Maggie hive with super

Dec 05, 2020

The Maggie hive is a standard model I build in different versions. This last prototype contains frames to harvest honey. The hive is still elevated in a tree but the top can be easily removed to access the honey chamber over the brood chamber when necessary.

The Maggie hive is a cylindrical brood chamber of red Cedar encased in an exterior hull of white Cypress. The hive looks square from the outside but the bees live in a cylinder they access through the front holes. A top board sits on the cylinder to which a  piece of comb is melted as an attractant and a prime to the swarm.  The bees build freely in the cylinder and an opening at the bottom allows to visit the hive if necessary. On the standard model, the roof is sealed – accessing from the top yields to the destruction of the comb. The picture below shows the brood chamber in its casing before the side insulation, the top board and the roof are set. The hand hole at the bottom is visible, it is unscrewed by hand from the outside, when hanging underneath the hive.

In this particular model, a hole of 60 mm is cut into the top board and 4 Warre bars are added to restrict the flow of bees but also to allow the bees to still build from the roof. When the honey chamber is not in use, the hole is plugged with the cut piece wrapped in a square of fabric to make it proof but also to prevent the bees to access and  propolize the circular crack which would make the removal of the plug impossible. Adam Wright of Custos Apium gave me this tip. For further information about Adam’s activities you can visit his website at:

A gap of 6 mm separates the Warre bars from each other. The picture below displays the waxed and propolized bars as the top board is turned upside down.

The frames in the compartment over the brood chamber are standard deep frames recut to fit the depth of the hive. Their surface is about half of a standard deep. The top bars of the frames are wedges to which the comb will hang. There is no foundation on these frames, the bees build the whole comb. As a consequence the honey is extracted by pressure and not centrifugation. The picture below shows a standard deep, a standard super and the recut deep.

The tips of the frames sit on two bars fixed to the walls of the chamber and the frame bottom bars hang 5 mm over the top board so the bees can circulate below the frames. The frames will be set in May of the second season when the bees are fully installed in the brood chamber. In the meanwhile the compartment is filled with a pillow case of wood shaving for insulation. The pictures below shows the frames being installed.

The Maggie hive on the left compared to another construction on the right. The compartment for the honey frames increases the length of the hive over the top entrance hole.