You probably know by now that there are three main types of beehives. They are the Top Bar Hive, Langstroth Hive, and Warren hive. Not that it matters to the bees as they live wherever the owner determines. Each of these hives is different from the other with each having its own advantages and drawbacks. There is not one beehive that can be said to be the best in all conditions.
If you are thinking about getting into beekeeping, you will probably be asking yourself which is the best beekeeping hive to have. However, there is not an easy answer to that question. Each hive is unique in its own way meaning that whatever you choose will have its own benefits. It is not strange for beekeepers of each of these hives to claim that the ones they use are the best. The following is a detailed explanation of the three most important types of hives.
TOP BAR HIVE
Among three types of beehives, the Top Bar Hive (TBH) is the oldest. For beekeepers, this is the most comfortable for them. Essentially, the bees are at an appropriate height, and you don’t have to strain lifting boxes. It is literally for those that like to take it easy.
A common feature of TBH is that it is made up of a single box. TBH does not have any expansion capabilities, and this is one of the main distinguishing factors with other hives. TBH has a simple design, and that is quite attractive for those that want to start beekeeping and don’t have much in
Removable wooden bars are put across the top and form the roof. A starter strip hangs from these bars, and this is where bees build their combs. Honeybees start building from below and work their way up that the strip. Like Warre and Langstroth, TBH is foundationless. People now prefer foundationless beekeeping, and this makes this type of hive popular.
TBHs have likely been in use for centuries. There is evidence of these hives in ancient Greece which was probably in the form of baskets. The method is one of the most basic. With the right skills, you can easily you can use locally available materials to build your own hive. As easy as they are to construct, TBH is also easy to manage. This type of hive has proven beneficial to the impoverished communities. They are a more profitable way of tending bees.
The Warre hive was created by Emile Warre in the 1900s. Warre was more interested in a hive that was easy to build, manage and produce honey. The pragmatic monk wanted hive which was favorable to the environment. Warrehad experimented with hundreds of hives before he settled on the “People’s Hive.”
The hive includes several stacked boxes each with wooden bars. These bars are evenly spaced, and it’s there that the honeybees build their natural combs. The wooden boxes are much smaller than those of Langstroth and Top Bar. Warre’s idea was to make the hives as natural as possible. In the wild, the bees live in much smaller cavities.
With Warre hives, boxes are added from below. This means that you need to lift the other top boxes and stack them on top of the new one. This staking this way might seem strange, but this behavior is common among the feral colonies. It is typical for them to construct colonies from the top downwards. In Langstroth, honeybees build upwards because that is where the empty space. However, creating space downwards lets bees follow their natural instincts.
The process of adding boxes on the bottom and taking from the top makes sure that there is a natural cycle of removing comb. Furthermore, this process ensures that the hive environment is healthy and there is perpetuity. The hive is easy to maintain and does not make use of chemicals. They are especially favorable for those that want to keep bees but have another thing to do. The keyword here is easy to maintain. Honey harvesting is done from the top boxes.
Every time people think of beekeeping, Langstroth Hive comes to mind. Langstroth is the most common type of hive in the United States and the world. This type of hive is the brain child of Reverend Lorenzo Langstroth in mid-1800s. The good Reverend had a food reason for designing this type of hive. It was the answer to the problems associated to skeps.
Skeps were highly ineffective, and beekeepers would end up destroying the hives. With the hives destroyed, honey bees would have no alternative but to move on to a place where they could be disturbed less. The Langstroth hive revolutionized the manner in which bees were kept and honey were extracted. The new method allowed the honey harvesters to extract combs individually without being too invasive. The bees stopped taking a hike every time their home was invaded, and the process became more flawless.
The movable frame is the most critical part of the Langstroth. There is an ongoing debate on whether Langstroth was the first to come up with the movable frame. However, what matters is that his invention proved critical in the world of beekeeping. You cannot imagine how skeps would be faring today.
The Hive contains various boxes stacked together. In most cases, they are grouped as deep, medium and shallow. It is common practice for beekeepers to start with 2 deeps. Boxes are commonly in 8-frame or 10-frame. Honeybees build their colony through these boxes. Beekeepers can keep adding boxes in a process called supering. The bees will then proceed with building. In the supers, until they fill up. Beekeepers then move the filled up supers leaving the rest to grow. Langstroth hive provides adequate space for the bees ensuring that the parts are not glued together.
Beekeepers also a thin sheet referred to as a foundation inside the frames. Essentially, bees create cells in these sheets where they store the honey and brood develops. In most cases, the foundation is reinforced for additional strength. When it is time to harvest, the beekeeper takes out the foundation, as well as, the frames. They get to the honey cells and extract the honey.