Bee Hive Basics – Understanding a Bee’s Living Quarters
Artificial hives have evolved over the years to make the beekeeper’s activities simpler and easier. In this article, we’ll be discussing some of the basic items of an artificial bee hive and how to take care of them.
A hive called the “Langstroth” is probably the most common bee hive used by beekeepers today. It is classified as a movable frame bee hive since it can be moved easily compared to other types of hives. It contains nine or ten wooden frames that hold the honey combs. It does not have or need a ceiling or a floor, as the frames hang suspended from the frame holders.
The foundation of each Langstroth hive contains a piece of plastic or sheet wax. This provides the bees a place to start building honey combs within the frame. With the frames suspended, the bees can move freely through the hive so they can deposit their pollen into honeycombs. Since the frames are removable, they can be taken out for easy honey collection. In addition, the honeycombs can be reused after the honey has been extracted. This design of the hive makes it easy for both the bees and the beekeeper to use.
Some beekeepers use top-bar hives, which are hives designed to hold the honey combs suspended from bars across the top, hence the name. These types of hives are modeled after hives commonly found in Africa. With this type of design, honey production is not as high, and the honey combs cannot be reused after harvest. However, the honey produced is top quality.
There are certain factors of beekeeping you must consider before selecting the type of hive you will use. First, make sure the local codes or regulations in your area allow beekeeping on the type of property you plan to set up your hive on. Next, consider the exact placement of your hive. Ideally, you will want to place it as far away as possible from residences, commercial facilities and also public recreational areas. Bees can be upsetting to certain people, particularly those allergic to bee stings. You will minimize the risk of hassles if your hive is placed far from any public areas.
Even though bees can find flower sources on their own, it’s still a good idea to place your hive near a fresh water and food supply. In situations where food is not readily available, such as in colder seasons or in harsher climates, you must supplement the food supply with a sugary syrup bee food. For the water supply, something as simply as a fountain in a garden will do.
Another factor to consider in placement of the hive is the presence of possible predators, both animal and human. Skunks and bears are the most likely animal predators that can endanger a hive. People who are interested in stealing honey, or just plain malicious towards the hive, can also endanger your bees. Place the hive in a less conspicuous and harder to access location on your property to help protect from vandals and thieves.
Although bees are most active during the warmer months, the hive itself will house your bees year round. As such be sure to place the hive somewhere that will protect it from extreme weather conditions. Be sure it is not in the path of extremely windy areas, or to susceptible to too much rain or snow.
Lance Murdock is a beekeeping enthusiast and author. He lives in Los Angeles and spends his time teaching others how to setup a healthy, sustainable beekeeping hive in your backyard. For more information on setting up your own bee hive, you can get his free mini-course on how to get started in beekeeping at http//www.SimpleBeekeepingGuide.com