Are you thinking about becoming a beekeeper? Most beekeepers begin their work in the spring. Spring is the time to pick up your order of bees and introduce them to their hive. It’s the time to begin routine hive inspections to ensure the queen has been accepted and the colony is producing honey.
But there is a lot of planning that has to happen well before the spring! One very important task is to purchase a beehive. You may be wondering how a new beekeeper chooses the right hive. Choosing a beehive is one of the most important decisions a beekeeper needs to make. And that decision can be overwhelming because there are many designs and models on the market. How do you know which beehive is right for you and your bees?
Lucky for you, the research has already been done! We have researched and viewed tons of beehives on the market and have chosen the very best ones for you. In this article, we will discuss our list of the 10 best beehives for beginners.
Want To Skip The Long Article?
If you’re in a rush or just don’t want to scroll through this whole article and all you want is a quick suggestion for the best beehive, then this section is for you! After assessing countless beehive models and buyer reviews from all levels of beekeepers, we found that the CO-Z Bee Hive with 10 Medium &10 Deep Honeycomb Foundation Frames may be the best beehive for you!
The CO-Z beehive is an excellent choice for new beekeepers. It’s sturdy and durable because it’s made from natural cedar wood. The kit comes with 20 frames as well as an entrance reducer, a solid bottom board, and an inner cover. The air vent feature is intended to keep bees comfortable when the weather is hot. Unlike other models on our list, this beehive is very easy to install and can be assembled in less than 10 minutes! The CO-Z hive is budget-friendly and comes in various sizes so you can choose the best proportion for your beekeeping endeavors.
If the CO-Z Bee Hive is not available, then our next best pick would be the BestEquip Bee Hive House 3 Layers Honey Flow Bee Hive.
What Is A Beehive?
A beehive is a man-made structure, typically a box, designed to home a colony of honeybees. Inside the hive, bees will raise their young (brood), store food, and huddle together to survive the winter.
Hives are typically made of wood, but other materials can be used. Hives can come in different shapes and sizes. Modern beehive designs mimic features of wild honeybee hives. They are dark and enclosed with a small entrance that can be easily protected. There is also a lot of space for comb construction. Hives come in several designs, however, three popular beehive designs are widely used among beekeepers. The three designs are Langstroth, Top Bar, and Warre.
The Langstroth Design
The Langstroth hive, named after Rev Lorenzo Langstroth, became popular in the mid-1800s. The design gained popularity because it featured removable frames- a feature that is required by law in many U.S. states today. Removable frames allow a beekeeper to inspect the hive without injuring the bees or cutting out combs. The hive consists of a wooden box (a super) with 8-10 vertical hanging frames inside. There’s an entrance at the bottom and a removable top. As the colony of bees grows, you can stack another super on the top. The design allows for easier inspections and provides more space for bees to fill with propolis. Propolis is a resinous substance created by bees that serve as a building material for the hive.
The Top Bar Design
The Top Bar hive is a large, horizontal structure with sloped sides. The hive has no foundations, frames or supers. Instead, it is one horizontal unit. This makes inspections easy because the beekeeper only needs to lift one bar. It’s a simple design that allows bees to draw their own comb. The hive also features a screened bottom to increase ventilation. It also has a viewing window so beekeepers can look inside without opening the hive. The Top Bar design is heavy so it can’t be moved easily. However, once in place, the Top Bar hive is a great choice for beekeepers who don’t want to be constantly lifting heavy boxes.
The Warre Design
The Warre hive, named after Emile Warr, has no frames or foundations. Instead, it features top bars. The Warre hive mimics natural beehives built by wild honeybees. It’s a simple hive that is easy to manage. Beekeepers can add new supers from below because in nature bees expand downward. Because of this, the design requires more lifting and manual labor from beekeepers. Its smaller size means it produces less honey than other designs. There is also an increased risk of mite infestation and cross comb.
What Is The Best Hive Design For Beginners?
As a new beekeeper, you should spend your first few years focusing on learning as much as you can about bees. You should become familiar with bee behavior and what bees want and need to provide them the best environment to produce honey and thrive. Bees aren’t too picky about the design. They just want a dark space where they can build combs. When choosing a hive design, consider your own safety and physical limits.
