For most beekeepers, choosing a hive is an overwhelming task.
However, with extensive information, it does not have to be challenging.
Once you commit to a certain type of hive, you will be able to keep honey bees without experiencing any problems.
Before making a choice, you need to gather a lot of information and talk to experts. In this post, we’ve discussed the most common types of hives and equipment.
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When most people think about honey bees, they mostly are interested in the honey bees produce. However, bees make another important substance known as beeswax.
The ten frame Langstroth hive is considered to be a standard hive. The white boxes present in stacks look familiar to most beekeepers. These boxes are Langstroth hives, and stack together to keep bees. In these hives, the bees build a breeding nest at the bottom, while filling the top boxes with honey.
When it comes to functioning, eight frame hives work quite similar to ten frame hives.
They are even similar in terms of structure.
However, even box is a bit smaller, and holds only eight frames.
This means you won’t get as much quantity of honey.
These gives only weigh around 30 pounds as compared to 60 pounds of ten frame Langstroth hives.
In recent years, top bar hives have become extremely popular among sustainable farmers and backyard enthusiasts. Instead of setting up a bee hive vertically, you can switch to horizontal.
This way, the honey stays in the front, while the breeding nest remains at the back.
This style frame is used exclusively in the United States of America.
A Hoffman frame is self-spacing, with the top area of end bars adjacent to frames.
The frame in such hives is designed to receive foundation. The bars also contain holes through which you can install wires in the foundation for more support.
For Hoffman frames, foundations are available in a lot of different materials.
You can choose from plastic, wax and aluminium foundations. They consist of a very thin sheet of the material properly embossed with the cell base.
The material is also coated on both sides with a layer of beeswax.
Hive equipment can vary according to the number of colonies, size of the operation, type of honey and more.
The basic hive equipment you need are the various components of the hive, smoker, hive tool, protective gear, equipment for handling honey crop and so on.
Here is an overview of some common equipment to manage honey bees in their hives.
The hive stand is an optional piece of equipment. It can elevate the bottom board of the bee hive off the ground.
This kind of support can reduce dampness in the hive, and even extend the life of the board.
It also makes sure the front entrance is free of weeds and grass.
Hive stands may be made from bricks, concrete blocks, pallets, railroad ties, logs, commercial grade materials and so on.
A hive stand can either support a single colony or multiple ones.
The bottom board is used as the floor for the whole colony.
It can also act as a perfect landing and takeoff platform for the bees.
Most of the time, the bottom board is open in the front.
Due to this, you need to tilt the colony forward to avoid rainwater from accumulating in the hive.
These days, you can also buy reversible bottom boards for bees hives.
The beeswax comb is properly held within the frame.
It is the most basic structural component inside a beehive.
You will notice plastic or wooden beeswax comb starting from a sheet of plastic or beeswax foundation.
Once the workers have made some additions with wax to draw out the foundation, cells can be used to store pollen and honey.
The basic purpose of a queen excluder is to keep the queen confined.
It also serves pollen storage and rearing.
A queen excluder is an optional piece of hive equipment. However, it is still used by many beekeepers.
These were some of the most common types of hives and equipment.
When you’re aware of all your options, you will be able to make a much better choice.
These days, you can easily buy hive equipment online at affordable prices.