The Hive of Choice - With Many Choices\nWith the continued growth in interest in beekeeping, many new beekeepers are wondering where to start. In terms of beehives, there are three main types of hive in use today - the Langstroth, the Top Bar and the Warre.\nOf these, the Langstroth is both the most traditional and the most popular. It is considered, of the three, to be the design with the potential for the highest honey yield.\nFor many beekeepers, though, honey yield is a merely happy byproduct of their beekeeping and not the primary concern. Instead, they experience a tremendous joy in seeing their bees establish themselves in a new hive and going on to thrive.\nThankfully, the Langstroth offers so much more than just the promise of lots of honey! It is the most expandable of hives, can be built with a number of different woods, offers a few different boxes sizes and has standardized dimensions that mean that components can be purchased from many sources.\nIn this Buyers Guide, we look at the iconic Langstroth hive and the full array of options available to the beekeeper.\nHere's what we have in this Buyers Guide.\n\nBasic Langstroth Components\nAccessories\nOptions\nBuyers Scenarios and Checklists\n\nBasic Langstroth Components\nBottom Boards\nWith the possible exception of a dedicated hive stand (see below), the bottom board is the equipment on which everything else sits! There are a number of options for you here, but speaking in general terms, there are regular and screened bottom boards.\nA solid bottom is named well - it's essentially a solid piece of wood, appropriately sized for 8 or 10 frame hives.\nBy comparison, screened bottom boards (often called Integrated Pest Management - or IPM - bottom boards), incorporate a sliding element underneath a screen. The screen allows mites to fall through the mesh, but not bees.\nFor further details, check out our article Screen Bottom Boards Vs. Solid Bottom Boards: Which Is Better?\nThe Ultimate Bottom Board is a best-seller, largely due to its modular design. It attaches securely to the Ultimate Hive Stand and also incorporates a removable mouse guard.\nA wide range of bottom boards is available here.\nBoxes\nThe boxes you use in your Langstroth are, of of course, focal to the the lives of your bees! There are many choices related to your boxes, from depth, number of frames, wood type and more.\nOur Langstroth Boxes Buyers Guide lays out all these choices for you in detail.\nInner Covers\nThe inner cover is often a simple design, resting on top of the uppermost box. However, some enhancements to that design offer additional features.\nThe ever-popular Vivaldi Board is a multi-purpose cover that acts as an inner cover, while also providing benefits in the winter, providing food - such as fondant - to the bees. Many beekeepers also wrap some burlap sack or other "wicking" material, which helps reduce condensation in the hive.\nAnother product that serves multiple purposes is the Wintering Inner Cover. This can be used in the warmer months as a regular inner cover. In the winter it can be reversed with a layer of sugar candy being made available to your bees.\nAll inner covers are available here.\nTop Covers\nThe Top Cover - reasonably enough - tops it all off! It is the final layer to protect your hive from the elements, pests and robbers.\nAnother consideration is that it can have an significant impact on the aesthetics of your beehive. There are a wide number of "looks". For example, the English Copper Top is an attractive design liked by many.\nThe Ultimate Hive Cover is another very popular product, featuring a unique design and the possibility of integrating with the Ultimate Hive Top Feeder.\nThere are a number of options available, each with its own benefit.\nAccessories\nBeyond the foundational elements of the hive, there are a number of other optional items that are used by many beekeepers.\nEntrance Reducers\nWhen a colony is first establishing itself, it may not have the strength in numbers to defend a "wide open" hive from robbers. This is a particular risk with a newly installed package of bees and can be so with a nuc too. See our article The Threat of Robbing for details.\nThe solution is often simple - the entrance reducer. This allows the beekeeper to constrain the hive entrance initially to a smaller space. Then, as the colony grows, the entrance can be adjusted to allow a larger gap, until the colony is strong enough to defend the hive. At that time the entrance reducer can be removed.\nEntrance reducers (and mouse guards) can be found here.\nFeeders\nFeeding your bees can be important, depending on the time of year and the resources available to the colony. Again, installation of a package of bees is a good example of where a feeder might be justified. See Using Feeders with Your Beehive and Feeding Bees for more details.\nThere is a considerable choice when it comes to feeders. They all work well in their own way. The one qualifier would be the use of the entrance feeder when a colony is weak or small. This can be an invitation to robbers.\nOur full range of feeders can be seen here.\nQueen Excluders\nDo you need one? That's a debate you will hear often among beekeepers. This simple piece of equipment stops a queen - but not drones or workers - from entering a box, thus ensuring that no eggs are laid there.\nIn the first year of a colony it's really best to let your bees have every advantage possible to build up honey reserves. So, consider this a potential purchase a little later, but not a necessity up front.\nHive Stands\nIt's important to ensure your bees are protected from insects such as ants, as well as keeping the hive free of damp. It's therefore important to ensure the hive is raised off the ground.\nMany beekeepers go with a DIY approach this and it's not uncommon to see hives resting on concrete blocks, for example.\nFor a cleaner look, though, a dedicated hive stand is attractive to many.