At Diggin’ Livin’ we manufacture frames the good ole-fashioned way. Like our hive bodies, we only make one size, 6 1/4”. We use high-quality Ponderosa pine frames from the Northwest. Our frames are built with wedge-bar top bars measuring a full ¾” thick, 3/8” thick end bars, and ½” thick bottom bars. These are assembled and wired in our shop, before we add 100% pure beeswax foundation, embedded on the wires with heat and pressure. Unlike plastic foundation, bees won’t hesitate to draw out fine comb on these frames in a hurry. Our frames are constructed with heavy-gauge fasteners (1 1/2” long, wide-crown staples for the top bar, and two 1” narrow-crown staples for each end of the bottom bar, as well as one for fastening end bars to the top bar for superior strength). Produced in our shop according to time honored construction techniques, you simply can’t find these frames available pre-assembled anywhere else! We use and offer for sale two styles of frames: 4-sided frames with foundation constructed for the purpose of honey production/extraction - designed to withstand centrifugal honey extraction, or 3-sided foundationless frames used in the rearing of brood nests - expandable through the process of nadiring.
Our 4-sided frame with foundation includes a standard wedge bar top bar, a ½ “ thick grooved bottom bar, eyeleted end bars, and tensioned wires. We add to this crimped wire 100% beeswax foundation. We assemble these frames with high quality fasteners using time-tested construction techniques resulting in the best wood and wax frame money can buy. These frames are built to withstand the force of a honey extractor and are to be used to produce spun honey.
Are you a biodynamic beekeeper? This is the brood frame for you. Biodynamics permits the use of frames with foundation for honey production, but stipulates that the brood combs be foundationless and able to encompass the entirety of the brood without artificial interruption. Through the process of nadiring, these brood combs can be grown out to a depth of up to 20 inches (however, due to the fragile nature of foundationless comb, we don’t recommend exceeding a brood comb depth above 13.5”).
We manufacture Western Shallow hive bodies. Our hive bodies are constructed of 7⁄8'' thick wood from the Cypress family. Thus our hives are larger by ¼” in external dimensions. This small increase will not limit the compatibility with other eight-frame equipment, having the same internal dimensions as other commercially produced hive bodies. All boxes come standard with cleats and stainless steel screws for extreme durability. Cleats have a 9 degree bevel undercut for ease of hold, even in gloves. Cut out hand-holds, which compromise the insulation and durability of the hive are not available. Our western shallow hive bodies are 6 and 3⁄4'' deep, ⅛” deeper than the industry standard of 6 5/8”. Likewise our frame rests are 3⁄4'' deep, also ⅛” deeper than industry standards. This creates a larger gap between the top bars and lid (or the bottom bars in the box above). This additional space facilitates the insertion of emergency feed or varroa treatments placed above the frames. The bees will adjust this gap by applying bur comb to the top bars. As well, this violation of bee space will result in a bit of drone cell production on the top bars between boxes assisting the beekeeper in drone comb removal and varroa mite level monitoring. Our unfinished interiors promote the application of propolis, and are thought to contribute to healthier hive interior. All Diggin’ Livin’ hive bodies come standard with a vertical dado cut on the short box sides. This allows for the insertion of a division board, and with the use of our two-way bottom boards allows for conversion into two side-by-side 4-frame nucleus colonies. As with all of our hive components, they are hot-dipped with our natural sealant.
Diggin’ Livin’ manufactures for sale a migratory lid to facilitate hives seated adjacent to each other. We manufacture a standard migratory lid. As with our hive bodies the deck is 7/8” for maximum durability, insulation, and minimal warping. We grade our lid deck from our finest quality wood to ensure no cracks. Our decks consist of only two pieces fit together with a tongue and groove joint. Unlike a standard migratory lid, Diggin’ Livin’ Natural Nest lid has an additional pair of cleats fastened to the upper surface that serve two purposes. Firstly, these cleats act to minimize warping and add additional strength and durability. In addition, these cleats are positioned to facilitate the stable interlocking and stacking of colonies upon each other to either a stable wintering configuration or for increased stability in transport.
We manufacture a traditional solid-bottomed migratory bottom. We manufacture our bottom boards with a 1 ½” rim around the bottom giving it a sturdy square base for your hive. This allows our bottom board to act as both a hive stand and bottom board in one. Two panel tongue and groove construction of ⅞” thick decks makes a cozy floor to keep the cold out. As well, this rim allows for the unique interlocking stackability quality when used with Diggin’ Livin’ Natural Nest migratory lids. Our bottom board comes standard with a ⅜” shim providing two ⅜” by 5 ⅝” entrances, one on each end, which provides a total of 4.2 square inches of entrance opening area - the perfect balance allowing adequate hive ventilation without compromising hive defendability. An additional ⅜” thick shim runs down the middle length of the interior. With the use of a division board, this allows for the creation of two separate 4 frame cavities within a single hive body used for rearing queens and establishing new colonies. The presence of opposing entrances gives the bees greater control over ventilation and orientation of hive traffic, allowing the bees access to either sun or shade depending upon their preference.
Diggin’ Livin’ manufactures a two-way rim feeder inner cover suitable with either full size or two-way nucleus colonies and allows the overhead feeding of colonies in any weather. By having feed inside the hive away from the entrance, robbing behavior is minimized and feed is accessible night or day. Inner covers can be corked and with the addition of quilting results in an insulated overhead lid for cold climates. Like our lids, our rim feeder is a two-piece deck of 7/8” thickness. As with other components, our Rim Feeder is made standard as as two-way piece of equipment with two holes and a division board (see photos). With holes in the deck to allow the cluster access to feed placed above the colony, it also provides the function of an additional layer of weather protection for the colony. An 1 ½” rim around the edges gives good space for feed or insulative quilting. As with the use of an inner cover, it can also provide a weather-safe and protectable upper entrance for the colony during the nectar flow with the use of a shim under the lid.
Our one piece divider board is designed for easy insertion and removal, quickly converting a hive body into two 4-frame nucleus cavities when used with our bottom board.