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Smith

 

Smith

The Smith hive was designed by W. Smith of Innerleithen near Peebles, Scotland. The design concepts were simplicity, adequate brood area for local conditions and ease of transport to the heather.

A brood chamber containing 11 National brood frames 14” wide x 8½” deep proved sufficient for the local bees but to design a hive of simple construction Smith followed the American Langstroth pattern.

HIVE DATA NATIONAL NATIONAL 14×12 SMITH
Brood frame 14″ x 8½” 14″ x 12″ 14″ x 8½”
Super frame 14″ x 5½” 14″ x 5½” 14″ x 5½”
Frames / brood box 11 11 11
Cells / brood box 54,000 80,000 54,000
Lug length 1½” 1½” ⅜”

The top bars of the National frames were reduced from 17” to 15½” and the resulting short lugs were let into a rebate cut into the thickness of the end wall.

Smith hive detail   Smith Hive detail
Note the rebate cut into the thickness of the hive wall and the resulting short lugs. The original design was top bee space (as shown) but can be made bottom bee space if preferred.

The resulting hive is 18¼” x 16⅜” made from four pieces of timber.  Compare this to the more complex Modified National which is 18⅛” square and requires eight pieces of timber.

The Smith hive is still popular today in the north of the country where the season is shorter, the weather cooler and the brood chamber sufficient for a normal colony. Further south the brood chamber may prove too small for a prolific colony so the beekeeper may expand the brood area using the same techniques as with the National, namely brood and a half, double brood or 14 x 12.

The single large size of 14×12 brood frames provides the bees with the opportunity to cluster and move upwards during the winter in a similar way to their natural behaviour. In brood and a half and double brood there are barriers to movement in the form of frame top bars, a gap for bee space and the bottom bars of the frame above. Colonies with brood may not bridge the gap or may move sideways.  Both situations can lead to isolation starvation.

 

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Recent update = Asian hornet page

 

News & Events

What’s that Buzz? Plants hear when bees are coming
New research has shown that plants can ‘hear’ sounds around them and flowers respond to the buzz of approaching bees by producing sweeter nectar. The research biologists from Tel Aviv University played recordings of flying bee sounds to evening primrose flowers and found that after a few minutes the sugar concentration in the flower’s nectar had increased by 20% on average when compared with flowers left in silence or submitted to higher pitched sounds.
The authors of the report say that, for the first time, they have shown plants can rapidly respond to pollinator sounds in an ecologically relevant way.
Producing sweeter nectar in response to the sounds of bees can help entice the insects to visit the flowers and increase the chances of its pollen being distributed.
Thanks to Ann P. for spotting this article in the Times.
Scientists sew trackers to Asian Hornets to find and destroy nests before they kill honeybees
Britain’s beekeepers are turning to technology to prevent aggressive Asian hornets destroying their colonies. In a first successful trial, experts at the University of Exeter attached tracking devices to the backs of the voracious hornets and then followed them back to their nests.
Asian hornet information
The June edition of the BBKA News has extensive information about the Asian hornet threat. In particular, pages 209 and 210 have full colour reproductions of the Asian hornet alert document issued by the Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) for you to cut out and use as your personal guide to identification of this invasive species.
EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides
More information can be found at:          https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/27/eu-agrees-total-ban-on-bee-harming-pesticides?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other