What Makes Up a Beehive?

All the parts of a beehive:

Let’s start from the top down.

  1. Telescoping Top-It is the very top cover of the beehive tower. It’s “telescoping” because the sides come down like a lid. Its helps provide protection from the elements.
  2. Inner Cover- This piece is very important because the bees produce this stuff called propolis and it’s sticky like a glue and the bees have a tendency to glue everything down. It’ll be easier to pry off this flat inner cover with a hive tool than the telescoping top that has sides that come down and can be super hard to get off…or so I’ve heard.
  3. Supers-First of all, supers is short for superiors. Any box that is superior of the hive body (the big box where the queen lays eggs at the bottom). Supers are where the worker bees store honey. Supers have different sizes: shallows, medium. Apparently, shallows are often used as comb honey supers. I’m going with the more popular medium honey storage and extracting super.
  4. Queen excluder-this simple layer does what the name says it keeps the queen in her own space and away from the honey you will extract later. The excluder prevents the queen from laying eggs where you don’t want them just by making the openings smaller so that her large body won’t fit but the other bees can move through easily. I’m not getting this piece of equipment right off the bat.
  5. Hive body-this is the brood chamber which is where the queen lays the eggs and is basically the nursery for the little baby bees. Some people use the same size box for their super as for their hive body. This is nice in that all your boxes will be uniform, of the same size, and interchangeable. All the frames you use to put in those boxes will also therefore be of the same size and it’s easy to move stuff around without having to coordinate sizes. I however, am going with the bigger hive body that uses 9 1/8″ frames and medium supers on top of that. I want to give the queen as much space as I can to make babies and spread out without worrying about her running out of room.
  6. Bottom board-the latest thing in bottom boards is called a screened IPM Bottom board. IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management. The bottom board goes below the hive body. In the old days, they were just a solid piece of board. Nowadays, they have a screen in them like you would find in a window screen. The idea behind a screened bottom board is two-fold: 1. better ventilation. When it’s hot, especially down south where it’s also humid, the bee hive can get very hot. The screen helps with ventilation. 2. there are pests that can invade your hive (that’s a whole other topic!) and the screen actually allows the pests to fall out of the hive and out onto the ground where I’ve heard they get devoured by ants. How gruesome!
  7. Entrance reducer-just a simple piece that makes the opening to the hive smaller. It helps the hive keep in heat in the winter and also helps keep unwanted pests out.
  8. Hive stand-I think most real beekeepers just use cinder blocks instead of buying some commercially made product. You just need something to keep the hive off the ground so they are farther away from pests and excess moisture. I’m going with the cheaper cinder block route.