If you’ve been thinking about getting started as a beekeeper, you’ll likely be wondering, “What type of beehive should I get?” In this post I will break down the pros and cons of the hives I’ve been using.
There are two main style of hives that I use. One is called a Top Bar Hive, the other is a Langstroth Hive or “Box” hive.
A Top Bar Hive is said to mimic a bees natural hive in the wild, and are rather simple to build yourself. It is easy to remove the honeycombs in big pieces as you can slice directly through. This can make harvesting honey rather simple if you want honey in the comb.
The downside to this type of hive is that as your hive grows the bees need more room, and there isn’t a good way to stack them. When a hive runs out of room, they tend to swarm. I have experienced this several times.
A Langstroth Hive is what you’ll see commercial beekeepers using. These hives are square-shaped. Additional boxes can be added to the top of your hive as the colony grows and needs to expand. You can also add a “honey supper” which is a separate area where the bees create honey. Frames for these hives typically have a plastic or wax backing to give the bees a foundation to build from. This can speed up their process in establishing their hive.
Also if you’ve ever seen those cool Flow Hives online, those special frames fit into Langstroth hives. The Flow Hive technology allows the bees to build in pre-made plastic cells, and removes a lot of work and mess for the beekeeper during the honey harvesting process.
I haven’t really found a downside to these hives however if you want to build one yourself, it will require some additional skills cutting dovetails in wood.
So which hive should you get?
If you want to build it yourself, go with the top bar hive. If you want a hive you can expand on that has more add-ons you can purchase, go with the Langstroth.
Need some other help getting started? Check out the other gear you need to buy in this article; What does it cost to get started in beekeeping?