Choosing the Best Bee Hive

CHOOSING YOUR HIVE

One of the first questions to pop into your mind when you decide to become a basic beekeeper and begin to pick essential beehive equipment is, "What sort of hive should I purchase?". There is not right or wrong answer for this question for all starting ,basic beekeepers and It all depends what your goals are,what you want to get out beekeeping ,and not only that your location has a bearing on what you can or cannot do as far a keeping bees is concerned .So do you want to keep bees as a way to give back to the environment to support pollination and honeybee population? Is a small crop of enough for you or would rather prefer to harvest a LOT OF HONEY?Are you located in the middle of a large Urban area or small town with little space to set up beehives and plan just to do limited Urban or back yard beekeeping or are you located or a short drive away from a rural area where your bees would have access to a lot of flowering plants? Do you have little time to spare for managing your Bee Colonies or you have a lot of extra time on your hands?Do you have an ample budget you can set aside for your bee hives or you want to spend as little as possible?Based on your circumstances, you will then be able to determine what hive type will best suit your needs. The three most typical types of Bee Hives in Northamerica(and most countries really) are the Langstroth Hive, Horizontal Top Bar Hive, and the Warre Hive. Each design has its own advantages and disadvantages; none of them are right for every situation. This table will help you decide which hive type is best for you.

Hive TypeTOP BAR HIVEWARRE HIVELANGSTROTH HIVE
OverviewA favorite among the basic beekeeper, backyard beekeeper and Urban Beekeeper due to its simplicity, ease of access, no heavy lifting, and few accessories required.The most hands-off hive, ideal for those looking for a simple-to-manage hive with lighter boxes.Warre hives are ideally suited for the beekeeper looking for a low-cost, low-maintenance hive design. A Warre hive is a good choice for those with a real busy schedule with little spare time as mostly there is little need to inspect the colony often since it resembles the natural environment bees were created to live in.Most common hive in North America among traditional hobby and commercial beekeepers. Heavy boxes, lots of accessories and resources available.These hives are stacking rectangular boxes with removable frames for the bees to build comb in. Langstroth hive design is very adaptable and It can configured in many different ways according to bee hive strength and season. It allows the bee keeper to stack the boxes to any height as needed.
CostLow to high. Your out of pocket expenditure can go all the way from quite cheap if you know your way around woodworking to full-featured boxes and everything in between. . Few accessories required.Low to high depending on if building your own or purchasing one. Few accessories required.Mass produced hives are relatively cheap, but required accessories and components add up and are costly.
MaintainanceThe most frequent maintenance and monitoring, but no heavy lifting is involved.The least maintenance. Boxes added to the bottom in the spring. Harvest in the fall.Langstroth Hives upkeeping needs depend on the season with more beekeeping work required in Spring and Summer and little required in the Fall. During Winter Honey Bees should not be disturbed. Hive Boxes can be stacked up early if colony growth or a strong nectar bloom is expected.
WeightThe easiest on the back. Once the hive is in place, lifting only involves 3-7lb combs.Significantly lighter than the Langstroth, heavier than the horizontal top bar hive. The heaviest and most awkward to lift and maintain, between approximately 30 for the Honey super and 80lbs for the full sized Brood , depending on the box size.
ProductionMany beekeepers have reported average Honey crops from Top Bar Hives comparable in quantity to their Langstroth counterparts.However, More frequent inspection are required so they are not suited for medium or large scale Bee operations.Comparable production to Langstroth as long as boxes are added on time.The highest honey production of the three, due to large box sizes specially if Wired wax foundation is used.Better suited for larger scale commercial Honey production.However,expensive Honey processing equipment such as honey extractors is needed
Colony HealthNatural, foundationless combs improve colony health.Natural, foundationless combs improve colony health.With foundationless combs, the same likelihood for survival as other designs.
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