Before you order your first shipment of honeybees, you will want to be completely prepared. Your bees will need a home, so the first piece of equipment you should be looking for is a beehive. Beehives have different components that go along with them, like hive supers, queen excluders, and frames. Find out what you’ll need to construct your first beehive and some extras to make it the perfect hive for a new beekeeper.
The Langstroth Hive
There are a few different varieties of beehives to choose from. A Langstroth hive is the most popular because it is compatible with most honey extraction equipment. They are also highly recommended for new beekeepers, as they are very user-friendly.
Langstroth Hives are vertical hives that contain an outer and inner cover, a honey super, brood box, some frames, and a bottom board.
It is very important to find a well-built hive to start out, so make sure to focus on the quality of the hive you buy or build. A solid Langstroth hive will last a lifetime, so this is not the place to scrimp.
Harvest Lane Honey has been supporting bees and building quality hives for generations, so they are a great place to start looking for sturdy beehives and beekeeping equipment.Plus, they provide new beekeepers with beekeeping kits that come with everything you need to get started.
Parts of a Beehive: The Essentials
Since you always add parts of a Langstroth Hive from the bottom up, we will start with the very bottom components and work our way up.
Bottom Board: The floor of the beehive. It’s built with several rails that will frame around one solid piece of wood, protecting your bees from the damp ground. The bottom board can be solid or screened. Screened bottom boards improve ventilation and help control pests, like Varroa Mites.
Deep Hive Super (Brood Box): A brood box is a heavy-duty wooden box that will sit directly on top of the bottom board. Typically, two hive supers are stacked one on top of the other and filled with frames of honeycomb. The honeybees will use the bottom hive super as the nursery or brood chamber, and the top box will work as their food storage chamber. You don’t want to take the honey from this box because that honey will help the bees survive the Winter.
Honey Super: These supers are wooden boxes (similar to the hive supers) added on top of the hive supers as needed, and they will contain the surplus honey that you can extract. Bees will fill up supers one by one, so once one box is about 75-80% full, you can stack another super above that one, like a mini-skyscraper.
Frames: In each super, there will be room for wooden slats called frames. Frames come with a single sheet of beeswax foundation that the honeybees will build on. These slats are easily removed for easy hive inspection and honey extraction.
Inner Cover: The inner cover is like the ceiling of the hive. It should be a shallow, telescoping tray with a ventilation hole in the center. It is telescoping (raised) so bees will be less likely to glue it in place with propolis (pollen) or honeycomb, making it easier for you to maintain the hive.
Outer Cover (Flat Top): The outer cover is a waterproof material that covers the top of the hive and acts like a roof. This piece protects your hive and bees against the elements and is an essential part of every hive. To protect the hive from moisture runoff, you should try to find an outer cover with a drip edge.
Helpful Beehive Additions
Next, we will go over some components of hives that aren’t essential, but they definitely help a bunch. Some of these extras are included in beekeeping kits from Harvest Lane Honey.
Elevated Hive Stand: It is best not to have your hive sitting directly on the ground. An elevated hive stand is necessary to keep pests away from your hive and honey storage. You can purchase a stand made for beehives or a lot of beekeepers choose to simply sit their hives on cinderblocks. As long as your hive is elevated, it doesn’t have to be fancy.
Entrance Reducer: This little piece of wood is used to limit the traffic and an out of the hive. You can use this to help the guard bees protect the hive from invaders, or you can remove it on hot days for more ventilation.
Queen Excluder: A queen excluder is very useful for new beekeepers because it makes it easy to find the queen bee. This is a type of vent that goes between the brood and honey supers once brood is established. The rest of your hive can freely move through the vent to get to the honey supers above but the queen will be too large. This will keep your queen laying eggs in the correct areas.
Hive Feeder: When bees are just getting their hive started or there isn’t enough pollen to sustain the hive, they will need alternative food to keep going. Hive feeders are plastic frames that you can fill with sugar water or water for your bees.
Way to “Bee”
All beekeepers suggest that educating yourself about bees is the most important step in beekeeping.
Rural King is proud to partner with Harvest Lane Honey to provide you with not only great beekeeping supplies but also essential beekeeping knowledge for your new hobby. Follow us on Youtube or read more blog posts in our bees category to continue learning.
Have you recently started beekeeping? Have any questions about bees or beekeeping? Let us know in the comments below.