Invention Of The Movable Comb Hive: Bee Keeping

The invention of the movable comb hive was manifested due to the prior unsanitary conditions and harsh collection of honey manifested in earlier times. Destructive measures were applied in earlier times which resulted in devastated hives and colonies. Collectors used smoke to contain the bees, breaking the hives, and smashing and ripping honeycombs, which eventually led to the eradication of the larvae, eggs, and honey inside the hive. Liquid honey was then separated from the destroyed hive by using a basket or strainer. This did not matter generally to the hunters and gatherers involved in such collection because nature’s supply of wild colonies was abundant at that time. In the 19th century, the destruction brought about the resistance in collecting honey and concern about the loss of bee colonies. Monasteries and abbeys became the beekeeping centres throughout the mediaeval period, since they utilise beeswax for their high priced candles, and alcoholic mead made from fermented honey.

In the 19th century, Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth revolutionised beekeeping by inventing the movable comb hive, used precisely for such practise. Langsroth patterned his invention on the early discovery of Huber of ‘bee space,’ which measures a specific 5 to 8mm passage amid wax combs that is free from the bee’s blockage. Langsroth’s invention was made of wooden casings, mounted on a rectangular box that aided bees to make parallel honeycombs inside the box hive without linkage to the wall of the hive or to other honeycombs, for the sole purpose of protecting the colony and the hive.