Tri Gable Lea Easier Langstroth Hive Kit- 8 frame foundationless
Note: most of these are sold locally with a free mini lesson & pick up by appointment. Weekend delivery available in CT, MA and RI for $40. However, we now can ship these flat packed (unassembled) to the lower 48 states!
Easier on your body, simple equipment, easier to manage moisture (that can kill hives in winter), easy to feed (exterior entrance jar or top feeding with homemade jars), and it uses conventional frames that fit in honey extractors.
We have been specializing in unconventional hives and methods that challenge the practices of commercial beekeeping. Many online companies try to sell you equipment you will not need, prescribe treatments that are not sustainable, and sell wax foundation that's laced with traces of chemicals from the high inputs of commercial beekeeping.
We hand make all of our hives on site with local 1" rough cut pine, a more sustainable source than a box made in China and shipped across the world.
What we are promoting is a different hive set up that still uses conventional langstroth frames, doesn't use wax foundation, has boxes that are all one size, and adopts features from other unconventional hives (like our top bar and warré hives) to help bees build natural straight comb and manage moisture in the hive. Altogether you get a complete bee hive that is built to help the Beekeeper and is more natural for the bees.
What do you get? From the bottom up...
- base: simple hive base with landing board, mouse guard, and reducible entrance
- 4 hive bodies: these are all medium sizes 8 frame boxes. Mediums instead of deeps to reduce the weight per box, making it more likely that you'll want to lift boxes to inspect the hive. Mediums are also narrower boxes, brining the overall dimensions of the cavity closer to that of a tall and skinny hollow tree (what bees have evolved from). All mediums so all the frames are interchangeable among all of the boxes. Simpler equipment means less to worry about and be confused about.
-1 deep hive body with a spacer: this allows you to buy some of the best local bees for your hive. They come in 5 frame deeps called a Nuc. You can put the 5 deep frames in this box and add 3 medium frames. There is a spacer under the 3 medium frames so bees will not build comb beyond the frame. This can stay on the bottom permanently or eventually be removed back to all mediums. The point is that this one add on is a temporary piece of equipment that allows you to get some of the best local bees.
- fully assembled foundationless frames with wooden comb guides: we have extensive experience building and managing natural comb being built in top bar and warré hives. We add a triangular comb guide to the langstroth frames. This way you can encourage your bees to build straight, insuperable combs. We encourage you to keep mass produced wax foundation and plastic foundations. Instead let the bees do what they do beat, what they have evolved to do. Don't worry about small cell or drone cell or whatever. The bees will build comb cells the size they need. Again this is not only better for the bees but it simplifies your management of the hive. Foundationless frames also means you will have untainted while comb honey and wax. Both of these are highly valued for home use and for sale as cut comb and used in cosmetics.
- no queen excluder - we as Beekeepers have to stop thinking we know better than the hive mind. We encourage you to let the queen lay eggs wherever she sees fit. Bees will naturally maintain a brood chamber in two of the boxes and store honey in the boxes above and at the side frames. Rather than being fixated on robbing the bees off honey all at once, you can harvest full natural comb honey a couple combs at a time like our ancestors did.
- top feeder box - you'll get a box you can use to either feed syrup or winter feed dry sugar, candy or fondant.
- quilt box - this is an adoption from the Warre hive. It has a screened bottom and holds wood shavings. This site on top of the hive year round to help cycle out excess moisture that rises to the top of the hive. It also naturally insulates the top of the hive from the elements. This also makes a secure top that keeps out robbers and wasps.
- Gabled and vented garden roof: this adds a handsome touch to the aesthetics of the hive and it is functional. It fits over the quilt box, keeping rain out but also has ample air flow to wick out excess moisture through the shavings in the quilt box.
Overall the design challenges conventional practices, making a simple hive to manage. As well, since it is based on langstroth frames it will be easier for new Beekeepers to find a mentor and quality bees.