Are you interested in birds, bees or butterflies? If you’re interested in bees and beekeeping, you’ve probably heard of the Langstroth beehive. This type of beehive is the most common and widely used in the world. It was invented in the mid-19th century by Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, a beekeeper and teacher from Massachusetts, USA. The Langstroth beehive is named after its inventor and is designed to provide the best conditions for honeybees to thrive and produce honey.

Langstroth Beehive: A Langstroth Beehive

The Langstroth beehive is designed to be modular and expandable, allowing beekeepers to add or remove boxes as needed. The boxes are designed to provide the perfect space for bees to move around and do their work. The hive is also designed to be easy to manage, with removable frames that allow beekeepers to inspect the hive and harvest honey without disturbing the bees too much. The Langstroth beehive has become the standard for beekeeping because of its effectiveness and convenience.

Key Takeaways

  • The Langstroth beehive is the most common and widely used in the world.
  • It was invented in the mid-19th century by Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, a beekeeper and teacher from Massachusetts, USA.
  • The Langstroth beehive is designed to provide the best conditions for honeybees to thrive and produce honey.

Brief History of the Langstroth Beehive

The Langstroth Beehive as we found out above was named after its inventor, Reverend Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, who designed it in 1851. Langstroth was a beekeeper who was frustrated with the limitations of the existing beehives. He wanted to create a hive that would allow for easy inspection and manipulation of the ‘frames’, without causing harm to the bees.

Langstroth’s most notable design concept was the need for a specific bee space. He found that the ideal bee space is between 6.4 and 9.5 millimetres. This space is large enough for the bees to fly between the combs but not so big that they will close the space with honeycomb or propolis. The ‘frames’ in the Langstroth hive are designed with this bee space in mind, allowing for easy inspection and manipulation of the frames.

The Langstroth hive quickly became popular among beekeepers due to its easy-to-use design and the fact that it allowed for the harvesting of honey without harming the bees or damaging the comb. Today, it is the most commonly used beehive in the world, and it has been adapted and improved upon over the years to meet the changing needs of beekeepers.

Reverend-Lorenzo-Lorraine-Langstroth

Langstroth Beehive: Reverend Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth the Langstroth Beehive Inventor

Design and Structure

The Langstroth beehive consists of several boxes ‘stacked’ on top of each other, each containing ‘frames’ on which bees build their honeycomb.

The Langstroth design is based on the principle of “bee space,” (see above) the frames in a Langstroth hive are spaced apart by a specific distance to create the correct bee space.

The standard Langstroth hive has ‘three’ main components; the bottom board, the hive body, and the cover. The ‘bottom board’ is the base of the hive and provides an entrance for the bees.

The ‘hive body’ is where the bees build their comb and store their honey. It consists of several boxes stacked on top of each other, each containing ‘frames’ for the bees to build their comb on. The cover is the top of the hive and protects the bees from the weather and predators.

Sizes

The Langstroth hive normally comes in two sizes; the 10-frame and the 8-frame. The 10-frame hive is the most common and is used by commercial beekeepers. The 8-frame hive is smaller and is often used by hobbyist beekeepers. The boxes used in a Langstroth hive are all the same length and width (see below: standardised dimensions), but they come in different depths. The standard sizes available are deep, medium, and shallow. Beekeepers can mix boxes of different depths in the same hive, depending on their needs.

Overall, the Langstroth Beehive is a versatile and efficient design that has revolutionised modern beekeeping. Its modular structure makes it easy to manage and maintain, while its bee space principle ensures that bees build their comb only where beekeepers want them to.

Components of a Langstroth Beehive

A Langstroth beehive is a vertically modular beehive that consists of several components. In this section, we will discuss the main components of a Langstroth beehive, including the brood box, honey super, frames, foundation, queen excluder, and cover.

Brood Box

The ‘brood box’ is the bottommost box of a Langstroth beehive. It is where the queen bee lays eggs, and the bees raise their young. The brood box typically contains ten frames, which are used for the bees to build their comb. The brood box is usually made of wood and is designed to be sturdy and durable.

