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L. L. Langstroth's Journal

L. L. Langstroth's Journal on matters relating to bees, etc

L.L. Langstroth

Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth (1810-95), a native of Philadelphia, at an early age took such an extraordinary interest in observing the habits of insects that he was punished for wearing holes the in the knees of his pants while learning all he could about ant life. He graduated from Yale with distinction in 1831 and was ordained a minister after a course of study at Yale's divinity school. Periods of severe depression limited Langstroth's work as a minister and teacher, but his patient and sensitive observations of the activities in his beloved bee hives would change the history of beekeeping.

The Movable-frame Hive

Modern beekeeping had its inception in L. L. Langstroth's development of his movable-frame hive, patented in 1852. Langstroth's genius was to recognize the importance of bee space for optimal hive design. Bee space is the term now applied to the 1/4 to 3/8 inch interspace that bees require as a corridor. In space less than that, they plug the gap with propolis, a tough, sticky resinous substance that bees obtain from certain trees; in spaces greater, they construct a connecting brace comb. Both of these are great nuisances to beekeepers. Langstroth's hive, a box enclosing parallel hanging frames, each movable and interchangeable, with all suspended parts being surrounded by bee space, is a perfected home for bees and a perfected tool for their keeper. Because of the ease with which bees can be handled with movable frames, Langstroth's hive design has also facilitated the study of bee behavior.