Okay, I admit it. I’m enthralled with the word “eke.” But even though I called them “spacer rims” until recently, I’ve been a fan of ekes for a long time.
An eke in the Langstroth world is just a very shallow super. Most are between two and three inches deep, but there are no rules. You can build them from scratch, or you can slice an old super into several ekes.
An equivalent structure can be made for a top-bar hive and placed between the walls of the hive and the roof. Warré and National beekeepers seem to be much more familiar with these tools than Langstroth keepers . . . and they are also the folks who come up with cool words.
How to use an eke
So what do you do with an eke? Here are some suggestions:
- They can be placed above the brood nest to house baggy feeders. Or you can stack several ekes together to enclose jar feeders.
- Anything that requires extra space can be enclosed by an eke including pollen patties, sugar cakes, grease patties, or mite treatments.
- You can put deep frames in a medium box or medium frames in a shallow box if you put an eke under it. This is handy if you really want to move brood around and the equipment sizes are incompatible.
- When I’m working a hive, I like to set brood boxes down on an eke so I don’t squish anything beneath the frames. I can just toss an eke on the ground and stack the boxes on top.
- In the summer, you can place an empty eke with vent holes above the inner cover to provide extra ventilation. The warm air goes up through the hole in the cover and then out the vent holes.
- Rumor has it that Sherlock Holmes wrapped his valuables in oilcloth and placed them in an eke where no ordinary burglar dare venture!
Many apiary problems can be solved with these small supers. Don’t hesitate to make them in various sizes and feel free to stack them . . . or not. For overall apiary versatility, they are second only to the hive tool.
Also see “Slicing a brood box into ekes.”