815182

Left: This hive is based on a design by www.backyardhive.com the internal space in this hive is much bigger than the hive above and also has an observation window with a removable cover to allow the bee keeper to quickly peer inside with out needing to open the hive. This design also can use a follower board to keep the internal space slightly bigger than the colony needs at the time to help conserve the heat. Once a colony has had time to build up this hive could hold a colony of over 90,000 bees and still have plenty of space.

I collected a swarm in June 2010 to see a video of their progress click the following link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqFMKIoF0ls Top bar hives can be made from any thing from a large plant pot to an old barrel and are by far the cheapest form of hives, if you make your own. It doesn't need to look pretty to make a great hive. This year I intend to leave the colony alone to see how they progress. However I will not restock the hive once its empty as this form of bee keeping isn't for me but I will keep the hive as a bait hive.

The top bar hive has many pro's and con's compared to conventional 'framed' hives Pro's • The colony has no barriers to contend with like queen excluder's • During inspections there is less heat loss, so less stress to the colony • Most designs can be simply divided in two using a follower board making artificial swarm splits and queen raising very simple • No heavy lifting of supers • All combs are natural, so no man-made foundation required • Cheaper, very simple to build to your own requirements or size • No expensive additional equipment required • Closer approximation of a hollowed out tree which a feral colony would use Con's • • • • •

The combs are only held from above so are considered fragile Reduced amounts of excess honey as the bees build their own fresh comb Fewer bee keepers use these hive so expert advice maybe limited Most designs are considered to be cumbersome and non-migratory Different designs means equipment tends to be bespoke

Top Bar bee keeping pre-dates all the other types of hives, well before Victorian times when the 'frame' hives were first introduced to maximise yields of honey for commercial reasons without killing the colony in the process. As a result the top bar hive numbers declined rapidly to the point that even today many bee keepers frown on their use quoting some of the con's listed above. However with all the problems faced by bee keepers the top bar method of bee keeping is considered to only be one step away from a feral colony in the wild. The bees are able to manage their own nest without the clutter of the frames and man-made foundation which could well be contaminated with also sorts of unknown chemicals. The bees know what they need and are perfectly capable of building the comb the way they want it and to the correct cell sizes to cater for drones, as a result there is no need for them to tear down or modify worker cells as they will construct a comb with the larger cells naturally. During an inspection the bee keeper starts from the back of the hive, firstly removing a few of the unused bars to gain access before moving forwards. When bars of honey comb are taken out they are simply replaced with new bars and the heat in the brood nest area is retained as it is towards the front of the hive where the queen and most of the colony is left undisturbed in the warmth. Less stress to the colony is always a good thing, as the colony does not have to reheat the hive.

Left: The top bars can be made from almost anything from strips of wood to bamboo canes, to best mimic the natural spacing of combs in a feral hive it is recommended the brood nest bars are made 33-35mm wide and honey bars anything up to 35-44mm. Starter strips can be used to help the colony build a straight comb, each keeper has his own favoured design from a thin strip of wood to a bead of wax melted along the centre line.

Dartington – Beehaus Long deep hive 1975

Above: This is my home made version of the Dartington Long Hive, accentually this hive is a double length Deep National hive, although the hive can be divided in half if two colonies need to share. The Dartington Hive is not a common type of hive in the UK as once it is in place it is far to cumbersome to move with a colony in it. Robin Dartington describes this hive as a break-away from the conventional approach to bee keeping. Focusing instead on understanding the life urges in the colony, centred on the queen, rather than the mechanical colony behaviour. His book New Bee keeping in a long deep hive (pub. 1985) Is an excellent guide to the management of this type of hive although the principles for each season are the same as a standard hive, until the colony is preparing to swarm when the owner just needs to make a few simple adjustments to satisfy the colonies needs without needing to have on-hand a whole new hive and a complete set of hive equipment ready. In recent years the Dartington Hive concept has been renamed as a Beehaus and is being aimed more at the trendy urban bee keeper by www.omlet.co.uk Since its release it has been the subject of many debates and arguments over the last couple of years on various forums. As you can see from the picture this hive contains all the same parts of most other hives. A complete hive will cost over £450 so it may not be suitable for those on a tight budget. Reading through some of the reviews of this hive is interesting as it clearly has the Marmite factor. Love it or loath it. Time will tell for this hive but if you are considering buying a Beehaus I would recommend you do some research first.

Both hive types are large and not easily moved without assistance.

