Beekeeping: Breeding equipment

Beekeeping: Breeding equipment


The hive is the artificial shelter where bees live and can be a container of various shapes and sizes, built with the most varied materials and inside which bees build honeycombs, raise the brood and deposit honey.
The rustic hives (peasant huts) are fixed honeycombs and are used by man from the dawn of beekeeping to the present day, making use of hollow tree trunks, wicker baskets, straw bells, cork containers where bees they build their own honeycombs. Given the impossibility of controlling the nest, the beekeeping techniques, in most cases, consist in the collection of swarms and the collection of honey by means of apicide and the pressing of honeycombs.
The rational or mobile honeycomb hives were born after the discovery of the bee space. In 1851 the Reverend Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth observed that the bees tended to leave the passages with a width between 6.35 and 9.52 mm free, propolisating the spaces smaller than this measure and closing the upper ones with wax bridges. Thanks to this discovery he conceived the mobile frame which allows the control of the brood nest and the collection of honey without destroying the honeycombs or eliminating the bees. The rational hive is formed by the bottom, by one or more nest bodies containing the honeycombs of brood and supplies, by one or more honeycombs containing the honeycombs for collecting honey, by the cover and the roof.

Exploded D.B. 10 frames with movable bottom (graphic elaboration by Romeo Caruceru)

The hives are distinguished by their shape (vertical, horizontal) and by use.
The hives vertical foresee the development of the family upwards by overlapping nest and honeycomb bodies, while in those horizontal the development of the nest takes place laterally by adding new frames for the brood and, subsequently, frames for collecting the honey. The Layens hive derives from a horizontal hive and has no separation between brood and honey frames. Some horizontal hives can be equipped with a melario.

Some models of hives vertical is horizontal:

  • Langstroth beehive
  • Dadant beehive
  • Beehive Layens
  • Lusitanian beehive

Hives models horizontal with a limited capacity that do not require the addition of topstones:

  • Keniana or Top Bar Hive with slanted side walls
  • Tanzania has a rectangular section
  • Sicilian model, in "tabbutu" dialect built with ferrule stubs and plastered on the outside with luto

There are also models of hives for specific uses: holder holders, fertilization hobs, boxes for the production of royal jelly.

In Italy the modified Dadant-Blatt or Dadant model is used almost exclusively, in various configurations: with fixed or movable bottom, with anti-tank bottom or full bottom, with ten or twelve frames, with or without portico.

Kubik beehive with 10 honeycombs D.B. used for nomadism (website photo)

Bee escape

The beekeeper is a useful tool that allows you to free the honey bees from the bees before retiring for honey extraction.
It consists of a wooden panel equipped with a device that allows the passage of bees in one direction; it is used to convey bees from the melarium to the nest, exploiting the characteristic of bees to exchange between these two sites. In this way, it is possible to free the melarium within 24 hours.
The only case where the ineffectiveness of the tool occurs is when the brood is present in the honeycomb and the bees therefore do not intend to abandon it; to avoid this problem, use another tool, the grid excluding the queen.
There are two types of beekeepers: with or without exit plate.
The sheet allows you to restore the flow of bees to clean the honeycombs of the melarium which, even if honeyed, have residues of honey; this prevents wasting a precious product and at the same time having frames that will be better preserved for the following season.

Queen exclusion grid

It is inserted between the nest and the melarium when the latter is laid, it can be made of steel or plastic and prevents the passage of the queen and drones while it is easily crossed by bees; it serves to prevent the queen from going up to the melarium and laying eggs on it.
The grill can also be equipped with a wooden frame in such a way as to maintain the honeycomb space both below and above it.

Material for the beekeeper

Basic equipment for apiary visits (website photo)


It serves to protect the face and can be in black tulle or better with wire mesh.


Generally in leather, with arm cover equipped with a terminal elastic that serves to prevent bees from penetrating inside.


Metal cylinder with two holes in which the combustion of jute, cardboard and dried wood takes place. One of the two holes has a spout that emits smoke and makes bees more tame.


It has multiple functions: opening the hive by detaching and lifting the cover, eliminating the wax connections between one frame and the other, the so-called "bridges", raising the frames and eliminating excess wax and the accumulation of propolis . There are various sizes and shapes.


It consists of a wooden board equipped with bristles and can be used on several occasions to free honeycombs from bees. It is important to wet the brush so that the bees do not get caught with the hair.


Appliance capable of producing a strong jet of air used to free the honey bees from bees.
It can be on the shoulder or trolley and consists of an internal combustion engine that controls a fan, which pushes air; the jet is directed in the spaces between the frames of the supers arranged vertically on the hives or near them. Through this operation the bees remain stunned but do not suffer any damage.

Wax sheets

These are thin pre-printed wax sheets in the shape of hexagonal cells on both sides, they have the function of facilitating bees in the construction of honeycombs, allowing them to secrete less wax (this translates into less honey consumption). In addition, the honeycombs are built more regularly and all contain worker cells (this does not mean that the bees cease to raise the drones but they will certainly result in fewer numbers). The wax sheets are fixed on the frame of the frames with the help of the electric wire inserter.


They are wooden frames inside which the wax sheet is mounted. They have an armature with galvanized iron wire or with stainless steel wire, generally vertical.


It is a panel used to restrict the space available to the family; it is used when the latter is not strong enough to cover and be able to heat the entire volume of the hive. It can be made of wood, plastic or masonite.

In some cases the plastic pocket feeder (left) can be inserted in place of the wooden diaphragm (right) and used to provide water to families, if a watering point has not been set up (photo website)


It is used to provide nourishment to bees in particular periods, it can be external (most used) or pocket. The external one consists of a perforated container positioned between the cover and the roof of the hive, while the pocket nourisher is placed in place of a frame and filled with syrup (less used because it requires the opening of the hive for filling).

Video: Beekeeping - Equipment (September 2021).