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Top 10 Best Beekeeping Starter Kits (2018)

If there has ever been a time to start beekeeping, it is now. A beekeeping starter kit is hands down one of the best ways to get started in beekeeping. These kits are available at the click of a mouse and you have literally dozens of articles that lay down the hows, dos, and don’ts of beekeeping. However, there are quite a number of starter kits on the market, and finding the one that’s just right for you may prove to be a task. Luckily, we here at BeeKeepClub have done our tests and compiled what we think are the best beekeeping starter kits available in the market right now. Let’s check them out.

Features Editor Rating Price
Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - Goodland Bee Supply 2 Frame Honey Extractor

1. Goodland Bee Supply GLESUPERX2CTS1 Complete Bee Hive Kit

  • A Bee smoker
  • A Frame Spacer
  • An Uncapping Knife
  • An Uncapping Roller
  • A Frame Grip
  • 2 Wood Handle Hive Tools
  • One telescopic hive cover
  • A bottom board that has an entrance reducer
  • 1 inner Hive lid
  • Comes with a 2 frame stainless steel hone extractor
  • Does not include any beekeeping glove nor jacket
  • Does not include any beekeeping beginner book
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Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - Mann Lake HK110 Basic Beekeeping Starter Kit

2. Mann Lake HK110 Basic Beekeeping Starter Kit

  • 10 frame traditional hive for beekeeping.
  • Fully assembled upon delivery and ready for use.
  • Comes with telescoping cover already assembled and with an inner cover.
  • Hive body is 9-5/8 inches and already painted.
  • Wood frames have a dimension of 9-1/8 and are assembled and have foundation.
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Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - BuildaBeehive 10 Frame Deluxe Beehive Starter Kit

3. BuildaBeehive 10 Frame Deluxe Beehive Starter Kit

  • One 8-Frame 9-5/8 inch wooden super
  • A telescoping inner cover
  • 8 Sheets plastic base foundation
  • An entrance feeder
  • Eight 9 1/4 inch top bar frames
  • A bottom board
  • An all purpose hive tool
  • A bee smoker to calm bees during hive inspections
  • 1 pound of bee smoker fuel
  • A protective beekeeping veil
  • A protective pair of beekeeping gloves
  • A book titled First Lessons in Beekeeping.
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Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - Honey Bee Headquarters Beekeeping Starter Kit

4. The Honeybee Headquarters Beekeeping Beehive Starter Kit

  • A hive tool
  • A beekeeping book - First Lessons in Beekeeping
  • A beekeeping jacket with veil and one pair beekeeping gloves
  • A Bottom board that is already assembled
  • Two deep brood boxes with 20 frames
  • One medium super with 10 frames
  • One entrance reducer
  • A top hive 2.5 gallon feeder that is already assembled
  • An inner cover that is already assembled
  • A telescoping outer cover with aluminum top that is already assembled
  • A bee smoker
  • A bee brush
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5. Honey Keeper Beehive 20 Frame Complete Box Kit

  • Langstroth Beehive
  • 10 deep and 10 medium sized frames.
  • Includes a queen excluder and entrance reducer
  • Comes unassembled but is easy to put together.
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Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - Ware Manufacturing Home Harvest Beehive

6. Ware Manufacturing Home Harvest Beehive

  • Made of white-stained cedar that is resistant to insects.
  • Highly durable.
  • Has a peaked roof that directs rain water off the hive.
  • Comes with two observation windows.
  • Allows for expansion.
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Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - Valley Bee Supply 10-Frame Beehive

7. Valley Bee Supply 10-Frame Beehive

  • Made of New England White Pine
  • Comes with 2 deep and 3 medium frame boxes
  • Comes with an aluminium telescoping roof that rust resistant.
  • Comes unassembled.
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Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - BuildaBeehive 8 Frame Standard Beehive Starter Kit

8. BuildaBeehive 8 Frame Standard Beehive Starter Kit

  • Comes with 8 frames and 1 hive box.
  • Comes unassembled.
  • Comes with a bee smoker and fuel.
  • Comes with beekeeping veil and gloves.
  • Not much room for expansion.
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Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - Mann Lake HK170 Traditional Wood Frames

