Over the course of history, there has not been much of a shift in the construction of different types of beehives. However, we did come across a few fresh and original beehive designs that are on par with the traditional and time-tested classics.
Beginning beekeepers have a wide variety of options available to them in terms of hives, each of which comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
The Langstroth, Top Bar, and Warre hives are the three most frequent types of beehives. Here are ten different types of beehives that you may choose from to ensure the health and safety of your hardworking bees.
1. Dome Hive
Bees love dome-shaped hives, and it shows in their behavior. The top bar hive is the foundation of the more contemporary beehive known as the dome hive.
On the other hand, the top bars are curved here rather than straight. This shape contributes to the provision of additional insulation, resulting in a stronger honeycomb.
The design and construction of dome hives take place in Australia, and they are built to withstand the environment by using high-quality wood.
You can suspend the packs from the central ring or prop them up on stakes. No matter the mounting method you select, a dome hive’s distinctive appearance is certain to garner the interest of bees and passers-by.
2. Golden Hive
The Golden Hive, also known as the Einraumbeute, is the second mention of different types of beehives, which translates to “one-room hive.”
Thomas Radetzki conceived it three decades ago with European biodynamic beekeepers in mind when he designed it. Therefore, you will see more of this kind of hive in Europe than in the United States.
It is comparable to the horizontal hive. However, the frames on this one are somewhat more expansive. Each frame has the capacity to store honey, pollen, and brood.
Because of the honey’s huge size, it is difficult to remove without using specialist equipment. This hive is fantastic for the bees’ well-being but has a few drawbacks.
It is incredibly difficult to move and calls for an exceptionally high level of accuracy when cutting and building the hive.
3. Hex Hive
Because it accurately represents bees’ natural habitat, this hive style will appeal to those enthusiastic about natural beekeeping and different types of beehives. This hive, shaped like a hollow tree trunk, is made of hexagonal compartments piled on top of the other.
There are ten foundationless frames contained within each super, on which the bees can construct their comb. Even though the bees will be more likely to build a natural comb because of this, you can still gather the honey with a centrifugal extractor.
The hex hive is a version of stackable boxes’ in the designs of the Langstroth or Warre hives, although the shape is novel.
4. Langstroth Hive
Reverend John Langstroth, a beekeeper from Philadelphia, is credited with inventing the Langstroth hive in the middle of the 19th century, which fundamentally changed the industry. Even after 150 years, this beehive remains the most used hive in the United States.
The Langstroth has a succession of boxes that stay on top of the other, resulting in the name “supers.” There are two types of supers: honey supers and deep supers, often known as brood boxes.
The bottom board supports the supers and has an inner cover and an outer cover on top of them. The honey bees construct honeycomb on the frames that hold each super.
In a hive with a queen excluder, both the queen and the drone honey bees will have a more difficult time reaching the honey. On top of your brood box is where you will place the queen excluder.
Because Langstroth beehives are popular and available in modular configurations, finding brand-new replacement parts for your hive won’t be challenging if you ever need to make repairs or expand it.
This configuration offers a wide variety of beneficial outcomes and also grants easy transitioning to delving into other different types of beehives.
Your hive will be easier to check and produce more honey due to the frames’ removability. The harvesting of honey becomes much simpler because contemporary honey extractors work exclusively with frames from Langstroth hives.
Langstroth hives are excellent options for beekeepers to get their feet wet. You will need to invest in equipment like a beekeeping suit for this kind of hive.
Ten-Frame Langstroth Hive
Each super in a Langstroth Hive has frames attached to it. The honeycomb that the bees produce stays on top of these frames. The comb is typically placed on a foundation made from beeswax, and the idea is that the bees will connect it to the edge.
Instead of creating their honeycombs in places that are difficult to get, the bees are now building them where you want them.
The supers of conventional Langstroth beehives each hold ten frames of honeycomb. However, this can be quite a burden to carry. A honey-filled ten-frame super can weigh as much as sixty pounds!
Eight-Frame Langstroth Hive
Eight-Frame Langstroth Hive is identical to that of traditional ten-frame beehives. But there is a significant distinction between the two. You probably already have it figured out. You got that right! Instead of ten, it only offers eight frames to choose from. Exist both benefits and drawbacks? There are.
Because of the reduced number of frames, your supers will be more manageable in size and weight. Therefore, the weight of an eight-frame super is just 30 pounds, whereas the weight of a full super is 60 pounds.
It may be easier on your back to move hive boxes with a lower frame count if you intend to transfer them. The fact that the eight-frame hive is not nearly as frequent as the ten-frame hive is the eight-most frame’s significant drawback.
Therefore, it is more difficult to find parts, and it is also more challenging to collaborate with other beekeepers.
5. Top Bar Hive
The top bar hive is the type of beehive that has been around the longest when compared to the other different types of beehives.
Since ancient times, people have used several different iterations of the Top Bar hive to keep bees. But what exactly is it that makes it so appealing?
