When you decide to get into beekeeping, you need to choose which type of beehive you are going to use. Each type of beehive has its own pros and cons that you should look into. For example, some hives require heavy lifting, while others yield less honey.
This article will go over 4 different types of beehives with pictures included.
The Langstroth hive is the type of beehive that I write about most on this website. That’s because it’s the most commonly used beehive, and also the one that I am most familiar with.
The Langstroth hive is named after it’s creator, L.L. Langstroth, who created the hive in 1852. This hive is the first to utilize bee space, which is the precise measurement that bees will avoid either building comb in or filling it with propolis.
Langstroth beehives are comprised of stacked boxes with vertical hanging frames. This hive comes with either 8 or 10 frames. The bees build comb on the frames and the beekeeper can easily remove the frame from the beehive.
Langstroth hives are expandable because more boxes can be added to the top of the hive as the bee colony grows. There are 3 sizes of boxes used in a Langstroth hive – shallow, medium, and deep. Deep boxes are usually used for brood, while medium and shallow are used for honey supers.
Pros of the Langstroth Hive
- Easy to find and affordable
- Parts are interchangeable and standard in size, making replacing parts easy
- Produces a lot of honey
- Can add on to it as the colony grows
Cons of the Langstroth Hive
- Heavy lifting is required – You have to remove the top supers to get to the brood box
Pictures of Langstroth Hives
Top Bar Hive
Top bar beehives look very different from Langstroth hives. They are horizontal, in comparison to the tall,vertical Langstroth hive. Instead of multiple boxes stacked on top of eachother, Top bar hives have one long box.
Inside the box are 24 wooden bars. The bees build their comb hanging down from these bars. Top bar hives use no foundation, so it’s an ideal type of beehive for beekeepers who prefer natural beekeeping.
Benefits of the top bar hive is that it is at a comfortable waist height, which makes inspections easier. Top bar hives also don’t require any heavy lifting since there are no stacked boxes.
Pros of the Top Bar Hive
- No heavy lifting
- More beeswax to make candles, lip balm, etc.
- Hive is waist level, so no bending or crouching
Cons of the Top Bar Hive
- Because you cannot add on to a top bar hive, bee colonies cannot get that big
- Top bar hives yield less honey than other hives
Pictures of Top Bar Hives
Warre hives look very similar to Langstroth hives, but they are a little smaller. They use vertical stacking boxes just like the Langstroth hive. French monk Abbé Émile Warré created the hive in hopes of simulating the hollow of a tree.
The Warre hive differs from the Langstroth hive in that it does not use frames. Instead, Warre hives use bars like Top bar hives. No foundation is used in a Warre hive.
With the Langstroth hive, new boxes are stacked on top, but for the Warre hive, new boxes are put on the bottom. The top of the Warre hive has a quilt box. It contains material that absorbs any condensation that the hive may generate.
Pros of the Warre Hive
- Great for natural beekeeping
- Requires little maintenance
Cons of the Warre Hive
- New boxes are added to the bottom of the hive
Pictures of Warre Hives
The Horizontal hive functions similarly to the Langstroth hive, but with the benefit of no heavy lifting. While the Langstroth hives boxes are stacked upon each other, the Horizontal hive has everything on one level.
The frames used in the Horizontal hive are the same as regular Langstroth hives. Therefore, you can choose to use foundation or go foundationless.
Horizontal hives have a lid that opens up like a treasure box, and some models even have observation windows. It’s a really great hive that has the functionality of a Langstroth hive, but with no heavy lifting.
Pros of the Horizontal Hive
- No heavy lifting
- Frames are interchangeable with Langstroth hive frames
Cons of the Horizontal Hive
- Can be difficult to find
Pictures of Horizontal Hives
When choosing which beehive to get it is helpful to look at different types of beehives with pictures. The 4 types of beehives are Langstroth, Top Bar, Warre, and Horizontal. Langstroth and Horizontal hives are similar, except the Langstroth hive stacks upwards. Top bar and Warre hives use bars instead of frames and foundation.