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The Country Enterprise Handbook
Analysing your assets|Land use|Vegetables|Soft fruit|Flower & herb growing|Orchard & vineyard|Woodlands Sheep|Beef|Pigs|Rabbits|Hens|Ducks|Geese|Dairying|Kitchen|Bees|Wool|Water|Home|Contact us

..Siting a hive
...As partners
>..Bee hives
...Hive construction
...Smoker,hive tool,feeder
...Capture a swarm
...Buy a colony or nucleus
...Queens & drones
...The workers
...Ah! Honey
...Propolis,royal jelly,wax

Left to their own devices, bees will as happily build a nest in a hollow tree as in a purpose-made hive.

The purpose of a man-made hive is after all simply to make it easier for you to remove the honey and to ensure that the honey is as free from impurities as possible. When a honey-eating bear raids a hive in the wild he is not concerned about pieces of bark and the occasional insect, neither does he have to ensure that the honey is clean enough not to ferment in storage. We all assume when we take honey from a jar that it is pure and wholesome and the best start to producing clean honey is to have the bees in a suitable hive. Manufactured hives are quite similar in design and if you intend to make your own hive, it should have the same basic design.

Starting from the bottom, where the bees enter through a small hole, the first layer is the brood chamber. This is a rectangular box, open above and below. On the bottom it rests on a board and above it, there is a screen with holes that are small enough to allow access for the worker-bees but too small to allow the queen to pass through and lay her eggs in the honey storage boxes. The queen is thus confined to the lower box which is referred to as the brood chamber. In this she lays her eggs and here the worker-bees feed the larvae.

When the workers store the honey in the second layer they are providing us with our crop. Left totally to their own devices, they are simply building a reserve of food to last them through the winter. When we interfere and take some honey, we have to supplement their diet as necessary with sugar.