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What Hive is Right For You?

In the summer months, your colony can have 80,000 bees in one hive! You need to be able to manage your hive in order to keep your bees healthy, prevent swarming and produce a honey crop.

Questions to Initially Ask Yourself:

How much time do I have?

  • Minimal time: Langstroth and Warre
  • Lots of time: Langstroth, Warre or Top Bar

Can I lift boxes over 40 lbs or have help?

  • If yes, Langstroth, Warre or Top Bar
  • If no, Top Bar Hives
Langstroth Hive

Langstroth Hive

HIGHLIGHTS

Time: Moderate
Cost: Low ($250+)
Weight: Some heavy lifting (50+pounds)
Honey Production: Great honey production (easy for beginners!)

Langstroth hive

HISTORY

Lorenzo Langstroth invented this hive in the 1800s with the first moveable frames that revolutionized beekeeping. Langstroth hives are widely used in North America and Australia.

FEATURES

Langstroth hives come in a standard size making it very easy to customize. Hives include an outer cover, inner cover, boxes, frames and bottom board. Within a hive box, there are 10 wooden hanging frames.

MANAGEMENT

Bees fill one box at a time with pollen, honey and brood. As the bee population expands and boxes become 70% full, you add a box on top. There are three available box depths (deep, medium, and shallow), and two widths that include an 8-frame box (40-60 lbs with honey) or a deep 10-frame box (60-80 lbs with honey).  Langstroth hives require regular management—especially in the spring and late summer. With our management method, you can still plan a summer vacation in July. Boxes can be heavy and weigh anywhere from 80 lbs or more, so you need to be able to lift or have help.

Top Bar Hive

Top Bar Hive

HIGHLIGHTS

Time: Moderate to high
Cost: High ($450+)
Weight: No heavy lifting (bars weigh up to 8lbs)
Honey Production: Low honey production (requires skilled manipulation)

Top Bar Hive

HISTORY

The Top Bar hive has been used for centuries, and is one of the oldest and well-used hives around the world.

FEATURES

Top Bar hives range from 30” to 40” (and beyond) in length because the design is not standardized. The hive includes individual wooden bars laid across the top of the hive. The hive is simple in its construction, and you do not need other hive components such as frames or excluders.

MANAGEMENT

The bees build comb naturally from the bars. A divider in the hive allows the beekeeper to create more or less space in the hive as needed during the beekeeping season. However, this hive requires frequent monitoring and management. As the colony grows in the hive, you add empty bars and move divider boards down the hive to create more space. Moving and removing comb requires skill. For beginners, it can be tricky. The heaviest comb you have to lift is about 8 lbs.

Warre Hive

Warre Hive

HIGHLIGHTS

Time: Low to moderate
Cost: Mid-range ($350+)
Weight: Some heavy lifting (boxes can weigh +40lbs) 
Honey Production: Low honey production (requires skilled manipulation)

Warre Hive

HISTORY

The Warre hive was invented by French monk Abbé Émile Warré in the 1900s. His natural and simple design has become a popular  method over the past 75 years.

FEATURES

A Warre Hive is essentially a vertical Top Bar hive that uses the same bar method instead of frames. Generally it has two boxes with eight bars inside that must be spaced evenly for the bees to build on.

MANAGEMENT

This hive does not require frequent inspections. Bees naturally build comb from top to bottom, and this design allows bees to fill the bottom box in the spring to about 80% full, then you add a box to the bottom (nadiring) for the hive to expand. In the fall, you harvest honey from the top box. Boxes can weigh 40 lbs, so you need to be able to lift some heavy weight or have help.