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CHOOSING YOUR BEE HIVE
You may find various natural types of beehives in places such as birdhouses, rock crevices, buildings, and empty boxes. Most modern types of beehives replicate the characteristics of wild honeybee colonies which is a dark, protected enclosure with a small, defensible entrance. And, of course, plenty of room for parallel comb construction.
The bee hive is entirely for the convenience of the beekeeper which means they have to make choices about beehives depending on their own circumstances. Understanding the ideas of a hive design will enable a person to choose the most suitable honey bee hive for sale. The size and location of the opening are what matter most. Bees like small holes at the entrance that face south or south east
Everything essential you need to build your perfect hive from the ground up is readily available. You can customize your hive or just pick up replacement pieces for your existing hives – from foundation to frames, to deeps and wooden boxes, hive accessories, even live bees. It is important to use high-quality equipment when building your hive because it will make such a difference.
What To Look For in a Complete Bee Hive
Type of Beehive
The first thing you need to consider when choosing a complete bee hive for sale is the type of hive. The 4 main types of bee hives are the Langstroth Hive, the Top Bar Hive, Warre Hive and the horizontal hive.
Next, you should decide if you would like to use 8 or 10 frames. Frames are important because they give the bees a place to build comb. Complete bee hives will come with frames and many frames will also include foundation.
When looking for a complete bee hive for sale you must also consider assembly. Some complete bee hives come fully assembled and ready to go, out of the box while others arrive in pieces that you must put together.
Choose a location for your honey bee hive
After you decide on which type of hive to use, the next consideration is where to place the bee hives. Beehives should never be placed near your home, or the homes of others, or close to areas that are used for recreation. Beehives should be placed near a pollen and nectar source, to give honey bees easy access to food.
TYPES OF BEE HIVES FOR SALE
There are several types of bee hives for sale so you will need to be careful when making a decision when buying, since it will involve an investment of money as well as an investment in learning the techniques for that particular method of beekeeping.
Each hive style has different benefits and drawbacks regarding management time, honey yield, and weight. It’s time to learn which bee hive is best for you
Below you will find the four most common beehive styles that you can choose from and their respective pros and cons.
It is the oldest and most commonly used style in the world. In this design, a set of horizontal bars is set across a trough-shaped hive protected by a hinged or removable cover, and bees build their comb downward from these bars, a very natural activity. There are no frames used, and no foundation required to keep the hive level. The bars are usually simple wooden wedges or strips that slide into slots to ensure they hang straight. A top-bar hive is fairly easy to build yourself, although commercial top-bar hives are of course available.
Inspections are easy, you just lift one bar. Since the hive stays more or less closed up, the bees tend to stay calm. Make sure to keep the comb vertical, otherwise, it can break off the top bar. There’s often a window on one side so you can look into the hive. There’s a shutter to keep the hive dark. The hive features a screened bottom and a slide-out board, so you can increase ventilation and collect mite fall. Placing a sticky board under the screen helps with counting mites.
Pros of Choosing the Top Bar Hive
It’s inexpensive. Working is less disruptive to bees—you don’t need smoke or a full bee suit.
No heavy lifting and very easy to harvest honey. You just chop off the comb under the bar and replace the bar.
It’s all natural. The top bar allows bees to build their comb according to the needs of the colony.
It’s easy to inspect. Because of the shape of the hive, the bees will usually draw comb away from the walls.
Cons of Choosing the Top Bar Hive
Knowledge transfer is a challenge. Finding someone to walk you through the use of this bee hive is quite rare.
They are not readily available. Many parts aren’t standardized so you may find parts for sale that are incompatible with the structure you already have.
The Langstroth hive
Langstroth beehives are the most recognized horizontal bee hive body in the United States.
The hive consists of a wooden box with 8-10 vertical hanging frames inside. The interior of each hive contains frames for holding honey. Most of the frames have a thin foundation with a hexagonal pattern that shows the bees how to draw out the comb .This design consists of square boxes stacked on top of one another and topped by a protective, vented roof.
The bottom levels are boxes structured to allow brooding space for the bees, while the upper boxes are structured to hold wooden frames for the bees to fill with comb and honey. You pull the boxes out like drawers to access the bees, harvest honey, and perform maintenance tasks. You can add boxes vertically if your hive needs more space.
Pros to Choosing the Langstroth Hive
It is readily available and reasonably priced. It comes as an assembled product which makes setting up very simple
Has interchangeable parts which mean you can get supplies from multiple manufacturers
The beehive is easy to maintain. A coat of paint every few years keeps it going.
Ideal for honey production. This is an excellent system where maximum honey-production is desired.
Cons to Choosing The Langstroth Hive
Requires a bit of heavy lifting. This hive grows vertically, so as the colony becomes established, inspecting the hive will require you to lift the upper boxes off in order to check on the brood area and see how your queen is getting on.
It’s not the “natural” way. Many argue that the use of foundation takes away the natural freedom of the bee to build comb with cells that suit the colony. My solution is you could do away with the foundation and only put wax strips as a placeholder, directing the bees to build a comb from that point downward.
A Warré uses a stack of small, square hive boxes that have top bars rather than frames to hold the comb. It’s a super hive where the bees draw their combs without frames and foundation. It also uses a unique style of hive cover: a quilt filled with sawdust or wood shaving, and a vented angled roof. This is supposed to provide superior moisture management, as the sawdust-filled quilt absorbs moisture that can then escape via the roof.
The bees build a comb from the top bars downward into each box. As more space is needed, additional boxes can be added to the bottom of the hive. Thus, the upper boxes are the first to fill with honey.
Pros to Choosing The Warre Hive
Has low maintenance. You only open the hive to remove honey or to add boxes which may be once or twice a year.
It’s the naturalist’s dream hive. The bees build comb from scratch, build downward like nature intended, and are accorded the opportunity to live in a clean comb.
Because of the simple structure, they are quite affordable. If you’re handy with a saw you can make it yourself.
During the nectar season, you can add an extra box above the existing boxes and get some bonus honey.
No need for a queen excluder. As they build downward, she lays her eggs downward and leaves the top boxes for honey storage
Cons to Choosing The Warre Hive
Requires some very heavy lifting. Adding boxes in spring means having to lift the other boxes.
It will be extremely cumbersome to move boxes during inspection and can cause a lot of damage to the fragile frameless comb
Colonies in Warre hives tend to produce less honey.
There’s also an increased risk of cross comb and mite infestations.
Horizontal hive/ Layens hive
If the common Langstroth is the mansion version of the hive, then the long hive is the bungalow.
It is a horizontal hive holding 20 large frames on one level. It has been developed from the Langstroth, but it is longer. This is why there’s no heavy lifting. It’s really great for people whose heavy lifting days are behind them, and easy to work with for the disabled
Pros to Choosing The Long/Horizontal Hive
No heavy lifting. Great if you have a bad back, joint pain or mobility challenges. Highly recommended for children who are just starting out.
If you get the design that opens like a treasure chest.it will give you room to place your tools or even frames as you inspect the hive.
Frames from Langstroth hives can be used interchangeably
Modified versions allow for the addition of wooden boxes
Cons to Choosing the Long/Horizontal Hive
More expensive than the typical Langstroth because they are not as easy to find.
Limited resources. Other than the frames, other hive fixtures may not fit with this type of hive.
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