On that note, many new beekeepers begin with the Langstroth hive design. It’s popular because it’s big and yields a lot of honey. The most common Langstroth size holds 10 frames, although 8-frame hives are becoming increasingly popular because they are lighter in weight. Many Langstroth hive parts are interchangeable so it’s easy to buy parts from different manufacturers. Supplies are easy to find and most beekeepers are knowledgeable of the design, making it easier to find help.
What To Consider When Choosing A Langstroth Beehive
Due to its popularity and advantages, this guide will provide 10 recommendations of the best Langstroth hives for beginners.
There are several features to consider when purchasing a Langstroth beehive.
A high-quality beehive will be made from wood. Beehives can be built using various kinds of wood, but popular wood types include pine, fir, cedar, and hickory. Ideally, the wood is not treated to remain as close to natural as possible.
A beehive should be easy to assemble. A high-quality hive should have detailed instructions to properly set it up. The wooden pieces should interlink easily and stay in place. It’s important to assemble a hive the right way the first time so beekeepers don’t have to make changes after honeybees have moved in. The goal is the minimize disturbance so the bees can focus on producing honey.
Sometimes, a beekeeper may need to move their hive to another location. It’s important to choose a hive that can be easily transported. Ideally, a high-quality hive can be easily dissembled, transported, and then assembled at a new location.
Choose a hive with standard-sized accessories and parts so you can choose items from different manufacturers. Don’t limit yourself to one manufacturer if you need to add frames or any other equipment. A good hive will follow the standard sizing for various items so you can easily find them on the market.
VIVO Complete Beekeeping 20 Frame Beehive Box Kit (10 Medium, 10 Deep) Langstroth Bee Hive (BEE-HV01)
The VIVO Langstroth Bee Hive is a great hive for new beekeepers. The kit comes with 20 hive frames, 10 medium frames and 10 deep frames. The hive dimensions are 6 x 25 x 19 inches and it weighs 52.9 pounds (24 kilograms). It also includes hexagonal surface foundation sheets that will guide your bees to create the right sized combs. The hive is constructed with untreated pine wood. VIVO recommends treating the wood with a chemical-free paint or wood preservative to ensure longevity and protection from the elements. The hive comes with all of the necessary hardware and a detailed, step-by-step manual. The kit includes sheet metal to protect the hive’s roof and it comes with a queen excluder.
Buyers find the VIVO hive to be a great choice for new beekeepers and hobbyists. With the included hardware and detailed instructions, buyers were easily able to assemble the unit. On average, it took buyers 1-3 hours to properly assemble the hive. The pieces fit together effortlessly and the hive was sturdy after assembly. Several buyers noted that the pine material makes the hive relatively light, making it easy to move if necessary. Many buyers treated the pine wood with paint or wood preserver once it was assembled.
Although the instructions were clear, some buyers felt that the manual did not go enough into detail. They noted that the hardware was confusing because none of the nails were labeled and it took them more time to ensure they were using the right type of nail.
- Kit includes 20 frames, excluder, entrance reducer
- High-Quality Material
- Pieces fit together easily
- Wood needs to be treated with paint or a wood preservative
- Assembly can take a long time
Busy Bee's -n- More Complete 8 Frame Langstroth Bee Hive includes Frames & Foundations (LBH08-2D1M)
The Busy Bee’s-n-More Langstroth bee hive is a high-quality product made in the USA. The structure is made from pine wood by Amish craftsmen. The unit is lightweight, weighing in at 48 pounds (21.7 kilograms). The hive holds 8 frames. The kit includes 16 brood frames (9-9/16 x 19 inches) and 8 super frames (6-5/8 x 19 inches). The kit also has 24 food-grade plastic foundations that are coated with bee’s wax. The structure has a screened bottom board and a telescoping top cover. The hive comes unassembled but includes a step-by-step manual, hardware, and a 4oz bottle of Titebond II exterior wood glue. Once assembled, the hive dimensions are 29-5/8 x 13-1/2 x 20 inches.
Buyers love the Busy Bee’s-n-More hive because of its durability and functionality. For most, the assembly was easy because the instructions are detailed and easy to follow. The pieces fit together easily and assembly takes less than two hours. Some buyers noted that they needed additional wood glue because, after assembly, there were some cracks and crevices between the joints. When purchasing the hive while the weather is hot, some buyers found the wood pieces warped and had to build new pieces or use bar clamps to straighten them out.
