Whidbey Island Washington Beekeeping & Honeybees - Lavender Honey - Green Road Farm - Tim Walsh

A Place to Call Home


Where is home?

Home is where the heart is and if you are a bee, home is where the hive is. SO these boxes that are now stacked on top of each other will soon be called home or hive to a colony of bee’s. As it turns out Only species of the subgenus Apis live in hives, and, of these, only the Western honey bee (Apis mellifera) and the Eastern honey bee (Apis cerana) are kept in domestication.*

So let’s start identifying the equipment that is “home” to the bee we use for honey production.

A hive consists of a boxes that have neither a top or bottom. The box closest to the ground is called a Hive Body or Brood Chamber.
Boxes that that are placed on top of the Brood Chamber called Comb Honey Supers or just plain Supers and hold all the honey. I notice a few of my boxes have a small hole on one of the sides but most of them don’t. This hole provides ventilation and should be placed at the top of the hive.
Underneath everything is a bottom board with an opening on one side that allows the bees to enter and leave. On the top is an aluminum covered board to protect the hive.

Supers come in various sizes.

Type Depth Frame length Frame depth Frame width
Deep body 9 9/16″
(243 mm)
(483 mm)
9 1/8″ (232 mm) 1 1/8″
(29 mm)
Medium (Illinois) super 6 5/8″
(168 mm)
(483 mm)
6 1/4″
(159 mm)
1 1/8″
(29 mm)
Shallow super 5 3/4″
(146 mm)
(483 mm)
5 3/8″
(137 mm)
1 1/8″
(29 mm)
Comb super 4 3/4″
(121 mm)
(483 mm)
4 1/8″
(105 mm)
1 1/8″
(29 mm)


Inside of these Supers are slots containing wooden Frames.
Within the frames are thin honeycomb shaped mesh called Comb Foundations (or just foundations). The comb foundations are where the bee’s create the honeycomb and honey.

Bottom board – this has an entrance for the bees to get into the hive.

Brood box – is the most bottom box of the hive and is were the queen bee lays her larva.

Honey Super – same as Brood box but is upper most box where honey is stored.

Frames & Foundation – wooden frame and plastic sheet with honey comb impression where bees put wax honey combs.

Inner and Outer Cover – As name implies.

* Wikipedia


The bees will use propolis to seal the hive of any cracks that might allow pests in as well as sealing it against the weather. Propolis is also used as a way to shore up loose frames and make the hive more sound.  It is how they weather-proof their home.




November 2017
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