Honey Super

The ‘honey super’ is the box that sits on top of the brood box. It is where the bees store their honey. The honey super typically contains ten frames, which are used for the bees to build their comb. The honey super is usually made of wood and is designed to be lightweight so that it can be easily removed and replaced.

Frames

Frames are wooden or plastic structures that are used to hold the honeycomb. They are placed inside the brood box and honey super. Frames come in different sizes, depending on the size of the box. They are designed to be removable so that the beekeeper can inspect the hive and harvest honey.

Foundation

The ‘foundation’ is a thin sheet of beeswax or plastic that is placed inside the frames. It provides a guide for the bees to build their comb. The ‘foundation’ comes in different sizes, depending on the size of the box. It is designed to be easily inserted into the frames.

Queen Excluder

A queen excluder is a metal or plastic grid that is placed between the brood box and the honey super. It is designed to prevent the queen bee from laying eggs in the honey super. This ensures that the honey in the honey super remains pure and free from any brood.

Cover

The cover is the topmost part of the Langstroth beehive. It is designed to protect the hive from the elements. The cover typically consists of an inner cover and an outer cover. The inner cover is a wooden or plastic board that is placed on top of the honey super. The outer cover is a metal or plastic lid that is placed on top of the inner cover. The cover is designed to be easily removed so that the beekeeper can inspect the hive.

Parts of a Langstroth Beehive

Langstroth Beehive: Basic and Additional Components of Langstroth Beehives

Working With a Langstroth Beehive

When working with a Langstroth beehive, there are several key tasks that you will need to perform regularly to keep your bees healthy and productive. These include inspecting the hive, harvesting honey, and wintering the bees.

Inspection

Regular inspections of your Langstroth beehive are essential to ensure that your bees are healthy and free from disease. During an inspection, you should look for signs of brood production, the presence of the queen, and the overall health of the colony.

To inspect your beehive, you will need to remove the ‘outer cover’ and any ‘supers’ that are on top of the ‘brood box’. You can then remove each frame from the ‘brood box’ and examine it for signs of brood, honey, and pollen. It’s important to be gentle when handling the ‘frames’ to avoid injuring the bees.

Harvesting Honey

Harvesting honey from your Langstroth beehive is one of the most rewarding aspects of beekeeping. To harvest honey, you will need to remove the ‘supers’ that contain the honeycomb ‘frames’ from the top of the ‘brood box’.

Once you have removed the ‘supers’, you can use a bee brush to gently remove any bees that are still on the frames. You can then remove the ‘frames’ and use a manual honey extractor to extract the honey from the comb.

Wintering

Wintering your Langstroth beehive is crucial to ensure that your bees survive the cold winter months. To winter your bees, you will need to make sure that they have enough honey and pollen stored in the hive to last through the winter.

You can also insulate your beehive to help keep your bees warm during the winter months. This can be done by wrapping the hive in insulation or by using a hive wrap that is designed specifically for Langstroth beehives.

In conclusion, working with a Langstroth beehive requires regular inspections, harvesting honey, and wintering your bees. By following these steps, you can help ensure that your bees remain healthy and productive throughout the year inside your Langstroth hive.

Advantages of Langstroth Beehives

If you are a beginner beekeeper, then the Langstroth beehive is an excellent choice for you. Here are some of the advantages of using a Langstroth beehive.

Standardised Dimensions

The Langstroth beehive as we know is the most common type of beehive, and its dimensions are standardised. The standards used in a ‘single hive’ use the same ‘length’ and ‘width’. A traditional Langstroth hive box is 16″ x 20″ W x L (406mm x 508mm). ‘Frame depth’ can vary depending on box sizes as we discovered. This means that support for beginners is readily available, and suppliers are easy to find. You can easily purchase pre-made frames and ‘foundations’, which will save you time and effort.

