You’ve been framed!

We all know that Lorenzo Langstroth invented the first moveable frame hive in 1852, right? If he was alive, Francois Huber might beg to differ. In his 1806 book, New observations on the natural history of bees, Huber writes: “It is not more difficult to lodge a natural swarm in a leaf hive than in any other of a different shape. But there is one precaution essential to success, which I should not omit. Though the bees are indifferent as to the position of their combs and as to their greater or lesser size, they are obliged to construct them perpendicular to the horizon and parallel to each other. Therefore, if left entirely to themselves, when establishing a colony in one of those new hives, they would frequently construct several small combs parallel indeed, but perpendicular to the plane of the frames or leaves and by this disposition prevent the advantages which I think to derive from the figure of my hives, since they could not be opened without breaking the combs. Thus they must previously have a guide to follow; the cultivator himself lays the foundation of their edifices and that by a simple method. A portion of comb must be solidly fixed in some of the boxes composing the hive. The bees will extend it and, in prosecution of their work, will accurately follow the plan already given them. Therefore on opening the hive, no obstacle is to be removed, nor stings to be dreaded, for one of the most singular and valuable properties attending this construction, is its rendering the bees tractable.”

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