HIVE: What is a “Rose Bee Hive”?

11 December 2014

The Short Answer (TSA)

            In general appearance, the Rose Bee Hive looks similar to a Langstroth or British Standard Beehive. The Rose is a “tall” structure with brood boxes and supers stacked one upon another unlike the, generally, long horizontal “tub-like” design of the Top-Bar hive. The Langstroth and B. S. Beehive allow the bees to build their combs in frames fitted into drawers that can be removed and inspected. The Top Bar hive uses only bars across the top of the “tub” to support the combs built by the bees.

But the Rose hive has a subtle structural difference from the Langstroth or B. S. hive. The brood box and supers are of the same size – the same depth. This allows the beekeeper to use only one size of frame in the hive’s drawers. The interchangeability is intended to give more than the convenience of using only one size of frame. The uniform size allows each unit to be stacked in any order. This minimizes the necessary lifting because the boxes do not have to be arranged in a certain order.

Increasing stock (number of bees) is often done by dividing a hive in two and adding a queen. The Rose Bee Hive makes this easy, again, because all the boxes are the same size. So, no lifting and rearranging of the boxes are needed. A board is simply inserted between two of the vertically stacked boxes, which neatly divides the hive into two, upper and lower, hives. Then, a new queen is added.

The creator of the Rose Hive has also developed a method of beekeeping, which has grown out of the unique Rose Hive design. In the traditional hive, brood combs, in which the queen lays eggs and the young bees are raised, are strictly separated from honey combs in which the bees store their honey.

This division is done through the use of a “queen excluder” which allows worker bees to enter the area of the hive dedicated to honeycombs, but keeps the queen out — forcing her to lay her eggs in another area dedicated to brood combs. But what would happen if you left the excluder out?

Although this would allow the bees to develop brood combs anywhere in the hive, bees generally locate brood combs toward the bottom and honey combs toward the top. But some random brood combs toward the top and honey combs toward the bottom could create some real inconvenience in a standard hive.  The brood and honey comb boxes and drawers are each of a different size and dedicated to one type of comb or the other.

But not in the Rose Hive.

With the Rose hive, the uniform size of all the boxes, frames and drawers makes the problem go away. The beekeeper simply replaces brood combs and extracts honeycomb wherever each is found. This has the added advantage of allowing the bees to expand the brood naturally at will without the need for intervention from the bee keeper.

One of the best features of the Rose hive is its dimensions. Not only are all the boxes, brood and honey comb, the same size, but the general dimensions of the hive match both the Langstroth and B. S. Hives. So, if you have an on-going beekeeping concern and use standard hives, you can replace your existing hives gradually, piece by piece, by replacing your old hive boxes with the new Rose boxes.

The Rose Bee Hive was developed by Tim Rowe of Ballylickey, Bantry, Co.Cork Ireland. He provides a basic, yet thoroughly instructive, presentation at the Rose Bee Hive website:

Rose Bee Hives

“Why Change Things?” PowerPoint Presentation

Video Part 1

Video Part 2



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