If you ever wondered about where to start for beekeeping, then you are in the right place.
Whether for a business or as a hobby, the first thing you’ll need if you want to start beekeeping is a beehive or two.
Beehive boxes or kits are a fantastic way to get your apiary started as they have everything your bees will need to move in and start making you some honey.
In our top 10 best bee hive boxes reviews, we will walk you through a comprehensive buying guide, reviews, uses and much more.
These boxes are cost-effective, and they will save a lot of time because most of them are pre-assembled. All you need to do is unpack and begin your work - and let the bees get started!
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What is a beehive? What are the benefits of using this?
The natural honeycomb is made by the wax produced by the worker bees. These worker bees manufacture the wax from the honey they have collected. Within this honeycomb, the worker bees store the honey and also protect their queen bee.
A beehive is an artificial structure which is designed by man to mimic the natural honeycomb structure. It is a safe enclosure for the bees with internal structures made from food grade materials.
With a lot of the building work already done for them, the bees are free to start forming colonies in these beehives and start producing honey.
Beekeepers use these beehives to harvest honey, wax, and propolis. All these products are beneficial to us in many ways.
As stated above the significant benefits from beehive usage is honey, wax, and propolis. Beekeepers harvest these products on a seasonal basis. The type of honey varies from colony to colony, season to season and also the type of nectar they collect from.
Let us look about the individual benefits of using a beehive.
The primary benefit from a beehive is the honey. Honey is made from the nectar of the flowers by the worker bees. Most of the honey sold by commercial stores or by a local farmer is multi-floral honey which means the honey is made from the nectar of multiple species of flowers.
Another variant of honey known as Manuka honey is mono-floral honey which is manufactured from the nectar of a single flower of the Manuka tree. It is native to New Zealand and has enormous health benefits.
Irrespective of the type of honey, it is a natural sweetener and often considered as a blood cleanser. The honey has antimicrobial properties and can be used for healing of wounds (especially manuka honey).
Honey also helps in reducing seasonal allergies. It can also be used for treating acne (topical application as face pack), sore throat, cough, skin rashes, and hair conditioner.
Diabetic patients can consume honey (in limited amounts) since it has a low glycemic index. Low glycemic index means that consumption of honey does not abruptly increase your blood sugar levels.
It releases glucose into the blood slowly and steadily. For this reason, many athletes use honey in their power drinks post to workouts.
Worker bees produce propolis by combining bee wax, honey, saliva, tree sap, exudates of tree buds and other tree sources. This mixture is thick and resinous often referred to as bee-glue.
It is used for treating various medical conditions such as cold sores, wounds, herpes (genital), and post-surgical pains.
Propolis has anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, and anti-viral properties. Research proved that it is a very good natural medicine for treating intestinal infections. It has more than 10 nutrients that are ideal for strengthening the bones.
Do you know that candles made of beeswax create a positive aura? It is because these candles attract the negative ions from the surroundings thereby increasing the positive effect.
Candles made from paraffin wax can be carcinogenic as the gases released by them can be harmful.
The bee wax can also be used in the manufacture of lotions, ointments, balms, and other skin protective creams. The wax is semi-permeable allowing a selective flow of nutrients and air when it is applied on the skin.
The dairy industry uses this wax in preventing the aging of the cheese. It is also used as a surface coating for furniture, leather goods, and pharmaceutical products.
Our Best Bee Hive Boxes Reviews
If you are planning to start beekeeping or if you have already begun, the first thing that comes into your mind is the beehive. There are different types of hives which can be used based on your needs.
Our product review consists of products which can be used both by beginners and advanced users.
1. Honey Keeper Beehive 20 Frame Complete Box Kit with Metal Roof
The first product in our list is the Honey Keeper Beehive 20 Frame complete box it. There are 20 frames in this kit. Out of 20, ten are medium, and ten are deep hives.
Two different types of hives will help the user to assemble to different kinds of frames according to the requirement. The deeper frame can be used for the summer season, and the medium one can be used for the rest of the year.
