Bee Hive Recommendations

There are 5 styles of beehives to choose from, each has its advantages and disadvantages. These are my top recommendations for each of these beehive styles:

This Langstroth hive on This is the typical beehive that pops into your head when you think “beehive”. It is by far and away the most favored beehive among seasoned and commercial beekeepers. A beautiful hive sealed in bee’s wax. Includes all the components of a fully functioning beehive.

This Flow hive on This is the first innovation in beehives in many, many years. It has grabbed the imagination of many backyard beekeepers and has received a lot of news coverage in the recent past. This recommendation is from the manufacturer and inventor of this new technology. It is a little on the expensive side but comes complete with everything. For the MacGyvers in the crowd, this cost can be reduced by just purchasing the Flow hive honey frames and box and adapting them to the Langstroth or Warre hives.

This Warre hive on This style of beehive has become a favorite of many environmentalists because it allows the bees to build their “nest” (brood box) in a way that closely resembles the way bees build their nest in the wild. This recommendation comes with the much sought after feature, an observation window.

This Top-Bar hive on The Top-Bar is different-than-traditional style hive that allows the bees to build their “nest” (brood comb) like they do in the wild. It is frequently the preferred choice of beekeepers that have trouble lifting the heavy bee boxes in the vertical style beehives. The heaviest lift for the beekeeper is the honey, attached to top-bar, they intend to harvest! No suitable vendor yet found.

This Horizontal hive on AKA “Long Box” or Cathedral” hive. This hive style is similar to the Top-Bar hive but it allows the use of frames in the hive (like a Langstroth). Frames make it much easier for the beekeeper to extract the honey at harvest time but still eliminates the necessity of the beekeeper to lift anything heavier than the honey frame. This vendor has gone the extra mile to make it an art piece!

Langstroth Hive:

Langstroth hives are the oldest and most favorite beehive design of seasoned beekeepers in general. The Langstroth hive design was patented in the United States in 1852, six years before Abraham Lincoln became president.

The langstroth hive is much more “engineered” than other hive designs. It incorporates specific metrics in the hive box and frame designs. These specific metrics are the catalyst causing honey bees to build honeycomb in a specific way, preventing a lot of cross-comb connections and burr comb production.

Warre Hive:

The Warre hive is similar to the Langstroth hive in box design however Warre hives use a unique “roof” design instead of a top “lid” found on the Langstroth hive.

The primary differences between a Warre hive and a Langstroth hive is more about technique than design.

Warre hive beekeepers do not use “frames” or “foundation” in frames. Instead, they use top horizontal bars with a bottom edge wedge-shape to encourage bees to build out their honeycomb without any foundation.

At the appropriate time, new hive boxes are added to the bottom of the hive to allow the bees to continue building their honeycomb downward.

Flow Hive:

Flow hives are the newest design change in beehives in a long time. Some beekeepers love them. Some beekeepers despise them.

The hive itself is pretty much the same as a Langstroth hive with two exceptions:

  • The hive boxes have observation windows.
  • The supers contain a specially designed honeycomb frame that allows the beekeeper to mechanically “break” the individual honey-laden cells that subsequently drain through tubes into containers outside the hive.

Flow hives are mostly about the ease of honey extraction with a little beehive observation thrown in for the curious.

Horizontal hives:

The difference between Top-Bar and Long Box hives:

  • The Top-Bar hive body of the box is rectangular in shape.
  • The Top-Bar hive encourages honeycomb to be drawn in a triangular foundationless shape.
  • Harvesting honey from Top-Bar hive can only be done by the crush and drain method, a little slow and messy.
  • The Long Box hive uses frames for the bees to build honeycomb upon.
  • Harvesting honey from a Long-Box hive, a beekeeper can use a honey extractor because the extractor has a frame to hold onto as it spins the honey out of the honeycomb within the frames.