(Beehive Size Guide) – How Small Can A Beehive Be?

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Everyone who is starting a new beehive must know the culture practice of bees.

They should know how and where to place beehive of a perfect size for the best rearing of bees.

How Small Can A Beehive Be? Talking about the modern Langstroth Box that is used nowadays as the beehive, we should know that the smallest size for each box can be about 19 inches in length, 14 inches in width, and 5 inches in height (depth).

A beehive can contain 5 to 6 of such boxes with slightly similar to different sizes based on the bee population size. With each box having a minimum of 8 frames.

The size of the boxes and the frames that will be put inside the boxes are must-know things for a bee-keeper.

It is one of the first decisions that the beginning beekeeper must make before purchasing a beehive.

And it is often one of the most confusing concerns for a beginner to know the size of the boxes and frames to use for hive bodies and supers.


Well, this article is for you! Here in this article, we will guide you with the perfect size you will need for your new beehive.

So, let’s get started…

How Small Can A Beehive Be?

In modern bee-keeping, the combs are built on wooden frames that are moveable. This facilitates the proper inspection and management of the bee colonies in the hive.

In modern bee-keeping, the Langstroth type beehive box is used more often. It is traditionally the most common system that provides the best honey yields, and it’s easy to maintain and easy to harvest.

A Langstroth Beehive
A Langstroth Beehive

So, here in this post, we will guide you about the minimum size of the Langstroth type beehive box only. And, this box is the best one you will need for any type of beehive actually.

The Langstroth hive is any vertically modular beehive with vertically hung frames, a bottom board with entrance for the bees, along with boxes containing frames for brood and honey.

In a Langstroth hive, the bees build honeycomb into frames, which can be moved with ease. These frames are included inside the cubical boxes of the hive.

As per the growing population size, one can place about 6 to 10 Langstroth boxes to grow the beehive size and so the honey yield.

Each of these boxes needs to have a minimum size of only about 19 inches in length, 14 inches in width, and 5 inches in height (depth).

The different boxes can be of slightly different sizes but each box must contain at least 8 or 6 frames, and 10 frames in a box is highly recommened.

The frames are the key elements of the box. A hive frame is just a structural element in a beehive that holds the honeycomb or brood comb within the box.

Minimum Small size needed for each of the boxes/frames of a whole Langstroth Beehive is provided below:

Box NameMin. LengthMin. WidthMin. HeightUsed for
Brood Chamber19 inch14 inch5 inchIt’s usually in the bottom boxes of the hive which houses the worker-made cells where the eggs, larvae, and pupae develop.
Super19 inch14 inch4 inchIt’s where the bees will collect and keep extra honey for our use.
Frames13.5 inch0.7 inch4 inchThese are used to hold the bee combs where honey, eggs, larvae, pupae, pollen, nectar are stored.

You can check this recommended 10 Frame Bee Hives and Supplies Starter Kit to get an idea about the beehive and how it looks in real-life examples by going through the pictures and reviews once.

If you want to get a better idea you can also check this recommended 3 Layers 30 Frame Langstroth Honey Bee Hive Box.

Which is the smallest beehive?

Langstroth mini hive is the smallest beehive available in the market for bee-keepers. And, it is just awesome for any type of small bee-keeping cultural practices.

It is also called the Mini Beehive. It simply consists of one or more mini boxes.

It’s just the mini version of the standard Langstroth box. The boxes are usually ¼ the size of the standard Langstroth box.

Each of the boxes can contain 5 to 6 mini frames that are the size of an open hand. These are usually wooden built that has the combs holding the honey, eggs, larvae, pupae, pollen, nectar, and bee wax.

Mini Bee Hives are used for creating new small colonies for storing and creating new queen bees. These are also used for an easy household rearing of bees, as a simple swarm site for storing the extra bees, for training purposes, and to crater for the home honey needs.

Beeing B-Box
A Beeing Company’s B-Box inside an apartment

Another new modern small beehive is the innovative B-box. An Italian startup company Beeing has innovated a compact, modern beehive that makes it easy for anyone to start keeping bees in their houses, no matter where they live.

The B-box is a very easy to use and safe option to culture bees and their honey.

It has a 7 ft tall chimney for the entry and exit of the bees, along with transparent inner walls of the bee box to see bees inside the box.

Bees move in and out of the hive via a seven-foot-tall chimney, keeping them well clear above the average human height.

The transparent inner walls allow both adults and children to get up close and observe the bees without disturbing them and without having to wear protective gear.

In this way, humans and bees can live in harmony and co-exist in even the smallest of quarters.

B-box Beehive is actually a tailor-made and small easy to use option for beekeeping in small apartments.

B-box is made with a wood and polycarbonate beehive designed for simple and safe beekeeping at home.

The B-box beehive only occupies about 1 sq. meter area in the house. It is so awesome that you can place it in a small balcony or somewhere else with ease.

The solitary entry and exit space for bees are only 7.2 ft above the ground so you can closely observe the beehive without worrying and fearing the bees.

How big should a beehive be?

It’s important that you know the size and how big should a beehive must be. A bee-keeper must know when to increase the size of the hive and when to decrease the size.

It’s easy to increase or decrease the size of the beehive. You can just add more of the required size boxes one above the other to increase your beehive size.

How big should a beehive be?

As per the standard rules and practices of bee-keeping, a brood box of the beehive should be around 19 inches in length, 16 inches wide, and 9 inches in height.

The super box that will be placed above the brood box needs to be the same around 19 inches in length, 16 inches wide, but 6 inches in height.

The height of the super must be at least 3 inches shorter, with a height of about 6 inches only.

The deep brood boxes become heavy when it is full of bees, honey, and pollen. Therefore, it’s always a best practice to use the medium size super with a (19 x 16 x 6) inches dimension for the hive bodies.

It is also a common standard practice to use 10 individual frames per hive box. Each such frames will have combs which the bees will make to store honey, pollen, and nectar.

It is so why that products like this 10-Frame Hive Box at such a low price is one of the most rated and popular beehive box on Amazon. If you can you may check this out.

How many bees fit in a beehive?

If you are starting your all-new first-time bee hive remember that it will grow and become big one-day.

May be within a period of 1 year it will be full of bees if you follow all the correct cultural practices.

Beekeepers generally purchase a queen and a package of bees together when they start a new hive. Basically, you will need a swarm of 10,000 working bees of all ages along with only a mated queen.

This is just the start with 10,000 bees and it will grow to a colony of more than 60,000 bees very fast. It’s all because they reproduce super fast.

It’s so fast that once the swarm has chosen a place to start building its hive, the hive can grow to be several pounds within the first week or two.

The queen in each colony can lay several thousand eggs in a day. The process to reproduce those eggs is only around 20 days, so new bees are being generated exponentially throughout the early season.

So, it won’t wrong to say that a single honey bee colony could consist of anywhere from 10,000 to well over 60,000 bees.

The colony will contain the queen bee, the worker bees, and the drones.

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