WBC 1890 Named after the inventor, William Broughton Carr, the WBC has become an iconic and highly recognisable beehive design. It is based on the same principles as the Cheshire and Cowan but with an extra outer wall. This provides the bees with additional insulation and quickly became popular for its looks. However, it was rarely used commercially because it was complex and costly to make and also inconvenient to use as the outer covers have to be removed each time for inspection.

William Broughton Carr was a man of many talents and during his time he introduced the metal ends used for spacing frames and also the shallow frame size which is used in supers today. The WBC hive is still the iconic symbol of British bee keeping and is widely used throughout the UK and makes a lovely feature in any ones garden who wishes to keep a small number of these hives.

Hive Type

Dimensions

Brood box cells

Bee Space Brood Comb area of both sides

Full Super Weight (Approx)

No of Frames in the Brood box (Brood Frame size)

WBC

19 7/8” x 19 7/8” 505 mm x 505 mm

45000

Bottom 199 sq. in

25 lbs 11.36 Kg

10 (14” x 8 1/2”) 356 mm x 216 mm

However for those with physical issues this hive may not perfectly suit you, as the outer covers need to be carefully removed each time to inspect the hive. On a plus side the outer covers will protect the colony inside from the elements and the void can be filled in Winter with additional insulation. Many WBC owners now use a BS National hive inside their WBC's.

Smith Hive This hive was named after Mr W Smith of Innerleithen, Peebles, Scotland who designed it with Scottish weather conditions in mind, it is based on the American Langstroth design but kept to the basic concept of 11 or 12 British standard frames. Its box shape construction was kept simple compared to the National. The frames have short lugs which rest on rebates cut into the top of each box. National frames can be used in this hive although the end lugs will need to be cut down to fit.

Hive Type

Dimensions

Brood box cells

Bee Space Brood Comb area of both sides

Full Super Weight (Approx)

No of Frames in the Brood box (Brood Frame size)

Smith

16 3/8” x 18 1/4” 416 mm x 463 mm

50000

Top 199 sq. in

25 lbs 11.36 Kg

11 (14” x 8 1/2”) 356 mm x 216 mm

With a prolific queen who can lay between 2000 and 3000 eggs a day the number of free cells in the brood box is considered to be too small, careful attention is required during the spring time to avoid the colony swarming, although many Smith hive owners turned to using a brood and half box to get round this issue although this practice solves some problems it does take longer to manage then from this many Smith Hive owners then progressed on to Deep 14” x 12” frames or they use a National hive inside the outer covers.

Commercial Hives A Commercial hive is a mere 5mm wider and longer external dimensions than a National hive which makes the supers compatible, but instead of having side rebates the hive is a simple cuboid. Because of this the frames are slightly larger in the brood chamber and have shorter handles or lugs. The brood box is picked up using small hand holds cut into the external wall of the hive. Traditional commercial supers have this same feature, which can make them difficult to hold when full of honey. Some bee keepers therefore prefer to use National supers on top of a Commercial brood box.

Hive Type

Dimensions

Brood box cells

Bee Space Brood Comb area of both sides

Full Super Weight (Approx)

No of Frames in the Brood box (Brood Frame size)

Commercial

18 5/16” x 18 5/16” 465 mm x 465 mm

70500

Bottom 275 sq. in

25 lbs 11.36 Kg

11 (16” x 10”) 407 mm x 254 mm

The Commercial hive is considered a good sized hive and the number of free cells should be more than enough space to prevent early swarms. Many commercial bee keepers as the name suggests used to favour this hive as the size of frames in the brood chamber was much larger than the more popular National frame. One of the main reasons for this was to build up a larger and stronger colony thus maximise the honey yield that could be collected. However more recently many commercial bee keepers prefer the modified Dadant hive or Jumbo Langstroth hive for very strong colonies.

Modified Dadant 1917 Similar in construction and design to the Langstroth the Dadant hive was introduced in 1917 by Dadant & Sons, the American manufactures of bee keeping equipment. Charles Dadant favoured the large brood box, deeper frames with a slightly wider spacing. The modified Dadant hive is one of the biggest hives in use today with a brood area of almost 4000 sq ins which makes it very popular with commercial bee keepers.