Easy to Expand

Langstroth beehives are easy to expand, which means you can add more boxes as your colony grows. This makes it an excellent choice for beekeepers who want to start small and gradually expand over time.

Easy to Inspect

Langstroth beehives are designed to be easy to inspect. The ‘frames’ can be easily removed, which makes it easy to check the health of your colony and perform routine maintenance tasks.

High Honey Yield

Langstroth beehives are designed to maximise honey production. The ‘frames’ as we know are designed to encourage bees to build straight combs, which makes it easier to extract honey. This means that you can expect a high honey yield from your Langstroth beehive.

Excellent Weather Protection

The Langstroth beehive provides excellent weather protection, especially in a cold climate. The hive is designed to keep the bees warm and dry, which is essential for their survival during the winter months.

Easy to Transport

Langstroth beehives are easy to transport, which is essential if you need to move your bees to a different location. The boxes can be easily stacked and secured, which makes it easy to move your colony without causing any harm to the bees.

Easy to Harvest Honey

Harvesting honey from a Langstroth beehive is straightforward. The ‘frames’ can be easily removed, and the honey can be extracted using a ‘honey extractor’. This means that you can enjoy fresh, delicious honey from your Langstroth beehive without any hassle.

Disadvantages of Langstroth Beehives

While Langstroth beehives are widely used and have many advantages, there are also some disadvantages to consider when deciding which type of beehive to use.

Heavy Weight

One of the main disadvantages of Langstroth beehives is their weight. The boxes can be heavy, especially when they are full of honey and bees. This can make them difficult to move or lift, which can be a problem for beekeepers who need to transport their hives or move them for cleaning or maintenance.

Expensive

Another disadvantage of Langstroth beehives is their cost. They can be more expensive than other types of beehives, especially if you need to buy multiple boxes to expand your hive. This can make them less accessible for beginner beekeepers or those on a tight budget.

Requires Maintenance

Langstroth beehives require regular maintenance to ensure that they are functioning properly. This includes inspecting the ‘frames’ for disease or damage, cleaning the boxes, and replacing old or damaged equipment. This can be time-consuming and may require specialised equipment, which can be an additional expense

Can Be Stressful for Bees

Finally, Langstroth beehives can be stressful for bees. The boxes are designed to be stacked on top of each other, which can disrupt the bees’ natural hive structure and make them feel cramped. This can lead to increased aggression and stress, which can negatively impact the health of the hive.

Overall, while Langstroth beehives have many advantages, they also have some disadvantages to consider. If you are a beginner beekeeper or on a tight budget, you may want to consider other types of beehives that are more accessible and affordable. However, if you are an experienced beekeeper who is willing to invest in the proper equipment and maintenance, Langstroth beehives can be a great choice for your hive.

2 Box Langstroth-Beehive

Langstroth Beehive: The Langstroth Beehive Has Both Advantages And Dis-Advantages For Beekeepers

Comparisons with Other Beehive Types

When it comes to beekeeping, there are several other types of beehives available. The Langstroth beehive is one of the most popular beehive types, but it is not the only one. Here’s how it compares to other beehive types.

Top Bar Hive

The top bar hive is a horizontal beehive that has bars instead of frames. The bees build their comb on the bars, and the bars are removed for harvesting. Top bar hives are popular among natural beekeepers because they allow the bees to build their comb naturally. However, they can be more difficult to manage than Langstroth hives because they require more frequent inspections.

Warre Hive

The Warre hive is a vertical beehive that uses top bars instead of frames. The Warre hive was designed to mimic the natural habitat of bees, and it is often used by natural beekeepers. However, it can be more difficult to manage than Langstroth hives because it requires more frequent inspections.

Flow Hive

The Flow Hive is a modern beehive that allows beekeepers to harvest honey without disturbing the bees. The Flow Hive uses frames that have a honeycomb pattern, and the honey is harvested by turning a handle that splits the cells and allows the honey to flow out. The Flow Hive is easy to use and requires less maintenance than traditional beehives, but it is more expensive.

