As beekeepers, we have all been there, right? All bright eyed and bushy tailed, brand new to the hobby and ready to ‘get our bee on’. Then, a few months later, after winter, we are left staring at a decimated bee colony and wondering why we got into this hobby in the first place 🙂 One of the key things to get right as a new beekeeper is to choose the best hive to suit your needs and the needs of your bees. In this short guide, I hope to give you a rundown of the different beehive types and discuss which might work for you. If you are interested, read on….
During this guide, all the products I recommend will be from Amazon. Simply because Amazon is a countrywide service that offers beekeeping products at a good price. And the massive amount of user reviews will help you only buy quality products. Click on the product images to view the item for yourself over at Amazon and get all the latest details.
Beehive 1: Mellivo Strong Box Two Deep Bee Hive Kit
The Langstroth hive is the most popular hive type in North America and is therefore the best choice for a beginner beekeeper. This is because when you hit problems you can easily find help on what to do, as pretty much all other beekeepers will be using Langstroth hives too. Whether you contact a local beekeeper or search for beekeeping advice on Youtube, 99% of them will be talking about this hive type.
Another benefit for the new beekeeper, is that the common nature of the Langstroth hive means that it is easy to buy spares for your hive. Walk into any store that sells beekeeping supplies (or hey, it’s 2023 you can look online too!), and you can pretty much guarantee everything they sell will fit a Langstroth hive.
The Mellivo Langstroth beehive is a great place to start. Firstly, it is a good size for a new beekeeper (coming with two deep frame boxes), making it easy to manage for your first colony. Don’t try to run before you can walk and all that 🙂 This beehive is a very high quality example, something that is important for any beehive you buy. You don’t want the thing breaking up during your first bee season or anything!
This Mellivo hive also has a FDA grade ‘strong coating’ applied to it, which not only makes it food safe for contact with honey but also much more durable than some other beehives.
And this is not some fly-by-night company that sells through a generic brand. Mellivo is an American-based quality beekeeping brand that you can trust.
Other than that, there isn’t much else to say. This is a well constructed and durable example of a Langstroth hive.
The only thing that I would say is make sure you want to commit to a Langstroth hive, as it will be hard for you to change path after you buy one. Do a lot of research about the different hive types so that you can fully commit to the one that best suits you.
Langstroth hives do have downsides. For me, they make beekeeping backbreaking work. The boxes can get pretty heavy to lift off every time you want to do an inspection or work your bees in any way. Add to this the fact that you will be arching your back, hunched over the Langstroth hive for a lot of your beekeeping life, and it won’t exactly be a comfortable one.
Also, the Langstroth hive was a breakthrough for beekeepers trying to find a better way to produce honey in a more financially viable way. However, this hive type is not the most natural for bees. Firstly, every time you take off the lid of your beehive (which you will do a lot), you are disturbing the bees and effecting their natural state. Also, bees will have to draw their comb sideways instead of down, as they would usually do in the wild.
Beehive 2: Honey Keeper Beehive 20 Frame Complete Box Kit
If you have decided to go with a Langstroth hive, but don’t like the look of the Mellivo hive above, here is another excellent option. This Honey Keeper branded Langstroth hive comes with everything you will need from a beehive, including an entrance reducer and a queen excluder. All crafted with thought and care into a high quality finished beehive.
As with the Mellivo beehive above, this Honey Keeper hive is the perfect size for a new beekeeper. In fact, this one is slightly smaller in size, as it comes with one deep and one medium-sized frame box. I encourage new beginner beekeepers to start slow and make sure they get it right before expanding. This size is ideal for that, in my opinion.
The only downside of this beehive is that it is not made in America, although you do pay less for the hive because of this.
Beehive 3: King Showden 7Pcs Auto Beehive
Now we get into the more adventurous options for the beginner beekeeper. Most people will tell you, just get a Langstroth hive and be done with it. But for me personally, I don’t just like to follow the crowd. As I stated above, the traditional beehives make for back-breaking work, so I am in favour of looking into other beehive types that will save your back and make your beekeeping life much more enjoyable.
This King Showden seen below is known as an auto beehive (or a flow hive if you own the naming rights!!). This is an amazing innovation that sets up the hive frames so that the honey literally just flows right out of the frame and out of your hive will little work needed from you. And not only this, it makes the honey extraction process much easier on the bees as well.
With a traditional hive, you need to pick up your heavy honey super of frames and take them somewhere to extract the honey. These things are heavy, and the whole process disrupts your bees. For the auto beehive you don’t even have to open up the hive to see if honey is ready to be extracted, and the extraction process is like getting water from a tap, it’s that simple.
Although this auto hive format doesn’t take all the work out of keeping bees, it is a massive plus to not have to pick up heavy honey supers!
Of course, the main downside is that this is a custom beehive. You won’t be able to use regular frames as your honey frames, only the custom auto flow honey frames provided. This means you can’t just run down your local bee keeping supply store for honey frames. Although, the brood box can be replaced with the typical ten frame Langstroth box, so at least the custom part is only for the honey frames.
If you have a more adventurous personality, you might want to consider this auto beehive (or flow hive to some) approach. I have a full article on ‘flow hives’ if you want more details to help you make your decision. I like the idea of a gentler way to extract honey personally.
Beehive 4: Beehive Starter Kit 8-Frame Bee Boxes and Frames Starter Kit
Returning back to the Langstroth hive, here is the perfect choice for a new beekeeper in a hurry. If you are new to the hobby and want to get started as soon as possible, you could do a lot worse than buying this starter kit. It literally comes with everything you would need as a beekeeper, from a bee suit to the smoker and hive tool. These may not all be 100% the best items ever, but as a package, it is a really convenient option for those of you in a hurry.
Just be aware that this beehive doesn’t come with a honey super on the top, so your honey frames will be in with your brood frames. But the single box is certainly easy to manage for a beekeeper just starting out. And the hive itself is well put together and a high-quality item.
Beehive 5: Apimaye Ergo Insulated Bee Hive
This is another beehive option for those beekeepers that are willing to try out new things. This is an entirely plastic beehive which comes with extra insulation. As a new beekeeper, wintering your bees can be a massive problem. Even seasoned beekeepers can lose a lot of their bees over winter. This Apimaye insulated beehive will take away a lot of your worries here, giving you more time to spend on your other beekeeping duties.
I know that a lot of traditional beekeepers will wince at the idea of using an all plastic beehive, but if you can get over this, you have a durable and simple to use hive. A plastic hive will certainly withstand the elements better than a lot of wooden products, and you won’t have to worry about treating or painting this hive either. This beehive arrives fully assembled too, so it is ready to go right out of the box.
As a nice little bonus, this beehive also comes with many useful standard features, from an entrance reducer to a feeder. So you won’t need to go out and buy so many accessories to get started. And, although frames aren’t included, this hive does take the standard Langstroth style frames.
This beehive is a little more expensive than some other options, but it will be totally worth it if you are worried about the cold and your bees. Especially if you are new to beekeeping. One less thing to worry about!
Beehive 6: Hoover Hives 10 Frame Langstroth
This final beehive on my list is a high-quality item that will be long lasting. The construction is top-notch, something that is important for anything made from wood. Nothing worse than loose joints and the like! The reason I added another Langstroth hive is that this one is slightly bigger than the other hives on this list. So if you are a beginner beekeeper that wants to go ‘all in’ at the start, this might be the beehive for you. With two deep brood boxes and one medium honey super, you will have slightly more honey making potential in your first year of beekeeping.
And note that this hive comes with the queen excluder, entrance reducer, solid bottom board and foundations. This is not always the case when you buy other Langstroth hives.