Hive Type

Dimensions

Brood box cells

Bee Space Brood Comb area of both sides

Full Super Weight (Approx)

No of Frames in the Brood box (Brood Frame size)

Dadant

20” x 16 1/4” 508 mm x 413 mm

85000

Top 340 sq. in

40 lbs 18.18 Kg

11 (17 5/8” x 11 1/4”) 448 mm x 286 mm

Frames sizes. Top Bars – 19” long Bottom bars – 17 9/16” long Deep side bars – 11 ¼” long Shallow side bars – 6 ¼” long

Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey, Devon used this type of hive and noted in his book Bee keeping at Buckfast Abbey (1974) that the three hives Modified Dadant, British Commercial and the Langstroth Jumbo had sterling results compared to British Standard sized hives and others with double brood boxes. The larger hives produced approximately double the surplus honey than standard sized hives, and thus he changed all the hives over to Dadant's. A MD brood box can store over 70 lbs and a super approx 43 lb which is perfect for those who wish to encourage a large colony and in return be rewarded in a good season with plenty of honey, but they are not suitable for all bee keepers unless you are comfortable with lifting these sorts of heavy weights or have some assistance.

Langstroth 1850

Named for their inventor, Rev. Lorenzo Langstroth, these hives are not the only hives of this style, but they are the most common. Langstroth patented his design in 1860 and it has become the standard style hive for 75% of the world's bee keepers. This class of hives includes other styles, which differ mainly in the size and number of frames used. These include Smith, Segeberger Beute (German), Frankenbeute (German), Normalmass (German), Langstroth hive, Modified Commercial and Modified Dadant, plus regional variations such as the British Modified National Hive. Langstroth hives make use of bee space, a characteristic of Western honey bees which causes them to propolis small spaces (less than ¼ inch), gluing wooden parts together, and to fill larger spaces (more than about 3/8 inch) with wax comb, but to hold an intermediate space open for bees to pass through. His cleverly designed hive makes use of bee space so that frames are neither glued together nor filled with burr comb - comb joining adjacent frames. Langstroth hives use standardized sizes of hive bodies (rectangular boxes without tops or bottoms placed one on top of another) and frames to ensure that parts are interchangeable and that the frames will remain relatively easy to remove, inspect, and replace without killing the bees. Langstroth hive bodies are rectangular wooden or Styrofoam boxes that can be stacked to expand the usable space for the bees. Inside the boxes, frames are hung in parallel. The minimum size of the hive is dependent on outside air temperature and potential food sources in the winter months. The colder the winter, the larger the winter cluster and food stores need to be. In the regions with severe winter weather, a basketball-shaped cluster typically survives in a "double-deep" box. Ten frames side-to-side will fill the hive body and leave the right amount of bee space between each frame and between the end frames and the hive body. Langstroth frames are often reinforced with wire, making it possible to extract honey in centrifuges to spin the honey out of the comb. As a result, the empty frames and comb can be returned to the beehive for use in the next season. Quoted from http://www.wikipedia.org

Langstroth Jumbo 1905

This modified Langstroth hive was introduced in 1905 by A. N. Draper in the USA. It uses a brood box deeper by 2 3/16” than a standard Langstroth. In 1968 E. J. Tredwell at Sparsholt College Winchester began to advise students to adopt this hive and this practice was continued by Mr John Cossburn who taught my mentor Mike Holloway.

Hive Type

Dimensions

Brood box cells

Bee Space Brood Comb area of both sides

Full Super Weight (Approx)

No of Frames in the Brood box (Brood Frame size)

Langstroth

20” x 16 1/4” 508 mm x 413 mm

61400

Top 272 sq. in

30 lbs 13.64 Kg

10 (17 5/8” x 9 1/2”) 448 mm x 241 mm

Langstroth Jumbo

20” x 16 1/4” 508 mm x 413 mm

85000

Top 340 sq. in

40 lbs 18.18 Kg

11 (17 5/8” x 11 1/4”) 448 mm x 286 mm

Due to its large brood frames the queen always has plenty of space to lay even during the spring build up when the colony is rapidly expanding. The Hive is treated the same as a regular hive throughout the season, although one or two frames can be replaced with dummy boards to reduce the box size for winter time or if the queen is not a prolific egg layer. Some would argue this hive is to large and would say its not suitable for all bee keepers as its weight makes it to cumbersome to move, but for those keepers who want to move their bees once or twice a season to maximise honey production the colony needs to be strong with a good ratio of foraging bees to young bees.

