The HIVE, Not Much Has Changed.

I am always researching the honeybee even its history dating back as far as I can go to find what the hive looked like up to today where it has evolved. I am certain more is to come regarding management of the bees but the hive itself has not evolved that much and that's okay.  The bees have  their way of managing themselves in the structure that has ensured their survival for centuries so we don't want to get to intrusive and reinvent the wheel. We need to understand our role is to manage them in as natural environment as possible. 

I was really expecting to find some real diversity when it came to other cultures and how they manage the bees but we all seem to share some common ground. I think that is an amazing connection that we can use to unite to make the world a better place for our wonderful little life givers. 

Other than the materials and shapes being different as far as the containers bees were and are kept in today, I found the basic principles of Beekeeping to be the same. The rules were simple, keep them dry and warm, (in cooler climates) and give them  a place to build their nest safe from predators. Locate them near water, a nectar and pollen source and voila; they're off doing what they masterfully do, collecting pollen, nectar, propolis, making wax, royal jelly, and HONEY!!! All the while they are pollinating our crops and food sources keeping us alive.

Types of hives are: mud jars and cylinders, clay tiles, woven Skeps, and Bee Gums, (hives kept in hollow tree sections). Modern hives such as the Langstroth, Warre and Top Bar hive are most commonly found today, however in other countries you will still find variations of the same hives each country has historically used. Remember, where it's warm Bees will build their nests in trees or roof eaves. Where it's cooler they will seek shelter. 

Clay Beehive in Uganda  Clay Beehive in Uganda.

Image result for types of beehives images  Natural Beehives.

Image result for cylinder beehive images A cylinder beehive from ancient Egypt.

Image result for skeps beehive images  Bee Skeps. These are the most common picture we think of when we think about a honeybee and it's hive. 


 Image result for bee gum beehive images  Bee Gum. My father remembers this type of hive. 


 Top Bar Hive.                                                                          
Image result for warre beehive  Warre Hive

Image result for langstroth beehive  Langstroth Hive. This is my personal favorite. It's and easily managed hive and is available in eight frame and ten frame models. I use the eight frame model. 


 These were my first hives. This was an awesome day!!!                        

                                                                                                               

The modern hives were designed to facilitate honey harvesting while letting the bees produce without causing them any harm. Bee space is also a big factor in the modern hive after it was discovered the bees required a certain amount of space between each layer of comb in order to move about without issue. The natural hive pictured above is a great example of the bees natural ability to make space on their own. In modern hives we use frames which are designed to create the same space so the bees have the same freedom of movement they would have in their own nest in the wild. 

Bees produce a short list of products that can be converted to a barrage of different consumable goods we all enjoy everyday. They produce honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, venom, and wax. This short list is everything they also need to survive which places the burden on the Beekeeper. That's where we come in to do the right thing and manage the hive placing the honeybees interest first and foremost. 

There are some controversial hives on the market as well. I have seen hives I fear exploit the honeybee and others that make managing a healthy honeybee nearly impossible. I am gathering information and feedback about those hives and plan to offer some fair, vetted information to keep you informed. I will always be assessing any hive with the bees interest first. That's how it should be. 

I am so grateful for all of you. Every new set of eyes on the honeybee and it's plight is one more potential bee steward. 

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