Bees raise their young ("brood") in the boxes at the bottom of a hive. There are three equivalent names for these: brood boxes, hive bodies, or deeps (being 9-5/8" in depth). Bees store their nectar - which becomes honey - above the brood. Excess honey for our harvest is stored in the highest boxes, or "supers." Most beekeepers use "medium" boxes for supers. Being only 6-5/8" deep, they are lighter when full of honey than a deep. A small number of beekeepers use "shallows" as supers, which are even lighter.
Inside the boxes that make up a hive are combs of wax, on rectangular "frames." The standard size box is 10 frames wide. 8 frame equipment is also available. A honey bee colony is generally started in one deep box, and grows to use 2 deep boxes in its first year. These are the two "brood boxes," where the queen lays eggs. In the second and third years, it is hoped that the colony will create wax comb on all frames in 4 additional medium boxes, which are the honey boxes, or "supers."
Betterbee offers a wide array of bee hive kits with many options! These options are explained on each item and automatically calculate cost difference. The different types of equipment are explained below:
10 Frame Wooden Equipment
Ten frame wooden hive equipment has been the industry standard for over 100 years and is still the most commonly used size of equipment in the US. Ten frame equipment has more space for bees, honey and brood whereas a comparable 8 frame hive will be taller and use more boxes than a 10 frame hive.
8 Frame Wooden Equipment
Eight frame equipment is approximately 13% lighter than 10 frame wood equipment. When full of honey, a full 8 frame medium super will weigh 35 to 40 pounds while a full 10 frame medium will weigh 45 to 50 pounds. Some feel that overwintering is better in taller 8 frame bee hive kits than 10 frame boxes because the cluster can move up more readily through honey stores in a smaller 8 frame hive.
Using all mediums is an increasing trend among beekeepers. Both 8 and 10 frame hives can consist of all medium boxes. Medium boxes weigh about 3/4 of the weight of a comparable deep box. A beekeeper can use 3 medium boxes as a brood chamber and that will be about the same as 2 deep boxes.
Polystyrene equipment is available in 10 frame size only, yet provides more insulation value than wood. Better insulation means less temperature fluctuation and consequently a hive can have a bigger brood nest earlier in the critical spring build-up period.
This line of equipment is easy to assemble requiring only glue, and does not require winter wrapping. If you are looking for lightweight equipment with high insulating value you should consider BeeMax hives. Empty BeeMax equipment weighs less than half of its wooden counterparts.
Lyson bee hive kits features latches for securing hives, an integrated varroa monitoring tray, adjustable ventilation, an integrated entrance reducer/mouseguard, and reinforced frame rests and edges. Lyson equipment weighs approximately 85% as much as comparable wooden equipment.
*Substitutions for components of kits are welcome! Choose your items and give us a call if you don't see what you'd like online.