Economic Modification of Langstroth to AZ-Style Beehives to Enable Aging or Physically Limited Beekeepers to Begin/Continue Beekeeping and Improve Hive Care, Colony Health, and Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $14,986.00
Projected End Date: 12/01/2020
Grant Recipient: Saum's Mini-Farm and Apiary
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Jeanne Saum
Saum's Mini-Farm and Apiary

Information Products


  • Animals: bees
  • Animal Products: honey


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health
  • Crop Production: beekeeping
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer
  • Farm Business Management: sustainability of beekeeping practice for older beekeepers or those physically limited.
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, quality of life, sustainability measures, opportunity for physically handicapped to participate in beekeeping and for older, physically limited beekeepers to continue their practice

    Proposal summary:

    We will positively impact the quality of life and livelihood of beekeepers with physical limitations due to health or aging, by modifying Langstroth hives into AZ-style hives, for under $90. These hives make beekeeping tasks easier to perform and less weather dependent, allowing persons with physical limitations to continue beekeeping. Our modification will positively impact the economics of beekeeping by providing a way for beekeepers to use equipment they already have to transition to AZ-style hives instead of purchasing new AZ style hives at $450 each. We will collect data to investigate whether the ease of use of these hives improve colony survival and increase honey production, resulting in a positive economic impact. We will keep inspection records to see if the AZ style hives will change beekeepers’ practices into more ecologically sound management. Our theory is that the Az-style, sheltered hives will increase the frequency of hive inspection and IPM because these tasks will be physically easier and not weather dependent. They can be done inside a cooled or heated structure, with little colony interruption, and less demanding physical labor. Increased care should result in healthier bees with better survival rates, showing a positive ecological impact.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Finalize design of hive
    2. Modify hives into AZ-style hives, place in
    3. Enlist two handicapped or older beekeepers to test use of modified Participants will collect data on: ease of use, accessibility, frequency of inspections, pest checks, pest infestation, treatments, time spent on hive care, IPM, feeding, colony survival, swarm and absconding rates, honey production
    4. Host Field Day to demonstrate AZ-style
    5. Present design and results at beekeeping meetings/conferences, publish
    6. Raffle off 5 modification kits to beekeepers with physical limitations.
    7. Publish plans for modification, present project findings
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.