9. Mann Lake HK170 Traditional Complete 10-Frame Hive Kit

  • Hive kit is sturdy and well made.
  • Does not include most of the items of the other kits, such as a bee smoker and protective gear.
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Best Beekeeping Starter Kits

10. Flow Hive Classic Cedar 6 Frame Langstroth Beehive

  • Made of Western Red Cedar
  • Resistant to fungus and insects.
  • Hive unit allows for the extraction of honey without the need of an extractor
  • Comes with an easy to follow assembly manual.
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In Depth Overview of the Best Beekeeping Starter Kits

10. Flow Hive Classic Cedar 6 Frame Langstroth Beehive

Best Beekeeping Starter Kits

Flow is one of those brands that has become a household name. Their Classic Cedar 6 Frame beehive unit boasts a number of appealing features. The brood boxes and supers are built using Western Red Cedar, one of the best materials for beehive construction. It is resistant to fungus and puts off all kinds of insects that might invade the beehive for whatever reason. The unit also has a screened bottom board, a roof, inner cover, and a queen excluder. The roof directs rain water away from the hive and also shelters the bees from direct sunlight. This ultimately provides a good habitat for the bees to thrive.

The Flow Hive Classic Cedar 6 Frame beehive is delivered with an assembly manual that is easy to read and follow that makes it easy to put together the unit. Furthermore, the brood box has 8 standard foundationless frames and the super has 6 Flow Frames in addition to honey collecting tubes and a Flow Key. This is simply a highly sophisticated beehive unit designed for the serious beekeeper. The unit is easy to assemble the unit and I applaud its sophisticated features, that is, the Flow Frames, Flow Keys, and Flow Tubes.

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9. Mann Lake HK170 10 Frame Traditional Complete Hive Kit

Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - Mann Lake HK170 Traditional Wood Frames

The Mann Lake HK170 is an excellent starter beehive kit. In provides room for expansion once the bees draw most of its foundation. It is one of those kits that grow with your business since it allows an addition of a second deep hive body unlike other starter hive kits.

The Mann Lake HK170 comes with an assembled 9-5/8 inch hive body, and ten assembled wood frames measuring 9-1/8 inches that have Rite-Cell foundation that are waxed. It also includes an assembled telescopic cover that has an inner cover and a pre-assembled bottom board that has an entrance reducer. It is an excellent traditional complete hive kit for both the novice and the pro beekeeper.

To read our full review of the Mann Lake HK170 10 Frame Traditional Complete Hive Kit, click here.

All the items included with the kit are made of good quality materials, and since they come assembled it will not take much started for you to setup the entire unit and bring in your bees. Nonetheless, this unit is not pre finished and thus you might have to seal or paint it. You are also responsible for the bee space therefore you have to ensure the gaps between frames are properly stacked.

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8. BuildaBeehive 8 Frame Standard Beehive Starter Kit

Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - BuildaBeehive 8 Frame Standard Beehive Starter Kit

 

The BuildaBeehive 8 Frame Standard Beehive Starter Kit is suitable for both beginners and pros alike. It provides an affordable way to get started in beekeeping, allowing you to get a taste of the hobby to see if it’s for you, without breaking the bank.

I particular find this unit most beneficial for a starter who wants to start off as a pro. The wooden frames are of high quality and all the other equipment and tools that come with the unit are worth every penny. Included in the kit are:

  • One 8-Frame 9-5/8 inch wooden super
  • A telescoping inner cover
  • 8 Sheets plastic base foundation
  • An entrance feeder
  • Eight 9 1/4 inch top bar frames
  • A bottom board
  • An all purpose hive tool
  • A bee smoker to calm bees during hive inspections
  • 1 pound of bee smoker fuel
  • A protective beekeeping veil
  • A protective pair of beekeeping gloves
  • A beekeeping book – First Lessons in Beekeeping

The BuildaBeehive 8 Frame Standard Beehive Starter Kit is limited if you want to expand and add more equipment to your hive since it only supports 8 frames. It also does not come with a honey extractor .

