The Langstroth hive is an American hive named after its founder Lorenzo Lorrain Langstroth. It is rectangular in shape and categorized under movable combs with frames.

The hive has two major parts:

  • the brood chamber/
  • super box/honey super.

Bees build honeycombs into frames which can be removed with ease. The frames design prevents bees from attaching honeycombs where they would either connect adjacent frames, or connect frames to the walls of the hive. The movable frames allow the beekeeper to manage the bees in a way which was formerly impossible.

During harvesting the frames are removed and inserted into an extractor, which removes the honey leaving the combs intact.

Parts of the Langstroth Hive

  • Bottom Board – a wooden stand on which the hive rests. Place the bottom board on bricks or concrete blocks to keep it off the ground.
  • Top Cover – made of galvanized iron sheet which cap the entire hive and protect it from harsh environmental conditions e.g. rainfall and sunshine.
  • Frames and Foundation – wooden frames hold sheets of beeswax foundation that is imprinted with the shapes of hexagonal cells. Bees use the foundation to build straight combs.
  • Brood Chamber – a large wooden box that holds ten frames of comb. Reserve it for the bees to rear, brood and store honey for their own use. Either one or two hive bodies will be used for a brood nest.
  • Queen Excluder – it is between the brood box/chamber and the honey super. It is a wire mesh which keeps the queen confined in the brood nest, such that brood will not occur in honey supers. A queen excluder is not necessary if two hive bodies are used.
  • Inner Cover – prevents bees from attaching combs to the outer cover. It also insulates dead air space against temperature changes.
  • Honey Supers – shallow supers have ten frames of comb in which bees store surplus honey. Harvest the surplus honey.

Advantages of using a Queen Excluder

  • The queen bee only lays eggs in the brood chamber.
  • The honey chamber contains clean honey.
  • Wax from the honey chamber is clean and white.
  • Bees remain calm during honey harvest since there is little disturbance.
  • Bee populations increase steadily over time and more honey produced in time. This is due to little disturbance of the queen and the brood.

Advantages of Langstroth Hive

  1. Fix the comb firmly on the four sides of the frame to facilitate easy harvesting without fear of damaging the comb.
  2. The strength of the built-in comb allows easy transportation. It also affords easy control of a bee colony without fear of breakage before arrival at the destination.
  3. Use a centrifugal honey extractor to remove honey from combs without damaging them. Bees will not waste time and energy making new combs.
  4. During hive inspection, very few bees are crushed dead between frames, whereas many are killed by careless handling of top bars in K.T.B.H.
  5. The hive has a queen excluder. This will confine the queen and brood in the lower chamber without disturbance during harvesting
  6. Stealing a double or triple storey hive with a colony is difficult for a thief unlike for the K.T.B.H.
  7. A swarm of bees can hive easily as they pass through the spaces between the frame and the top of the hive.
  8. Stack hive boxes for easy storage. This makes it easy to expand or contract the hive to meet the needs of the bee colony.
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