My English Cottage Garden Hive

Deb Weyrich-Cody, a very knowledgeable reader of this blog, sent me a friendly email with a concern about my new English Cottage Garden Hive set-up. She was rightly concerned that my “rattan” hive stand was not sturdy enough to support a hive full of brood and honey.

She made me realize that I needed to explain the set-up in more detail, lest someone out there make a tragic mistake because of poor communication on my part.

Deb writes:

I love your wicker hive-stand and it makes a gorgeous accent piece in your beautiful garden but, well I’m not sure how long you’ve had your bees and there are probably a few things you should know (before it’s too late)…

Your brood box won’t be terribly heavy at this point, however once it’s packed full of brood, nurse bees, pollen and honey and then add honey supers on top of that; the weight will increase exponentially.  A shallow honey super can weigh 50-75 lbs, while a full depth super like your brood box can weigh up to 100lbs and I know that you don’t want to even contemplate the havoc that would result if your beautiful wicker stand were to collapse.

Deb is exactly right, if in fact my hive stand was real wicker. It’s not.

Pier One Hive Stand

It’s an  all-weather ottoman of synthetic rattan over a durable iron frame.  It’s fully capable of supporting a heavy hive. I found it at Pier One.

So, if you want to copy my look, PLEASE don’t use real rattan, or if you do, make sure it is fully supported from below with bricks or a concrete block.

Also, my hive is not a traditional 10 frame Langstroth set-up. It’s an 8 frame “English Garden Hive” from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, and I’m using all medium boxes. I specifically chose this set-up so that I will be able to lift full boxes by myself.

I also think it looks wonderful!!

And many thanks to Deb for bringing her concerns to my attention. I would hate to be the cause of a beekeeping debacle out there!!

Exploring the Mysteries of the Langstroth Hive, Part III

The Langstroth Hive

We’ve covered the Elevated Hive Stand and the Hive Stand.  That brings us to the Bottom Board.

The Bottom Board is an essential part of the hive.  It comes in two versions, standard and screened.  A screened bottom board improves ventilation and is helpful when monitoring pests.

The Entrance Cleat or Entrance Reducer.

This wooden doohickey limits access to the hive. It’s only used with new hives, in the wintertime, or if your hive is being robbed by other insects. I don’t use one.

The Mouse Guard.

It’s not on the diagram, but it’s essential in the winter if your hives aren’t on the roof. Well, maybe you need one on the roof,too.

It’s a handy metal device that prevents the Mouse Family from taking up residence in your hive. (It’s also the name of a popular Graphic Novel!)

Mouse Guard

Mouse Guard

Next comes the Slatted Rack. Oops, that’s not on the diagram either! Good thing it’s optional…

It is, like it sounds, a slatted rack. It goes above the bottom board. It’s supposed to help air circulation and improve brood pattern.  Some beekeepers swear by it. I have one, but I haven’t put it together yet…

Slatted Rack - Helps Air Circulation & Improves Brood Pattern

Okay, now we’re up to the Hive Body, and the discussion of box sizes. That gets really confusing. I’m going to save that for Exploring the Mysteries of the Langstroth Hive, Part IV.  The Final Chapter. 

Interesting Hive of the Day...