Langstroth hives, which are box-type beehives that hold removable frames, are the most popular hives in use today. They were invented by Reverend Lorenzo Langstroth in the USA more than 150 years ago and have withstood the test of time. Many “new” type of hives have popped up during the past century, but quickly faded away in popularity because of the Langstroth’s simplicity and extreme effectiveness.
For many decades, 10-frame Langstroth hives have been considered the traditional hives for beekeepers. These 10-frame boxes measure 16” wide by 19 7/8” long.
There are three depth sizes available:
- Deep: 9 5/8”
- Medium: 6 5/8”
- Shallow: 5 7/8
Ten-frame boxes can hold a lot of honey. In fact, a 10-frame deep box that is fully packed with honey weighs about 80 lbs. That is some heavy lifting!
- Full Deep: 80 lbs.
- Full Medium 50 lbs
- Shallow 40 lbs
Handling this weight can be overwhelming and especially difficult for older beekeepers or those with mobility challenges. A recommended option is to use 8-frame boxes. These boxes are exactly like the 10-frame boxes, but as the name implies, these boxes hold eight frames instead of ten. The dimensions for 8-frame boxes are 14” wide by 19 7/8” long.
Because 8-frame hives have two fewer frames and use less wood for the boxes than 10-frame hives, they weigh more than 20% less.
Besides the reduced weight, there is not much difference between 8-frame and 10-frame hives. Eight frame hives have less space inside them for the bees to live, so you have to be mindful of how crowded your boxes are getting or your bees could decide to swarm and leave your hive to find a new home with more room. Beekeepers who pay attention to the needs of their bees and use sound bee management practices should have no problems maintaining their 8-frame hives.
Choosing bee boxes is a personal choice and we recommend you use whatever size box works best for you. The most important thing is that your bees remain healthy and thrive year after year.