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Lorenzo Langstroth and the most used hive in the world

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On December 25, 1810, LL Langstroth was born. He invented the hive that beekeepers around the world operate today.


Lorenzo Langstroth is undoubtedly an icon in world beekeeping, for better or worse his hives are used all over the world and are recognized as one of the most famous hives. Nowadays, Honey bees have a favorite home, and so do beekeepers.

Honey production and beekeeping took an impressive turn. Of course, the new hive was the beekeeping revolution.

Some important characteristics of the Langstroth hive

  • It is made of wood and remains usable for more than ten years if it is well cared for with insulation
  • The frames are movable, easy to disassemble and lift, allow inspection, monitoring and easy transport from one place to another inside the hive.
  • You can divide the hive in two, either to divide the hive or to increase the population of the hive with a boost.
  • You can raise the honey upwards, giving space to the brood in the chamber
  • Easy to inspect the queen and be able to change it in case of emergency
  • Relatively light weight, can be transported from one place to another
  • Food can be supplied to bees in winter if weather conditions are critical
  • Improves temperature and humidity management in winter
  • In winter, it can be reduced by removing the super and leaving only the breeding chamber, which facilitates winter preparation.
Hive Langstroth
Lorenzo Lagnstroth and his hive
Lawrence Langstroth

For better and worse, Langstroth changed beekeeping at its core.

The Langstroth hive proved to be more productive, easier, moreover, it allowed the reproduction of bee colonies to be directed, and the honey harvest was modular.

But over time, despite Langstroth not having imagined it, this new type of box gave way to unsustainable beekeeping.

Hundreds and thousands of hives managed by large beekeepers, who with their large volumes of production have sunk honey prices, as a result, led to the picaresque of fraud and speculation.

The mobility of the Langstroth hive, and the later Dadant or Layens boxes, based on Langstroth’s principles. Allowed transhumant and with it the spread of diseases to other bees and wild species, exterminating some of them.


Transhumant also enabled the possibility of providing pollination services to the monoculture model of agriculture.

Another story was what happened with the wax that, due to developments by other inventors, went from being pure at the beginning of each bee’s nest to being melted non-stop to reuse it with all its impurities over and over again.

Langstroth was aware, in his last years of life, that innovation in hive design attracted people who do not love bees to beekeeping.

Passing of the bees

To this clergyman and professor, who was barely able to exercise due to his continuous depressions, we owe the discovery of the «bee’s step». A space of about 9.3 millimeters that bees leave free for transit between the honeycombs of their nests.


The box invented by Langstroth was simple to build and inexpensive. Although he immediately patented the hive, he went bankrupt in lawsuits and courts defending himself against the hundreds of people who copied the hive’s manufacture or even made new patents with insignificant improvements.

In 1852, working through six hectic months with hardly any sleep, Langstroth wrote The Hive and the Honey-Bee.

Finally, Stays in Mexico helped him mitigate his manic-depressive processes, perhaps today he would have been diagnosed as suffering from bipolar disorder. However, he lived, disturbed, until he was 85 years old. Had 3 children.

Firma Articulo tecnico de Ecocolmena


Manzano, Jesús. Experto en «Ciencia detrás del comportamiento de las abejas» (2022). Manual de Apicultura en Sistemas de Producción Ecológica (4a. ed.). España, Guadalajara: Ecocolmena. Profesor de apicultura y perito judicial en apicultura – Socio fundador de Ecocolmena

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