If you’re thinking about getting bees, you’ll find there are a lot of choices for hive designs. It’s important to choose what will work best for you, and to be familiar with how each style of hive effects the colony within. For a long time, the only beehive you tended to see would be the traditional Langstroth hive. In recent years, new styles have become popular including the Warre hive, and the top bar hive design.

Langstroth hives were first patented in 1852. The design is a series of simple boxes that can be stacked on top of each other to expand the hive as the colony grows. Within the boxes are pre-made frames with wax foundation off of which the bees will build their comb. The frames can be removed, and the honey extracted in a special centrifuge.

Because Langstroth hives have been the most common method of beekeeping, it is very easy to find parts and designs for this system. The hives are said to produce more honey than other styles, and some beekeepers find them easier to manage bees with. However, Langstroth hive frames dictate the cell size for the bee’s comb, which is said to contribute to many health issues effecting bee colonies today. The box design, which is easier for the beekeeper to access, is much more disruptive to the colony when you are working with them. In principle, the Langstroth hive was designed with the beekeeper in mind, and not the natural ways of the bees.

Freshly harvested honey

Warre hives were developed in the early 1900s by French beekeeper Abbe Emile Warre. This style looks somewhat similar to the Langstroth design in that it is an upright and boxy shape. It has a slanted roof, however, and the interior of the hive is much different.

This style of hive was created with the natural habits of…