As many beekeepers know, the uses of having a beehive on your farm are plentiful. Honey has numerous health benefits, in addition to being a delicious natural sweetener. The wax can be used for a countless number of things around the home, including candles and beauty products. My partner and I decided to become beekeepers to harvest the honey in hopes of alleviating our seasonal allergies after moving to rural eastern Oregon, where grasses and hay are vastly abundant.
After extensive research, we modeled our hive after the hives of northern Europe. Maintaining beehives is still a very active practice for farmers in countries in Scandinavia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany. Scandinavian “bee hotels” designs make harvesting the wax and honey simpler than the traditional boxes that we see in the United States. In Europe, the design looks similar to a small cottage but is designed that way only for aesthetics. The boxes typically sit on a pillar and are raised from the ground by about three feet.
I built mine into a closed section of my garage in hopes of protecting the hive from low winter temperatures later in the year. The hive’s housing unit is split into three sections on either side on the box. The backside of the hive is stationary. It has small openings for the bees to enter and exit the brood box from. Luckily, the backside of my garage is south facing, which most beekeepers find to be beneficial for their hives. Following traditional European design, the hive entrance openings are painted a variety of bright colors to attract the bees to the hive, much like they are drawn to vibrant flowers.
Benefits and downfalls of the design
The front of the box opens up to a screened-in hive so that it’s easy to see the bees working, check on the overall hive health, and feed them by spraying sugar water on the screen in the winter time. In addition, we added a feeding tray at the base of each door that we installed upside-down water bottles into. The screen serves a great protectant so you do not have to get fully suited up each time you want to tend to your hive.
To harvest honey and wax you will still want to wear a beekeeping suit to protect yourself from getting stung. It is easy to slide out one of the three frames on either side of the hive and replace it with a new one. It is important to move fast if you are wanting to avoid prolonged interactions with the bees. Also to avoid the introduction of pests, since removing the frames creates an opening in the screen. This is one downfall of the design. I have decided to go with foundationless screens to allow for my bees to create their own brood comb.
Wonders of winter
This design has proven to be successful for an alpine environment as it protects the bees from the extreme temperatures of winter. Our ranch is located at 5,000 feet in elevation and sees temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit in the month of January. Evaluate your own property to assess the needs of your bee colony. It will aid in your decision of what design will provide the best environment for your queen and her workers.
Can you post pictures of this?
1. “The boxes typically sit on a pillar and are raised from the ground by about 3 feet.”
Are the hives each separate? How is the external ‘house’ secured? Is it separately anchored to the ground? Are the hives and ‘house’ one structure, or are the hives installed in niches within the ‘house’?
2. “The front of the box opens like cabinet doors to a screened-in hive. ” Is this similar to the Slovenian hives I have seen on-line? I have never been able to find any pictures of someone ‘working’ the hives. Can you provide that?
I would like the plans on this!
I am also interested in seeing more. I have seen little bits of this hive design in the past and would like to see more.
I live in the interior of alaska and we can see temps as low as -60f at times. I have had mixed results with overwintering bees and would like to work towards overwintering with better results.
The cottage design is not only for aesthetics. It is intended to provide protection, from the stormy weather and the sun. In Slovenia, for example, the overhang is designed to allow sunlight to warm the hive fronts in the morning, but by afternoon the fronts are in the shade of the roof. The style of the overhang depends on which region you live in. To say the cottage design is only for aesthetics is not exactly accurate.
This is awesome! Thank you for the tips. Just wondering where you bought the boxes from, I’m having a hard time finding boxes at a decent price.
I thank you for giving us such a brilliant piece of space where we can read a very interesting knowledge about how to select a suitable product for your self.
Such a great informational article for packaging boxes.
we are a company which manufactures beehive frames.
We have a serious production capacity of about 5000 frames per day.
We are engaged in the production of element frames as well as the production of assembled frames and frames with installed wire.
We are also engaged in the production of beehives and parts of beehives from the highest quality wood.
Our production is based solely on the quality and the quality of our products is our hallmark.
If you are interested in cooperation, please contact us, we will be happy to answer all your questions.
For an accurate price list, please send us photos of the required products and approximate quantities and we will offer you the best prices for top quality.
Whatsapp Viber +381603330562