Honey bee verieties

What hive is better

  • Top Bar

    Votes: 3 100.0%
  • Langstroth

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Warre

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    3

Wolflord

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I'm looking into all the bee verieties there are and wanted to see what other keepers recommend. I've heard of Italian bees, Caucasian bees, German bees and Russian bees. And I know what I want out of a colony but don't know what verieties would best suit me. I'm planning on only one colony at this time (so I can spoil them with a surplus of blooms) but the list of what I would like from my bees is this.

Docile nature, resistance to deiseas/mites, moderate honey flow enough for me to harvest some for myself and still leave some for the hive.

And being newer to bees, what hive do you think is best for the bees out of the tree types? I know a lot of people go for the classic (warre is it?) But i just want to hear what others experience with hives like the top bar and the langstroth, especially with over wintering and only one person handling them.
 

Latestarter

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The "classic" hive is the Langstroth... That's the square stacked hives you see in pictures most often. Commercial keepers use them because they are so easy to stack, palletize, and move around. The woodware (hive parts) are expensive, and like anything, need to be maintained. Typically you'd have two deeps (biggest boxes) covered by a couple of mediums to be the honey supers. Some folks use a queen excluder between to keep the queen from laying brood in the upper medium boxes. Many don't use/like the excluders as in some hives, the workers don't like going through it either.
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The top bar hive is the easiest to just build yourself and can be constructed normally from lumber you have laying around. Nothing fancy, yet quite capable as a hive.
upload_2017-5-3_10-32-42.jpeg


A Warre hive is a vertical top bar hive so relatively simple to build & easy to use. They're ~1/3-1/4 the cost of a ten frame Langstroth hive. (pronounced war-ray)
upload_2017-5-3_10-31-49.jpeg


There is more info available on the net than you could possibly read through in a years time. Just do searches and research till you decide what will work best for you. Typically each beek is going to tout the advantages of their chosen hive type and find reasons why the other types aren't as good. Each has there own advantages and disadvantages. You need to read up and make a choice. If you don't like it, you can always change it up. I started with Langs. I can't speak realistically for/against/about the other types.

Ideally for bees, you should contact your local bee keeper's association or club and go to their meetings. If you can get a nuc of locally adapted bees from one of the members in your specific area, you'll be leaps and bounds ahead. If you're going to buy a "package" of bees (typically only done in the early spring, each package is ~3 pounds - 3-5000 bees w/a mated queen) they are typically shipped to your area from down south, most likely GA on the east coast. They aren't well adapted to your area, and IMHO, they are of lesser quality/hardiness than if you can get bees that come from your area. Luckily for you, I don't think you have to deal with Africanized honey bees (AHBs) (yet). Though there seems to be some evidence that the AHB's seem to be the best breed dealing with the mite issue.

Really? knowing what I know now? I think what I'd do is build a bee capture hive and place it in an area where there is a large food source (read flowers/sources with nectar) and try to capture a swarm or two. Keep in mind that bees travel up to 3 miles in one direction looking for food. So any scout bees looking for a new home could be from miles away from where you place the swarm trap. Though IMHO when a hive swarms, they typically look for the closest acceptable place relative to where they leave from, to settle down and start a new hive. Swarms happen all the time from mid-late spring through mid summer. After that it's typically too late for a swarm to re-establish itself enough to survive through winter. Of course that too can be mitigated with feeding... That way, you know they're local bees, they're free, and they're proven survivors. There's tons of info on capturing swarms available on the net as well.
 

Wolflord

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I did find a local "land race" honey bee if you will. And I do see a few honey bees around this time of year looking for food, I might start prepping and researching and if my friends that have bees will allow me to mentor under them I'm sure that will help fill in the gaps too :) I am fond of the look of the Top Bar hive, I'm just still looking into what would work best for my small operation. And our winter weather here.
 

Maggiesdad

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Top bars are a great learning tool for the beginning beekeeper. Their foundationless design necessitates frequent inspections during the first season, to insure the combs are drawn out correctly. The cheaper initial cost of the woodenware can allow the beekeeper on a budget to have more than one hive.
 

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Trust me on this; most any beek that you ask to help will absolutely accept your offer! Bees used to be easy, but with mites and vectored diseases coupled with pesticides, GMO, and single source farming, bees are taking a beating. Anyone trying to keep them soon finds out that it's work! Though work that brings great pleasure and sweet healthy rewards down the road. If you're interested, I urge you to go seek out friends who will allow you to learn with/from them!
 

Wolflord

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I've been interested for a long time. My Dad liked the idea while he was alive as well, mom always shot us down though. (Granted she said similar things about chickens, but here I am! NPIP and everything) and with bees dwindling down in numbers, I figure that they need all the help they can get (from what I hear every 1 in every 3 bites of fruit is thanks to a bee) plus we raise a huge organic garden and plant flowers to brighten up the yard, all organic. I'll have to shoot my beek friends a message l and see if they would be up for it :) I know that about 2 years ago they caught a feral swarm :D bees are not as bad as people think honestly, even yellow jackets arnt that bad (as long as you don't mow over their home) I had a nest of them in my flower garden and we got along just fine until they decided to move, stayed with me for about a year. (I don't recommend others trying what I do though) ... I may be a tab bit crazy... Just a little.
 

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Ummm yeah... just so you know, yellow jackets and bees don't do so well together... the YJ's will attack and rob from the bees, which can kill your hive... The bees are much more valuable to you and your plants than the YJ's... justsayin :)
 

Wolflord

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Thankfully the YJ's left the property all together... guess they didn't like the fact that I wasn't going to worship them and dote on their every need, I have seen a hive that was broken into before at another property (may have been a swarm of honey bees that found a space in the ground. I don't know.) But whatever broke into that hive in the ground pulled out some honey combs, it was really neat to see (this was about 10 years ago I was 11 at the time and the fig trees had fruit on them)
 

Happy Chooks

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Latestarter gave a great post!

I only have experience with Langsroth hives and I enjoy them. There is a rather large learning curve to beekeeping, so expect to fail and pick up the pieces to try again. I lost my first hive their first winter to mites. Mites are a lot larger problem than people think. This year, I lost one to robbing. Just when you think you have everything nailed down and you're good to go, the bees prove you don't know as much as you think. o_O

Yellow jackets are a HUGE problem with honey bee hives. Ants can be a big issue too. Every spring, I have ants that try to make a nest between the outer cover and the inner cover of the hive. The bees do a good job of keeping them out of the hive. A couple of evictions, and they get the point. There is a great thread here on ant proof hive stands. At some point, I hope to change my set up to use them.
 

Wolflord

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That's similar to what happened to my beek friends first hive.

I have figured out a plan though, it might take between a year to 2 years before I set up my hive (this is happening though, and I am very happy about it) I'm going to be doing some online classes for things like their anatomy among other things, and next year I'm hoping to take an 8 week hands on class (6am-9am) and after that mentor under my friend to make sure I really have an understanding of basic bee care even in the cold winter months, also in this time frame planting a bee flower garden around the area where the hive will go with some native flowers that will do well in the area. Along with some pea gravel and pavers for the hive (s) to set on so things are level. And adding water stations after I set up the hive (... I spoil every living thing that comes into my care... can you tell?) I'm probably going to be doing some reading in Google books as well.
 

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