Evolution of Hive Design

The transferable design of comb hives by Langstroth was pounced upon by inventors and beekeepers from both side of Atlantic and new transferable designs of comb hive were perfected and created in France, England, the U. S., and Germany. Novel designs have been developed in these countries.

Moreover, Langstroth and Dadant designs are still everywhere in the U.S. as well as in other areas of Europe. In France, the tough-hive design by De-Layens became famous while the British National Hive became the standard design used in the U.K. until the 1930s. The popular hive design in the Scotland is the Smith hive. In Russia and some countries in Scandinavia, the usual tough-hive lasted until the late 20th century. Sweden, France, Italy, Denmark, and Germany made their own national design of comb hives. To cope with climate variability, floral productivity, and various characteristics of reproduction of different subspecies of honeybees, different hive designs from other regions arose.

Each hive design does not differ much from the others and they share some common features: all are rectangular or square, all use wooden frames that are transferable, and all hive designs comprise of a brood box, a floor, crown-board, roof, and honey super. Comb hives are commonly created using pine, cypress, or cedar wood, but during recent years, the hives are constructed by adding moulded dense polystyrene. They have also been constructed with queen excluders among the honey supers and the brood box to keep the queen bee from laying her eggs near the cells that contain honey for future consumption.

At the start of the 20th century, hive floors were replaced with a removable tray and wire mesh.