Bjorn Apiaries

The honey bees never teach you all their secrets at once. They dish it out over time. Making the education process of the hive a lifetime of enjoyment.

Over the years, we have kept and continue to keep unique and different type hive arrangements, use specialized equipment, and alternative management and IPM strategies. Beekeeping is a journey, and experiencing as much as you can is what makes beekeeping exciting and fulfilling. On this page you will find brief explanations and the highlights for some of these hives and configurations.

A two queen tower system. A full explanation and information can be found in the text below the picture.

The modified queen excluder shown below is the only specialized piece of equipment needed for the two queen tower system shown above.

A "trench" style or "long hive" setup. A full explanation and information can be found in the text below the pictures.

The comb below is from the trench style hive configuration as seen in the picture above. Note the 1 inch side bar guides.  

Two Queen Tower System


For a beekeeper with a few hives in the backyard and movement of the hive will not be an issue, a two queen tower system may be something to consider.


The benefits include:


* Easy access to the brood chamber throughout the summer for IPM tasks such as drone comb removal and powdered sugar dusting. One of the pitfalls to such tasks, is the removal of supers through the summer to complete such tasks. This hive arrangement  allows for weekly removal of drone comb or sugar dustings without lifting off any honey supers.


* A slight increase in honey production. Although not fully understood, dynamics of a two queen tower system allow a larger honey production as compared to having both hives sit as separate hives. This may be due to heat saving issues of the two colonies sharing a mutual wall, or possibly allowing the two colonies to adjust and take advantage of worker tasks, optimizing the nectar collection at key times.


*If one side of the two queen tower system goes queenless, workers and bees from the other side defend and prohibit wax moths and small hive beetle from getting a foot hold.


The only additional piece of equipment beyond stapling the hives together, is a small piece of wood that is installed on one side of the queen excluder. This keeps the queens from sliding under the gap that the excluder allows on the bottom side of the excluder. To read about a study on two queen tower systems, click here.


Trench Style Configuration


The trench style hive, also called a "long hive", is a hive that can model itself after a Top Bar Hive. In the top bar hive configuration, there are no frames used except the top bar and perhaps a small side bar guide in the construction of the comb. (see picture above) It can be said that this type of hive is also basically the same as the Tanzanian Top Bar Hive, although some suggest there are actual set dimensions with the Tanzanian hive, which we do not agree.


You can also use full frames in a long or trench style hive. Instead of a stackable box arrangement in the standard Langstroth setup, you arrange the frames (21 or more) in a horizantal arrangement. We just don't see the reasoning of using long hives if your just using standard frames.  


The downside of a trench or long hive, is that it now becomes a hive that is not easily moved if needed.   

The advantages of this type setup is the possible use of equipment possibly already on-hand if you have Langstroth boxes. (This would be advantagious to those who would like to try a top bar hive setup, yet do not want to buy or make additional equipment.) It utilizes two deep brood boxes with the sides (one per box) cut off. And then they are fastened together making a long trench like brood chamber where up to 21 frames (or more) can be used. Since standard Langstroth boxes are used, you can also traditionally super, remove honey, and manage like a standard hive.

As with any free hanging comb configuration (if you decide to not use frames) used in Top Bar Hive beekeeping, you also are not using foundation, allowing the bees to make comb dictated by need and desire, and may require some additional management knowledge to successfully keep bees in these type hives. A full explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of Top Bar Hive Beekeeping can be found on the "Top Bar Beekeeping" page of this website.