Practical Wood Working

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May 24, 2018

Combo Bee Hive


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I'm going into my third year of beekeeping, and part of the fun of bee keeping for me is trying new things - even if they have been done by others before. The type of hives we use are called Langstrothe hives. The Langstrothe deep boxes that we use are 9 5/8" high and once full of honey are 60 or 70 lbs.

This year we are trying medium boxes that are 6 5/8" high and are a lot lighter to lift and move around than the deep boxes, even if we do need to use more of them.

Those who have been following my website openwoodshop.com saw this hive that I build last year made from cedar 2x6 with observation windows built in. It's worked out pretty good but as expected, you can't really see much other than the sides of the frames and a few bees. The answer: take the frames out.

Unlike Langstrothe hives, top bar hives have no frames, just a top bar that the bees build comb down from.

I want to see more through my hive's viewing windows, so I decided going frameless might be interesting.

I made the bars with a small strip of foundation for them to start the comb from. After I made them I realized the bars probably should have been wider, but I'll see how it goes with these.

Top bar hives expand horizontally, but I will have to leave a gap for the bees to expand upwards. It will be interesting to see what the bees do with this new space and hopefully I'll get to see the bees at work and some good pictures.

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