There are three main types: Langstroth, Top-bar and Warre.
1 Langstroth Hives
These use vertically hanging frames on which bees build there comb. They consist of:
* The bottom board - which is the base of the hive and which contains an entrance for the bees,
* Boxes for brood and honey - the brood boxes are at the bottom and the honey storage boxes are above,
* Inner cover and Top cap - providing a roof.
The Langstroth class includes:
BS National hives - designed for Buckfastleigh bees,
BS Commercial hives - with arger brood boxes for more productive bees,
Rose hive - a simpler form of BS Commercial hive,
Smith hive - popular in Scotland, it has shorter lugs which are easier for manipulation when frequently moved,
Dadant hive - very large hives for productive bees.
WBC hive - named after its inventor W Broughton Carr, is a double walled hive, in which the wooden boxes containing the frames of brood and honey are contained within additional outer ’shell’ of
wooden casing pieces or ’lifts’. This outer casing consists of a floor (often supported on short legs), three or more lifts (the lower one fitted with an adjustable entrance which may be protected by
a porch) and a roof. The inner parts consist of a brood chamber or chambers, and honey supers, covered over by a crownboard or canvas quilts. Clearly the addition of extra honey supers will also
require additional lifts. The roof is usually made to a pitched design.
2 Top Bar hives
Top-bar hives were developed in Kenya as a cheaper alternative to Langstroth, They are becoming very popular in the US because they are organic, need little treatment. Beekeepers do not provide
foundation, the bees build down from a bar at the top.
3 Warre Hives
These are similarto Langstroth hives, but the body is made of boxes stacked vertically,but only uses top bars for support. This type is becoming popular among sustainable-practice beekeepers.
When the bees need more space the colony expands a new box is added underneath the existing boxes. This helps with keeping the hive warmich is thought to help keep the colony healthy.