Beecentric Hives Built For Bees
The beecentric hive is modelled after the honeybees’ natural habitat – a hollow tree trunk. Initially inspired by the Warre hive, the beecentric hive uses eight-frame Langstroth boxes. The number of frames in a box is significant as the width of the hive should not exceed the width of the overwintering cluster of bees. Narrower hives are easier for the colony to heat and prevent winter starvation by encouraging the bees to access honey stores directly above them.
The Beecentric Hive is designed and handcrafted in Edmonton, Alberta for the conscientious beekeeper. Beecentric Hives are made from solid pine and feature strong finger joints and handles on all four sides. The beecentric hive is a hybrid between a commercial Langstroth and a Warre Hive designs.
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At its core, the Beecentric hive is a modified eight-frame Langstroth hive. Sometimes called an Illinois Hive, eight-frame boxes are versatile, easier to manipulate, and ideal for cooler climate beekeeping.
Eight frame hives are ideal for over-wintering because it’s the same width as the brood nest and the overwintering cluster of bees. With less space to heat, the bees don’t have to work as hard. In larger 10-frame hives, it’s not uncommon for overwintering bees to starve when the temperature drops down, and they’re unable to reach honey contained within the last two frames. The 8-frame hive eliminates this problem by matching the width of the hive to the natural dimensions of the bee cluster making is a must-have feature for cooler climate beekeepers.
- easier to manipulate
- increases winter survival rates
Unlike commercial Langstroth hives, the Beecentric hives use medium (6 5/8″ depth) boxes for brood and honey. As a result, the hives are versatile and easy to manipulate. A medium box can be expected to weigh between 40 and 50lbs (as opposed to 75-100lbs for ten-frame deep supers).
There is no need for a queen excluder (though, nothing about the hive would prevent you from using one) as honey and brood frames are interchangeable. With a single size of box for brood or honey, splitting a hive is easy – transfer brood, pollen, and some frames of honey from an established colony into an empty hive box. No need to worry about mismatched frame and box sizes. Everything is consistent.
- lighter than ten frame or deep boxes
- easier to manipulate
- simple; no need to buy different sizes of frames or foundation for brood and honey supers
- frames of brood and honey can be transferred between any two boxes
- ideal for splitting hives and creating nucs
Standard Langstroth Frames
The Beecentric Hive uses the same standard medium Langstroth frames available at any beekeeping supply store. Frames are utilized with or without foundation (I go foundationless). As they are standard, frames are compatible with commercial honey extractors.
- available at any bee supply store
- compatible with commercial honey extractors
- use foundation or go foundationless
With varroa mites everywhere, many beekeepers are turning to integrated pest management (IPM) screened bottom boards. Unlike solid bottom boards, screened bottom boards have an open 1/8th-inch wire mesh bottom. Honeybees are naturally good housekeepers. As the bees clean the hive and groom each other, debris (including mites) falls through the mesh bottom and leave the hive. In his book, Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches To Modern Apiculture, Ross Conrad estimates that 10% to 20% of varroa mites fall off their hosts and through the screened bottom board. This leads to the screened bottom boards second use, performing mite counts. All screened bottom boards have plastic insert that can be used to close the hive up during Winter or to perform mite counts.
In addition to reducing and monitoring varroa mite, screened bottom boards prevent moisture buildup and potentially fungal diseases within the colony by increasing ventilation.
- Reduces varroa mites by an estimated 10-20%
- Provides a non-invasive way to monitor varroa mites
- Increases ventilation
Two Entrance Options
Two openings give you (and your bees) the versatility. According to renowned beekeeper Micheal Bush, installing a top-entrance eliminates “mice, skunks…dead bees blocking the exit in winter, condensation on the lid in winter, snow blocking the exit in winter, [and] grass blocking the exit the rest of the year.” Each hive comes complete with two floating entrances and two entrance reducers.
Warre Top Quilt Box
A quilt is a shallow box that sits on top of the hive and is filled with a bedding material such as straw, sawdust, or wood chips. The quilt box has a 1/8th-inch wire mesh bottom that separates the hive from the bedding material and prevents moisture from building up. Over time, the bees add or remove propolis from the mesh to regulate the airflow. The top quilt is ideal for overwintering bees, as it provides insulation from the elements while allowing moisture to escape the hive.
- provides winter insulation
- prevents condensation on the inner cover (there is no inner cover)
- allows moisture to escape the hive
- bedding can be changed at any time without opening the hive
- increases winter survival rates
The sloped roof is designed to protect the hive from the elements while ensuring adequate ventilation. Designed to fit over the top quilt, you don’t need to worry about the wind blowing this one off! Oh, and it also looks great!
- sheds the elements
- vented to allow moisture to escape
- easily lifts off to reveal the top quilt and bedding
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