Comparison Table

Here’s a quick comparison table that highlights the differences between the Langstroth, Top Bar, Warre, and Flow hives:

Beehive TypeAdvantagesDisadvantages
LangstrothEasy to manage, widely available, compatible with existing equipmentRequires more maintenance, less natural
Top BarNatural, low costMore difficult to manage, frequent inspections required
WarreNatural, low costMore difficult to manage, frequent inspections required
Flow HiveEasy to use, less maintenanceExpensive

Overall, the Langstroth beehive is a popular choice for beekeepers because it is easy to manage and widely available. However, other beehive types may be better suited for certain beekeepers depending on their goals and preferences.

Purchasing a Langstroth Beehive

If you’re new to beekeeping, purchasing a Langstroth beehive can be a daunting task. Here are a few things to consider before making your purchase.

Size

The first thing you’ll need to decide is what size hive you want. Langstroth hives come in several sizes, including 8-frame and 10-frame hives. The size you choose will depend on the number of bees you plan to keep and the amount of honey you hope to harvest.

Material

Langstroth hives can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, plastic, and metal. Wooden hives are the most common and are preferred by many beekeepers because they are easy to work with and provide good insulation. If you choose a wooden hive, be sure to select one made from high-quality wood.

Assembly

Some Langstroth hives come pre-assembled, while others will require some assembly. If you’re new to beekeeping, you may want to consider purchasing a pre-assembled hive to make things easier. However, if you’re handy with tools and enjoy DIY projects, assembling your hive can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Accessories

In addition to the hive itself, you’ll need to purchase a few accessories, such as ‘frames’, foundation, and a hive tool. ‘Frames’ are used to hold the honeycomb, while the foundation provides a base for the bees to build their comb. A hive tool is used to pry apart the frames and remove the honeycomb.

Cost

The cost of a Langstroth beehive can vary widely depending on the size, material, and accessories you choose. A basic 8-frame wooden hive can cost as little as a few hundred pounds, while a larger, more advanced hive with all the bells and whistles can cost several hundred pounds. Be sure to factor in the cost of accessories when making your purchase.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision when purchasing a Langstroth beehive and get started on your beekeeping journey with confidence.

FAQ’s

What is the maximum capacity of a Langstroth beehive?

The maximum capacity of a Langstroth beehive depends on the number of boxes you add to the hive. A standard Langstroth hive can accommodate up to 10 boxes, with each box holding up to 10 frames. This means that a fully expanded Langstroth hive can hold up to 100 frames.

How much does a Langstroth beehive typically cost?

The cost of a Langstroth beehive can vary depending on the quality of materials used and the number of boxes included. A basic Langstroth hive with one box can cost around £50-£100, while a fully expanded hive with 10 boxes can cost upwards of £500.

What are the benefits of using a Langstroth beehive?

Langstroth beehives are the most popular type of beehive used by beekeepers worldwide. The main benefits of using a Langstroth beehive include its modular structure, which allows for easy expansion, and the fact that they are compatible with most beekeeping equipment. They also provide a stable environment for bees to thrive in, which can lead to increased honey production.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You have learned about the Langstroth Beehive and its history, composition, and benefits. By now, you should have a good understanding of how the Langstroth Beehive works and how it can help you in your beekeeping journey.

Remember that the Langstroth Beehive is a popular choice for beekeepers due to its versatility and ease of use. It allows you to easily inspect and manipulate the frames, making it easier to manage your hive. Additionally, the Langstroth Beehive is designed to mimic the natural habitat of bees, making it a more comfortable and conducive environment for them to thrive.

When choosing a Langstroth Beehive, make sure to consider the size and number of frames that you need based on your beekeeping goals. You should also consider the type of material that the hive is made of, as this can affect its durability and longevity.

Overall, the Langstroth Beehive is an excellent choice for beekeepers of all levels. With its proven track record and numerous benefits, it is no surprise that it has become one of the most popular beekeeping hives in the world. So go ahead and give it a try – your bees will thank you for it!