Langstroth beehive

The Langstroth hive is probably the most popular design in the world and is used in many countries. It is the standard hive in North and South America and Australasia. This is the original design patented by the Reverend Langstroth in 1851 and is reputed to have been based on the dimensions of a case of champagne. It is rectangular, rather than square, as are the frames that fit inside to hold the wax.

The main characteristics are:

Double-walled giving better winter protection. Expensive to buy but attractive. Complex to manage when inspecting the bees. It normally has bottom beespace.

  • The brood chamber holds 10 frames with 45,000 cells. The frame size is Min (355mm) wide and 8in (203mm) deep.
  • The outer dimensions of the brood chamber and supers are not square.
  • It must be used with WBC supers as others will not fit.

Frame spacing

No matter what hive design you choose, the importance of correct frame spacing within the brood and super boxes should be carefully considered.

Frame spacers are small plastic parts that slip over the lugs of a brood or super frame to ensure correct bee space is maintained between each frame.

Hoffman ‘self spacing' frames are common and many beekeepers use them in their brood boxes. These have a wider and shaped side bar to the frame that allows for correct bee space when frames are butted together in the brood box.

Castellated metal runners with predetermined slots ensure correct spacing of frames in supers, where wider spacing encourages bees to build deeper cells and produce more honey.

Manley style frames, with very wide side bars, are used in honey supers to create a wider spacing without using castellated runners.

The brood chamber is larger than the National hive but smaller than the Commercial. It tends to be a little cheaper than the other 'British' hives because it is produced in such large numbers across the globe. Modifications and developments in the US are readily available in this country as well. There is a variant known as the Jumbo Langstroth that has deeper frames and gives a much larger brood chamber.

The main characteristics are:

  • It is single-walled and easy to construct.
  • It is rectangular not square.
  • It normally has top beespace.
  • The frames have short lugs increasing the internal dimensions.
  • The brood chamber holds 10 frames with 62,000 cells. The frame size is about 18in (457mm) wide and 9in (228mm) deep.
  • The Jumbo Langstroth frame size is about 18in (457mm) wide and llin (289mm) deep with about 75,000 cells.
  • It must be used with Langstroth supers.

Excerpt from the book: The bbka guide to beekeeping