However, for those that want to get a taste of what beekeeping is like, this kit is a great way to get started. BuildaBeehive is hands down one of the top brands on the market and I have always loved their beekeeping units and equipment. They also provide a money back guarantee and therefore you are fully covered in case you are not satisfied with their products. Their customer service is also superb making this brand a great choice for the beekeeping and pro alike.

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7. Valley Bee Supply 10-Frame Beehive

Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - Valley Bee Supply 10-Frame Beehive

Are you looking for a beehive unit that is unassembled and is made of excellent quality material? Well, the Valley Bee Supply Bee Hive comes unassembled and is made of unfinished New England White Pine. If necessary, you can paint or coat the assembled unit with tung oil. The unit is ideal for all skill levels, whether the experienced beekeeper or the beginner but who must be willing to buy other supplies such as frames separately.

The Valley Bee Supply hive kit comes with 2 deep boxes and 3 medium frame boxes. They have all been drilled to ease assembly. The unit also has undercut handles to provide a firm grip and to resist rotting. Its aluminum telescoping roof protects the unit from harsh weather and is resistant to rust. The box body on the other hand is made of high-grade plywood which lasts for many years.

Other additional features of the hive are: an inner cover, a screen bottom board, and a slide out tray with counting grid, all of which are pre-assembled. Available also is an entrance reducer. However, the unit does not come with nails, frames, or foundation. Overall, the unit is excellent and will definitely last long.

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6. Ware Manufacturing Home Harvest Beehive

Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - Ware Manufacturing Home Harvest Beehive

Another excellent quality design and material hive is the bee hive kit from Ware Manufacturing. The unit has all you desire of a beehive kit. It is made from white-stained cedar that is resistant to insects and is highly durable. Even though the unit comes unassembled, it is really a no brainer to connect its components.

The Home Harvest Beehive unit has a peaked roof that directs rain water off the hive. This protects the hive from getting soaked and the roof also protects the bees from direct light. The beekeeper is also provided with two observation windows that provide proper ventilation and makes hive inspection easy. In fact the airflow to the hive can be controlled which makes it possible to regulate the conditions within the hive during cold winter or hot summer. The unit also provides space underneath for additional boxes when bee colony grows.

When it comes to price, the beehive kit is quite affordable.

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5. Honey Keeper Beehive 20 Frame Complete Box Kit

The Honey Keeper Langstroth Beehive Kit is one of the best beekeeping starter kits to kick-start or scale up your beekeeping enterprise. It comes unassembled and has everything you require to get started. Once assembled, you can apply some paint or tung oil as finish just to add some aesthetic value to the kit. This 20-frame box has 10 deep and 10 medium sized white pine material frames that have been separated. They have unwaxed foundations and a hexagonal shaped surface.

To read our review of the Honey Keeper Beehive 20 Frame Complete Box Kit, click here.

The Honey Keeper Langstroth Beehive has a dimensions 23 x 18.25 x 19.75 inches. All the finger joints of the hive kit are pre-cut and the nails are delivered with the package. All you need is a hammer for building your beehive. It does not take much brain work to build the hive and therefore you need not worry about the process of assembling the unit. Other features of this kit are: an inner cover, a bottom board, and a galvanized metal roof. All these protect the unit from bad weather. Other features are the queen excluder and entrance reducer.

This beehive kit is easy to assemble and it is sturdy. I highly recommend it.

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4. Honeybee Headquarters Beekeeping Beehive Starter Kit

Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - Honey Bee Headquarters Beekeeping Starter Kit

Honeybee Headquarters is a reputed manufacturer when it comes to beekeeping tools and equipment. Its beekeeping starter kit is packaged with essential beekeeping equipment, though it is missing a honey extractor. It is suitable for starting out or expanding your beekeeping business.

The starter kit includes the following:

  • A hive tool
  • A beekeeping book – First Lessons in Beekeeping
  • A beekeeping jacket with veil and one pair beekeeping gloves
  • A Bottom board that is already assembled
  • Two deep brood boxes with 20 frames
  • One medium super with 10 frames
  • One entrance reducer
  • A top hive 2.5 gallon feeder that is already assembled
  • An inner cover that is already assembled
  • A telescoping outer cover with aluminum top that is already assembled
  • A bee smoker
  • A bee brush

One thing however that is worth noting is that it does not come with nails and therefore you’ll have to find your own when assembling.

