A Bee Focused Beehive
In 2011, I started keeping honeybees in traditional Warre hives, but I missed the versatility of standard frames, so I modified the Warre hive, and the Beencentric Hive was born.
The Beecentric Hive is an eight-frame Langstroth hive (Illinois Hive) with a Warre style insulated top-quilt and vented roof. Narrower than commercial ten frame Langstroth hives, the dimensions place food stores above the bees where it’s more accessible. The insulated top-quilt significantly increases the r-value over standard inner and outer covers while allowing excess moisture to escape through the vented roof. The Beecentric Hive has the versatility of a Langstroth hive with bee-centred features of a traditional Warre design.
While I never intended to get into building beehives beyond my own needs, I soon discovered a demand for the Beecentric Hive. In 2013, I began taking orders for the growing local beekeeping community. In 2018, I built a new shop and started shipping beehives across Canada and the United States.
Designed and handcrafted in Edmonton for conscientious beekeepers. The Beecentric Hives are made from solid pine and feature strong finger joints, and handles on all four sides.
8 Frame Beekeeping Equipment
The number of frames is significant as the width of the hive should not exceed the width of the overwintering cluster of bees. Wintering bees can’t quickly move perpendicular to the frames, so accessing honey beside them without breaking the cluster is difficult. A narrower, taller hive positions honey above the bees where its easier to access, which prevents starvation.
Since the Beecentric Hive uses standard langstroth frames, it’s compatible with existing equipment and infrastructure.
Medium Boxes For Brood and Honey
Unlike commercial Langstroth hives, the Beecentric Hive uses medium depth boxes for brood and honey. Using one size of box simplifies the Beecentric Hive and increases versatility and ease of manipulation.
There is no need for a queen excluder (though, nothing prevents you from using one) as honey and brood frames are interchangeable. A single size box makes slitting a hive is simple; transfer brood, pollen, and some frames of honey from an established colony into an empty hive box. There is no need to worry about mismatched frames and boxes.
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 colony. 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.
In addition to removing mites from the hive, IPM bottom boards offer a simple way to monitor the mite load within a colony through regular mite counts. All screened bottom boards come with a plastic insert for closing the hive up.
The Beecentric Hive bottom board comes with a built-in entrance and entrance reducer sized to the natural preference of honeybees. The 13 cm² opening is small enough to prevent robbing and conserve heat while being large enough to accommodate intense honey flows.
Insulated Warre Top Quilt Box
The Warre style quilt is an insulation-filled screened box that sits on top of the hive. The quilt box insulates the hive from excessive heat and cold while preventing moisture build-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 extra protection from the elements while allowing moisture to escape through the Warre style vented roof.
Warre Vented Roof
The Beecentric hive has a slopped Warre-Style roof designed to protect the colony from the elements while ensuring adequate ventilation. Designed to fit over the insulated top quilt, you don’t need to worry about the wind blowing this one off!
Built-In Top and Bottom Entrances
The Beecentric Hive has two built-in entrances and comes with two entrance reducers. The lower opening is built into the IPM bottom board and fitted with a reducer year-round that is small enough to defend easily and large enough to prevent traffic jams during busy honey flows.
The upper-entrance built into the insulated top-quilt and fitted with a reducer with a 3/4″ opening. While bees can use the top as an entrance, it’s primarily there as added ventilation. A larger entrance can be swapping entrance reducers or closed off entirely by tipping the existing reducer on its side.
To learn more about the Beecentric Hive, visit the Frequently Asked Questions Page.