The kit has a pre-assembled galvanized metal telescoping roof to separate the bees and their hive from the external environment. It also acts as a protective layer. The inner board has entrance reducer with an inner cover and a queen excluder. This kit is the ideal honey bee starter kit for beginners.
The frames have pre-cut unwaxed hexagonal shaped foundations to support the beehives. The wood of the frame is a premium quality one which makes this kit a robust unit.
All the frames have pre-cut finger joints for easy assembling. Heavy duty nails are also included in the product.
Unfortunately, this kit does not have any other accessories such as hive tools, veil, and gloves. After assembling the equipment can be bulky for soft hands. You may require an additional hand to lift it.
2. 8 Frame Langstroth Bee Hive with Frames and Foundations
Most of the beekeepers prefer to have a beehive that is handmade. Since the handcrafted hives are constructed carefully, there will be minimal errors and no significant flaws.
Busy Bee's – n – More employs such concept by manufacturing the beehive manually. The hive is crafted with a superior quality of materials which grab immediate attention.
The beehive consists of 16 brood frames which are of high-quality pine and eight pre-cut high-quality superframes. You can use both medium and deep frames at once. There is a telescopic top cover with inner cover, and a bottom board which is screened.
One of the attractive features of this hive is that the frames are coated with 24 food grade plastic. The plastic is assembled in hexagonal shapes and is also coated with real bee's wax. So, there will be minimal rejection, and the bees will immediately start colonizing to produce honey.
It is very easy to assemble for beginners. There are pre-cut joints and shoulders with which you can assemble the hive. They supply Titebond II wood glue, 4 oz, with which you can attach the frames. You can see the instructions manual for the same.
This 8-frame beehive box is ideal for most of the beekeepers or hobbyists. Note that the standard beehive boxes are 10-frame kits, but this one supports eight frames only.
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3. Apimaye 10 Frame Langstroth Insulated Set with Plastic Handy Frames
A beehive isn't merely a hive that supports the bees. It should create an enthusiasm for the beekeepers by the looks, design and build quality.
One such beehive is the Apimaye 10 frame Langstroth insulated bee hive set. By the name, it is understood that it is a standard Langstroth beehive with ten frames. The package consists of 20 plastic frames, and you can use them interchangeably.
The beehive has an attractive orange top cover and is completely made of insulated plastic. The insulation helps the bees to survive in all weather conditions especially during cold winters.
The hive does not require any painting, and you can use it straightaway after unboxing it.
The standard features of the hive include screen bottom board with a pollen trap and drawer, queen bee excluder, entrance reducer, top feeder, division or uniting board, and frame spacer.
The Apimondia International Apicultural Congress has awarded Apimaye as the winner for Beehive innovations award. By this, we can conclude that Apimaye produces one of the best products in the market.
Unfortunately, the beehives do not have any foundation inside the frames, and the handy frames are for wax foundations only. The plastic foundation is too thick to snap.
The beehive is little expensive than others, but it eliminates the replacement of the hives/frames. On a long-term use, this is a perfect beehive for everyone.
4. Goodland Bee Supply Complete 3 tier Beginners Bee Hive Kit
If you are looking for a complete beehive starter kit which has everything required for beginners, Goodland starter kit is your ideal choice. It has everything needed for a beginner. You can kick off your beekeeping business with this kit flawlessly.
The package includes two kiln dried premium pine supers with 20 large and ten small frames. The frames have pre-waxed plastic foundations from the company the Pierco. These foundations are made of food-grade plastic to make minimal rejection by the bees while building their honeycomb.
The bottom board is painted and has entrance reducer. An inner hive lid is also included in the kit. It also has a telescopic hive cover.
The inner cover creates an insulating dead air space so that the bees can survive in different weather conditions. The hive also consists of two brood chambers along with a queen excluder.
The entire unit is superbly packed such that it reduces the damage caused during the transport. Not only the packaging, but the whole unit is also made of premium quality of materials which makes it a durable and great beehive for beginners.
5. Mann Lake Complete Bee Hive Kit, Unpainted, Assembled, Made in the USA
With over 30 years of experience in the beekeeping industry, Mann Lake is dedicated to providing quality service and products for the beekeeping community. Their comprehensive line of quality in manufacturing beekeeping tools and equipment is their most pride factor.
