Thursday, September 20, 2007

LESSON TWO: Basic Hive Components: The Deep Hive Body

Hello, we are David and Sheri Burns  at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We are committed to help you be a successful beekeeper. David is a certified master beekeeper. You may consider joining us for one of David's beekeeping classes. Click here to see our upcoming classes.

We are a family business, a turn key beekeeping operation. We manufacture the hives ourselves, hand built for you, and we provide you with the bees and all the equipment you need. We appreciate your business and you'll find we won't treat you like a customer, but like a friend. And when you purchase your equipment from us, we're here for you. You can call us with your questions. We won't leave you hanging wondering what to do. Click here to see our complete online beekeeping store.

In our previous lesson, we learned about the bottom board. As we work our way up from the bottom board, we are ready to examine the details of the next item, what is referred to as the deep hive body. It sometimes is called a deep super, hive body, a deep, and a hive chamber. Unless you live in the deep south where winters are very mild, you will need two deep hive bodies on your hive. This is where your bees will live and raise their young. This is where the queen will lay her eggs for new worker and drone bees. This is where the hive will store their own reserves of honey and pollen, their food source and future winter stores.

The standard and common size for a deep hive body is: 19 7/8" in length, 16 1/4" wide and 9 5/8" in height. A deep hive body is heavy when it is full of bees, honey and pollen. Therefore, some beekeepers choose to use the medium size super for hive bodies. The dimensions of the medium super is the same except for the height. It is 3" shorter, with a height of 6 5/8". If you choose to use medium supers for hive bodies, you will need to plan on using 3 supers if your winters are cold, and 1-2 supers if your winters are mild. We will assume your winters are cold and you plan to use two deep size hive bodies on your new hive.

Here's what a deep hive body looks like. The hive bodies we manufacture have rabbet joint corners. This reduces the "raw edge" exposed to the weather. We also use exterior glue on all corners and 8-hand driven 8 penny nails- per corner! We also place nice size handle holds on all four sides of our have bodies. Our deep hive bodies have been specifically designed to provide exact bee space needed in the deep hive chamber. We also insert metal frame rests, so that the individual frames rest upon metal rather than wood. This makes it easier to slide and remove the individual frames for inspection.

It is a common practice to use 10 individual frames per hive body. Using only 9 frames in the brood nest area will have aid in ventilation, but will decrease the amount of cells for eggs, pollen and honey storage, because instead of 10 frames there are only 9. Our frames are strong, have no knots and have full 3/8" side or end bars.  We have found the best frame and foundation combination is what is known as the top and bottom grooved frame. This means the frame has a groove in the top and in the bottom so that a piece of plasticell foundation can snap and lock securely and easily into the frame.

Wood frames with plasticell foundation works very nicely. The plasticell is a hard plastic about 1/8" thick and is coated with real beeswax. Before we place the foundation and frame in a hive, we spray sugar water (1 part water, 1 part sugar) onto the foundation to speed up the time it takes for the bees to draw out the comb. The foundation already has the comb cell pattern embossed on both sides, making the bees' job much easier.

Some beekeepers use real beeswax foundation and use wire to hold it onto the frame. This was the common practice for many years. However, today, plasticell is a much simplier foundation method and is as good in our opinion. Look at how nice this frame and plasticell foundation looks! Our bees love it.
Also the millimeter size of each cell in very important. The larger the size of the cell in the foundation, the larger the cell will be drawn out and the larger the bee will be. So, we use foundation that is specifically around 5 millimeters. This is an average, industry standard.

It is important to remember that where winters are cold, two deep hive bodies are needed so that plenty of honey, around 60 pounds, can be stored for the bees to enjoy throughout the winter months.

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at the next item, the honey super.