How To Manage Beehives
Second to procuring bees, acquiring a beehive is one of your top priorities as a beekeeper. It
is your bees home and this is where they manufacture and store honey. In the natural, bees can create their
beehives anywhere it is safe to nest. But when beekeeping, you need to place them in artificial beehives for easy
bee management and honey harvesting. Beehives are essentially wooden boxes with removable frames on which bees
create cells for keeping their brood (young bees) and storing honey.
You can purchase beehives or make your own. A beehive needs to have a hive stand to keep it off the ground and
prevent pest infestation and rotting. On top of the hive stand is the bottom board, on which the hive body or brood
chamber rests. The brood chamber, which is basically a deep box, has 10 frames where bees build their cells for
their brood and honey. Next to the brood chamber is the honey super that bees use to store surplus honey. It is
shallower than the brood chamber. A queen excluder should be placed between the brood chamber and honey super to
keep the queen and the brood from getting into the honey. The hive is then protected with an inner cover, a flat
wood with a hole on the center, which provides ventilation and prevents the bees to build combs on the outer cover.
The outer cover, on the other hand, serves as the roof that protects the hive from rain and direct sunlight.
Depending on your preference, you can start with any number of beehives. Some beekeepers start with one for fear
of mismanagement. It is considerably safe, of course. But the general recommendation is to start with at least two
beehives. This way, you can have a point of comparison and recognize forthwith if either of your colonies is strong
or weak. With only one, you may have no way of knowing, and if the colony dies, you have nothing left to start
again. On the contrary, having two beehives will enable you to boost the weak colony by adding bees or frame of
broods or introducing female larvae as potential queens from the stronger colony.
If you have two or more beehives, make sure they are not too far apart. Keep the distance anywhere between six
inches to two feet. It is more for your sake, actually, because if you position the beehives far from each other,
you will tire yourself from walking from one hive to the other.
Where you place your beehives is important. Choose a location where there is an accessible source of water and
partial shading. Face the beehive entrance to the south, so the bees get ample sunlight, especially during the cold
season. The sun also rouses the bees to fly off for nectar and pollen, so when they see the sun as soon as it
rises, they will immediately set off.