Modern Honey Beehives Construction

Modern Beehive

  • Bottom board – wooden stand on which the hive rests. Set bottom board on bricks or concrete blocks to keep it off the ground.
  • Frames and foundation – wooden frames that hold sheets of beeswax foundation that is imprinted with the shapes of hexagonal cells. Bees use the foundation to build straight combs.
  • Hive body or brood chamber – large wooden box (called a “super”) that holds 10 frames of comb. This space (the brood nest) is reserved for the bees to rear brood and store honey for their own use. Either one or two hive bodies can be used for a brood nest. Two hive bodies are common in cold winter regions. Beekeepers in areas with mild winters successfully use only one hive body.
  • Queen excluder – placed between the brood nest and the honey supers. This device keeps the queen in the brood nest, so brood will not occur in honey supers. An excluder is usually not necessary if two hive bodies are used.
  • Honey supers – shallow supers with frames of comb in which bees store surplus honey. This surplus is the honey that is harvested.
  • Inner cover – prevents bees from attaching comb to outer cover and provides insulating dead air space.
  • Outer cover – provides weather protection.
  • Smoker – the most valuable tool for working bees. A smoker calms bees and reduces stinging. Pine straw, grass and burlap make good smoker fuel.
  • Hive tool – ideally shaped for prying apart supers and frames.
  • Veil and gloves – protect head and arms from stings. After they gain experience, most beekeepers prefer to work without gloves.
  • Feeders – hold sugar syrup that is fed to bees in early spring and in fall.


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