Beehive - Modern Artificial Hives

Modern Artificial Hives

The earliest recognizably modern designs of beehives arose in the 19th century, though they were perfected from intermediate stages of progress that had taken place in the 18th century.

Thus, intermediate stages in hive design were recorded for example by Thomas Wildman in 1768/1770, who described advances over the destructive old skep-based beekeeping so that the bees no longer had to be killed to harvest the honey. Wildman, for example, fixed a parallel array of wooden bars across the top of a straw hive or skep (with a separate straw top to be fixed on later) "so that there are in all seven bars of deal" "to which the bees fix their combs". He also described using such hives in a multi-story configuration, foreshadowing the modern use of supers: he described adding (at the proper time) successive straw hives below, and eventually removing the ones above when free of brood and filled with honey, so that the bees could be separately preserved at the harvest for a following season. Wildman also described a further development, using hives with "sliding frames" for the bees to build their comb, foreshadowing more modern uses of movable-comb hives. Wildman acknowledged the advances in knowledge of bees previously made by Swammerdam, Maraldi, and de Reaumur— he included a lengthy translation of Reaumur's account of the natural history of bees— and he also described the initiatives of others in designing hives for the preservation of bee-life when taking the harvest, citing in particular reports from Brittany dating from the 1750s, due to Comte de la Bourdonnaye.

In 1814, Petro Prokopovych, the founder of commercial beekeeping in the Ukraine, invented one of the very first beehive frames. However, for easy operations in beehives the spaces between elements need to be correct. The correct distance between combs was described in 1845 by Jan Dzierżon as 1½ inches from the center of one top bar to the center of the next one. In 1848 Dzierzon introduced grooves into the hive's side walls replacing the strips of wood for moving top bars. The grooves were 8 mm × 8 mm (0.31 in × 0.31 in), the spacing later termed bee space. The Langstroth hive was the first successful top-opened hive with movable frames. Langstroth hive was however a direct descendant of Dzierzon's hive designs.

There are two basic types of modern or movable hive in common use, the "Langstroth hive" (including all the size variants) which has enclosed frames to hold the comb and the "top-bar hive", as the name implies, has only a top-bar to support the comb. These hives are typified by removable frames which allow the apiarist to inspect for diseases and parasites. Movable frames also allow a beekeeper to more easily split the hive to make new colonies.

Bees only occupy the new hive "correctly" if it already contains frames with some honeycomb or wax plates. If only empty frames are present, bees often build honeycomb that does not follow them and cannot be later removed with the frame.

Read more about this topic:  Beehive

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