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Types of beehives and their advantages

A beehive is a dwelling place constructed for bees, usually either dome-shaped or box-shaped. Below are some of the most used beehives in the world:

Log Hive

This hive is made using logs.

Advantages Log Hive

  • They are inexpensive to make.
  • They can be produced locally and require little knowledge of carpentry.
  • They can house large amounts of bees.
  • They are the best hive if one is looking to get large quantities of wax.
  • When occupied, these hives are very hard to steal due to many cracks and openings that bees utilize to protect their colony.

Disadvantages Log Hive

  • Log hives are difficult to work with.
  • The bees can pull their comb from any direction (lengthwise from one end to the other or perpendicular to the hives body).
  • The comb is “all” fixed to the top of the hive.
  • Removal of the comb for inspection is impossible.
  • All of the harvested comb needs to be handled from the bottom and sides dirtying the honey in the process.
  • These types of hives are very hard to circulate smoke through.
  • Due to large gaps and cracks, log hives allow more pests (large and small hive beetles, wax moths) in the hive body.
  • Any log hive that is jarred while lowering to the working surface will lose its honeycomb. The weight of the heavy comb causes it to break off and pools honey on the bottom of the hive. Lots of honey is lost in this process.
  • All the comb is often removed during harvesting thus losing the bees that have worked so hard to produce the honey and wax.

 Kenyan Top Bar (KTB) Hive

Top-bar hives are boxes with a series of bars arranged side by side along the top.

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Advantages Kenyan Top Bar (KTB) hive

  • Colony splitting and multiplication easy.
  • Control of swarming is possible.
  • Easy to inspect to know the condition of the colony
  • Harvesting is easy and possible to select sealed combed (ripe) honey.
  • Materials for construction are available
  • Durable


Disadvantages of Kenyan Top Bar (KTB) Hive

  • It requires high skills and technology to manufacture.
  • Expensive for an ordinary person to afford.
  • Production is limited as it can not be expanded.
  • Combs can easily break while in transit.

Langstroth/ Dadant hives (Modern Frame Hives with Movable Combs)

This is the most popular beehive in the world. The advantage of this type of hive is that the bees build honeycomb into frames, which can be moved with ease.

Advantages of Langstroth/Dadant hives:

  • Transportable.
  • High honey yield.
  • Easy to inspect and harvest.
  • Easy to control swarming.
  • Bee breeding and queen rearing possible.
  • Long lasting.

Disadvantages of Langstroth Hives:

  • Very expensive.
  • Some of the materials for construction need to be imported.
  • Requires high skills and technology.
  • Production of other hive products is very minimal (wax and propolis, etc).
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  • Joseph Boit

    Joseph is the founder of Graduate Farmer, a Kenyan online platform that provides resources and tools to help farmers improve their agricultural practices and increase their productivity. Joseph is a passionate follower of Christ and farmer who loves to use technology to make a positive impact on people's lives.


      1. Looking for a motivated and honest carpenter who could possible make around 100 Kenya Top Bar hives. Call me 0720425252

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