The Mann Lake's complete bee hive kit has everything a bee hive requires. It has one unpainted ten frame which is suitable for all types of beekeepers. The package includes a waxed 9-1/8 wooden frame. The wax is made by their patented material known as Rite-Cell™ foundation.
This wax is a food grade plastic which has a heavier core and deeper cells. Using the foundation for multiple seasons without much damage is possible. It is also impervious to wax damage by moths.
The painted bottom board of the frame has entrance reducer with painted telescoping cover with an inner lid.
The entire kit comes pre-assembled. But you need to do a painting to start using it. This can be a little tedious for beginners.
Mann Lake is dedicated to providing a comprehensive line of quality beekeeping equipment around the world. Surprisingly their products are economical and budget-friendly than most other products which offer similar features.
6. Happybuy H105, 10 (8-Frame Available) Bee Hive
A beehive which is made with New Zealand pine with solid build quality is the Happybuy bee hive. It is the only hive which does not have any frames within the package.
You must buy the frames separately. The bee hive is huge, and you can easily fit ten deep frames. There is another variant of this hive which supports eight frames.
The inner cover of the hive enables proper ventilation and also acts as an additional entrance for the bees. The entire unit is coated with a rot-resistant material so that it can be used in all seasons.
The bottom board of the hive protects the bees from other insects and natural predators. Happybuy beehive supplies their hive with pre-drilled fingers and handles for superior handling and gripping.
If you buy bee frames from this company, it provides an additional benefit that they are compatible with a traditional beehive. This feature will eliminate additional work for extraction of honey by beekeepers. It also allows extracting more honey than other beehives, around 3 kilos more honey can be harvested.
Since there are no frames out of the box, you must consider buying deep or medium frames. It supports 20 deep and 30 medium frames. The entire hive is very easy to install.
7. VIVO 20 Frame Beehive Box Kit Langstroth Bee Hive
If you are looking for a beehive which supports both medium and deep frames simultaneously, Vivo is your ideal choice.
The Vivo complete beekeeping beehive is a 20 frame Langstroth beehive box made of superior quality of materials. It is made of superior quality of pine and is unpainted.
For proper protection to the box as well as the bees, it is recommended to use a chemical-free paint or a wood preservative.
All the frames have a food-grade plastic hexagonal shaped foundation. There is a telescopic cover which is protected by a sheet to prevent foreign elements entering into the hive.
There is queen excluder which is positioned in between deep and medium frames. To preserve the structural integrity and quality of the materials, the kit comes unassembled and carefully packed.
You can easily assemble the box, and an instructions manual is supplied with the product. All the necessary hardware such as screws, bolts, and nuts are included in the package.
Although this product is a little bit expensive than others, it is worth buying because of the quality of the materials used. You can use this hive for multiple seasons and requires simple user maintenance.
8. Ware Manufacturing Home Harvest Bee Hive
Sometimes it is good to think out of the box. Beehives are not just meant to support the bees. They must create a homely feeling to the beekeepers as well. Ware Manufacturing company has listened to you.
The Ware Manufacturing home harvest bee hive is a sophisticated beehive box with a country look. Unlike most of the beehives which are designed in a rectangular fashion, this has a ‘hut' like the look, and yes, it has that country-side looks on it.
The beehive is a Warre type of construction which does not require any frames or foundations. It mimics a natural place, and the bees will build their colonies inside the box. This feature will be less stressful and more productive for the bees.
Coming to the specs, the beehive is made of solid cedar wood which will last very long. The roof of the hive has a peaked design with a whitewashed stain finish. The design allows shedding the water so that the colony does not build up moisture.
There are two windows on the box which will allow you to view the bees without the need for removing the top. It is most ideal beehive for backyard beekeepers. All you need to do is lure some bees inside the hive or purchase some from your local apiary and introduce them into the box.
The hive is easy to install with the instruction manual provided in the package.
