..... Stumper Index
Stumper #20.
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How Good Is Your Science KQ?

[i.e. your Knowledge Quotient]

- Bee Space ? -

Bees are important as pollinators for many agricultural crops. Nowadays, every Spring as many as a million colonies travel by the truckload around the U.S. from apiaries to farms to help pollinate as many as fifty different fruit and other crops. However, the main importance of bees to beekeepers is the honey that can be harvested from their hives.

Beekeeping has been practiced since ancient times but until the mid nineteenth century a problem with both natural and man-made hives was that they had to be broken up in order for the honey to be harvested. Then, in 1851, Lorenzo Langstroth, principal of a Philadelphia school and an amateur beekeeper, revolutionized the business of beekeeping by creating innovations in the design of movable frame hives. Most apiaries in the U.S. and around the world today still use versions of the Langstroth design.

Until the mid 1800s most beekeepers were using traditional fixed-comb hives. The hives were made of mud, straw, eathenware, or wood and the bees attached their wax combs to the hive's roof and walls, just like they do in wild hives. It was difficult to get honey from these hives without damaging or destroying the bee colony and seriously aggravating the bees.

However, beekeepers for several centuries had been experimenting with removable frames in which the bees could construct their wax combs. What Langstroth did in 1851 was to design a movable-frame hive that held ten comb frames, each about nine and a half inches deep. They hung freely from wooden bars and were arranged with a very specific distance between them as well as between each frame and the side of the hive in order to provide "bee space".

Which of the following was the most important new factor in the success of Langstroth's hive design?
  1. The fact that the ten movable frames hung freely from wooden bars
  2. The size of the frames (nine and a half inches deep)
  3. The careful spacing of the frames


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