Our Cypress Hives
Design and Modifications
We wanted to discuss our approach to hive design here at Emmett Royal Honey. But, first, it’s important to note that the hives we sell are the same ones we use in our breeding yards, drone yards, and production yards.
We use the Langstroth design for all our hives because of its interchangeability and scalability for apiaries. All our hive bodies, including the inner cover, bottom boards, slatted boards, and telescoping lids, are made with cypress wood.
Ponderosa pine is the standard wood for most Langstroth hives you purchase, but we feel Cypress wood is the better choice from a longevity, resistance, and cost perspective.
Why do we use Cypress Wood?
Very few hive producers make their hive parts with Commerical Grade Cypress Wood, mainly because Ponderosa pine is a lower-cost wood. Cypress’ density is approximately 10% greater than Ponderosa pine – so it has slightly better insulation for the honey bees. However, we primarily use Cypress because of its natural water and rot resistance and relatively lower cost than other water and rot-resistant woods.
We also like it because painting the hive bodies is not required; it’s optional due to its natural water and rot resistance. In addition, Cypress wood lasts many years longer outside compared with ponderosa pine, by upwards of 5-10 years from some research estimates.
Modifications To All Our Hives
All our deeps and mediums come with added propolis groves on the inside of the box. These groves are similar to the inside of a tree cavity, where in nature, honey bees place copious amounts of propolis. Without these groves, the polished interior of most hives creates a negative impact on honey bee health. Honey bees increase protection against pathogens by adding propolis inside the hive (Borba RS, Spivak M. 2017). In addition, the honey bee microbiome improves with increased propolis(Saelao P, Borba RS, Ricigliano V, Spivak M, Simone-Finstrom M. 2020).
In short, propolis is what honey bees use to aid their health.
Logically, why would we as beekeepers remove something that has protected the honey bees for perhaps millions of years? Since most hive designs have polished wood inside – there is nowhere for the honey bees to put their propolis in qualities equal to their natural homes.
Propolis groves in hives improve this issue and bring the managed hive closer to their natural home.
Zero added toxic residue
We don’t use any synthetic material inside our hives or outside our hives – we even vet the type of nails and screws we use, making sure they will not negatively impact the honey bee. We also don’t use any glue or paint, even when constructing our frames. Of course, it takes more time and a few more dollars to build – but we feel it’s essential and one of the building blocks for honey bee health.
We continue to find better ways to modify the Langstroth hive design for improved ecology and honey bee health. We also look at the cost for commercial scalability and weigh the benefits and negatives of all our alternations. We will continue to improve as research comes in to benefit the honey bees and the industry.
Learn more about foundationless frames that are in all our beehives: https://emmettroyalhoney.com//beekeeping-education/beehive-components/foundationless-frames/
You can visit our store to see all our available hive ware.