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Langstroth

Langstroth and Jumbo Langstroth

In 1853 the Rev. L. L. Langstroth of Philadelphia, USA, first described this hive in his book ‘The Hive and the Honeybee’. The essential feature was the systematic adoption of the principal of bee space whereby a gap around the framed combs of 3/16” to 3/8” would prevent the frames from becoming attached to the hive walls. A wider gap would be filled with brace comb and a narrower gap would be filled with propolis. Thus the moveable frame hive was initiated and the principle is still essential in modern hive design. Today the Langstroth hive is probably the most widely used hive around the world, and popular with commercial beekeepers in the UK.

The Langstroth hive is a rectangular, single wall design of external dimensions 20” x 16¼” with 10 short-lugged frames (⅝“ lugs) resting in rebates on the narrow sides.  Top bee space is usually adopted. Because of its popularity numerous variations have been invented so the number of frames varies from 8, 9, 10 or more.

HIVE DATA LANGSTROTH JUMBO LANGSTROTH DADANT
Brood frame 17 9/16″ x 9⅛” 17 9/16″ x 11¼” 17 9/16″ x 11¼”
Super frame 17 9/16″ x 5⅜” 17 9/16″ x 5⅜” 17 9/16″ x 6¼”
Frames / brood box 10 10 11
Cells / brood box 61,000 85,000 93,000
Lug length ⅝” ⅝” ⅝”
Cross section of a top beespace hive
Cross section of a top beespace hive

The number of cells available in a single brood chamber is approx. 61,000 making this hive suitable for large colonies, but for prolific colonies a deeper ‘Jumbo’ version is available with approx. 85,000 cells.

The diagram shows a cross section of a top bee space hive with one bee space between frame sides and hive wall, under lugs and above frames.  The bees naturally leave two bee spaces between brood frames so they can work on the frames back to back.

Thus the spacing of frames is also critical, normally 1⅜” (35mm) centre to centre in brood chambers.
Spacing in supers can be varied to suit the conditions, plus the bees usually leave one bee space between adjacent capped frames.

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