About Bee Hive Supplies

Ross Dyter – Bee Hive Supplies


Ross Dyter inspecting a super frameMy own start in beekeeping was a little unconventional and was straight in at the deep end. My wife and I had thought about keeping a few hives of bees for a while and had talked to some of the beekeepers at the Royal Cornwall show, but that was as far as we had taken it. However, a couple of weeks later a swarm arrived and hung up in our garden, we phoned a local beekeeper for some advice, the main point of which was “try and avoid being stung in the face”. Luckily, I had a pair of white overalls at home, with a wide brimmed hat and a string bag to cover my head, my homemade beekeeping kit was ready. It worked of sorts and I did manage to avoid being stung, in the face at least. We hived our first colony of bees in a cardboard box with a garden clotch over the top, while we hastily ordered a beginners kit and my passion for beekeeping was born.


Taking first swarm of beesSeveral years later I became interested in polystyrene beehives, the idea of maintaining the compatibility of the hive but changing to modern engineering materials intrigued me. Elsewhere products are continually being changed, modified or upgraded to improve their performance, however, beehives have remained largely unchanged since the moveable frame hive was patented by Rev. Langstroth in 1852. As poly hives were not available in British National dimensions, I imported several Langstroth poly hives from mainland Europe where they have been used for decades.


Once I had transferred colonies into my new poly hives, it was immediately apparent how much better the bees performed in them. The colonies in poly hives started flying earlier in the day and worked later in the evening. They also built up earlier and more rapidly than my colonies in wooden beehives. The hives were also much drier than my wooden hives which became damp after heavy rain and in the winter.


While the bees and hives performed excellently, as a mechanical engineer with a specialisation in materials, it was obvious to me how the design of the beehive could be significantly improved. The poly hives were essentially just copies of a wooden beehive with the walls thickened to provide adequate strength. However, when designing poly hives the constraints imposed by making a hive in wood, such as standard plank size and thickness, and manufacturing considerations are removed.  Provided you keep the internal dimensions identical to a wooden beehive, so that frames and lifts are interchangeable, Tools for moulding poly hivesthe overall design can be changed to improve the performance of the beehive, it allows you to think outside of the box, so to speak.


I put together a design for a British National poly hive and spent a year developing and testing prototype beehives, before commissioning polystyrene moulds and tooling, and producing our first production beehives. After several seasons of design, testing and development, Bee Hive Supplies had finally begun.


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