The Layens hive

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The Layens hive

De Layens (from LApiculteur)

De Layens (from LApiculteur)

Like Abbe Voirnot, M. de Layens gave his frame a depth of 370 mm. This frame is better than that of the Voirnot hive, which is only 330 mm. With this frame, still better than with that of the Voirnot hive, the bees always have their stores above their cluster. No colony mortality next to plentiful stores there either. The Layens hive, reduced to 9 frames with partitions gives a perfect situation for wintering.

The Layens frame size of 370 x 310 mm approaches that of two combs one above the other of our hive 400 x 300 mm.

Populating the hive and stores

In the Layens hive, reduced to 9 frames with the partitions, a 2 kg swarm suffices, and between 15 kg and 16 kg of honey likewise as winter stores. Note that it is again between 3 kg and 5 kg more than with our hive.


M. de Layens also saw great difficulties with placing the super on the Dadant hive. It is clear that he simply did away with the super and replaced it with additional frames at each side of the brood chamber. M. de Layens was mistaken. When the bees have filled the frame positioned next to the brood chamber with honey, they cannot pass across this frame to carry nectar to the subsequent frames. This frame has to be monitored. When it is half-filled with honey one has to move it back and put an empty frame in its place. Otherwise the bees swarm because of shortage of usable space. The difficulties of expanding are not decreased, on the contrary.

The Layens hive thus has as its only advantage the depth of its frame. Apart from that it has all the faults of the Dadant hive including frames, foundation, boards, quilt, spring visit, expansion and stores.


The Layens hive is referred to as modernised. But it is 50 years since we have abandoned this 9-frame hive with supers. It is good for wintering, but the bees rarely ascend to the supers. At the top of the deep frames there is often still a small amount of honey. But the bees are reluctant to cross the honey. They prefer to swarm.

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