Beekeeping has been practiced for thousands of years for honey and other products of the hives, but the practice has changed a lot over the years, from the techniques used to the type of hives constructed. Beekeeping equipment and clothing were also improved, especially following the World War II. Traditional apiculture generally makes use of fixed comb hives, which made it impossible for the comb of a hive to be removed or managed, either for harvesting or just checking, without being damaged beyond repair. To that extent, a beekeeper could use any hollow structure from a log gum to a clay pot as a beehive. However, this traditional practice is no longer used widely, on the one hand because of the industrialization of the countries and on the other hand because it didn't allow the inspection of the hive for potential problems like American foulbrood or varroa. For that latter reason, some countries even declared them illegal and beekeepers usually substituted them with Western red cedar beehives. |
The reason for which traditional fixed comb hives were so popular and for which some beekeepers still use them is that they can easily be constructed from any material at hand, which makes them inexpensive and thus more specific to underdeveloped or poor countries. Though their disadvantages have been longed discussed in regard to proper beekeeping equipment, authorities in the field acknowledge the fact that locals, especially from countries such as Africa and South America, do master unique skills in managing this traditional hives.
More modern approaches of apiculture include the Langstroth hive, which is very popular in the United States and makes use of movable frames, being a top-opened hive. The US is one of the countries that has banned the use bee gums, skeps or unframed box hives, considering them a threat to the health of the bees, as the comb can not be checked for diseases. The majority of the hives here are Western red cedar beehives, because the wood is very resistant to warp, decay and rot and has a wonderful aroma. Things like these, as well as location and the structure of the hive should be thoroughly considered when choosing the beekeeping equipment. Another very popular hive is the top-bar one, which does not have frames, but the comb is not returned to the hive after extraction, so the risk is low. However, the production of honey is somewhat reduced, but the quality is good.
Taking everything into consideration, when considering your choices for beekeeping equipment, make sure to take into account more than just the financial investment and whether you go for Western red cedar beehives or more traditional options, always ascertain you are complying with all necessary requirements. A healthy and stimulating environment for the bees, with plenty of flowering plants nearby and shade, will provide a much better production of honey and will eventually make the initial investment worthwhile. Also, consider buying a premade beehive rather than building one yourself, as there are better chances for it to last 50 years or so, if you choose a professional and experienced constructor.
For more resources regarding beekeeping equipment or even about Western red cedar beehives and especially about http://www.legacyapiaries.com/ please review these pages.
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