&   SEARCH
David A. Cushman logo
Top and Bottom Bee Space

Relative to the frame positions vertically

Vertically, the frames in a beehive are shorter than the box they fit in by a "bee space". If the frames are level with the top of the box and the bee space is under the frames this is termed "Bottom Bee Space" (BBS). If the frames are level with the bottom of the box and the bee space is at the top it is termed "Top Bee Space" (TBS).

British Standard (B.S.) National and WBC hives are both BBS as standard, but can be converted yourself, or by special arrangement with the manufacturer. B.S. Smith hives are TBS. British Commercial hives were not included in the British Standards, but all current (2022) manufacturers make them BBS, although I have occasionally seen them TBS in older equipment.

All the Dadant hives I have seen are TBS. Although Langstroth are meant to be TBS, I have seen a considerable number in the US that were both TBS and BBS, which must have caused problems. They were of quite different ages obviously made by several manufacturers.

As you would expect, there are claims and counter claims for TBS/BBS in the U.K., but having used both extensively, I really don't think the claims for TBS are as great as they are made out to be. There are slightly different techniques needed for both and I am talking mainly about National. I changed all mine to TBS many years ago and I convert any that I acquire, so I don't have a mixture.

With TBS you really need framed queen excluders and I find the wire ones the best. The main benefit I find is the frames in the lower box don't get stuck to the upper box so much. Also, the crown board doesn't need a plinth on the underside.

It would be a mistake to have a mixture of TBS and BBS because the gap will be nothing, or twice bee space. You will either get the frames propolised together or a bigger gap filled up with comb.

Originally written by Dave Cushman. Rewritten by Roger Patterson.

Page created pre-2011

Page updated 19/12/2022