We’ll be building three types of beehives this year for the institute’s bee yard. We’ll be chronicling the builds here on the blog and posting full plans and updates throughout their uselife. The goal is to compare overwintering and other observations on their use. We will also build extra beehives for sale if you are in the Madison, Wisconsin, area. Please get in touch if you are interested in purchasing a hive.
Long Langstroth Hive (price without frames: $250, painted: $275)
Most commercial and many noncommercial hives seen today in the United States are Langstroth Hives. I’ll be building a long Langstroth, which holds 32 frames of typical “deep” frames instead of just ten per level or box. Many suffer from “beekeeper’s back” because a full deep box of honey can way about 100 lb., and lifting it is no picnic. Some folks use horizontal hives, which is basically a long chest that opens and the bees build their combs from boards placed across the top. The long Langstroth combines two qualities: ease of use and utilization of “standard” frames. The plans I have created are inspired by the great designs at horizontalhives.com. My changes are to tweak the dimensions so that three standard “supers” to collect honey can be put on top of the long box side by side and the lid will separate from the body to sit on top of the supers. You can see the rough plans in a PDF here or image below. For overwintering, one colony or two may be kept warm in this thick-walled hive with room for insulation above the colonies.
Layens Hive (price with 19 frames: $400, painted: $450)
The Layens hive is a popular one for home beekeepers. Unlike the Langstroth, which has wide, short frames, the Layens has narrower, tall frames that are thought to more closely mimic the interior of natural beehives. This design also has thick walls and space for insulating above the upper bars of the hive. This design was adapted from the one at HorizontalHives.com, also. You can get the PDF of rough plans here or from the image below.
Trågkupa (price without frames or additional Langstroth boxes: $600, painted: $675)
Trågkupa means “trough cup” or “trough hive” in Swedish. I think it resembles a cabinet. It has an unusual design: it looks like a large box; the lid tips back and the front folds down to allow access to the interior of the unit. The name comes from the “trough” in the bottom of the hive that holds 21 Langstroth frames or two hives of 10 frames with a divider board. On top of this trough, standard Langstroth deeps and supers can be stacked. In the winter, the sides and top can be packed with insulation. As we live in a cold climate, not too much warmer than Sweden, this type of hive might improve the overwintering numbers of our hives. I was originally inspired for this design from the Chop Wood, Carry Water, Plant Seeds blog. The design is my own, but I was able to gather more information from the pictures in another blog (in Swedish). You can get our initial design here in PDF or below in the image.