Langstroth

Langstroth Jumbo

Warré Hive (?-1951)

Responding to the obvious decline in bee keeping in France since his youth, Warré experimented with some 350 hives of various designs with the aim of producing a hive that was simple, economical, beefriendly and assured a surplus for the bee keeper. The result was his People's Hive (Ruche Populaire) whose construction and operation he described in his book Beekeeping For All (L' Apiculture Pour Tous, 12th edition). Warré's hive comprises tiers of identical boxes fitted with top-bars, but no frames. Its essential design and usage features can be summarised as follows: hive-body box internal dimensions 300 x 300 x 210 mm, with projecting handles. • eight 36mm centred 24mm wide top-bars resting in rebates in each box (NO FRAMES) • wax starter strips under each top bar (NO FOUNDATION) • flat floor, notched with a 120mm wide entrance, alighting board, • coarse weave cloth covering the top-bars of the top box 100 mm high 'quilt' boxed filled with straw, sawdust, wood shavings etc., retained with a cloth gabled roof containing a ventilated 'loft' and separated from the quilt by a mouse-proof board the bees build natural comb in the first (top) box and extend downwards into further boxes, new boxes are added at the bottom one or more boxes of honey are harvested from the top after the main flow the bees winter on two boxes of comb containing a minimum of 12 kg stores (France) honey is harvested by draining, or by centrifuging combs in baskets At the spring visit, the hive is expanded by one or more boxes, containing with starter strips or comb. •

• • • • • • • •

A very important feature of Warré's method is that the hive is opened in the strict sense only once a year, namely at harvest. In spring the addition of boxes underneath does not necessitate a hive opening in the sense that the heat is let out. The importance of the retention of nest scent and heat for bee health and productivity was discussed by Johann Thür in his book Bee keeping: natural, simple and ecological (1946) which also discusses Abbé Christ's (1739-1813) hive that is almost identical in concept to Warré's. No frames Even in early editions of Bee keeping For All, Warré advised against using frames as shown in the 5th edition: 'Nowadays, I recommend without hesitation the People's Hive with fixed combs, even for very large enterprises. However, out of respect for the freedom of my readers, I will describe the People's Hive in its three forms: fixed comb, ordinary frames, open frames with closed ends. This web site is premised on the 12th edition of Bee keeping For All which describes the top-bar version of his hive only. But, for the sake of completeness, we provide a translation of the pages of the 5th edition describing the two versions of his hive with frames, the latter having no bottom-bars.

Present day bee keeping with the Warré hive The geographical focus of Warré bee keeping is France and the hive was also initially used in Belgium and Switzerland. The first in use in Germany and Russia were populated in 2006. An experiment was started with six modified www.mygarden.ws/ModifiedAbbeWarreHive.htm In 2008, bee keepers in Canada, USA (including Alaska) and Spain made Warré hives in readiness for spring 2008. By late 2009, Warré bee keepers were also known in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Croatia, Estonia, Italy, Japan, Latvia, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden and Uruguay. There is a Warré bee keeping thread in the forum at Top Bar Bee keeping with the Barefoot Bee keeper www.biobees.com/forum Technical drawings for constructing an authentic Warré hive http://www.selbstversorgerforum.de/bienen/bilder/Emile_Warre_Technische_Zeichnungen_engl.pdf Complete newcomer to bee keeping? Please read the page of advice on http://warre.biobees.com/beginner.htm

Summary If you want to manage your colony and preform inspections and create splits and prevent swarming this type of hive is not for you. Although its principles and design are some thing to be admired. I would recommend reading the English translation of his book although at times it can become a little confusing but never the less it is aimed more at the purist type of bee keeper who wants to be hands off and allow the colony to look after themselves from year to year, even if the colony builds up and divides by swarming. The principle behind this is to catch the swarm and re-home them in another hive or use a bait hive to attract the swarm. Left: Marc Gatineau's transparent Warré hive on to its third box. From http://www.apiculturegatineau.fr Left: If you saw this hive at a show I would bet it would be the main attraction in the bee and honey tent, although being made out of acrylic or perspex it would need to be kept in the shade and covered when not on display most of the time. Despite the down sides of needing either a hoist or three people to help manage the hive when a new box is added, the purist side of me would love to build this see through hive.

