Awesome Tips to Buying a Beehive
So you’ve made the decision and you’re buying a beehive. What do I do first, I hear you ask. Well, if you’re reading, watching and talking beehives that’s the first step to getting the set up that’s going to work for your situation. What we’ll do here is give you a Beekeeper’s 101 to buying the right bee hive for you.
Buying a Beehive – what type of bee hive should you buy?
There are three hive types available – Langstroth, Top Bar and Warre. Langstroth has become the industry standard due to the incredibly wide range of resources and accessories available, exceptional honey yield and reasonable management demands.
Words from the wise regarding Langstroth hives – a box of 10 deep frames can be upwards of 35kg! You may need to either get some help or get to the gym. If this is an issue for you may wish to look at a Top Bar hive that requires minimal lifting (no more than 5kgs). Keep in mind that the Top Bar hive produces the least amount of honey.
Talk to an apiarist who owns a Warre hive and be prepared! You’re about to hear – often delivered with considerable fervour – about natural comb building, minimal maintenance and calmer bee populations. All relevant and true. For me, the honey producing ability, popularity and range of accessories available for the Langstroth style is the bee hive to buy.
What are all the different boxes about in a beehive?
Basically, the bottom chamber is the nursery – the brood chamber. Any chamber that sits above the brood chamber is called a super. The middle super is the pantry – the bees’ food. The top super is the treasure chest – your honey that’s been so lovingly prepared.
Your next question will be what is the difference between a deep, medium and shallow frame size?
The classic set up is to use deeps for your brood and food chambers. The treasure chest super can be any size you wish. There are pros and cons for each frame size. Shallow frames are obviously lighter while deep frames produce more honey. Many a beginner apiarist opts for a medium.
How Much Area Do I Need For My Beehive?
When buying a beehive, it’s likely you’d be asking yourself that question. Well, that answer is probably not as much as you think. If you’re on a block of land that is less than 400m2 you should consider sorting out an off-site location.
If you are lucky enough to live on acreage, then it’s basically choose the spot for your beehive. Follow these few basic principles for your hive placement and happy days are ahead:
- Morning sun and afternoon shade.
- Accessible water supply for your bees.
- Facing northeast.
- Consider prevailing winds.
- Avoid muddy or boggy areas.
- Easily accessible and reasonable working area.
Buying a Beehive for Backyard Beekeeping
Those of you in suburbia have a few more obstacles to overcome when you’ve decided to buy a beehive. While the actual area your beehive takes up is quite small – think 1m2 as a footprint, you have to consider family members, pets and neighbors. Consider and research the following points before you buy a bee hive:
- bees keep predictable flight paths, ensure minimal impact to others.
- the use of a 2 – 4m natural or man-made screen in front of your hive to ensure the bees fly upwards.
- remove from light sources to ensure a good night’s sleep for your bees.
- a reliable source of water on your property. Your neighbour’s pool is not the answer here.
- hive management to prevent swarming. Your bees will swarm if there’s not enough room in their hive. Adding a super in early spring will help reduce this risk.
- join a club! Having a network of people to rely on is the greatest tool in the beekeeper’s toolbox.
Remember to check your local or state regulations before you buy a beehive. In some States, you must register yourself as a biosecurity entity and have a Hive Identification Number. Sounds difficult but it’s really quite simple.
How Far From My House / People Should My Beehive Be?
Another thing to consider when buying a beehive is the location of it and how far should it be from my house and foot traffic.
Common sense is for common people and you’ll need to use plenty of it when setting up your hive for the first time.
As a general rule, bees will gain 2m of altitude in 2m of length. This means that the immediate 2m from your hive will have fairly constant bee traffic. You’ll need to give your bees enough space to gain this altitude away from your house or you’ll find that you may end up sharing your house with bees.
Beyond this there are a few other factors to consider:
- food sources – if you have flowering plants around or in your house the bees will access these first.
- neighbours – once again if there’s a nearby food source and it happens to be in your neighbour’s house or outdoor area, they’ll go there. It only takes one phone call to the council or statutory body for your hive to be shut down permanently.
- kids – bees are generally placid creatures. However, excessive commotion or a poorly executed goal attempt can end in tears – many, many tears.
- maintenance – think about where you’ll be extracting your honey. Carrying heavy supers a considerable distance in a full bee suit can be a stressful experience. You want to strike a balance between far enough away from the house and close enough to your extraction/maintenance area.
Once again if you’re concerned, join your local club. The wealth of local knowledge available is priceless.
Which Is The Best Beehive For Me?
Okay, it’s time to buy a beehive. This is the exciting part. The following hives are excellent regardless of your place on the bee keeping journey.
Natural Bees Wax Coated Hoover Hives 8 Frame Bee Hive Includes Frames and Foundations (2 Deep Box, 1 Medium Box)
Complete Bee Hive Kit, Painted, Assembled, 10-Frame, Made in The USA
Apimaye Ergo Plus 10 Frame Langstroth Insulated Bee Hive Set with Plastic PRO Frames (White)
Ware Manufacturing 18001, Allows for Natural Honeycomb Building Home Harvest Complete Bee Hive Setup Kit, White
If you’re considering a Warre style hive you can’t go wrong here.
Minimal maintenance once set up.
Calmer bee colony.
Aesthetics – once treated or painted.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article “Buying a Beehive – Awesome Tips to Buying a Beehive” and you found it helpful.
Good luck choosing the right one for you. Get out there and give beekeeping a go. You’ll get a real buzz out of it (pardon the pun)!!!