The top bar hives are widespread because of their incredibly straightforward construction. In addition, putting together a beehive with a top bar design does not require you to spend an absurd amount of money or have the building expertise of professional carpenters.
In contrast to other different types of beehives, this one consists of a box made of triangular pieces of wood. On the inside are several wooden bars around the top and sitting above an open cavity (the top bars that give the hive its name).
At the very bottom of the long box is a wire mesh that provides protection for the colony. On top is an open and close cover with relative ease to gain access to the area.
Unfortunately, the top bar hive design has some drawbacks, just like the designs of other types of beehives.
The fact that the bees typically do not build in a straight line across each bar is a disadvantage of top bar hives. They will occasionally construct their comb at an angle. When this occurs, it makes inspecting the hive more difficult.
Due to the lack of standardized extraction equipment, harvesting honey from a top bar hive is highly challenging. On the other hand, if you merely want to keep pollinators in your yard, this beehive style is an excellent choice.
6. Warre Hive
A beekeeper in France by the name of Emile Warre spent half a century developing the “People’s Hive,” also known as the Warre Hive.
The Warre beehive is an inverted variant of the top bar hive. You will receive several boxes that do not have frames around them. Instead of being introduced to the top of the Langstroth hive, the boxes are added to the bottom.
This model, which simulates the interior of a hollow tree trunk, offers a colony of bees more significant space to work with and represents a more natural approach to constructing beehives.
Because of this, the bees are more content and in better condition. In addition, the upkeep of your Warre hive will take up less of your time, unlike some other different types of beehives.
But, what makes Warré hives distinctive is its quilt box. During the colder months, the responsibility of keeping the colony warm falls on the quilt box, The quilt box contains wood shavings and other naturally occurring insulating materials.
It also reduces the amount of water condensation and moisture buildup, which helps ensure that your bees remain dry even when it is pouring outside.
A top bar cloth is often positioned, so it jams in between or underneath the thick layers of wood shavings. This helps to avoid the top bar cloth from becoming caught on the hive body box.
7. Long/Horizontal Hive
The primary distinction between the Langstroth and the Long/Horizontal Hive is that the Long/Horizontal Hive construction is more of a horizontal orientation.
This hive takes the form of a horizontal box rather than an arranged vertical fashion. Because of this, there won’t be any additional lifting involved because the boxes won’t be stacked on top.
The fact that the frames in this hive are the same size as those in a typical Langstroth hive is another advantage of this hive design.
If you already have a Langstroth hive but find it difficult to manage with the height, transferring your bees to a horizontal hive is not difficult. You can do this by simply following the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Because horizontal beehives are not as popular as Langstroth hives, they are more expensive and have difficulty finding replacement components. One can extract honey from either of these beehives using a Langstroth extractor because the frames in both types of hives are identical.
8. Apimaye Hives
Apimaye hives are user-friendly Langstroth bee hives that have ten frames and a good insulation system. Because of the thick double layer of insulation used in the construction of these beehives, they can withstand the icy winters of Michigan and the scorching heat of Arizona.
The top cover and the side walls both make use of a unique material that serves the purpose of providing thermal insulation. The fact that customers do not need to purchase any additional equipment is another way in which they make beekeeping simpler.
Because these beehives are not made of wood like traditional beehives, they do not absorb moisture, which prevents the formation of fungi that would otherwise occur.
Apimaye hives are approximately 2.5 times more expensive than Langstroth hives, making it impossible for someone who desires several hives to purchase them at a cost-effective rate.
9. WBC Hive
The WBC hive is a notable mention in our compilation of different types of beehives. It was in 1890 that William Broughton Carr came up with the design for a double-walled hive which is still in use to date, and it is the one that hobbyist beekeepers in the United Kingdom prefer.
It is also called the “Classic beehive,” and its design is what most people picture in their heads when they think of a beehive. Many people believe the pattern is appealing, so they put it in their gardens as an adornment.
Compared to other types of hives, the WBC hive has a more significant number of installations, allowing the bees to endure higher levels of harsh temperatures and challenging weather conditions.
WBC hives are more expensive than other types of hives because they have more pieces and can be more sophisticated than other different types of beehives.
10. Flow Hives
Lastly on this list of different types of beehives is the flow hive. In 2015, an Australian firm developed a cutting-edge honey extraction system.
Simply moving a lever is all the beekeeper needs to do as it doesn’t require opening, and the bees do not become agitated as they would be during a standard extraction.
The Flow frame contains only partially completed honeycomb cells and features vertical gaps that the bees can use to develop their comb.
The design of the Flow Hive has come under fire for several reasons, including the fact that it uses a plastic comb, which naturalists dislike, and the possibility that honey stored in the Flow Hive could solidify in colder environments, thereby preventing it from flowing.
Because it implies that there is no need for hive maintenance and it is around seven times more expensive than a Langstroth hive, some people have found fault with the corporation for using the phrase “honey on tap” for promotional purposes.
However, it is an easy way for individuals to have bees and requires less upkeep than other methods, which may encourage more people to start beekeeping.