\nThe Ultimate Hive Stand is a neat solution. As well as the obvious job of supporting the hive, it can accept screws to attach an Ultimate Bottom Board, for additional stability. It also supports a handy swing-out frame holder, which is great when inspecting the hive and want to avoid laying frames on the ground.\nOptions\nComponents or Kit\nWith all these options - necessary or optional - there is indeed a lot to consider. For this reason, it's very common for beekeepers to purchase complete hives (as opposed to starter kits - see below).\nTo recap, a complete hive will generally include the following:\n\nBottom board\nOne or more boxes\nEntrance reducer\nInner cover\nTop cover\n\nThat is a functional hive, no more, no less. Given that all Langstroth hives are likely to need all these components, this is a "no fluff" way to buy a hive. It can, of course, save you money compared to buying each component individually.\nStandalone Hive or Starter Kit\nStarter kits save time by bundling tools and\/or clothing with the basic hive. They can can save money too. In this regard they can be a great way to start.\nOn the other hand, the components in the starter kit do need to be considered. They may not always come with exactly the components you need. If you already have a smoker, for example, the one that comes with the starter kit will be redundant. Some starter kits may come with an entrance feeder, which won't necessarily be the best choice if you are starting with a package of bees.\nAs an aside, there are "kits" for all sorts of options. For example, there's a kit that includes tools and clothing, but doesn't bundle a hive.\nBox Size and Wood Choice\nAn important choice, especially for those with mobility issues, is that of box size.\nYour choice of medium vs. deep box doesn't really limit you in any meaningful way, since hives can easily include a mix of medium and deep boxes.\nBy comparison, think carefully about having a mix of 10 and 8 frame equipment, since you won't be able to swap across hives of a different size. Many beekeepers stick to either 8 frame or 10 frame for this reason.\nAside from aesthetics, the main factor with your choice of wood is whether you need to paint before use.\nFor more on these and other factors about box choices, see our Langstroth Box Buyers Guide.\nWindows\nMany "beekeepers of a certain age" will frown upon windows as unnecessary and simply a gimmick. And maybe they have a point. They are certainly not necessary - not at all.\nBut.... they do add a very nice dimension to your beekeeping and allow an informal peek at your bees, with minimal disruption. This can be helpful when you have friends swing by who want to see your bees, but don't really want to "suit up".\nHere are deep boxes and hives available with windows.\nBest-Of-Both-Worlds with The Horizontal Langstroth\n\nAlthough the traditional Langstroth has proven such a popular choice, for some it creates some challenges in terms of ease of access. For those with mobility issues, a popular choice is the Horizontal Langstroth.\nThis creative design features a main box that is the size of two 8 frame boxes. This provides considerable space for the colony to be established, including honey reserves, yet avoids the need to lift boxes.\nWhen the colony does expand beyond the space in the main area, additional 8 frame boxes can be stacked on top. But this still leaves a maximum of one, 8 frame box to be lifted, so it's a very convenience design.\nBuyer Scenarios and Checklists\nWith this information, where to start? We understand that a great deal of choice can sometimes feel like a great deal of confusion! So let's see if we can distill this down to a small number of discrete choices.\nWe've listed a few scenarios below and, if you fall into one of these, hopefully our list will help.\nBy the way, one recommendation that applies to all these choices...consider more than one hive? Why? There are strong benefits to being able to contrast and compare hives, even when they are positioned right next to each other. In some situations, too, it's possible to move resources from a strong hive to a weaker one, potentially providing a boost to the latter.\nNew Beekeeper, Not Sure Where to Start\nTo get started you are going to need a complete hive, plus tools and clothing. Here's one way to approach that.\nThe PerfectBee Hive Components Bundle includes the components you need to get started with the hive itself. Choose the type of box you prefer and you have your hive, complete with the benefits of the Ultimate-range of products. You may also want to consider an optional hive stand too.\nBeyond that (and maybe choose two, for the aforementioned reasons), just add...\n\n\nOne extra box, ready for when your bees need to more space\nTools such as a hive tool, a smoker and a feeder\n\nYour choice of protective clothing\n\nCurrently a Beekeeper Looking To Add A Hive\nIf you are already established as a beekeeper, adding a hive is simple. The Components Bundle is one again and you won't need to buy tools or clothing. But there are many ways to add more hives, from low cost to premium,\nOn a Budget\nIf you are watching the pennies, consider pine as the wood of choice. There are a wide range of economy choices with very low prices, even for complete hives with frames.\nPine is a reliable and traditional choice of wood and the most popular in the US. It lasts well, although a coat of paint is strongly advised.\nLike The Best of The Best\nWant something special, eye-catching and worthy of your beautiful garden? And also something that is environmentally friendly? Our Premium Collection offers hives made from US-grown, FSC-certified woods, built with a careful eye for craftsmanship.\nOne advantage is the use of Western Red Cedar, a highly sought-after wood for hives, being lighter and stronger than pine. Another advantage is there is no need to paint cedar, although a quick coat of tung oil can bring out the beautiful color of the red cedar even more.\nPremium hives also offer windows, which can be included in deep boxes.