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Bee-Ginner's Guide

Welcome to the Bee-ginner's Guide Blog. Here we will go over topics and tips you might need as you go through your first year as a beekeeper.

There are several things to consider when planning to begin beekeeping, such as, the size hive you will want to use. The size you choose is directly relates to the number of frames each box holds. The two sizes to choose from are: 8 Frame or 10 Frame. There are pros and cons to each hive sizes and it will benefit you to understand them before making the investment.

10 Frame:

Generations of beekeepers have considered 10 frame hives the "traditional" hive. The biggest advantage of 10 frame hives is that each hive box can hold larger quantities of honey and bees per box. This is not to say the size of your colony will be larger or that you will be able to harvest more honey, rather, each box will be able to hold more. This can be beneficial as your colony grows in population. You are not continuously adding on the next box for them to move into. The downside is when your honey super is full of honey they can weigh up to 80 lbs. This is very strenuous work and if you have trouble lifting heavy items you may have trouble managing a 10 frame hives.

Have you ever noticed feral honey bees? They tend to build their hives in tall narrow locations such as hollowed tree trunks. They follow this same mindset when working in a hive; build up rather than build out. With the 10 frame hive, just before you place another hive body/super onto the hive, you may need to rotate the outside frames in so the bees will build on all the frames.

8 Frame:

8 frame hives have been used for over 100 years and have started to grow in popularity in recent years because of their efficiency. We use 8 frame equipment for our hives at Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. A full 8 Frame honey super can still weigh up to 60 lbs, but the hive boxes are much easier to manage. The center of gravity is closer to the body with 8 Frame hives and that makes them easier to maneuver. 8 frame hives mirrors a honey bee colony's natural building style with its narrow chamber. The colony can easily outgrow the box and requires close observation to know when to add the next super for them to move in to.

Even though 8 and 10 Frame hives have their differences, in the end they both do the exact same thing. It all comes down to whatever size you feel most comfortable using. The hive size doesn't make a significance in the size of the colony or the amount of honey it will store. 10 frame hives have been a tried-and-true size used by countless beekeepers throughout the years, but 8 frame equipment has become a more economical and can be easier to manage. Just know that you cannot use 8 and 10 frame hive components on the same hive. You can have multiple hives each their own size, but you can not mix sizes on one hive.

For more information about size variations, you can visit http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/resources/hivesizecomparison.asp.