All the products that are included in this kit are of high quality and the kit includes beeswax foundation for the frames. The book provided further guides you on what you need to do in order to get started. This is a great starter kit and I highly recommend it to anyone.

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3. BuildaBeehive 10 Frame Deluxe Beehive Starter Kit

Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - BuildaBeehive 10 Frame Deluxe Beehive Starter Kit

If you are a pro beekeeper and looking for an unassembled unit with all you need for your beekeeping activities (except a honey extractor), then look no further. This upgrade from the Standard Starter Kit comes fully packed with some essential beekeeping equipment and tools such as:

  • Bee veil
  • Hive tool
  • Easy to lift hive
  • Bee smoker
  • Bee smoker fuel
  • Gloves that fit any bee suit
  • One 10-frame 6-5/8 inch wooden super
  • Ten sheets of plastic foundation
  • An inner cover
  • An entrance feeder
  • Ten top bar frames measuring 6-1/4-inches
  • A reversible entrance reducer
  • A bottom board

To read our full review of the BuildaBeehive 10 Frame Deluxe Beehive Starter Kit, click here.

Just like all other BuildaBeehive products this starter kit is covered by a money back guarantee and therefore if unsatisfied for any reason you are free to return the item for a refund of your money. Only a few manufacturers give such an offer and that is one of the reason I never hesitate in recommending BuildaBeehive products to a friend.

A important benefit associated with the ten frame unit is that you can add in more equipment to your hive whenever you want to expand. The only flaw with this unit is that it comes unassembled which may be a challenge to the beginner. But overall, it is a great unit and I recommend to any one whether pro or beginner. It is good for those who would like to start cheap then later get an expensive one.

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2. Mann Lake HK110 Basic Beekeeping Starter Kit

Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - Mann Lake HK110 Basic Beekeeping Starter Kit

This is an ideal 10 frame traditional starter kit designed for all skill levels: beginner, hobbyist, or professional. It is a US made beehive kit that is delivered fully assembled from a top manufacturer. In addition to that, it features all the best accessories required for beekeeping. The hive body has a dimension of 9-5/8 inches and it is already painted. Available also in this hive kit are 9-1/8 inch wood frames that have waxed foundation, a bottom board with reducer, already assembled, and an assembled telescoping cover and an inner cover.

The Mann Lake HK110 hive kit is quite outstanding when compared to some other hive units available in the market today. Included also in this beekeeping starter kit are essential beekeeping accessories such as the hive tool, bee veil, bee smoker, a beekeeping book and leather gloves.

Features and Benefits

  • 10 frame traditional hive for beekeeping.
  • Fully assembled upon delivery and ready for use.
  • Comes with telescoping cover already assembled and with an inner cover.
  • Hive body is 9-5/8 inches and already painted.
  • Wood frames have a dimension of 9-1/8 and are assembled and have foundation.
  • Comes with the following accessories:
    • 10-inch hive tool
    • Alexander bee veil
    • A pair of economic leather gloves
    • Dome top smoker
    • A beekeeping book titled Starting Right with Bees.
  • Unit measurements are: 22 x 18-1/2 x 13-1/7 inches in length, width, and height respectively.
  • It weighs 36 pounds and total shipping weight is 42.6 pounds.

What you might not like                                                                  

  • Helmet not included with the kit. You have to buy it separately.
  • The veil is a little flimsy it works.
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1. Goodland Bee Supply GLESUPERX2CTS1 Complete Beehive Kit with 2 Frame Honey Extractor

Best Beekeeping Starter Kits - Goodland Bee Supply 2 Frame Honey Extractor

Another great starter kit that comes with most of the tools and equipment needed for beekeeping. The unit features a Goodland Bee Supply 2 Frame Stainless Steel Manual Honey extractor and a complete beehive kit.

The honey extractor is nothing fancy, but it is durable and works well – a great tool for beginners.

