The Small Hive Projet is a hobbyist beekeeping experiment.

The Small Hive Project started in fall 2017, when a hobbyist beekeeper designed a small horizontal hive for backyard beekeeping. The prototype hive is currently in the public testing phase. You may wish to participate in the project by building your own copy of hive and publish your beekeeping experience in a Hive Report. All necessary information is available on this website. New content will be added over the course of the project.

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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

To meet these requirements, the author thoroughly reconsidered hive volume and design of the Warré hive. The result is a small horizontal hive approximating the form of a cube (volume 25,7 L: height 300 mm, width 300mm, length 286 mm).

The hive is made up of three detachable components:

  1. A fixed-comb hive body, providing space for six 35mm-spaced (brood) combs.
  2. A fully movable 38mm width Huber-style leaf frame
  3. A Huber-style back providing 38mm of space for one additional comb

The hive entrance is situated in the lower-right part the hive front and is 25mm in diameter. A queen excluder may be inserted between the fixed-comb hive body and the leaf frame.

Bees are managed with little intervention:
This hive has been designed to hopefully get on well by letting do mostly the bees. The beekeeper's role is to control (not to prevent !!!) swarming and eventually to harvest honey. The size of the hive entrance may also be adjusted periodically to colony size. Dead colonies are cleared and the hive prepared to receive a new colony. That's it!

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 and to be advantageous for swarm catching (bait hive).