Rose One-size-Box-Hives

Rose Hives simply have one box size and one frame size, each box measures 460mm x 460mm x 190mm deep which is the same as a National box but shallower. This allows the bee keeper to interchange any box or any frame in any hive. One minor draw-back is the weight of one of these boxes when full of honey will be 30-35 lbs which is difficult to manage for some keepers. There is a pdf file on the Rose hive website which explains how to manage this hive, but to give you a quick summary. The management of this type of hive is simple, over winter the bees are contained in two boxes, early into the season the first two boxes are swapped around when the brood starts to expand then the third box is added in-between the first two boxes and then another box is added again if required up to around June time.

During the season the bee keeper just adds another box on top of the brood nest box as and when required until the end of the season. The bee keeper then takes all but the bottom two boxes away for extraction and the bees are left to build up for winter. There is no need for a queen excluder as the upper boxes will be clear of brood and by the end of the season the top boxes will hopefully be filled with capped honey. This method encourages and needs a very large colony to maximise the comb building and the numbers of flying bees to bring in large amounts of nectar and pollen throughout the whole year. This type of hive would not be suitable for every bee keeper because of the heavy lifting required during management to get to the brood nest area. However the Rose box is sold at Thorne's for approximately £10 a box (March 2011), which is excellent value for those on a budget. Be sure to buy the correct size frames and foundation for this hive. Standard National frames will not fit as they are too deep for these boxes. Rose website is www.rosebeehives.com Tim Rowe has recently written a very good book about his hive and how to manage it and I would recommend buying the book even if you do not buy his hives.

Polystyrene Hives Over the last few years the popularity of poly hives in the UK has grown. The long winter freeze we had 2009-2010 have boosted sales sharply. I managed to find several suppliers on the internet and after hearing so many good things about one of them I decided to buy a complete hive with two medium chambers and a rapid feeder from Modern Beekeeping in Devon. The most popular size of poly hives is the Langstroth, purely because it is the most common hive around the world. Left: The hive shown comprises of a mesh floor with a varroa tray accessed from the back of the base, full deep brood, 2 mediums and a roof. Over the last few months more accessories have been released: A reversible entrance block / reducer, Queen excluder screen and no doubt several more accessories will be released soon. I shook swarmed a large colony into mine in August and fed them close to 3 gallons of inverted syrup to help get them started drawing out the frames and building up plenty of stores for winter. (see the section on plastic frames) Left: My first impression of the hive was very good, solid construction, very simple to put together and very tough considering its only dense polystyrene. It came with frame hanger supports (Yellow plastic strips) which simply slide in place before you add the side walls. As you can see this version has a raised lip to prevent water from getting in between each chamber and also helps to keep the hive properly aligned when stacked. Although I have yet to prove this for myself, I am reliably informed the colony will utilize every face of all the frames, the queen will even lay in the end frames next to the poly hive wall as the hive temperature remains suitably stable unlike its wooden counterparts. The 40mm thick walls becomes a benefit in the Summer as the poly does not absorb so much direct sun light saving the colony the trouble of needing to fan so much at the entrance to keep the hive temperatures stable. One very minor draw back is the need for a hive strap to stop the hive being blown away when windy but I use straps on all my hives during winter anyway. Although not shown above it is recommended the outside surfaces should be painted before being used to reduce any UV damage.

Polystyrene Nuc

Left: Modern Beekeeping Langstroth Deep Nuc

Right: Paynes Bee Farm BS National Nuc

Both six frame nuc's shown are very well designed, tough and great value for money. Ideal for a new bee keeper, swarm collection queen rearing and selling on with colony included. Modern Beekeeping Langstroth Deep 6 frame Nuc - £35 (March 2011) This Nuc is made from high density polystyrene, it comes in three parts: Floor with mesh, Body & Roof. It has a good sized slot entrance at either end and uses the same plastic frame hanger strips as the full size hives. The nuc can be divided in half (3 frames) by using a board. (supplied as an extra)

This design also allows more than one body chamber to be stacked on top of each other like any other type of hive. Another great feature is the roof can be reversed and used as a travel screen. Although not released as yet a plastic mesh (like a queen excluder) is placed between the nuc body and the roof or two ventilated pieces can inserted into the unpainted slots at either end of the roof. (see in the top left picture)

Paynes Bee Farm BS National 6 frame Nuc - £27.50 (March 2011) This Nuc is made from high density polystyrene and comes in just two parts: Body & Roof. Compared to the MB nuc the roof seems a little thin as its not 40mm thick. The in-built feeder is a great idea and comes with a simple wooden float. The plastic mesh in the floor is fixed although it would be simple enough to replace it with a rectangular piece of mesh and four screws. There is a single entrance of approx 4 bee spaces. (see top picture)

