Alternative Bee Nests

Gaia Bees offers alternative bee-friendly hives. The designs are based on the needs of the bees and promote a sustainable and wholesome approach to apiculture.

Sun Hive (Weissenseifener Haengekorb):

The Sun Hive (“Haengekorb”) is made out of rye straw and has nine, half moon shaped arched, movable frames. Comb is built naturally and can be almost 2 feet deep.
The entrance is located at the bottom of the hive.

The Sun Hive is designed by the German sculptor Guenther Mancke. The form and shape of the hive is created according to natural/feral bee nests. The design reflects the oneness of the colony – what is called the “Bien”.

The “Bien” describes the animal with a thousand body parts (individual bees). Already through it’s outer shape it reveals it’s nature– as if the egg-shaped skep would be the outer shell or skin of this living being. The inner shape allows the “bien” to unfold it’s own natural gestalt, in harmony with it’s instinctual life forces

The english edition of the “Sun Hive” book is finally back in stock at Gaia Bees.
The book is $24.00, (plus $2.04 tax for CA residents), plus $7.00 shipping/handling within the USA.  To order, please send a check (USA banks only) to (and include your email address):
Gaia Bees, 686 Snow Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472, USA
(If paying by PayPal: Add $1.60 for PayPal fee; email address:;)
Orders from other countries: Please inquire about shipping and payment options by email.

Sun Hive



Golden Hive (wooden version):

The Golden Hives (wooden version) are sold out for the 2014 spring season (some hives available for mid/end summer delivery). Please email Michael for more info at: Delivery can be up to 4 months.

The GoldenHive is designed to provide a good environment for the health and development of the colony, and to minimize the impact from interaction (more frequent opening of hives results in a weakening of their health).

Several features are part of the design:

The entire colony lives in one room (without multiple hives and frame levels) – no heavy lifting of supers any more.  The hive comes with tall frames. That size comb sustains the colony and allows the development of a large brood nest.  A wax cloth covers the top of the frames and allows partial opening of the hive, and provides further options for protecting the inner climate of the “Bien”. The bees respond by staying calm, since the inner climate is not as deeply disturbed.  The frames have a beveled top bar, where bees start naturally building comb.  The dimensions of the one-room-hive are set according to the “golden mean”. It is a universal principle within all forming forces in nature and is found in art, architecture and ancient philosophy. It’s also called the “divine proportion”.

The “Golden Hive” provides an environment for bees that is closer to their natural shape. It gives the bees the space to build natural comb with greater depth than regular bee hives. The brood nest is a protected space, and honey can be received from the sides. This hive contains 22 frames and is not supered. The combined comb surface area equals 30 frames of three regular deep Langstroth hive bodies. It uses follower boards to support changing bee populations throughout the season.

Golden Hive (straw version):


The straw version of the Golden Hive accomplishes several additional bee-centered features. It helps to create an ideal inner climate and supports transpiration of the nest.  See below for a video clip, documenting the art of making them.