The Hive

There are many types of hive available but they all serve the same purpose, to house our bees and give us access to the crop of honey.

1. Roof.
Covered in metal or felt to keep the hive dry.

2. Crown Board.
This has holes in it to take bee excluders and feeders. The latter fits between roof and crown board, this is why the roof is removable. It is worth remembering that the bees may require feeding when the honey is harvested, after all, they produce the honey to get them through the winter.

3. Frame.
Where the honey is stored. The frames drop into the “super” and hold “foundation”, a wax sheet that the bees build their comb on. The process of building comb is often referred to as “drawing out”.

4. Super.
Basically a box that holds Frames(3), this is where the bees store their honey. In a strong colony several supers may be added to the hive. Harvesting is aided by placing the crown board(2) under the super with bee excluders fitted. The bees can pass down though the excluders but not back up. This makes the removal of full supers easier as they should be devoid of bees.

5. Brood Frame.
Larger than a Super frame(3) these frames are where the queen lays eggs and the workers feed the bee larvae. The brood develops in numbers through the spring into summer when there may be in excess of 50,000 bees in the hive.

6. Queen Excluder.
The queen bee is larger than the worker bees and to prevent her laying eggs in the supers(3) a slotted board is fitted between the brood and supers. The slots allow the workers to pass through but not the queen.

7. Brood.
The brood box is deeper than the supers as the frames are larger.

8. Entrance block.
Various sized entrance blocks are used to control the entrance size to the hive. They help bees defend the hive from wasps etc. but are removed in the spring/summer when the hive is strong to assist in free movement and ventilation.

9. Floor.
The hive floor can be either solid or mesh and really comes down to personal preference.

We hope this rather short description helps you understand the components of a hive a little better.

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