As you can see in the picture above the feeder is a reasonable size and a small piece of queen excluder can be placed into the slot to stop the queen from accessing the feeder. Hygiene - One of the many reasons why seasoned bee keepers will advise new bee keepers not to buy a poly hive is hygiene. I would disagree and believe all poly hives are in fact much better than wooden hives in terms of dealing with hygiene. For years one of the best methods to sterilise a wooden hive is to use a blow lamp on every inner surface once the frame holders have been removed. However for those who want to use poly hives or nucs using a product like Miltons sterilising fluid is 100% safe and just as effective in 15 minutes. If you suspect you may have AFB or EFB contact the National Bee Unit - BeeBase.

Plastic Frames / Comb Several different types can be bought via the internet. Perma-comb

Above: This plastic frame the cells are already fully pre-drawn, the manufacturer’s claim the frame can be placed in a hive and will be used almost immediately. On the down side this type of plastic frame is very expensive and only available in the USA. Below: This version of plastic frame needs a layer of wax. The plastic foundation will act as a guide of the bees to work from when drawing out the frame.

Below: This picture shows a close up of the cell pattern. (Worker cell size)

To apply a layer of wax a small fleece roller is dipped into a pan of molten wax and simply rolled onto the plastic comb surface a few times to give a generous even coverage. Currently this sort of plastic frame can be bought in both Langstroth medium otherwise known in the UK as Dadant shallow and also in full deep or full depth sizes. I have heard it will be available shortly in Jumbo Langstroth and Standard National and possibly Deep National sizes soon possibly in 2011. Using plastic frames / comb I've read many positive articles about plastic frames and generally most traditional bee keepers would advise against using them, I'm sure this is due to they have always used wooden frames and sheets of foundation and don't like change even though the wooden versions work out to be quite expensive to replace. So when I bought my poly Langstroth hive I opted to buy 20 plastic medium frames, just to see for myself how they preformed as they only cost £1.50 + VAT each which is a fraction of the cost of the wooden versions. Preparing the frames with a layer of wax was simple even with a paint brush. A week later I shook swarmed a strong colony into the hive and feed them a gallon of syrup at a time. It took a little while for the colony to accept the frames but as they had no choice but to use them they quickly began to draw them out. As soon as they finished a frame the queen was quick to lay in the cells and I noticed during one inspection how much easier it was to see the tiny eggs against the black plastic. These plastic frames will last many years and will not absorb any chemicals, they can be used in an extractor. Every few years the wax can be simply scrapped off or steam cleaned and re-coated with wax and the frame is ready to be used again in no time. On a personal note I think poly hives and plastic frames could be the future of bee keeping and over many years they could well end up replacing their wooden counterparts as our weather continues to surprise us each year.

Which hive is the right one for me? There is no one right answer to this question, but I hope you have found this guide to be useful in some small way with a little bit about some of the popular types of hives being used today. As you can see there is a wide variety of equipment to choose from, some of which in my opinion is far better than others if you take into account modern prolific queens, your region, your local climate, weather type of hive and of course the most important of all the flowers, plants and trees where you live. Consider the following before you buy. Do I want a large hive and large colony Am I capable of lifting this hive for inspections or will it need to be relocated Are spares and replacement parts easy to obtain for the hive Do other local bee keepers use the same equipment in case of a problem Design or functionality, beauty or beast or other (WBC – Dartington – Poly & Plastic) Cheap or expensive (Top bar - others) Storage space for additional equipment Plus no doubt a few more that I haven't listed, but before you spend lots of money have an idea how much you are willing to spend and remember the additional cost of frames, foundation, feeders, smokers, hive tools and of course your protective gear. Bee Keeping doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming unless you want it to be. There is no one method or answer that will suit everybody. Provided your bees are given a fair chance they will hopefully reward you with some honey every year. However sooner or later you will have a problem, thankfully though every association will have members who are willing to assist you, most of which are more than happy to answer an email or chat on the phone and some will be happy to visit your hive and advise you first hand.

