Horizontal Hives Revisited

treatment freeWhile perusing Bee Feed, I found a link to Treatment-Free Beekeeping Podcast – Episode 36 – Horizontal Hives with Dr. Leo Sharashkin.

It’s a great podcast discussing horizontal hives, beeyard resilience, and sustainability.

The Hives

Many of Leo Sharshkin’s horizontal hive observations are similar to my own.

I’ve run a few horizontal Combo Long Hives, along side my top bar hives, in Wyoming’s northern, high altitude climate. They use deep frames. And are standard Langstroth equipment compatible.

My Combo Long Hives have been:

  • easy to manage
  • survived as well as my vertical Langstroth hives
  • were my most productive hives

They are still my favorite hive.

Compared to Leo’s preferences, Combo Long Hives are thinned walled. And the frames are too short. Maybe they would have done even better with more insulation and taller comb.

Are hives with horizontal broodnests still considered horizontal hives when supered vertically? That’s how I’ve run mine.

Running a horizontal hive this way, sure increases its honey production.

Disadvantages? Heavy lifting is required to get into the broodnest , an infrequent, but sometimes necessary operation when hives are supered.


Today, I’m more interested in colony resilience and not so interested in the production/hive. It’s just too easy to establish another hive and get that resilience without the heavy lifting.

So, I’d replace the migratory lids with a single, insulated cover. And I’d run them as a traditional long hive.


Of particular note, is Leo’s path toward sustainable beekeeping.  In the right location, and with the proper focus, it’s possible.


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