The Beekeeping Hive – The Backbone Of Beekeeping

Choosing The Right Beekeeping Hive For You

The most fundamental element to beekeeping is concerned with the beekeeping hive itself in which the colony resides. Over time, beekeepers have made significant developments on hives to allow for the extraction of honey to be easier. You only need to consult some relevant beekeeping information to determine the right hive that suits you and I have a description of the two main types of hives below.

The Langstroth Hive

The Langstroth is the most widespread and commonly used hive in the United States and is the standard around the world. It’s what is known as a “movable frame” beehive and the support framework of the Langstroth hive is a wooden, rectangular in shape, and holds the combs inside. Generally, there are up to ten of these combs within the frame at any one time. The astounding thing about these frames is that there is neither a top nor a bottom, and the combs hang freely inside. The structure of the combs themselves is comprised of a sheet of wax or plastic. Using the wax sheets as a starting point, the bees then create more wax to construct the honeycomb. Once complete, the bees will then deposit the honey and pollen into the cells of the comb. The box itself is specifically designed to allow the convenient removal of frames that are completely full of the honey that is to be extracted.

The Top-Bar Hive

The use of top-bar hives is fairly common in Africa and is becoming increasingly popular in the United States with beekeepers who maintain a beekeeping hive as a hobby. The top-bar hive uses bars across the top of the framework and the honey bees use these bars to affix and hang the wax combs from. As the frames used in a Langstroth hive can be re-used, the combs used on bars cannot be re-used following the extraction of the honey. This particular design does not support the high production of honey. The advantage of a top-bar is that the honey that comes from the clear yellow combs is of the highest possible quality and can be sold as an in-comb honey food product.

Placement of the Hive

Irrespective of the particular beekeeping hive design a beekeeper may choose to use, there are specific factors of keeping hives on one’s property that need to be carefully considered. Before the beekeeper even makes the decision to keep bees on their property, the proper research of local restrictions in regards to keeping bees in their area should be undertaken. The amount of available space on their property and the location of the hive itself should also be carefully thought about. A beekeeping hive should not be placed in close proximity to homes, schools or other obvious places of recreation such as parks. Some people find bees irritating, particularly for those who are known to suffer allergies to the sting of a bee. Bee hives should be situated nearby a source of nectar and pollen so that the bees have accessibility to food. In some cases, beekeepers use their bees purely to pollinate their crops. Bee hives should also be situated near a source of fresh water – it can be natural or provided by the beekeeper. Another key factor to the correct placement of the beekeeping hive will come down to known animals in the area of a predatory nature such as bears, skunks and racoons. Vandals can also be an issue when there is the potential for “free” honey. The hive also requires protection from the elements such as severe weather but does need to be accessible at all times of the year. Though bees themselves are active at specific periods of the year, honey bees beekeeping is a fulltime occupation and continues through each season. For more tips on placement of your bee hive and keeping bees on your property, have a look at the “Interesting Articles” on the right hand side of this page or you can subscribe to my free mini-course below!

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