Apiary Lingo – Types of Beehives

Nowadays, beekeeping has become more common in many parts in the world. The benefits associated with beekeeping are countless, from health benefits, environmental and even financial benefits. Bees are efficient in all aspects of their lives – they have assigned tasks and jobs, they store all forage that they can benefit from, they create their own food from that forage, and they pollinate our plant life. They are responsible for most of the fruits, nuts and vegetables we all know and love. So, the next time you sit down for a meal, be sure to thank these small but busy insects. Beekeepers, both new and old, want to get the maximum profit from this practice. One of the ways to ensure success from beekeeping is to get the best hive for the bees. There are many types but they are categorized into two main categories, natural and man-made beehives. Natural hives occur naturally, example a hollowed out tree or concave rock may provide a good beehive. Man-made are mainly found in apiaries and backyard beehives.

Among the man-made hives, there are many types. Langstroth, Warre and top bar hive are the commonly used. Let us delve into the specifics of these hives.

  • Langstroth beehive

This type has been around the longest of today’s popular hive types – since 1852. The hive is easy to make since it is made of simple well crafted boxes stacked over each other. As the colony grows, the beekeeper can add more boxes. They have removable frames with wax foundation. The wax foundation is where the queen lays her eggs. Honey is extracted with the help of a special centrifuge. This type of hive allows more honey to be extracted and can easily grow when space is needed.

  • Warre beehive

Design in the 1900s, Warre, pronounced “wah-ray”, beehive was named after Abbe Emile Warre, a French beekeeper. The hive is similar to Langstroth hive, only that it has a slanted roof. The hives have bars at the top of the box where the bees build their comb. For insulation, the roof is fitted with a quilt. During inspection, the beekeeper has difficulties reaching the interior bars on this hive. In spite of this small disadvantage, the beehive requires less maintenance.

  • Top bar hive

For this type, they are horizontal in nature and they sit above the ground on wooden legs. Just like in the Warre hive, there are bar where bees can build their hives. The top bar hive is easy to maintain and it is light for easier relocation. This type also ensure that the bees are safe from honey predators

With their details outlined above, a beekeeper can choose the best and most suitable type of beehive to use for their home and garden. The Langstroth beehive is the most commonly used for both commercial and hobbyist beekeepers. That’s what we use at our bee yard, but I think we’ll play around with the others at some point so we can learn more about the trade and art of beekeeping.

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