All the inner and exterior components of the beehive kit are impressive. It has 2 large kiln dried pine supers that have 20 frames measuring 9 inches each. It also has 20 pre-waxed plastic brood box Pierco Foundations.

Included also is:

  • A Bee smoker
  • A Frame Spacer
  • An Uncapping Knife
  • An Uncapping Roller
  • A Frame Grip
  • 2 Wood Handle Hive Tools
  • One telescopic hive cover
  • A bottom board that has an entrance reducer
  • 1 inner Hive lid

To read our full review of the Goodland Bee Supply GLESUPERX2CTS1 Complete Beehive Kit, click here.

This beehive kit is covered by a warranty and therefore you are guaranteed of quality for your money. The main drawback associated with this unit is that it does not include any beekeeper beginner book or guide.

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So What About the Bees?

You might have noticed that none of these beekeeping starter kits come with the most important thing needed for beekeeping – the bees! So, where can you get them? Well, there are two ways you can go about doing that. You can either buy your bees or catch your own swarm in the wild. Buying bees is more straightforward, but I bet you’re wondering how you can going about catching your own in the wild. Well, let’s talk a bit about that.

How to Catch a Bee Swarm in the Wild

The very idea of catching an entire swarm of bees scares so many but it is really possible. A swarm is ideally a term used to describe the mechanism employed by bees when they want to propagate their species. A bee colony has to divide and migrate when it grows and becomes too large. This makes it impossible for the bees to survive on small space and hence the need to divide. Instances where the colony has two queen bees will also result in swarming. The bees will moves with the queen that is responsible for laying eggs that will build the future generation. A swarm will not last for more than a week in most cases. If it does, it becomes a hive or colony.

In order to safely catch and establish a bee colony using a swarm, you need to identify whether it is really a swarm or a cut-out. A swarm is really easy to handle since it is a group of bees that have not built or are in the process of building a comb. An established colony is called a cut-out and will take the hand of a professional to catch.

It is important to note that bee swarms do not last long. Ideally it can rest for an hour or for 24 hours before moving to their preferred location. One of the reasons for this is the fact that the queen bee is not strong when it comes to flying given its large body and its regular bee size wings. It therefore needs some stopover during the swarming process. During these periods of rest, the bees search for a new home. In some instances, they might be hindered by bad weather and hence the long stay. A bee swarm is in most cases docile since they do not have honey stores, brood, or most importantly – a home. They are also full of honey and hence the docility. Bee colonies that are established are territorial by nature and thus defensive. They should therefore be handled with skill.

Simple ways of Catching a Bee Swarm

There are various techniques for catching a bee swarm. The main goal is to get as many bees as possible into the box on the first try. When you get a majority of the bees in the box, chances are high that you got the queen as well since her main place is at the center of the swarm. If you fail to get her chances are high that she will still follow the rest of the bees into the box.

Method 1 – Cut and Lower

This technique will work when the swarm is hanging on small branch. Use a clipper to cut the branch and lower it into the beehive box. Those with Warre or Langstroth Hive should leave the frames in place when placing the swarm in the hive. The bees will find their way and hang from the top of the frames.

Some of the bees may fly away when you use this method but they will find their way into the hive. It also creates the perception in the bees that they found the new place on their own and hence will likely stay in the box.

Method 2 – Shake and Catch

A bee swarm stationed high up in a tree and out of your reach can be secured using this technique. The branch may be too thick also and hence the need to use this method. The technique should be carried out quickly and with precision. Position your box well below the branch and shake the branch.

Most of the bees may fly away but majority including the queen will land in your box. Those that fly away will eventually find their way into your box.

Once you get the swarm in the hive box do not disturb it for at least a week. They need this time to build the combs and begin raising brood. If bothered, the bees will definitely abandon the beehive since nothing holds them from leaving.

 

Type of Beehives

You may already know that there are four main types for bee hives: the Langstroth bee hive (which is arguably the most popular), the top bar bee hive, the Warre bee hive and the British Standard National bee hive (which as the name suggests, is mainly used within the United Kingdom). Let’s discuss each of them in a bit more detail.

