- There are many types of hives that have been used in beekeeping.
- Among the modern hives is what is generally referred to as movable top bar hives.
- Bees construct their combs on pieces of wood in the hive referred to as top bars.
- The top bars can be easily moved and hence the hive is easy to manipulate.
- In this class we have Langstroth hive, box hives, modified basket hives and our own Kenya Top Bar Hive (K.T.B.H).
The Langstroth Hive
The Kenya Top Bar Hive
- The K.T.B.H has got 26 top bars each being 3.2 cm wide and 48.3cm long.
- Each bar has a tongue that is waxed using beeswax to guide the bees in the construction of their combs.
- The width of 3.2cm is in conformity with the space that bees leave between any two combs in their natural habitat (Caves, tree trucks and holes) and is referred to as beespace.
- The 26 top bars ensure that the hive is not too big as to cause death through choking (cold) or too small to result in suffocation.
Advantages of Top Bar Hives
- There is an increase in the number of products that can be derived from the Top bar hives.
- Be able to get pollen, bee venom, propolis, royal jelly in addition to honey and beeswax.
- Since the top bars are movable and hence the combs, it is easy to observe the condition of the hive.
- Routine management practices such as feeding, queen rearing, and colony division are made easy.
- Given that the hive is not hanged high up in trees then anybody can be able to work bees and women alike).
- Some pests are controlled: small entrances for the bee ensure that beetles do not find their way in and greasing of hanging wires keep off sugar ants and safari ants.
- In the Top Bar Hives can be incorporated a feeder box where food for the bees (mainly sugar syrup) is put during dearth (drought) period and to stimulate reproduction (egg laying).
- The queen excluder is also incorporated to separate the brood (laying) chamber from the rest of the hive.
- These are made from logs of trees by excavating the tree stems to make them hollow.
- They vary in design and size from one community to another
- They are mainly used to produce honey and beeswax
Kapkuikui Improved Log hive
- This is a loghive in which a queen excluder has been incorporated by fixing locally designed coffee wire mesh that keeps the queen in a fixed chamber where she broods
- It’s an improvement introduced by a group of farmers in Kapkuikui village, Marigat division of Baringo District
- It has also incorporated comb foundation
One half of the Kapkuikui improved log hive
Other types of hives
- Mud hives
- Basket hives
- Pot hives
- Box hives