9. Flow 6 Frame - Langstroth Style Beehive Featuring Our Patented Flow Tech, Suitable
A beehive kit which includes everything from beekeeping to honey extraction makes it an ideal choice for everyone. If you are looking for such a hive, then Official Flow hive classic cedar six frame is for you.
It is a complete kit which helps the user to start from scratch to the end. The hive consists of a Langstroth type of hive which supports six deep frames. Its best part is yet to come.
The beehive kit includes their patented technology which extracts the honey from the hives itself. You need not remove the frames or put them in a honey extractor separately. The technology they use is known as Flow Tech.
This Flow Tech process will not harm the bees and there will minimal to zero bee stings. But it is still recommended to use a bee protection gear.
All you need to do is insert the flow key in the frame and let the honey flow. Collect the honey in suitable jars, and the extraction process is done.
The frames are made with high food grade plastic so there won't be any rejection and also enhances the health of the bees. All the frames are BPA free.
The bottom screen board is designed for proper pest management to keep away other insects and natural predators. There are observation windows included in the kit and a robust rooftop.
10. Popsport 20x16x10 Inch Wood Honey Bee Hive House for Beekeeping Without Auto Flow Honey
The final product in our list is a beehive is inspired by the Official Flow. Though there are a lot of similarities in the design, the Popsort beehive is a unique, specialized piece of equipment.
The wood used in this beehive box is of very high-quality cedar wood. It will last long for many years, and you can use it for multiple seasons.
Unfortunately, the beehive does not come with frames, and you have to buy them separately. But the good part is it is a five-hive box and each box support up to 10 deep frames.
The beehive box is designed to extract directly from the frames like the Official Flow technology. But the flow keys are not supplied with the package, and you have to buy them.
You have to install the unit by following the instructions manual. The installation process is easy, and after installation, the box is easy to carry as it is not heavy. It is safe, convenient and stylish.
The Popsort beehive box is an ideal kit for those who have plenty of spare frames. It is also good for professional beekeepers as it gives extra space for bees.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Beehive for Beginners
You have all the knowledge required in beekeeping, and you are all set to go. Then you might wonder which is the ideal beehive kit available in the market and you find countless product review articles and videos.
Some of you might even get confused. A brief guide here will help you to choose the best one.
Ten frame beekeeping kits are considered standard units. But there are other kits which supply eight frames only. There is a misconception that the higher number of frames will result in good productive colonies. On the contrary, the kit with eight frames is an ideal beekeeping kit.
Bees naturally form a hive under tree logs or rooftops. These hives are compact and vertically long. Bees like to crawl vertically than horizontally in a hive, and they have evolved that way.
The 8-frame unit mimics this type of hives (vertical hives), and hence it is ideal for bees. It doesn’t mean that 10-frame hives aren’t good. Bees require more time to get adjusted. Also, the 10-frame kit will be heavier than its counterpart.
Types of Hives
Selecting the type of hive can be a difficult task for beginners. Each hive has advantages and disadvantages. But if you accurately know what type of beekeeper you are (professional or backyard beekeeper), choosing the type of hive becomes an easy task.
The various types of hives, their advantages and disadvantages are discussed in further sections.
Your budget is the crucial deciding factor for your beekeeping business. Specific kits supply all the necessary essential tools required for beekeeping at an affordable price while some supply only the supers and frames.
It depends on personal choice and your level of skill. If you are a beginner, it is ideal to buy a kit which has all the additional tools required for beekeeping.
Related article: Top rated bee jacket available in the market.
What Are the Top Beehive Brands in The Market? Let’s Find out
Selecting a suitable beehive can be very confusing. Especially, beginners will find some obvious hurdles. Certain brands manufacture superior quality of hives which can be used for more extended periods without causing much damage.
Let’s find out some of the top beehive brands that are available in the market.
Honey keeper is not a new name for those who are in beekeeping business. They produce outstanding quality of products which are made with superior grade materials.
The beehives from this company are designed to sustain multiple seasons and enable the bees to produce more honey. You will not be disappointed if you are using a Honey Keeper beehive.
Mann lake is in beekeeping industry for 30 years. You can understand how experienced they are. The company dedicates itself in manufacturing superior products required for customers.
