I expect (and hope) that this post will attract attention because the Australian beekeeping community is based on use of Langstroth (LS). And I, a beekeeping noob (and you might rightly say an ‘upstart’) challenge the design. This challenge is on the domestic and novice beekeeping front. Commercial beekeeping being a completely different beast.
I’m new to beekeeping. I’ve taught myself to keep bees through books and videos. I’ve read through the different codes of conduct (I’m based in Victoria so the Apiary COD is the code that I must comply with). I’m not yet affiliated with any beekeeping associations. I have 6 hives all of different designs. I started with a 10 frame LS and soon became unimpressed with the design, it’s heavy on the back, it’s poorly insulated, the air flow doesn’t replicate a natural hive, commercial foundation can contain undesirable impurities etc, etc. So I decided to build different hives and modify frames and introduce bars to see which design works best. I’ve found the French and German’s to be the most mindful in their hive designs and I’ve adopted some of their principles.
I’m still experimenting and haven’t reached conclusion and perhaps I’ll not land on a single design but I wouldn’t go back to the LS, which is essentially 170 years old and designed for East Coast American conditions. The bees perform better and are happier in other hive designs. The appear to really like to build their own comb. The only thing I use my LS for now is capturing swarms. Moving away from the LS both my bees and I are much happier. I’ve made several design oversights within the designs and build process (gaps too big gaps too tight etc) but using the hives and studying how the bees use them and move around them enables me to improve the design.
Am I alone? Will the LS satisfy the changing health needs of bees as our environment becomes more globalised? Will is satisfy shifts in environmental conditions? Or do we need to start thinking about designing hives to cope with these changes?
Thanks for reading this post. Rus