What makes a good beehive?

Honeybees are a SuperOrganism, that means they work as a team. The team needs a good home to raise their colony. Beehives are a series of honeycomb 'fins' in which the bees breed and store food. The hive needs a well-ventilated, dry, secure space with plenty of room for growth. In warm climates that could even be in the open, under a limb of a tall tree. But mostly, they'll make their hive in the protection of hollow trees, caves, and crevices like walls or spaces between rocks.

Man has been 'keeping' bees for thousands of years. But man-made beehives weren't developed til the ancient Egyptians made it easier to manage a colony of bees, collect honey and later be transported for pollination. The Egyptians used woven baskets, covered with clay, called skeps, to house bees. But skeps didn't allow for easy removal and observation of the individual combs. So often they killed the colony to harvest the wax and honey. 

Not til Ancient Greeks, expanding their Empire, conquered the lands of the southern Mediterranean, was there change to the hive design. When the soldiers came upon Kenyan and Tansanian tribes in northern Africa, they learned how to host bees in fallen, hollowed tree trunks where Bees made honeycomb on sticks laid across horizontal openings. The bee's honey and wax could be retrieved without sacrificing the colony. This Top Bar Hive Design was brought back Athens where access to the functioning colony allowed thinkers such as Aristotle to study bee-havior while postulating on the underpinnings of modern civilizations.

This Top Bar Hive design, is the Genesis for the Beepods Design. But hundreds of other 'homes' have been designed by man since that Top Bar Hive... In America, one design became synonymous with beekeeping, the Langstroth Hive.

Vertically stacked white boxes, alone or in clusters, dot the landscape today for those with an eye to notice. Langstoth's 1853 design coincided with the American Industrial Revolution which embraced efficiency and cost-savings principles. Langstroth boxes hold multiple wooden frames on which bees draw their comb and make their hives. The design maximizes productivity while being easy to manage and easier still to load onto trailers and move about for pollination services.

But even Lorenzo Langstroth wrote of a problem with his design... that the efficiencies could one day go against the Bee's own instincts... which he said would one day have bad effects.

Not til the age of monocrop agriculture were Langstroth's visions realized. For nowdays... most commercial beekeepers rely on Pollination services to make a living, rather than honey sales. And Pollination since the advent of the automobile, means trucking bees all over the world to follow the Spring Bloom.

 

So there have been lots of designs throughout history with some varieties favored in different parts of the world more than others. They mainly follow the same basic principles but differ in two important ways. Are they used as a business or a hobby and do they spread the colony vertically or horizontally. Beepods expand horizontally and are designed for hobby, small scale and backyard beekeeping. They are excellent for educational and interactive purposes.