Don't be afraid to ask for help, as far too many bee keepers give up after one bad season. Two golden rules for New Bee keepers Only open your hive if you really need to inspect it, even if the weather is fine, this is one of the biggest design faults with traditional hive designs and the most likely cause of so many problems by a novice bee keeper who just wants to take a quick look inside the hive. Imagine for one minute how you would feel if on a cold day some one opened all the doors and windows in your house and let all the heat out. Its simple enough for you to close them all again and turn on the heating, but the bee's don't have this luxury they need to reheat the hive back up to about 93' F or 34' C which not only takes time but a lot of energy and on top of this there is a very good chance some of the newly laid eggs and larvae may be chilled and will die if they are not kept warm. What to look for before opening a hive Numbers of bee's flying in and out Are they bring in pollen and if so what colour so it can be checked on a pollen chart Are there guard bees at the entrance Are there lots of bees bearding or gathering out side the entrance Are there wasps trying to get in Look on the ground for dead bees, larvae or anything else other than a few bees who may of died in the hive Check the colour banding of the dead bees to confirm if they are yours or invaders Look for drones (males) if any Are they aggressive / defensive when you approach the hive, loudly buzzing and bouncing off your veil Listen for any differences in the hive hum The smell of the hive is it pleasant or foul Check the Varroa tray (if fitted) for signs of Varroa, nosema or other signs of problems

Each of the above should tell you some thing about the condition of the colony, so much so that some experienced keepers don't even need to open the hive to check inside.

Thymol treatment for Varroa 8 grams thymol crystals 12 grams of any type of oil - sunflower, rape, olive etc. Multiply these measurements to make more.

Process Gently warm the oil with the crystals in it using an old pan outdoors until all the thymol crystals have dissolved then add 20 ml of this mixture to a block of the green absorbent garden oasis. (not the grey one) The oasis block size should be approximately 50mm wide, 90mm long, and 8 mm thick. Place the oasis in a container and pour the mixture in, leave overnight to soak in. To treat a colony cut the block in half and place the two parts on top of the brood frames over the brood area. Reduce the hive entrance to about 50 mm and block off any holes in the crown board and insert a clean varroa tray under the mesh floor. Give a second treatment after two weeks and repeat again after another 2 weeks to ensure every varroa is exposed to the vapour. At the time of the second and third treatments move any remaining blocks of oasis to the outside of the brood nest area. However some colonies may remove the oasis themselves, others don't touch it or just nibble the corners. It makes no difference as it still works really well. Inspect the varroa floor the next day for dead mites. The treatment should be applied during warmish weather, some bee's may gather outside near the entrance for a couple of days others take no notice. This treatment will not have any ill effects to your bee's or queens additionally it will help to prevent chalk-brood and is much more effective than most other forms of treatment. This was tested on around 5000 hives over a period of time in Spain. An increasing number of bee keepers use this method as their only form of treatment against varroa each year as it is very effective. For Nuc's use half this dose. Do not use when supers are on or during a nectar flow. It can be used on a swarm as soon as queen starts to lay but for best results before brood is sealed. It is recommend when shook swarming to new frames or artificially swarming and times when the colony is brood less Alternative method of application is to fold a tissue into 4 and add a single dose and place it into into a seal-able plastic container add a sheet of grease proof paper and repeat the process until you have as many as you need to treat your colonies.

Thymol Treatment in Syrup The original recipe is simply 30g of thymol crystals dissolved in 150 of surgical spirit or isopropyl alcohol which will keep indefinitely and you add up to five ml of this per gallon of syrup feed, or if to simply stop fermentation 5ml per 3 gallons. The problem with the above mixture is the oil tends to float on top of the syrup, obviously some of it is in the entire mix, but not in an equal suspension so therefore not being stored in the combs as I would like it and I believe is more effective if emulsified.

Emulsified Thymol pre mix. 30g thymol crystals placed in honey jar, add 5ml of surgical spirit or isopropyl alcohol to the crystals, place jar into a water bath of boiling water to speed up the dissolving process. In another jar pour in 140 ml of boiling water and add 1 teaspoon of lecithin granules and stir well and place this jar into a water bath of boiling water stirring often for about ten minutes or until most of the lecithin granules have dissolved. Strain the mixture through a tea strainer or fine cloth to remove any granules that have not fully dissolved, then simply add the dissolved thymol to this mix and shake well. It will look just like a jar of milk. To use add 5ml to each gallon of syrup and stir well. The syrup will go milky unlike when using the old original mix. Do this outdoors - If the mixture forms any crystals at a later date tip into old small pan and reheat gently and stir until they dissolve. In the past I have on occasion added two teaspoons of the old original mix 10ml per gallon with no ill effects on the bee's at all but 5ml is plenty.

