Frequently Asked Questions


How does this product make someone a "better" beekeeper and improve the health of honey bees?

It all comes down to well established laws of behavioral psychology: if you make something much easier to do, people are far more likely to do it. By removing barriers that can make hive management feel demanding (heavy lifting, time commitment, complexity), we are leading beekeepers to perform these tasks more consistently and more effectively. In circumstances where someone would normally be tempted to skip a hive check because they are too busy, they are now able to complete the job in a fraction of the time and with a fraction of the effort. Played out on a large scale, this translates to more beekeepers identifying and addressing issues with their colonies sooner, meaning higher survival rates. Not only that, but the ease of engagement combined with healthier colonies can foster a renewed sense of enthusiasm for beekeeping and make it more enjoyable as a hobby overall.

Can I use my existing Langstroth equipment?

Yes! Both our hives support standard 10 frame bottom boards. The One Queen Keeper accepts standard 5 frame nuc boxes and roofs. The Two Queen Keeper uses standard 10 frame boxes and roofs. Both hives function well with wooden and plastic frames. 8 frame equipment will not work with either hive. In general, anything that fits a standard 10 frame or 5 frame box should fit our hives, with few exceptions.

Have the hives been field tested?

Both hive designs have been field tested by George, Nat, and dozens of other beekeepers over the last 6 years. Most of the testing has been done in Southeastern Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic, where we have relatively hot summers and cold winters. If you would like more information on field testing, check out this blog.

Where are your hives made?

Right here in the USA! Currently, we source our nuc and brood boxes from an Amish carpenter in Lancaster, PA and the plastic material from a recycled plastics wholesaler. The pieces are then cut and modified in our workshop outside of Philadelphia. As we plan to scale up, we are committed to continuing to manufacture our products in the United States.

Is there really no lifting?

There is no lifting required to access the brood chamber, which means that with both hives the majority of management tasks can be done without any lifting at all. With the One Queen Keeper, some tasks (such as honey harvesting or performing the Demaree swarm control method) may require the beekeeper to lift nuc boxes in the process depending on their goals and hive configuration. Because the Two Queen Keeper uses standard 10 frame honey supers, honey harvesting and performing Demaree will require more heavy lifting than the One Queen Keeper, but still significantly less than with traditional Langstroth hives. You can also always use Nat's trick for honey harvesting: bring an empty box with you to the hive and transfer the full frames one at a time before removing the empty super. Rinse and repeat!

How much honey do the hives make?

First things first: it's important to remember that honey production often has less to do with hive design than it does with the health of your colony and the amount of foraging resources in your immediate area.

With proper management, the One Queen Keeper consistently produces 40-50 pounds of honey per season. George has had a few that produced 60, 80, and even 100 pounds of honey - your mileage may vary!

With proper management, the Two Queen Keeper is capable of producing 200+ pounds of honey in a season. We have seen hives hit 250 and a few hit 300. The reason we say that this hive is not for beginners and is best suited for "adventurous" beekeepers is that in this case proper management is crucial. Two queen hives are more complex than one queen hives at baseline, and there is a higher potential for things to go wrong.

Do the frames get stuck because of propolis?

They do not! Our design prevents the bees from accessing the ends of the top bar of the frames, so they never get stuck in place. They can get a little "sticky" over time, but rarely need more than a gentle pry with the hive tool to get moving. Check out our video addressing this topic on our Videos page!

Does the weight of the nuc boxes ever pinch the frame guards on the One Queen Keeper?

Nope! Our design offsets the weight of the nuc boxes so that they won't pinch the frame guards and prevent them from being removed. You can also adjust the tightness of the clamps on the back of the hive to change the tension applied to the spacer box, which will shift the weight of the stack forward and backward. We will post a video of it at some point, but we have had a full grown man sit on top of a One Queen Keeper and the frame guards still don't get pinched at all.

With the nuc boxes stacked high, won't the One Queen Keeper fall over?

For many beekeepers, wrapping your hives with a ratchet strap is standard practice and we always recommend using one to be safe. Still, even without it the One Queen Keeper is surprisingly solid; remember, as with all Langstroth hives the boxes do get propolized together and will get heavier as the bees fill in the frames with brood or honey. It won't take long for the boxes to start weighing down on the hive. Obviously, hurricane force winds can blow over lots of heavy objects so we always recommend taking extra measures to secure your hives if you are expecting especially bad weather.

What about insulation?

We plan to develop an insulated version of our design someday, but for the time being our hives can be insulated in similar ways to standard wood Langstroth hives: wrapping or attaching one inch foam board to the sides of the hive. In addition, insulation can be placed under the hinged lid on the brood chamber and under the hive roof. For more information on insulation and thermoregulation, check out this blog.

Is it compatible with the Flow Hive?

Yes and no. Because the Two Queen Keeper uses standard 10 frame boxes as honey supers, there is no reason that you can't put a Flow Hive on it - we've seen people do it! With the One Queen Keeper, you could potentially use a modified nuc box that accepts 3 Flow Frames, but we do not offer such a nuc at this time.

Do you ship internationally?

Currently we do not, but we hope to have the ability sooner rather than later. The more we raise on our crowdfunding campaign, the more likely it is that we will able to expand our distribution capabilities in the future.

Have a question you don't see answered here?

Don't be a stranger! We will do our best to respond to any questions we receive in a timely manner and will add additional content to the FAQs as necessary.