Beekeeping hive-(3) Common types in use today!

Beekeeping hive-(3) Common types in use today!

Article by Jack Pomare

A honeybees natural home is anywhere that can shelter them from the weather, be readily accessible, and safe from predators. If you’ve ever gone through the process of evicting bees from the “power meter box”, of your home, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Actually, natural places that a bee will build a colony, is in the crevices of walls, the hollows of trees, or small caves on a rock face.

Nowadays, modern man has taken the bees natural instinct to build a nest within an enclosed opening, and improved upon it. This design, (The Langstroth hive) takes advantage of the way a bee makes honey and also makes it more efficient for collecting honey.

There are 3 main types in common used today for industry or the hobbyist.

1) The Langstroth hive “stacked box hive”Modern beekeeping can be credited to a few pioneering men, but the most prominent of them all would be Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, who in 1852 designed a system made up of rectangular wooden boxes. These box bodies hold freestanding frames, where bees build combs of honey in. The wooden bodies can be placed on top of each other, more frames added to them, and the bee stores more honey in them. Other areas within the body of the hive, are used to rear young, tend the queen. These are the most common hives in use today. This type of hive just look like a stack of boxes stacked neatly on top of each other.

2) The Warre hive “pronounced Wear-WeFrom 1867 to 1951 the frenchman Abbé Émile Warré experimented with various hives to develop a simple yet practical hive. The Ruche Populaire or “Peoples hive”. This type of hive consists of box bodies that can be placed on top of each other in the same way as the Langstroth hive. The difference being is, this type of hive doesn’t use four sided frames like that of the Langstroth hive. Instead bees hang their combs to wax attached to wood strips, called “top bars”. This type of hive reminds me of a dolls house, atop a neat stack of Langstroth boxes.

3) The Top-bar hiveThe V-shaped top bar hive said to be thousands of years old, found in common use in Africa also use top bars, hence the name Top-bar hive. Unlike the Langstroth and Warre hives, that can expand in a “stacked box fashion”. The Top-bar hive is a single length rectangular wooden box with the bottom sides slopped inward slightly to give a V shape, about the size of a large, elongated letter box

The hobbyist beekeeper may want to consider the space available to them on there property and where to place the new hives. If possible place them in a sheltered position and safe from predators, and away from human vandals. I won’t go into the story of the “stone throwing” kid!

Beehives should be kept clear of any neighboring houses or built up places like play grounds and parks, if possible. Bees can be bothersome to some people, and therefore your neighbors may consider your new beekeeping hobby hazardous to them. Especially if any of these neighbors have allergic reactions to bee stings.

You may want to place your hives in an area where they have ready access to nectar and pollen nearby. This makes it more convenient for the bees to access their food source, but don’t worry too much, bees are excellent foragers and can fly for miles in search of nectar.

If possible the hive should be placed near a fresh water source. This can be achieved either by a natural water source, like a creek, or something provided artificially such as a trough or pool.

Although bees are more active during certain times of the year, beekeeping is a hobby that lasts throughout the year. So think about this before you start. For some beekeepers, the primary reason for keeping bees on their property is mainly for crop pollination. Whatever the reason, just make sure you’re able to put in enough time for your bees!

One last thing to think about when putting a hive on your property, find out as much as possible about local and state laws that will have an affect on your new beekeeping hobby.

About the Author

Visit my website for more information about Understanding the Beekeeping Hive or Follow other enthusiasts,hobbyists and beginner beekeepers to quickly learn the basics of how to acquire your bees, right through to establishing a healthy and thriving colony of hives. Learn more about beginner beekeeping information at for my FREE 10-Part mini-course

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