From the author of the article. Last Spring I tested every colony for nosema, I had 20+ colonies with a heavy nosema infection. I started to treat them in the very mild weather in Feb and they all responded really well to treatment. Some of the colonies were later given complete comb changes, but not all. Later in Spring a few more colonies also got nosema that previously tested clear, obviously drinking from the same contaminated water supply that had been crapped over by some of the infected colonies, so every hive in the affected apiary’s were treated. Last Autumn every full size colony and nuc was fed with thymolated syrup and this Spring I have yet to find any signs of nosema in any colony even the weaker one's and even in the one's that previously had very heavy nosema and had no comb changes. These colonies are in fact boiling over with bee's at the moment and many have had second brood chambers added, some were over wintered on double broods and are incredibly strong, some will be having two nuc's taken from each one very soon. Also as a slight side note I have detected no varroa mites in the vast majority of hives, very very few in some, and no oxalic used at all.

When I first put together this guide I never imagined how popular it would be, over the last 12 months it has been downloaded over 2000 times and the feed back I've had has been fantastic so a huge thank you to all of you who've taken the time to contact me. I've tried to list as much factual information here about the most common types of hives and when able tried to find multiple sources quoting the same information to be as accurate as possible but if these sources are wrong then I apologise in advance as I do not wish to mislead anyone reading this guide. How I started I started with two colonies in BS National hives, sadly one the colonies was already on the verge of collapse and being a novice, I didn't see the warning signs until it was to late, within 3 months the colony was no more. I bought two more packages with new queens and thought my troubles were over, both colonies decided to supersede their queens before the end of the season. Thankfully both colonies raised a new queen each and both managed to mate successfully although very late in to the season. Both colonies made it through the winter and during the following year I split them when they started to produce lots of queen cells, I also took over a colony from a retiring bee keeper and exchanged a home made top bar hive for another colony. In 2010 I was lucky enough to collect a few swarms and so I now have 6 good strong colonies and 1 smaller colony in a nuc going into winter 2010. I managed three of these colonies on what is known as brood and a half, in other words they had a national brood chamber and a super to give the queen plenty of space to lay in, this method I've found to be tiring and too time consuming to inspect fully but as a result these colonies produced a nice crop of excess honey and I took 33 lbs in spring and a further 90 lbs at the end of summer which I was more than happy with. In 2011 I will learn to graft for queen rearing and hope to produce plenty of spare queens and I will finally convert all my remaining BS National hives into 14x12 and build up several new colonies in poly Langstroth hives on plastic frames. Bee keeping for me is purely a hobby and there is nothing better than watching a colony grow to the point they decide to make preparations to swarm. This to me is their way of saying they are healthy, happy and I must be doing some thing right. Of course there is no denying taking a crop of honey in Spring and the end of Summer is also really rewarding and also helps to pay for this hobby.

Left: After entering several classes in my associations honey show in 2009 for the first time and being awarded two first and a second place prize I was eager to enter again in 2010. Although sadly my entries of honey failed to really impress the judge to earn me more than a third place. I was lucky enough to win first place in the large block of wax class and a first place in the photography class again for the second year running, but best of all and much to my surprise I was also awarded the Moore challenge trophy for the best exhibit in show for the honey classes for my large block of wax which even if I say so myself was nearly perfect and also won the BBKA Blue Ribbon for best over all exhibit in the show.

So be good to your bees and in return they will be good to you. The information given is from several different sources. http://www.wikipedia.org http://biobees.com http://www.thorne.co.uk http://www.rosebeehives.com http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk http://www.paynesbeefarm.co.uk http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk A huge thank you to Mark for creating the bee keeping forums and to some of the other members for reading through this guide and helping me along, a special thank you to Rooftops aka John the owner of the Modern bee keeping for answering all my questions about poly hives and plastic frames and Tim Rowe of Rose bee hives for all his help. Without all their help this guide would not of been as accurate or contain as many types of hives as it does. Plus I should also say thank you to those people who gave me permission to use their website pictures and use some of their descriptions. This document is free to all (free-ware) as all the written information is freely available on the internet, most of the pictures were taken by me with exception those from the listed sites. I have not given any one permission to use this guide in part or full to be sold. If you have paid money for this guide or this guide was included with other documents you purchased please let me know as this guide was solely written as an aid to all bee keepers to help them decide which hive would suit them best. Mike Alsop [email protected] If you suspect you may have AFB or EFB please contact the National Bee Unit - BeeBase.