A horizontal long hive

Horizontal bee hives: Types and advantages

A horizontal beehive is a type of hive used by beekeepers around the world. Although the horizontal hive is more common in some regions than others. The horizontal hive is preferred by some beekeepers because of its simple design and ease of use. Most importantly, it gives bees the feel of a natural world. The other beehive type is a vertical one that involves stacking boxes. The stacked boxes are more difficult to access in comparison to the horizontal beehive. A beekeeper will need to remove the top boxes to access the ones underneath and return them. However, the horizontal type of beehive requires no carrying. A beekeeper can easily open the hive and attend to the bees. The design of the horizontal bee hives benefits the bees too. In the wild, bees usually build and expand sideways in a horizontal hollow shape. The horizontal beehive follows this natural pattern.

Types of horizontal bee hives

The basic types of horizontal beehive plans are:
  • Top bar
  • Langstroth hives
  • Layens hives The above beehive types are usually with a stand that keeps them off the ground. Most are well elevated to the waist level, and this gives easy access to the hive.

Top bar hive

The top bar hive has a horizontal design without frames dividing the wooden box. Instead, the bees enjoy lots of free spaces in a hollow shaped way. The structure allows the bees to create combs. Despite the flat design, there is a ventilation system in place.

Langstroth Hives

This type of hive is also a horizontal design, but it uses a standard dimension of frames. The inner compartment is vast and deep. Standard shaped frames are usually ideal for this category of hives. However, the depth of the Langstroth beehive allows frames to be arranged vertically on each other.

Layens hives

Layens hives are similar to a Langstroth hive, but the inner compartment allows narrow and taller frames. This horizontal beehive can accommodate a lot of frames more than other types. It's commonly used by many beekeepers around Europe and beyond.

Advantages of horizontal hives

The advantages of the horizontal beehives are as follows:

Easy to use (no lifting of boxes)

As opposed to the Warre hive, the horizontal hive doesn't involve carrying boxes every time. At most, just a couple of frames needs to be removed to get access to the bees. So, this reduces the stress of a beekeeper. And for most horizontal hive plans that are elevated to the waist level, it's just as easy as opening the lid and getting access.

Queen roam freely

A common feature of the vertical hives is the use of queen excluders, but in the horizontal type, the queen moves freely like she would in the wild. Other added advantages are:
  • Bees are not disturbed
  • Bees are not mistakenly killed because of lifting boxes and replacing them
  • Simple to create a homemade type

The take away

For beginner beekeepers, the horizontal Langstroth hive is ideal and straightforward to use. And when the hive is well elevated to waist level, beekeeping becomes easier.

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