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HIVE TYPES

No matter what bee supplies or anyone else tells you, there is no perfect hive, and no single hive type works well for everyone or for every purpose! 

 

Every hive style comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages for the beekeeper and the bees. Some are better suited for commercial operations, others work well in backyard operations. Some are more expensive, others are lighter to manage. Some are better adapted to colder weather, others to hotter weather. But mostly, the best hive is the one that bet suits your beekeeping philosophy and goals at the time!

Before deciding on a specific hive style to get started in beekeeping, it's important to consider your beekeeping philosophy and primary goals.

With that in mind, your answers to the following questions will help you decide which hive style might work best for you: 

  1. What are your primary goals in beekeeping (e.g. migratory pollination, conservation, honey production, AG land valuation, bee sales, hive products, etc.)?

  2. Are you wanting to be a commercial beekeeper, or a backyard beekeeper? 

  3. Will you need to transport your hives on a regular basis, or will they mostly be staying in a single yard?

  4. Would you like to minimize your initial investment to see if you like beekeeping before spending on more expensive hives? 

  5. Do you have a lot of upper body strength and a good back, or will lifting heavy boxes be hard for you?

  6. What level of involvement and complexity are you comfortable with in managing your bee colonies?

  7. Do you have a lot of storage space for empty boxes?

  8. Is your climate hot or cold?

Whatever your goals and philosophy, we recommend starting with a cost-effective option to decide if beekeeping is even for you, before expanding and trying more expensive options. 

Keep in mind that, while Langstroth are best suited for commercial operations, 98% of beekeepers out there are not commercial beekeepers, and that backyard beekeepers (the vast majority of us) have the luxury to be able to choose other hive styles that better fit their needs. 

In order to compare the main hive styles in use today, we are looking at the 14 criteria below that may matter tremendously to backyard beekeepers.

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