They use their patented foundation for the frames known as RiteCell™ Foundation. It is a very popular type of foundation which most of the beekeeper will incline to use.
The Goodland beehive boxes are known to support a large number of frames (both deep and medium). If you are a professional beekeeper or a backyard beekeeper, this beehive box is very suitable for you.
The best thing of Goodland is they try to eliminate the flaws such as physical damages to box during the transport by packing individual items separately. You need to assemble the kit, and you will be surprised by the quality.
The Warre type of beehives inspires the name Ware, and yes, their beehives are Warre beehives. It is a great kit for backyard beekeepers. The sturdy design and construction mechanism make this hive to last longer.
The best part is there is no need of frames for this hive. Bees will construct the honeycomb in the box like they build naturally outside.
If you need a kit which consists of everything from beekeeping to harvesting, then Official Flow is for you. With this kit, you can not only help the bees to form colonies, but you can also extract the honey from the frames itself.
The Flow Tech system used by this company enables you to insert flow key into the frame so that the honey flows directly out of the frames. It is an ideal kit for advanced users and amateurs.
Types of Beehives
Selecting the type of hive can be a difficult task for beginners. Each hive has advantages and disadvantages. But if you accurately know what type of beekeeper you are (professional or backyard beekeeper), choosing the type of hive becomes an easy task.
Beehives are broadly classified into three types:
- 1Langstroth Hive
- 2Top Bar Hive
- 3Warre Hive
Langstroth hive is a most classic and popular beehive. It was developed in the 17th century and is used by most of the commercial beekeepers who produce honey on a larger scale.
The 10-frame Langstroth being the oldest it is considered as the standard beekeeping system. 8-frame Langstroth is little new and people are now shifting more towards this system as it mimics the natural beehive.
Top bar hive is best suited for beginners, hobbyists and backyard beekeepers. The hive in this system is in a horizontal position. This is not an ideal design for bees since bees will build hive vertically. But it is easy to maintain and require minimal effort for starting this type of hive.
The major flaw of this hive is that there will be no local support and combs will be of poor quality.
Finally, the Warre hive is a recent introduction in beekeeping. The unit contains multiple units of square hives stacked over each other. It does not have any frames. It is used to make the bee combs naturally cling to the walls of a large container.
The design isn’t popular, and it is not ideal for commercial beekeeping. If you are enthusiastic about other elements in the life-cycle of the bee, you can select this one. Note that Warre beehive practice is illegal in some states and you may require permission before initiating.
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Using Guidelines for Beehive?
Beekeeping isn’t a simple job. Although it is exciting to work to do, it requires careful attention and dedication to become a successful beekeeper. For practical beekeeping and the use of beehive boxes, you need to follow specific guidelines.
Let us look into the using guidelines for a beehive.
- 1Know about different types of bees and how they make honey. It is essential to know about this because it will help you to understand the lifecycle of the bees and gives you a brief idea about the time to extract honey.
- 2Understand about the types of hives so that you can decide which beehive is suitable for you. You can choose a 10 or 8-frame Langstroth, a top bar hive or even a Warre. It all depends on personal choice and the need. But it is essential to know how these hives differ from each other and what are their advantages and disadvantages.
- 3Learn how to assemble your beehive box and also understand the various parts of the box. The usual parts of a beehive include; outer cover with inner cover inside, medium supers for honey, deep super for brood, queen excluder, entrance reducer, and bottom board.
Although these are the essential components of a beehive, there can be additional inclusions by different companies. But make sure that you won’t miss the necessary elements of the hive.
- 4Know how to lure the bees into the hive. Transferring bees from a live bee supply are far more comfortable than moving from a naturally formed honeycomb to your frames. Since the natural hive is an established colony with their queen in it, there are obvious reasons for them to sting or defend themselves.
A swarm is a group of bees which are isolated from their colony. To be precise, these are the bees that are looking for a new location for their new home. They hover over a place, twig or rooftop for few hours or maybe a day. Catching a swarm of bees is quite more straightforward as they will be fewer in number and fewer stings.
