The Renaissance Hive
I've been working on this project for 3 years now, and it's finally ready! From all of the bees I've removed from man-made structures, I was able to see very clearly that most bee boxes were counter-intuitive to how bees live! By looking at how bees built it was obvious that they liked to have a separate brood chamber area, and that had to be where they could manage the temperature the easiest. This also made me look at entrance design.
Where most entrances are a straight shot in to the frames, this ISN'T how bees do it! The bees want to be able to protect the colony from invaders, and from the elements. They also needed a bigger entry to give more bees in the entrance to fan the hive when needed. This not only keeps the bees working--instead of bearding on the outside of the box, but helps to reduce nectar faster. I've opened too many dead out hives where the bees had a lot of uncapped nectar, because they couldn't get it all reduced before winter set in!
This box uses 3 types of frames, the single deep Langstroth Frame, the Lazutin Frame for Langstroth type boxes, and double-deep Langstroth frames. This allows people to easily install a Nuc, the Lazutin frames are for the bees brood area, and allows them to build the comb as they need to, and the double-deep frames are for the honey chamber...so you can easily extract honey in standard extractors, and not have to buy an expensive extractor for frames not used in the US.
The best feature though...the box captures heat from the sun in the cold months, and distributes it evenly through the hive! Insulation works great at keeping in the heat, but in the winter it also keeps the heat from getting in! This box is designed differently, and where there's now more insulation where needed, there's also a way to let the heat from the sun in to the box on those clear days, that turn in to REALLY cold nights!