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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Jamesville, NY
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    Default What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    Hello all I am considering taking on some bees this spring and would like to know what people think is the best type of hive. I mean if money were no object, and the health and safety of the bees was the top priority.

    I am not saying I want to pay a ton of cash, but I am ok with buying something, or making somehting that is high quality since I only plan on have 1-2 bee hives total on my property. Once I have those boxes if I want to build more I have the design right there to copy

    Thanks for you opinions.

    It would be very helpful to point out the positives/negatives of the frames vs. bar top designs. I plan to be a bee keeper primarily for pollination, but also know I will get into extracting some honey and wax as it is available and doesn't hurt the hive.

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
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    579

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    For bee health, IMHO if the hive isn't hindering their activity or trapping moisture, a "better" hive does not exist. After that I feel it's location and managing them within your lifestyle, but without over management.

    For me the choice of hive is about time and money. If you don't want to build it, standard commercial grade gear shows up at the front door. If you want minimal investment, top bar hives have much to offer. With money and time, you're only limited by imagination.

    I started and now stay with Langstroth hives, tried top bars, but failed.

    I suggest staying away from beginner's kits. My smoker and hive tool are the only things remaining from mine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    Start with Langstroth equipment, and go with all 8-frame medium supers and equipment.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    The Warre hive folks claim to best approximate the native habitat of bees, namely tree cavities. They are a bit top-heavy but modular and the number of boxes can be adjusted to the size of your colony. With some modification you can stack Warre boxes on top of a Langstroth box to start from a nuc.
    http://www.beethinking.com/warre-hives

    Top bar hives are probably the easiest to build but are not modular, meaning that you can't add space for more honey or to alleviate swarming, and also that it is very hard to lift/move the hive when filled with honey. Small colonies in top bar hives will have more space than they can take care of, potentially leading to problems with wax moths, mice, etc.

    Langstroth hives are easiest to manipulate. If you don't plan to inspect often this may not be as important to you. They are also the only design that allows you to extract honey without destroying the comb. This results in somewhat higher yields as bees don't need to draw comb each year.

    I have Langstroth hives and like them, though I might experiment with the Warre design sometime. I second Westernbeekeeper's suggestion to have all your boxes the same size. As I got secondhand equipment from several sources, I now have deeps, semi-deeps, and mediums. Kind of a pain if I want to move frames of honey and brood around.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,594

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    Beelosopher,

    I would also suggest that you use all 8-frame mediums.

    If you want to be an outcast at the local bee club I would have suggestions to help with that as well... For your broodnests, you could use the new narrow frames that will be offered for sale by Walter T Kelley. They allow you to have nine frames in an eight frame box. A couple of members are cutting down Mann Lake's PF-120 small cell plastic frames and mounting the cut out pf-120 "foundation" in wooden frames. If you wish to spend a little time and $$, you might enjoy being the maverick at the bee meeting. So, I would go with all 8-frame mediums, with small cell plastic foundation mounted in Kelley's narrow frames in the brood nest, and unaltered pf-120 frames in the supers.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Florida, USA
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    I'd get the standard langstroth, cause once you get a few hives you'll probably want more. Or it could be the other way around and you want to get out, so standard equipment would be easier to sell. Bee hive health depends primary on the beekeeper's management practices, as all hive types follow the same basic principles.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    971

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    Quote Originally Posted by westernbeekeeper View Post
    Start with Langstroth equipment, and go with all 8-frame medium supers and equipment.
    +1 on all eight frame medium Lang equipment. The only thing I would add is use small cell foundation or foundationless.

    Shane

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    Quote Originally Posted by westernbeekeeper View Post
    Start with Langstroth equipment, and go with all 8-frame medium supers and equipment.
    Advice, I wish I had when I started.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Jamesville, NY
    Posts
    273

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    So just curious, why the 8 frame instead of 10 frame? I was already sorta leaning towards langstroth styled hives for many of the reasons you are all citing.

    Lutera - "Langstroth hives are easiest to manipulate. If you don't plan to inspect often this may not be as important to you. They are also the only design that allows you to extract honey without destroying the comb. This results in somewhat higher yields as bees don't need to draw comb each year."

    That was a huge point about the top bar and it making the comb unusable. That goes against my initial goal of taking honey as incidental. Thanks!

    Since I don't know how often I will get stung, not sure how often I will be inspecting the hive haha. But I would prefer to have the modular approach. I need to find some places with good prices. Dadant is pretty close to me, so I might have to road trip it to look at some of their stuff. Tough part is that I don't know what I am buying yet
    So hard to know waht works in the field

    I really appreciate your comments and please keep them coming.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    This is my first year and I have all 10 frame Langstroth hives. Deeps for the brood boxes and mediums for the supers. I have learned that the budget or economy boxes are just fine. I wait for sales and buy them from Mann Lake and receive free shipping on orders over $100.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    311

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    Quote Originally Posted by Beelosopher View Post
    So just curious, why the 8 frame instead of 10 frame? I was already sorta leaning towards langstroth styled hives for many of the reasons you are all citing.
    The 8 frame equipment is lighter.

