The keeping of bees in man-made hives can be traced back to the 5th Dynasty of aincent Egypt, dated earlier than 2422 BC. However the modern vertical hive can be traced back to the mid 19th Century.
The Langstroth Hive was patented in 1852 and was named after its inventor Lorenzo Langstroth. There are 3 parts to the Langstroth Hive – the Top Board providing cover, the Boxes which contain frames for honeycomb, and the Bottom board providing a base and an entrance for the bees. Frames are suspended parallel to each other and the honeycomb is formed in these frames. Sometimes these frames are strengthened with wire which allows honey to be harvested with a centrifuge before reusing in the hive, hence increasing production and also reducing the need to bees to invest time and energy in remaking honeycomb.
There are a number of different variations of hive designs, mainly to accommodate different strains and species, and since the mid 1960s the “horizontal top bar” design of hive has been growing in popularity due to it’s cheaper design and allows for a more modern natural ethos. Some designs of hives reduce the need to open the hive to harvest the honey. This has pros and cons though, because although it could be seen as better for the stress levels of the colony not to have to open the hive, it is also true that with less maintenance comes increased risk of infection and disease in the colony.