The Small Hive Project Website

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Hello everybody  :happy:,

I am a French Warr? hobbyist beekeeper and author of the Small Hive Project (
This non-commercial project is about a small horizontal hive that I designed for backyard beekeeping.
Starting from spring 2018, I will populate 4 copies of this hive and share my experience on the website.

You may wish to participate in the project by building your own copy of hive.
To do this, you may build it from scratch OR transform one of your Warr? hives.
Independent experimental data is necessary to evaluate the real potential of the hive design.

All necessary information is available on the project website.
New content will be added over the course of the project.
Stay tuned by subscrbing to the Newsletter on

The Hive has been designed to meet the following requirements:
- favor bee colony survival in low-input beekeeping situations (no Varroa treatment, no sugar feeding).
- adapted to rather small bee colonies of Apis Mellifera in environments dominated by agriculture (moderate nectar flow).
- suitable for comb honey production (Low productivity is acceptable, as long as sufficient for personal use.) easy to build and to manage.

Hive plans and more information are available on

Feel free to comment the project.

Thank you!

little john:

--- Quote from: smallhiveproject on September 22, 2017, 09:25:27 am ---Feel free to comment the project.
--- End quote ---

I don't know if you've actually build more of these hives yet, but there is a far simpler way to achieve the same reduced volume for the purposes of experiment - simply use a single-box brood chamber, and insert dummy (space-occupying) frames into the end-comb positions.  That way, if you then discover that the box volume is too small for that particular colony, it's straightforward enough to enlarge it a little by removing one or more of those dummy frames.

For example, in the UK most folks use British 'National' hives, and a standard deep brood box without a super effectively becomes an 11 comb 'horizontal' hive with a box volume of approx. 38.5L - a tad smaller than Tom Seeley's experimental finding that 42L is optimum. (a finding I've always viewed as being somewhat suspect, as in practice most people find that anything from 18L upwards works perfectly ok as a bait box)

If a National brood box were to be fitted with double-width dummies at either end, the box volume of the resulting 7-comb hive would then be around 28.5L, not so very far from your own 25.7L

I'm sure a similar strategy could be adopted with a single Langstroth brood box and indeed, even with one of your existing Warre boxes.


SmallHiveProject News:

(1) Why not to crowd colonies in an apiary
Essential for treatment-free beekeeping

(2) The SmallHiveProject tree mounting facility
How to attach the small hive to trees.

Don't they swarm more often in a small hive environment?
If they don't then I don't need that many hive boxes and drawn comb to keep them in on
a flow here.

SmallHiveProject News:

(1) Hive construction video on

(2) Tree mount construction video on


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