History shows that it is difficult to persuade the established order to accept revolutionary design change. It is greeted first with humour, followed by anger until finally it is seen to be self-evidently correct.

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The ZEST hive inventor.

Bill Summers was an architect in a previous life, is married with 2 daughters and lives in North Dorset.

He deploys the concept of DESIGN/SCIENCE.

Science takes things apart to understand them.

Design puts them back together making a useful object or system.

Science without a subsequent design is pointless.

Design without science is just good taste.

Doing MORE with LESS advances mankind's technology and civilisation, and so it is with the ZEST hive.

Dave Durrant and Judy Challoner have brought analysis and

clarity to the ZEST hive mission for better bee health and beekeeper wealth.

What is a ZEST hive?

The ZEST hive is a new honeybee hive which, by its design, is conducive to good health of honeybees and the wealth of beekeepers. Unlike other hive designs it provides an internal environment that is warm, humid, dry and stable. It has an external envelope that has the right balance between thermal insulation and thermal weight. This assists the bees in their primary duty of thermo-regulating the brood nest.

It improves upon the natural bee habitation of a cave or a hole in a tree. The internal void size can be adjusted to meet the needs of the bees over the season where the colony space can be made small in winter and large in summer. Together with its top, trickle ventilation and bee entry it is better than any natural place. The bees are subsequently healthier, better tempered, slow to swarm, productive and can be almost completely “letalone” managed.

The ZEST hive by its design has proven to be functionally free of varroa, nosema and acarine.

The frames used internally can be DIY in stapled wood or a plastic lattice formed from T-bars from which the bees make their own honeycomb. They last indefinitely. The honey is simply cut out and drained down in a bag and the frame returned to the hive. No machinery is needed and yearly frame maintenance is zero.

ZEST Apiary HQ at Hosey Bridge DT10 1HE

ZEST Office. Penny Cottage, Penny Street, DT10 1DE

A Comparative Analysis

The ZEST hive                            

1. Cheap                                         

2. Easy to DIY                                

3. Warm and dry.                          

4. Robust.                                     

5. H&S. compliant.                   

6. Disease resistant.                  

7. Slow to swarm.                        

8. Low maintenance.                   

9. Easy letalone managed.    

10. Does More with Less.    

Wood or poly hive 

1. Expensive.

2. Hard to DIY.

3. Cold and damp.

4. Fragile.

5. H&S. not compliant.

6. Disease prone.

7. Quick to swarm.

8. High maintenance.

9. Hard to letalone manage.

10. Does Less with More

A Recommendation

I found my first summer with a Zest hive much easier than I had expected. There was less to do than I had thought there would be and there was a wonderful amount of delicious honey. Building the hive was cheap, quick and easy and the whole experience was straightforward. The colony was healthy and I had no problems during the season. 

Liz Lyon. Bishops Caundle. Dorset

Top Left. - A complete ZEST hive pack £152 inclusive of P+P in UK only. For postage outside UK please go to the on-line shop.

Bottom Right. - A view into an open ZEST with a single colony in mid summer.

Top Right. - Optional use of your existing traditional wood boxes as honey supers on queen excluders on a 2 colony ZEST. 

You can also make a completely DIY ZEST hive, making frames with bamboo or wood (you will need wax starter strips) and partitions out of plywood. The drawings are in the digital on-line book.

The construction process:

1. Order from the online shop the ZEST boxes of plastic frames, queen excluders and partitions. (The plastic carrier and bee entry frame shown on the bottom right is available, but if cost is an issue it can be replaced by drilling 4 holes in each side of the ZEST hive walls at 300mm c/c and about 75mm from the top. Fill them with virgin cages that can be open, vented or shut. 75x18 wood battens will need to be deployed on the walls to contain the plastic ZEST frames which sit on them).

2. Print paper copies from the construction drawings. Take them to a builders merchant and/or elsewhere and purchase the DIY items listed if you do not already have them.

3. Assemble the parts in accordance with the drawings.

We do talks (50p.per mile) on ZEST hive philosophy to local BKA's during the winter season.
Call Bill Summers on 01258 473015 or e-mail williamfsummers@btinternet.com to book.