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 Which Beekeeping Hive Should You Choose? 
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Post Which Beekeeping Hive Should You Choose?
Which Beekeeping Hive Should You Choose?
by: Alex Stavros

To be a successful beekeeper you need to understand the most basic piece of beekeeping equipment, the hive.

People have been keeping bees for centuries but until the invention of the Longstroth hive, the colony of bees had to be killed or driven off in order to harvest the honey. This meant that the beekeeper then had to capture another wild swarm and establish a new colony starting all over again.

With the invention of the movable frame hive it became possible to collect the honey while still maintaining a healthy bee colony. This type of hive is still the most popular type used today, particularly for commercial honey production.

A movable frame hive has a body that is based on an open frame which usually holds 10 suspended combs. The combs are wooden frames that surround a wax or plastic foundation. The bees then build out the comb following the pattern imprinted on the foundation.

There are some disadvantages to this type of hive. The biggest one is that a full box of honey is quite heavy, so as the beekeeper you need to be physically capable of lifting the heavy boxes.

After the honey has been extracted the comb is returned to the hive for reused by the bees. As the bees don't have to rebuild the combs they get straight back to producing honey.

Another type of hive that is popular in developing countries and with hobby beekeepers is the top bar hive. In top bar hive there is no foundation and the the bees build their own natural style of honeycomb. Which hangs suspended from from the wooden top bars that give this hive it's name.

The advantages of this style of hive is it's simplicity, which makes it a much cheaper option. As well as this, the honey is harvested by taking out individual honeycombs, no heavy lifting is required .

The disadvantage of a top bar hive is that as the bees need to rebuild the honeycomb after every harvest, so less honey is produced. Despite the drop in quantity, the honey from a top bar hive is generally of high quality and a lighter color.

As well as deciding which style of hive will best meet you needs, you need to think about where your going to locate your hive. You don't need to be overly concerned about about locating the hive near nectar and pollen producing plants, as the bees are very efficient foragers and will travel as much as 50 miles in round trip.

You do need to make sure that your bees have an adequate supply of fresh drinking water close by. Otherwise they will go in search of the nearest fresh water source, and your neighbors paddling pool could well be where they go. This can cause problems with your neighbors, so make sure you give the bees a water source on your own property.

Also make sure you don't put your hive close to other people houses or close to anywhere other people will be passing close to the hive. While only about one in two hundred people are allergic to bee stings, the results of an allergic reaction can be very severe.

In conclusion you need to decide what's most important for you, do you want maximum honey production so you can start an profitable honey keeping business or perhaps your not able to lift heavy boxes but you would like to have your own honey and a little bit extra to sell. Choose the hive that will fit what you what to do.

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Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:22 am
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