Beekeeping Hives; What Type Will Work For You?

Beekeeping Hives; What Type Will Work For You?

The beekeeping hive, where bees are kept, is one of the main components of beekeeping.  Over the years improvements have been made with beekeeping hives for the bees in order to make honey gathering easier.  The Langstroth beekeeping hive is the most commonly used in the United States by beekeepers today.  It is what is called a movable frame beehive.  The support structure of the Langstroth hive is a rectangular wooden frame which holds the beekeeping combs within it.  There are typically nine or ten of these combs inside the frame, making up the beekeeping hive.  Amazingly, there is no top or bottom of the frame.  The combs hang freely within the frame.  The combs are made of a sheet of wax or plastic foundation.  The bees are able to produce wax and build honeycomb by using the wax sheets as a starting point.  They are then able to deposit honey and pollen into the cells of the comb.  The box is designed to easily be able to remove the frames full of honey to be extracted.

Some hobby beekeepers within the United States are using top-bar beekeeping hives that are commonly found in Africa.  A top-bar style beekeeping hive has bars across the top of the structure, which allows the honey bees attach and hang wax combs from.  Different from the frames that are used in a Langstroth hive, the combs on bars cannot be reused after the honey extraction.  This type of design results in a lower production of honey, however the honey from the clear yellow combs created in a top-bar beekeeping hive is of the highest quality.  It can be sold as an in-comb honey product.

Regardless of which beekeeping hive design the beekeeper decides to use, certain aspects of keeping these hives on the property must be considered.  First off, before the beekeeper decides to keep bees on their property they must research the local restrictions to keeping bees found in some areas.  They should also consider the amount of room that is available on their property and the placement of the beekeeping hive.  The bee hives should not be placed near homes or areas that are used for recreation.  Bees can be bothersome to some people especially those who suffer from bee sting allergies.  The beekeeping hives also needs to be placed near nectar and pollen sources in order to give the bees easy access to a food source.  Some beekeepers use bees solely to pollinate their crops.  The hive should also be placed near a fresh water source.  This can be a natural water source or something that is supplied by the beekeeper.  Another important aspect that should be considered when placing a beekeeping hive on one’s property is predators and vandals.  The hive needs to be protected from natural predators like bears and skunks and from human vandals that might be interested in gathering some free honey.  The beekeeping hive also needs to be protected from severe weather conditions and it needs to be accessible throughout the year.  Although bees are most active during certain times of the year, beekeeping is a job that lasts throughout every season of the year.


Jason Honey has been digging gardening for more than 20 years. He has used his knowledge of beekeeping to keep himself safe and his garden thriving year round.


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