1. Langstroth Beehive

This is a popular choice among beekeepers. It derives its names from father of modern beekeeping: Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth. Similar hives across the globe have similar designs to the Langstroth hive and have similar names. They are common in various regions across the globe including: South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and North America.

Advantages

  • It is extremely easy to harvest the honey. It facilitates an easy access to the honey stores and this can be carried out without disturbing the queen.
  • Standardization makes this hive type the best for beekeepers whether small or large scale. The components are standard in size and shape and that means you can take the honey frames and brood from a stronger hive and share with a weak one. It also makes it easy to find replacement parts when needed.
  • Portability is a great advantage associated with this hive. Its components can easily be disassembled and restacked and thus it makes it easy to move this type of hive.
  • Maximum productivity is attained through this hive. Its design allows for minimal drone production and maximum brood and honey production. They are the best for rearing queens and pollen and propolis collection.
  • They are the best choice for learners. Tons of information is available on use and management of these hives.

Disadvantages

  • Pretty heavy when fully packed with honey and brood.
  • This type of hive is not so much appealing to the eye.
  • They lack the natural design that allures bees.

 

2. Top Bar Beehive

This type of hive has been around for many years. They have a simplistic design and never use any artificial foundation. They are normally triangular boxes on legs and have a lid in addition to screened access on its ends. Some beekeepers add plexiglass panel on of its sides so that they can observe the bees at work.

Advantages

  • You can set this up on your own and thus it is much cheaper.
  • Easy to harvest the honey since all you have to do is work on one frame at a time. It eliminates the hassle involved in lifting heavy supers.
  • With this type of hive the bees are least disturbed.
  • Economical terms of space usage. Set aside one side until it is needed by the colony.

Disadvantages

  • Affected by changes in temperature. Extreme heat and cold can devastate colonies.
  • Does not offer standardized equipment.
  • Inconsistency in production. Difficult to determine how much to leave or take.

 

3. Warre beehive

This type of hive derives its name from Emile Warré, a French Pastor. It has a completely different design when compared to Langstroth hive. It was created in early 1900s after some experimenting on various hive types. This resulted in what was to be referred to as “The People’s Hive”. Its overall design is smaller and its components square in design and not rectangular. As for this type, the boxes are added to the bottom and not the top also.

Advantages

  • Minimal intervention by the beekeeper is required for this type of hive. Its overall design is like a hollow tree which can withstand extreme cold and hot weather.
  • The bees are provided with foundationless frames where they can build their comb. This gives the bees maximum control which results in healthy and more productive bees.
  • Moisture and temperature well regulated thanks to the insulating box of sawdust placed in between 2 cotton fabric layers.
  • Quite stylish unlike some other hive types. Looks good in your backyard.

Disadvantages

  • Requires some serious thinking if you need to supplement your bees with food since it lacks front feeder.
  • It costs much more when bought.
  • Makes honey harvesting a serious affair. Requires more effort unlike Langstroth hive.
  • Requires two or more persons to add supers since it is built bottom up.

 

4. British Standard National bee hive

This is popularly referred to as the National Hive and it is similar in design to Langstroth hive. Its signature feature is the smaller dimensions and shallow brood chamber when compared to a Langstroth. It boasts an open-mesh floor that allows the beekeeper to monitor varroa infestation. It also has deeper standard boxes, a roof, shallower honey super boxes, and stand.

Advantages

  • Facilitates easier monitoring of Varroa mites.
  • Allows for a two-way orientation of the frames; parallel or perpendicular to the entrance.
  • Offers excellent ventilation for the bees.
  • Can be handled by one person even when full of honey.
  • Can utilize up to 12 frames (14 x 8-1/2 inches or 14 x 5-1/2 inches).

Disadvantages

  • Best suited for non-prolific bees. May not be ideal for heavy producers.

 

A  Final Word

Beekeeping is a fascinating venture and it becomes more exciting when you know what you are doing. Any of the best beekeeping starter kits listed above can make it so much easier for you to grow your bee colony and scale up your operation. These kits are excellent for all beekeepers – whether novice or professional. Some come assembled whereas others are unassembled. Choose the one that best meets your budget and needs. Understanding also to catch a bee swarm can help eliminate the need to buy bees.

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