    In my experience, bees will often leave the outer most frames in 10-frame equipment untouched, and the beekeeper needs to manipulate the hive more to fill all 10 frames of each box. I experimented with two 8-frame hives this year, and the bees seemed to build up faster in the 8 frame hives, preferring to chimney up in an 8-frame box rather than spread out to 10.

    Cheers,
    Tony P.
    There must be a harder way to do that... let me find it for you.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Jamesville, NY
    Posts
    273

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    Quote Originally Posted by toekneepea View Post
    The 8 frame equipment is lighter.

    In my experience, bees will often leave the outer most frames in 10-frame equipment untouched, and the beekeeper needs to manipulate the hive more to fill all 10 frames of each box. I experimented with two 8-frame hives this year, and the bees seemed to build up faster in the 8 frame hives, preferring to chimney up in an 8-frame box rather than spread out to 10.

    Cheers,
    Tony P.
    very good to know. I was thinking 10 frame until now.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,203

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    If you buy the most popular and most commonly used equipment you will be able to sell it should you find you want to. Plus, if you want to buy more equipment you will be able to find equipment which will easily match up to what you already own.

    Unless you are unable to lift a super of honey weighing 45 to 60 lbs, maybe you should go w/ all mediums and for an even lighter lift eight frame equipment would be good for you. But, if you are young and realitively strong I would recommend standard size deep 10 frame supers for brood chambers and shallows supers for honey supers, all Langstroth type equipment. Unless you find that you will have to move a two story hive (two deeps) of ten frame equipment ten frame deeps are not too much to handle.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Jamesville, NY
    Posts
    273

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    Quote Originally Posted by throrope View Post
    I suggest staying away from beginner's kits. My smoker and hive tool are the only things remaining from mine.
    Along these lines are there any tips you have on good equipment. I should have included that in my post. I am starting from zero, but prefer to buy things once that work well, or I end up re-engineering them anyway.


    sqkcrk - I should have said that I am in my 30's and would consider myself a strong lad. I probably should have pointed that out since the lifting aspect of the hive does come into play.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    You aren't all that far from Waverly,NY are you? Take a trip down to the Dadant Outlet in Waverly. Then you can look at a wearhouse full of equipment, peruse their catalog and meet some really nice folks who have been selling beekeeping equipment and advising beekeepers, or potential beekeepers, for ages.

    You also should check out eshpa.org, the website of the statewide association of beekeepers. You will find reference to our Fall Meeting, featuring Michael Bush, Tom Rinderer, and Steven Coy, plus a list of Local Clubs, so you can find a group near you to join for monthly meetings. Look it up.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Jamesville, NY
    Posts
    273

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    You aren't all that far from Waverly,NY are you? Take a trip down to the Dadant Outlet in Waverly. Then you can look at a wearhouse full of equipment, peruse their catalog and meet some really nice folks who have been selling beekeeping equipment and advising beekeepers, or potential beekeepers, for ages.

    You also should check out eshpa.org, the website of the statewide association of beekeepers. You will find reference to our Fall Meeting, featuring Michael Bush, Tom Rinderer, and Steven Coy, plus a list of Local Clubs, so you can find a group near you to join for monthly meetings. Look it up.
    Just saw where you were from. I grew up in Norwood and played Brasher Falls in soccer some years! Yeah i am about 2 or so hours from Dadant (just got their catalogue today). Have eaten my share of honey products from Brasher too!

    I really want to go down, but want to make sure I know what I am looking for before I do. I also want to really get good bee equipment so I don't get frtustrated in the begining handling hte bees. I think I will be ok with it. But normally when a bee tries to sting me a nija swat them. That won't really work in this scenario haha. i.e. I want equip that let's me relax, so the bees will relax.



    Just checked that link and there are no bee clubs in my county or any of the surrounding - sucks

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    Quote Originally Posted by Beelosopher View Post
    Along these lines are there any tips you have on good equipment.
    Two of these

    http://www.amazon.com/Titan-11509-Mu...=titan+pry+bar
    http://www.amazon.com/GRIP-STAINLESS...s+steel+prybar

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,698

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    I'd also suggest the 8 frame all medium setup. I started with a TBH and deeps and it was a pain to switch over to mediums.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Guilford, CT
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    I started with a 10 frame all medium hive and a deep "styrofoam" hive. Don't mind either deeps or mediums, but I hated the styrofoam. They also do not fit well with any wooden equipment. I know most of Europe uses them, but I found them annoying.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,203

    Default Re: What type of bee hive is best for the home bee keeper

    Beelosopher,
    Are you asking about hive equipment or bee suits? I'm not sure.

    Where did you live in Norwood?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

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