- Lots of accessories included in the hive kit
- Easy to Assemble
- Comes with wood glue
- 8-Frame is not standard, harder to find parts
- Some wood pieces may arrive warped
Mann Lake Complete Bee Hive Kit, Painted, Assembled, 10-Frame
The Mann Lake hive is a great, little unit manufactured with pine wood in the USA. It comes completely assembled and can be used immediately upon arrival. The hive includes a solid painted bottom board and telescoping cover with inner cover. Its dimensions are 22×18.5×13.14 inches and it weighs only 31.6 pounds (14.33 kilograms). The kit includes 20 frames with 10 frames featuring yellow waxes RiteCell foundation.
Buyers love the convenience of this hive. Because it’s already assembled and painted, buyers can put it to use straight from the box. Beginner beekeepers love this hive because no effort is required to install it. It’s high-quality and priced well for people entering the beekeeping hobby. Mann Lake offers packages so you can buy multiple hives at once to save money. The hive’s craftsmanship speaks for itself and buyers are impressed with its durability. Many buyers agree that the one downfall of this unit is its solid bottom board. They would prefer a screened bottom board to increase ventilation into the hive when the weather is hot.
- Can be purchased in packs
- No assembly required
- The hive comes painted
- Quality craftsmanship
- Made in the USA
- Solid bottom board instead of screened (for ventilation)
Hoover Hives Complete Langstroth
The Hoover Hives Langstroth hive is a gorgeous model that is coated in wax for weather protection. The hive is made from pine wood and weighs 54 pounds. The dimensions are 24 x 22 x 16 inches. The kit includes 30 frames, 20 dovetail wax-coated fine brood frames and 10 dovetail wax-coated pine super frames. It also has 30 food-grade plastic foundations coated with bee’s wax. It also features a telescoping top cover, queen excluder, and bottom board. Hoover Hives recommends this unit for new beginners or anyone looking to grow a new colony. The 10-frame beehive kit comes unassembled however, instructions and hardware are included.
Buyers agree that this is a great unit for new beekeepers. Assembly is easier and quick. Buyers love the wax coating on the hive because they don’t have to paint it. The wax naturally repels rain and protects the structure from the elements. The darker natural wood of the hive makes it stand out compared to other hives on the market.
- Wax coating for weather protection
- High-Quality Materials
- Comes with 30 Frames
- Easy Assembly
Happybuy H105, 10-Frame Bee Hive
The Happybuy 10-Frame bee hive is made from New Zealand pine that has resistant to strong corrosion. The unit weighs 40 pounds (18.14 kilograms) and the dimensions are 25 x 28 x 25 inches. The wood went through a drying treatment to prevent cracks or deformation. The hive is designed to be compatible with other hives and make the transition for bees easier. The kit includes a telescoping top with a cover, 1 brood box, 1 super box, a screened bottom board, an entrance reducer, and a bottle of Titebond II Wood Glue. It should be noted that the kit does not come with frames or foundations. It comes unassembled with instructions to make assembly quick and easy.
Buyers love the quality and durability of the Happybuy hive. Buyers found assembly to be easy and the unit is a great choice for new beekeepers. However, there are some drawbacks noted by several buyers. The unit does not come with hardware for assembly. There were also no instructions for assembly, although the kit comes predrilled to guide users. Some buyers thought that for the price point, the kit should include frames and foundations even though it was advertised not to include them.
- Available as an 8-Frame Unit
- High-Quality Material
- Compatible with other manufacturers
- Easy Assembly
- Hardware for assembly is not included
- Frames are not included
- Foundations are not included
BestEquip Bee Hive House 3 Layers Honey Flow Bee Hive
The BestEquip 3-Layer Hive is an impressive-looking hive for those who want to take beekeeping to the next level. It’s made of natural pine wood that is resistant to strong corrosion. The kit comes unassembled but assembly is easy and quick. It comes with a stainless-steel queen excluder, entrance reducer, and a bottom board to keep other insects out. This beehive is stylish with its distinct look. It’s a great option for beginner beekeepers who want something beyond the standard beehive design. There are various purchasing options that come with a different number of frames. The unit weighs 44 pounds (20 kilograms) and is measured at 24.4 x 20.5 x 11.8 inches.
