The Small Hive Project started in fall 2017, when a hobbyist beekeeper designed a small horizontal hive for treatment-free beekeeping. The prototype hive is currently in the public 6-year testing phase. Have a quick look at the results overview or browse the hive reports. You are also invited to participate in the project by building your own copy of the hive, and publish your beekeeping experience in a public hive report. Detailed information about the project and hive plans are available on this website. New content will be added over the course of the project.
The Hive is designed to meet the following requirements:
- Favor bee colony survival in low-input beekeeping situations (no Varroa treatment, no sugar feeding).
- Adapted to rather small bee colonies of Apis Mellifera in environments dominated by agriculture (moderate nectar flow).
- Suitable for comb honey production (Low productivity is acceptable, as long as sufficient for personal use.)
- Easy to build and to manage.
The hive is made up of three detachable components (3D hive model):
- A fixed-comb hive body, providing space for six 35mm-spaced (brood) combs.
- A fully movable 38mm width Huber-style leaf frame.
- A Huber-style back providing 38mm of space for one additional comb.
Bees are managed with little intervention:
This hive itself is intended to be a powerful management tool for favoring bee health and natural colony multiplication. It has been designed to hopefully get on well by letting do mostly the bees. The beekeeper's main task is to provide shelter for bees (hives = nestboxes), and in return to harvest some honey if appropriate. The size of the hive entrance may also be adjusted periodically to colony size (optional).
Optionally, the hive may be attached to trees.
As an alternative to conventional hive stands the author of this website designed a tree mount. Attaching hives to trees is expected to favor wide colony spacing, to be advantageous for swarm catching (bait hive) and to avoid potential conflict with society.