This guide is designed to give you a quick over-view of the major parts in any modern moveable frame beehive. Moveable bar hives are the most popular type of beehive used in the west, and there are dozens of different variations; including the Langstroth, National, Dadant, Commercial, Smith and WBC.
The key feature of this type of design is that the individual frames can be removed and inspected without destroying the hive. Also, because excess honey comb is kept separate from the brood, honey can be harvested for human consumption without disturbing the bees.
A stand will keep the hive off the floor and prevent the damp from getting in. A slightly raised hive will also be easier to inspect as you won’t have to bend down as far. Most stands have an angled alighting board, which helps the bees to land and enter the hive. If you don’t have a stand, then you should at least place the hive on some bricks or something similar, to create a gap between the hive and the ground.
Traditionally, the hive floor would have been a solid piece of wood used to maintain the internal temperature. Modern hives use a mesh floor. This helps reduce condensation in the hive, and remove the varoa mite. A sliding inspection board positioned under the wire mesh is used to count the number of varoa that fall through over time. Monitoring this will help you keep track of the severity of (varoa) infestation within the hive.
The brood box is the larges box in the hive, and is where the queen lives and lays her eggs. The colony store honey, pollen and nectar here too. The maximum colony size is dependant on the size of the brood box.
A shallower box than the brood box, the honey super is where the workers store excess honey. In a good season, a bee keeper may stack 2, 3 or even 4 supers on the hive depending on the rate of honey flow. The supers are removed at the end of the season when the honey is extracted to reduce internal space and keep the hive warm.
The brood frame is similar to the honey super frame, but it’s where the queen will lay her eggs. The bees will also produce some honey here too, and beekeepers will leave this to the colony to feed themselves and the larvae.
Honey Super Frame
A honey super frame is where the bees build the honey comb. Beekeepers will usually insert wax foundation into the frame before starting the hive, to encourage the bees to build their hive in an orderly fashion.
The crown board is a flat sheet of wood with a hole in it that helps keep the heat in the hive. When extracting honey, it is placed above the brood chamber and a bee escape is fitted. This allows bees through one way but not the other, and has the effect of trapping all the bees in the brood chamber. Honey can then be extracted without disturbing the bees.
A roof usually has either a metal or felt covering, and will be a decent weight to prevent it from be-ing blown off in the wind. It keeps the warmth in the hive during the winter time.