Beekeeping hivesThe beekeeping hives are the most important equipment in an apiary. There are several types of hives, each having their advantages and disadvantages. In the following lines you will find a short description of several types of hives that are used by beekeepers around the world.
Types of bee hives
Langstroth bee hivesThese are the creation of Lorenzo Langstroth, a famous 19th century beekeeper. Langstroth's hives are largely used by beekeepers around the world, especially by those who are or intend to be honey producers. They are advantageous because they provide a lot of space for the bees and the frames are not glued one to another. They are usually rectangular and made of wood, especially fir tree wood. These have has the following parts: bottom board, foundation, 10 frames made of wood or other material, one or more hive bodies open on top and bottom and which can be put one on top of the other, an inner cover and a telescoping cover. There are beekeepers who provide these hives with a queen excluder.
Top-Bar hivesThese are the cheap alternative of the Langstroth hives. Besides the price which is affordable to almost anyone they provide the advantage of space and movable frames. The uniqueness of this hive consists in its frames who have a top bar but not side or bottom bar. However, the main disadvantage is that the bees housed in this type of hive produce less honey. These hives are placed in a horizontal position, having the honey honeycombs at the front and the bee brood combs behind them.
Warre bee hivesThese hives were designed by Abbe Emil Warre. They are not very different from the Langstroth hives. They have several boxes which are put one on top of the other. If more space is needed, the only thing to do is to place a new box under the old ones. Its uniqueness is given by the angled roof.
The Dadant bee hive
How to buy new beekeeping hivesThe bee hives must be made of qualitative timber, well dried and without roughs. They have to be well glued and finished. Although, fashionable the polystyrene hives are not recommended since they are not proper for bio apiculture. Do not pay cheap hives. Look for the nails. They are necessary if you want to have a stable hive. It is better to buy plain hives so as to be able to spot the possible defects. Ask the producer any question you have.
Bee hives framesThe frames must be made out of qualitative and well dried wood; either timber or lime tree wood. They must have the standard dimensions. They have to be well finished; otherwise, you will have lots of problems with their sanitation and cleaning. Do not buy frames that have mold stains on them because this is a sign that they have been made out of insufficiently dried wood.
Beekeeping costumeThis must have a very high quality since it has to assure full protection for the beekeeper. It is better to avoid masks that have metal net or dark colored costumes. Some old beekeepers might tell you that you do not need a beekeeper's costume. Do not listen to them. No matter how gentle a colony is, you can still get stung. It is a shame to wear such a costume.
The bee brushYou can use a brush made of natural hair or of synthetic hair. Either is good, as long as it is soft and cannot harm or kill the bees.
The beekeeping toolThey are used when removing the frames from the hive. There are several types but the most important thing is to buy a top quality one. It is advisable to avoid the ones that are too sharp because they might harm the honey bees.
The beekeeper's stoolThis is a very useful tool. It has to be made out of qualitative wood and have an ergonomic design. It can also be used as a storage space for the beekeeping equipment.
The Queen excluderIt is used to keep the queen out of way especially during harvesting time. Those made of wood must be well finished. The nest must have standardized loops.
Uncapping fork/knifeThose made of stainless steel are the best, since they can be easily disinfected and do not leave any kind of waste in the honey. Classical models are the best and easiest to handle. There are also electrical uncapping knives and forks, but you must pay attention when working with them, since you might burn yourself.
Uncapping boardThis tool has to be made out of stainless steel. Those made of galvanized sheet are no longer accepted because honey can be contaminated by zinc.
The honey extractorThis is probably one of the most expensive beekeeping tools. It has to be made out of stainless steel. No other material is accepted. There are two types of extractors: the tangential one and the radial one. The extractor is in fact a centrifuge that can be operated either manually or electrically (the electrical version is much more expensive). The frames are held by a cage located in the interior part of the drum. The cage is spun round and round and thus the honey comes out of the combs. The honey is gathered in a container located at the bottom part of the extractor. The tangential extractor has place for four honeycombs.
The radial extractor is wider spread although it has a higher price. The frames do not need to be uncapped with this extractor. Moreover, they are placed inside it in a radial manner. There are fewer chances to damaging the honeycombs with this tool; therefore lots of beekeepers prefer it to the tangential one.
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