PBS Technology

In any form of Bee Keeping it is essential to recognize that bees need room to move - but not too much...or too little! The exact amount of space needed is fodder for discussions in the academia of Apiary science. The micro-analysis of this "Bee Space" is often debated (as are many bee keeping topics) based on observations of Feral Hives vs experiences with Langstroth hives. From the macro-analytical view however, there is a fairly strong concensus that the proper Bee Space should be in the vicinity of 1cm (10mm if you prefer).

Why is this important you ask?

The bee space is simply the amount of room between the combs that allows the colony to do all the things they do. If this space is too narrow the bees cant work and will either ignore the space or, most likely fill it with comb. If the space is too large it will present heat retention problems which can decimate a colony. Abbe Emil Warre, in his observations concluded that the optimal bee space was 1.2cm (or 12mm). In his hive design the slats are 2.4cm wide and are spaced 1.2cm apart. The challenge with his design however is that the slats simply rested on a ledge that is cut into the inside of the hive boxes. Any bump or disruption in any way could shift the slats and destroy the spacing in the hive. In order to keep the space it is necessary to fix the slats in place with some sort of nail or pin. We did exactly that in our original Warre Hives. What we found was that these metal pins that we used became downright dangerous at harvest time. When you construct the hive boxes everything is clean and dry and looks oh so nice. When you harvest the honey...well, not so much. It's a complete mess! the ends of the slats are propolized, waxed, gooey and you need to get your fingers in there and pry everything loose. It only took one harvesting episode, and a few of these pins (Brads actually) under the fingernails to demand a redesign of how we achieve and maintain our bee space.

Presenting..... The Sweet Valley Hives PBS Technology! tah daahhh! This proprietary design we call PBS or Positive Bee Space, is so simple and yet so functional we are amazed that it hasn't been thought of yet - we're pretty sure that it will be copied soon enough, so remember - YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST!!!! Through a bit of trial and error, resulting in a small pile of scrap wood resembling hive bodies, and 3 years of field testing, we perfected this method of cutting channels into the front and back of each hive body to receive the slats. Clearly the initial benefit is that the 12mm bee space is immediately established and can NOT be violated without absolutely destroying the hive. You are absolutely guaranteed to have the proper bee space every time, all the time! The other benefit is that you can harvest your honey without having to dig your fingers down into the comb in order to pry up the slats, and a 0.0% risk of injuring yourself on a wayward pin or nail ..neat huh? Now aside from harvesting the honey, Warre never wants us opening our hives and digging around just to satisfy our curiosity. That being said, our state governments still feel it is necessary to have hive inspections at their time of choosing. That means they can knock on your door and say,"Let's go take a look at your hives". If they decide to pull a frame or 2, you dont want their Peanut Butter and Jelly encrusted fingers digging down into your bee's beautiful comb do you? Absolutely not! Our PBS technology allows external access to the ends of the slats making hive inspections that much simpler, and restoration of the "Bee Space" a lead-pipe cinch.