The bees in the swarm are very docile. They have no home, and their bellies are full of honey. So, there is no reason for them to sting you. Even beginners can catch these swarm of bees with ease.
If you are sensitive or have skin allergies, use protective gloves preferably nitrile gloves. Leather gloves may injure the bees because they are thicker and offer poor handling.
If the swarm is not located too high above the ground, it is good to transfer them directly to the hive boxes. Langstroth and Warre hives are very useful than top-bar hives for this process.
- 5Finally, join a local apiary or a beekeeping club. There will be certain local clubs or associations who teach the mechanism of beekeeping, new advancements and also about honey extraction procedures.
If there is no local apiary or association in your locality, you can subscribe to a magazine who teach the same or even a website.
How to Take Care and Maintain Beehives?
Maintenance of beehives is the most challenging part of beekeeping. It requires regular and thorough inspections, careful accessing of the flaws and necessary repairs.
Follow this comprehensive guide which will help you to maintain and care for a beehive.
1. Use a chemical free paint or wood protector for the wooden beehives. It helps in preventing termite and other pest attacks which disintegrate the wood. It also prevents the bees from rejecting the hive.
2. Replace the lost wax regularly from the foundations. Beeswax is lost especially during harvesting or extraction of the honey. It must be replaced so that bees will not undergo a tiresome process of building the wax again.
It will also help the bees in saving the time, and they will start honey manufacturing without much delay.
3. Protect the hive from rain by placing rain protector tops or sheds. These protectors will also provide shade to the bees during extremely hot summers. Make sure to use them only when there is a rainy situation or extreme heat as they may affect or block the ventilation.
During winters install entrance blocks which will prevent heat loss from the hive. It also prevents other unnecessary insects from entering the hive.
4. Use supers and excluders if they are not supplied in your purchased package. The excluder will prevent the queen bee from laying the eggs within the honeycomb.
Supers will provide additional space for storing the honey.
5. Make sure you provide adequate ventilation to the beehives. Bees must be supplied with proper air flow and appropriate area so that they will fly in and out of the hive quickly.
If you place the hive in a packed or closed room, the production of the honey will be less because the availability of the flowers will be less for the bees. It is ideal to place the beehive boxes near a water source and which has good flora. This will prevent the bees from traveling long distances to produce honey.
6. Prevent the strong wind blows from destroying the beehives by installing windbreaks. Make sure the windshield isn’t made of delicate materials. Install them in the form of fencing around the beehives.
Finally, make sure that bees are healthy within the hive and harvest the honey when the time is right.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Bee Hives
Is 10-frame super better or the 8-frame?
10-frame is the oldest and standard procedure in beekeeping. It is a bit heavier, and the beehives tend to be broader. 8-frame super is the ideal kit as it is very similar to the natural hive the bees build. They are gaining popularity and beekeepers are preferring 8-frame kits more.
Which is an ideal bee starter kit?
It depends on personal choice and how experienced you are. If you are a beginner, it is advised to buy a pre-assembled starter which includes other tools such as bee smoker, hive tools, bee brush, and bee veil.
What is the best month to start beekeeping?
The bees are most active in summer and produce a lot of honey. During winters they are less active and consume their honey stores. Starting beekeeping just before the summer months is good. Ideally, February is the most suitable month for kickstarting.
Which type of hive is suitable for hobbyists?
Top-bar hive is most suitable for hobbyists and backyard beekeepers. It requires minimum effort and time to establish this unit.
Why the bees in the swarm are easy to catch?
The bees of the swarm do not have a home as they are still trying to build or looking for a new location. They are fully loaded with honey and will show minimal flight. Since they do not have a home, there is nothing for them to defend and sting you.
Even though there is still a chance of stings, but it often negligible. Hence it easy for beginners to catch. Make sure you know the difference between a swarm and established colony.
Beekeeping is an ever-learning process. For beginners/amateurs, it is good to gain as much knowledge as possible about beekeeping. Follow some websites, subscribe to magazines, or you can even go to local apiary who conduct educational sessions for beekeeping.
Once you have all the necessary knowledge, buy the best bee hive boxes and, you can dwell into the marvelous world of bees.