Honey Bee Hive
What Are Your Options For Selecting, Buying Or Building Your  Own?

Whether you wish to buy a honey bee hive, new or used, or build your own, here are some tips and suggestions, as well as links to free downloads.

Bee hives

The image below shows a top bar bee hive.

Top bar hive.Top bar hive.

Top bar bee hives are commonly used in Natural Beekeeping practice, which seeks to keep synthetic chemicals out of the hive, and strives to work in harmony with the natural behaviours and habits of the honey bees – this is very much a growing area of beekeeping. Author of ‘Keeping Bees’, Paul Peacock notes that with Top Bar Hives: “you get honey as it used to be”.

If you have decided to follow traditional methods, then you may decide to opt for a Langstroth hive, National, Dadant or WBC hive – depending on where in the world you live.

Honey bee hives.Honey bee hives.

Match your choice of bee hive to your environment

Do you live in an area of high winds?  If so, definitely opt for a wooden hive, and be sure to site it in an appropriately sheltered spot.

Perhaps you have a high wall or hedgerow that could provide shelter?

Bee hives by a wall.If you live in an area that experiences high winds, can you find a sheltered spot for the hives?

Should your health affect your choice of bee hive?

Do you have back problems?  Some bee hives can be awkward to put together, and thus could prove more difficult to handle.

A wooden WBC hive by a wall with a an angled rather than flat roof structure - the kind of shape of a house or shed roof. This model is used sometimes in the UK.The image below shows a WBC hive, used sometimes in the UK.

Some designs of WBC hives for example, can be tricky to dismantle, but are designed to help bees cope with consistently poor weather. 

What is your cash budget for buying a bee hive?

Although you may prefer to save time and buy a bee hive, if money is tight, you may like to consider building your own. Some bee hive designs are quite simple and you can build a bee hive if you have fairly basic carpentry skills.

Again, take a look at these bee hive construction plans – they are free to download, and you could save quite a lot of money.  

On the other hand, you may be willing to purchase a used honey bee hive. Check out this article on purchasing used beekeeping equipment.  Certainly you may see honey bee hives for sale in your local newspaper.  If you decide to purchase used beekeeping equipment, it will need to be thoroughly cleaned, because risk of disease must be eliminated before you add bees to their new home. 

National hive - it looks like a rectangular box standing on a small side, with a larger, flatter box on top.National hive.

You should also ensure all hive components fit properly together. More information about how to clean and disinfect used beekeeping equipment.

You may also like to ask your local beekeeping association whether they have relationships with suppliers who will offer discounts for purchases of beekeeping equipment.

Alternatively, your beekeeping association may also have members with a honey bee hive for sale - perhaps because they have decided to reduce the overall number of bee colonies they wish to keep.   

More articles

Varroa Resistant Honey Bees
Video of honey bees dealing successfully with Varroa Destructor.

Beekeeping Books
Favourite books about beekeeping.

Gardening For Bees
Supplying nectar and pollen for your bees.

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