Doolittle's "Six-Frame" Hive:

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little john:
Here's a hive not many people know about ...

The beehive favoured by Doolittle, and described by him in the ABJ during 1884, measured 24" Long, 12" wide and 12" deep, housing a maximum of 15 frames, and which can have a second identical box placed above it, providing a 30 frame hive suitable for the production of Extracted Honey.

When used as a single box to produce Section Honey, Division Boards were inserted 5" from either end in order to make cavities suitable for housing sections.  These Division Boards were made from 0.25" wood to slide into vertical slots 0.25" wide and 0.25" deep which had been cut into the box sides. The Boards were made such that 'slots', or 0.25" gaps were created at both top and bottom, in order to give bees access to the sections within the end cavities.

When a hive of 24" length is thus fitted with two fixed-position Division Boards, a 13.5" x 12" x 12" Brood Chamber results, into which may be placed nine 11.25" x 11.25" Gallup Frames.  However, this Brood Chamber may be reduced in size by the use of one or a pair of moveable-position Division Boards, made from 1" thick wood and fitted with a top bar to form dummy-frame boards, with a half-inch (or thereabouts) gap left at the bottom.  Moveable-position Division Boards are used soley for contracting the effective size of the Brood Chamber, and with their use between 5 and 8 frames may be employed during over-wintering.

Prior to winter, sections are removed and two pieces of cotton cloth placed over the frames and draped down over the Division Boards, with the now empty cavities at the sides being filled with chaff, and a chaff or sawdust cushion placed above the frames in the Brood Chamber.

The Hive Entrance is a 3/8" slot at the bottom, 13.5" long, and regulated by entrance blocks.

Although the above details are of a 15-frame beehive, it is called a "Six-Frame Hive" by Doolittle, as he frequently over-wintered colonies on just six frames within it, by courtesy of the Division Boards and the use of chaff insulation as described.


Michael Bush:
Something is off on the dimensions.  12" wide will not hold 15 frames.  It won't even hold 8 frames.

little john:
The term 'length' is being applied to the longest dimension.  So - the 12" width will hold a 11.25" frame.  The 24" length will hold 15 frames @ 1.5" spacing.

Michael Bush:
Dimensional terms have been pretty standard for bee hives for a long time  Depth is in the vertical direction.  Width is the narrowest direction and length is the longest direction.  So are you saying the hive was 12" in the direction of the frames (the length of the frame fits in that direction)? 

sounds like he was duplicating the way a wild hive builds in floor joists. they will seperate the brood camber from the honey chamber in the floors.



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