Beekeeping in General
Here is a little information about hives and beekeeping that may help those of you who are just getting started. Beekeeping can be fun, educational, profitable and rewarding. There are two common types of hives, the Langstroth type (stacked square boxes) and the Top Bar Hive (a longer narrow box). The Langstroth hive is certainly the most common the Top Bar Hive certainly deserves a look. We offer both but our Top Bar Hive is only offered in Cypress so it is a little more expensive. All hives can be "thrown" together but we put that little extra into our Premium Series Hive. If you want something that will stand out in a small backyard or garden go for the Premium Series Hives.
A Langstroth Hive is generally constructed from Pine or Cypress. Pine needs to be painted and Cypress doesn't but a coat of linseed oil brings out the best of the wood "personality". The Hive starts with what is called a Bottom Board, it is the platform that sits on the bottom and creates an entrance for the bees to come and go. It can have a Solid Wood Bottom or a Screened Bottom for ventilation. It can be removed from the hive so it can be changed out in different seasons.
The first and sometimes second box is called a Deep Hive Body. This is where the bees live and grow the colony. Deep Body Frames hang in the Hive Body like file folders in a cabinet. The frames hold Foundation Sheets, a starter for the bees to build on. Foundation is available in wax and plastic and every beekeeper has his or her own opinion on what to use. (You will find that every beekeeper has his or her own opinion on just about every phase of beekeeping).
Next up would be the Honey Super, this is the box you get to "rob" from during a honey flow. Depending on the time of year and honey flow you could need several Honey Supers. Between the Honey Super and the Hive Body you will need to place a Queen Excluder. The Queen Excluder keeps the queen from traveling up to the Honey Supers preventing her from laying eggs.
On top of your Honey Super you can use an Inner Cover. This is a light weight cover that helps balance the temperature in the hive by creating an air space between the Honey Super and the Outer Cover. Our Outer Cover is a Telescoping type that’s lips over the Inner Cover (if installed) and the top Honey Super. If you plan to feed through the Outer Cover you will need to order one with a hole cut in it to hold a canning jar perfectly. We also offer our Outer Cover with a "Stingless” Feeder Hole option. This is a screen cut in from the bottom of the cover at just the right height for the bees to feed, they get their food and you don't get stung!
The only thing you may want to purchase is an Entrance Reducer. This small piece of wood can mean the difference between success and failure. Intruders like ants and Yellow Jackets may try in infiltrate the hive. The smaller opening helps the bees to better defend the entrance. The entrance reducer narrows the opening reducing the risk of loss.
That about covers the Langstroth Hive we offer. Click here for more info on our Top Bar Hives