Choosing the Right Hive for Your Bees 

hives

Honey bees can be successfully raised in any type of hive, regardless of size, shape, or material; however, all of these hives must be hollow and elevated to properly allow honeybees to make their honeycombs and make it easier when you are harvesting the honey. Depending on how strong you are and how you prefer to harvest honey, there is a different hive type that is best suited for your needs. Therefore, the following gives a brief description on the different types of hives and who each hive may be best for.

Top Bar Hive

Generally, due to the way these hives are constructed and shaped, these hives often weigh less than 40 pounds, making it easier to carry and transport from place to place. Because these hives are frameless, honeycombs form on removable bars, making it easier to harvest honeycombs quickly.

However, a downside to this type of hive is that it requires frequent checkups and maintenance to ensure that the honey is being formed properly and that the bees are comfortable. Another downside is that these bar hives, due to their smaller size, can only accommodate a smaller number of bees.

Warre Hives

This is another frameless type of hive, but rather than being horizontal like the Top Bar, the Warre Hive is stacked horizontally. What’s great about this type of hive is that it requires very minimal supervision or maintenance, as the edges of the hive are properly suited in guiding bees to form perfect honeycombs that are easy to harvest. The smaller size, however, like the Top Bar, only accommodates a lesser number of bees so the formation of honeycomb may take longer.

These hives can also be fitted with observation windows in case you do want to check up on your bees regularly, but this is not required.

Langstroth Hive

The Langstroth hive is probably the heaviest of the three types of hives mentioned so far. The reason for this is because they both accommodate a great number of bees as well as hold an immense number of honeycomb.

Even though this hive is large, it requires very little maintenance due to the shape and structure of the hive. However, if you do want to observe your hive through a window from time to time, you’ll be disappointed. Due to the shape of the hive, an observation window is impractical and therefore cannot be fitted on.

Anything Else?

All of the hives mentioned have a hollow interior, which is an absolute must in order for honeybees to make a colony in the hive. These hives also have a natural shaping that makes it easier for honey bees to make honeycombs to store both honey as well as larva. Depending on your needs, whether you want many honey bees or just a small amount, and whether you want to constantly observe your bees’ progress, there is a different hive that is perfect or you.

This post was sponsored by the tree service Wichita, KS trusts – Wichita Tree. Thank you for your continued support of safe bee-keeping practices!

How to Properly Raise Honeybees And Harvest Honey 

Maybe you’ve been itching to make your own delicious honey for your delicious culinary creations, or maybe your want to start selling some honey to make a bit of side income. Regardless of what your reason, raising honeybees is both a fruitful and enjoyable task but only if you know what you’re doing. Many beginners who want to start off are usually afraid of one thing: getting stung. And even those who aren’t allergic or afraid of getting hurt a bit from time to time still don’t know exactly how to properly care for their honeybees. Therefore, the following is a quick guide in effectively raising a colony.

Get Your Protective Gear and Honeybees

The first two things you need to take care of honeybees are protective gear and the bees themselves. Luckily for you, there are numerous ways to get honeybees as you can purchase an entire hive from a local beekeeper or even have a bunch shipped to you in the mail.

In terms of protective gear, it is essential to have a hat with a veil, durable gloves, and a jacket that protects your entire body. Other equipment like a smoker and honey collectors are also great to make the process of maintaining your bees easier.

Find a Proper Place to Put Your Bees

Not only will this help keep your bees comfortable, but also make it easier for you when it’s time to collect honey. Prebuilt hives can be purchased in many local stores, and once bought should be placed off the ground. A hive stand or other durable structure can do just the trick.

Once you have a hive box, you have to place bees inside this hive. Unlike what most people think, this process is extremely easy as bees without a hive are pretty non threatening. If you received bees through the mail, first place the separately caged queen bee in the hive first and then pour the rest of the bees over the queen. You’ll notice in the coming weeks and months that the number of bees is steadily increasing; during this initial period you won’t notice any honey. However, once the colony has a great enough number (which usually occurs in the second year), you’ll start noticing honey that can be harvested.

Checking Up On Your Bees

To ensure everything is going smoothly, you will most likely be checking up on your bees frequently. During this phase, it is advised to be a bit more careful, and to try to check up on the bees on warmer, sunnier days as more of the bees will be away from the hive. When checking up on the bees, make sure to wear your protective gear, optionally using the smoker if there are a great number of bees still present in the hive. Once most of the bees are incapacitated by the smoker, you can use a knife to cut apart honeycombs for consumption later on.

Make Sure There are Flowers Near By

Bees like most insects require nectar as a source of nutrients. As such, ensure that you live in an area that has a good number of flowers nearby. Otherwise, the bees may not stay around and try to leave your hive to find another.

Anything Else?

Honeybees are most active during warmer days and less mobile during the winter months; so expect to get most of your honey during the summer. In the end, once you have a hive established, the colony will self-maintain themselves long as there are flowers nearby.

Types of Honeybees and Their Roles 

Honey Bees

Not only are there numerous types of bees, but there are also a number of types of honeybees; each with their own specific role in the colony. Needless to say, the function of a colony of honeybees would not nearly be as efficient if only one of the three types of honey bees (the worker bee, drone bee, and queen bee) were present. And because each one is so important, the following gives a brief breakdown of what they each do.

The Worker Bee

This is the most common and abundant type of honey bee. Making up almost 98% of a honey bee colony, these bees are essential in both producing honey and pollinating neighboring flowers. However, each worker bee has a relatively short lifespan with most dying within 50 days from birth. But within these 50 days, worker bees are tasked with doing practically everything within a hive, from feeding the young, to constructing the honeycomb, to acquiring food and caring for the queen bee. These are also the only type of honeybee that can actually sting!

Queen Bee

Unlike worker bees, there is only a single queen bee within a colony, and she directs all of the other bees; as such, she never leaves the hive unless the colony is searching for a new home. Being the queen bee, she is also the only member of the hive that can lay eggs and survive up to 6 years.

When the queen dies, the rest of the colony will simply pick one of the healthiest young ones that hatch from an egg. The selected young one is then fed a special type of jelly that promotes growth and allows then ew queen to lay thousands of eggs once matured.

The Drone Bee

All of the worker bees are females; on the other side, however, all male bees are called drones. These drone males have only one job: to mate with queens from other colonies. Also, unlike the other worker bees, drone bees can live up to 100 days or until the drone bee is able to successfully mate with a queen.

Life of All the Bees

With these three types of bees, a colony is formed. When searching for a home, these bees can set up a hive in practically any hollow space: from tree trunks to logs, practically any space can be called their home. Once inside these spaces, worker bees will use their own beeswax to create the honeycomb-like structure which is used to house both honey and freshly laid eggs.

Communication between the bees is also especially important, and though it may seem like it would be difficult to coordinate thousands of bees, it is actually quite simple. Firstly, bees will release pheromones or special scents to signal to the rest of the colony if everything is okay. Bees can also use special movements or dancing to signal to the others if a food source has been located.

Anything Else?

Honeybees are quite hard workers and have a very organized power structure; all three types of bees have a very specific role and none of them can function without the help of the others. So next time you see a honeybee, remember: there’s a lot that’s going on in the life of that honey bee to promote a cohesive colony.