Buyers love that they can start their beekeeping endeavors with a deluxe hive. Many love that it arrives well-packaged and complete compared to other hive units. The kit is easy to assemble and all of the pieces fit together effortlessly. When assembled properly, you don’t need hardware. The instructions are pictures only, but many can assemble the kit in less than 2 hours. Some buyers noted that they only needed a hammer. Most buyers agree that the wood is high-quality and the hive is designed with bees in mind.
- Distinct design
- Quality material
- Available in multiple sizes and number of frames
- No clear instructions for assembly
CO-Z Bee Hive with 10 Medium &10 Deep Honeycomb Foundation Frames
The CO-Z beehive is an excellent choice for new beekeepers. Unlike other models on the list, this hive is made from natural cedar wood- making it durable and sturdy. The kit comes with 20 frames, 10 medium and 10 deep frames. The hive’s dimensions are 16.25 x 11 x 20 inches. It weighs about 40 pounds (18.14 kilograms). The hive features a pre-assembled metal roof to protect the honeybees from the elements. The kit also comes with an entrance reducer, a solid bottom board, and inner cover. This hive also features air vents for proper ventilation. The hive comes unassembled although CO-Z boasts that assembly is fast- up to 10 minutes!
Buyers think this is a great hive for beginners. Although there are no instructions included, many find that a manual is not required because of the simplicity of the design. If needed, buyers can request PDF instruction from the vendor. Buyers agree that the quality is great and they love that the product is made of cedar wood.
- Fast Assembly
- Available in various sizes
- Proper Air Ventilation
- Sturdy and Durable
- Made from Cedar Wood
- Includes with 20 high-volume frames
- Does not include wood glue
NuBee Hive Starter Bee Hive with Frames & Wax Coated Foundations (NU8-1D1M)
The NuBee Hive Starter Hive comes with 16 pine frames and 16 plastic foundations. The structure includes a telescoping top with a cover, an inner cover, and a solid bottom board. The kit also includes a queen excluder and matching waxed foundations with hexagonal shaped foundations surface. This hive was designed for new beekeepers and hobbyists. It comes with one brood box and one super box. The unit is constructed out of pine wood. It weighs 37 pounds (16.8 kilograms) and is sized at 22 x 14 x 20 inches. The hive comes unassembled.
This hive is gaining popularity in the beekeeping community. Buyers love the durability and sturdiness of the hive. They found the kit to be easy to assemble as well.
- High-quality material
- Easy to Assemble
Goodland Bee Supply Complete 3 Tier Beginners Bee Hive Kit - GL3STACK
The Goodland Bee Supply Beginner’s Bee Hive Kit is another great kit designed for new beekeepers. It comes unassembled. Goodland Bee Supply recommends that buyers should reinforce their hive with brad nails and screws (which are not included). The hive is made in the USA. It’s a 10-frame Langstroth design that includes 3 hive boxes, 30 frames, and 30 foundations. The kit also includes an entrance reducer, a solid bottom board, an inner cover, and a telescoping hive cover. The hive weighs 61 pounds (27.7 kilograms). This kit is designed to help beginners get started in beekeeping as efficiently as possible.
Buyers agree that this is a great hive for beginners. It’s a high-quality product that will remain durable for a long time. Some buyers noted that the kit did not come with instructions however, the assembly was quick and easy and all of the pieces fit together with little effort. Some beginners accidentally split the wood while attempting to reinforce the hive with nails.
- Designed specifically for beginners
- Comes with 30 Frames
- Fast Assembly
- No assembly instructions
Mophorn Beehive Frames Langstroth Hive Beehive Box Deep Langstroth Frames Kit
The Mophorn Beehive kit is a durable, complete kit for any level beekeeper. Unlike other models on this list, this unit is made from premium fir wood. The kit comes with 20 frames made out of pine. The hive features a telescoping roof with a metal cap, an entrance reducer, an inner cover, and a solid bottom board. The dimensions are 23.6 x 20.9 x 11.4 inches and the hive weighs 57.3 pounds (26 kilograms).
Buyers find the Mophorn hive to be easy to assemble even though it does not come with instructions. For new beekeepers who are focused on budget, this hive is priced right. Like with other hives, buyers recommend reinforcing the structure with nails or wood glue. One buyer noted that they believed wood glue should be included with the kit.
- Made from fir wood
- Bottom board does not increase ventilation
- No assembly instructions
- No wood glue included
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