Eke to suite 'Rational' Top Bee Space Bee Hives

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An EKE can be as simple as four planks of wood 50 mm - 100 mm wide nailed together to form a rim the same size as the hive box.

This can be used over a crown board to house a contact feeder or a piece of comb that needs "emptying" of stores or brood.

There are other uses as well... If you have only shallow boxes available and you need to use some deep frames then your eke can be placed under the shallow box and the deep frames will hang in the combination of the two boxes as if they were one.

I take this concept a little further... Our British National brood boxes are 225 mm tall and our supers are 150 mm. I make my ekes exactly 75 mm and make them to accept frame lugs in the same manner as the full size boxes. I fit a few with frame runners, but I use mainly use castellated spacers in these ekes, a few with 9's, some with 10's, some 11's and yet others with 12's and 13's spacing.


Two of these ekes clipped together (using "Z" springs) make 150 mm and will take super frames.

As my eke's have a selection of spacings available, the spacing of these frames depends on which eke is placed on top of the other.

A 150 mm super plus an eke makes 225 mm and will take brood frames or three ekes can be clipped together and perform the same job.

There is also another size of British Standard frame known as a 14" x 12" extra deep frame and a standard 225 mm brood box plus a 75 mm eke will take these with a slight encroachment into the space within the rim of the floorboard.

The word "EKE" originates from "to eke out" or stretch your resources. When bees were kept in straw skeps a "cap" or smaller skep was often placed on the top for honey production (much like supers today) if the cap became nearly full then the beekeeper would add a ring of straw (about 75 mm deep) between the skep and the cap. It is this ring, that was built of straw like a skep, that was known as an "eke". There is a complication to this in that if the ring was placed underneath the skep, then it was known as a "nadir".

Ekes are simple to make and prove very useful to have around in an apiary. There have been many occasions when I have been able to get out of... The sort of situation that has a habit of occurring in beekeeping, just by using one or two.

Cutting of parts (all dimensions are in mm). (When drawings of parts are available, the table rows will become live links.) The Grain should run along the longest dimension of any part.

Qty Length Width Thickness Material Usage
2 460 75 18 Pine Sides
2 460 44 25 Pine Front and back top rails (rebated)
2 460 25 22 Pine Bottom rails (splayed)
2 424 51 18 Pine Front and back

The rebate in the top rail should be 12 mm x 24 mm leaving 13 mm for the section that covers the ends of any top bars.


This cross sectional view may help assembly.

There is bottom bee space version on the "National Eke" page.

Scale = 1 pixel per 2 mm