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Best Gifts for Beekeepers in 2018

Beekeepers checking hive

Finding gifts for beekeepers can be tricky. Having a bee-lover in your life can make gift-giving season easier in some ways because you know what their passion is and can almost guarantee that something bee themed will be a hit. This can help to narrow down your gift search while also showing that you know the person and care about their interests.

On the other hand, if you yourself don't know anything about bees, then picking the right gift can be a daunting task. You may not be sure what items they have, what items they want, where to find them, how much they cost, or other critical information. Fortunately, this article is here to help. We've scoured the internet for the best in all bee-themed gifts, from apparel to household items, to beekeeping equipment and apiary supplies, foodstuff, experiences, and some outside-the-hive ideas you may have never even considered.

Gifts for Beekeepers FAQs

Are these gifts for professional beekeepers?

What types of occasions are these gifts appropriate for?

Where can I find gifts for beekeepers?

How We Reviewed

Our team has scoured the web for the best bee-themed presents, tools, and activities for you to give to the beekeeper in your life. We looked at the pros and cons of each potential gift, its price, where you can find it, and warranty options. Most importantly we looked at who the gift is right for.

Overall Price Range of Gifts for Beekeepers

Gifts for beekeepers can run the gamut of pricing, from cost-free options to super-premium technical equipment. We encourage you to pick an option that works best for your particular financial situation, and that sends the right message to the receiver--and remember, as with all gifts it's the thought that counts, not the price tag.

Who We Reviewed


The Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses

Features

As the name implies, The Beekeeper's Bible is a must have for any apiarist, making it one of the top gifts for beekeepers. It is full of recipes, advice, history and other fundamentals of the craft.
It may be slightly better suited toward newer keepers than veterans, if only because the longer someone has been actively beekeeping, the more likely they are to have a copy already. If they don't own one yet, even the most seasoned of keepers will be able to find new facts and tips in the bible.

Pros

  • A fundamental text in the genre
  • Readable and interesting for many levels

Cons

  • Experienced beekeepers may already have one
  • More applicable to newer beekeepers

Price

The Beekeepers Bible tends to retail between twenty to twenty six dollars for new copies. There are also plenty of used copies available online, many of them for much cheaper.


Where to Buy?

Amazon features both new and used versions from a variety of sellers. Other retailers include Barnes and Noble, Target, and various online bookstores.


Swarm Lure / Swarm Commander Swarm Lure 2oz Bottle

Features

This handy little spray can help to lure bee swarms to wherever the "commander" wants. It contains a combination of essential oils that act similarly to natural bee pheromones, attracting bees to its scent.

Pros

  • Useful for drawing in new bees
  • Can help to control bees

Cons

  • Questionable effectiveness
  • High price for a small amount of product

Price

Swarm Commander retails for about thirty dollars for a 2 oz spray bottle. There are other sizes and forms of Swarm Commander available as well, which may work better for some consumers.


Where to Buy?

Swarm Commander is sold through Amazon, Mann Lake, and through their own website. It is also available through a number of peer-to-peer retail sites like eBay.


Don't Worry Bee Happy Mug, Funny mug, Ceramic mug, White, Coffee,...

Features

Tending the apiary can be exhausting work, and this clever mug is a cute way to refuel with coffee, tea, or whatever beverage you choose. This mug is durable and 100% microwave safe. You can even pair the mug with honey lavender tea for stress relief (available from Yogi Tea on Amazon). The seller, Candid Awe, offers mugs in a variety of themes, so while you are browsing you may find a gift for a friend with a different hobby.

Pros

  • Beautiful craftsmanship
  • Appropriate for all types of users

Cons

  • Long shipping time
  • Shipping costs

Price

The "Don't Worry, Bee Happy" mug sells for fourteen dollars and ninety nine cents, plus shipping and handling.


Where to Buy?

The "Don't Worry, Bee Happy" mug is available on Amazon from the seller Candid Awe.


Professional-grade Bee suits, Beekeeper suits, Beekeeping Suits -...

Features

All keepers can use an extra suit. Not only can theirs get dirty, used, and beat up, but it also never hurts to have extras around for when company comes over. Keepers get to take their friends and family out to see the bees while also keeping them safe and comfortable.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to store
  • Easy to take on and off

Cons

  • Cheaper suits can be less effective
  • The best suits can be exceptionally expensive

Price

Beekeepers' suits can fall within a wide range of prices. However, the cheapest options tend to go for as little as twenty five dollars. High-end options can go for more than two hundred dollars.


Where to Buy?

Amazon carries more than a dozen different suit options, and specialty shops like Glory Bee and Mann Lake also carry a variety of options.


Bee Raw Honey Flight

Features

Of course, every bee lover also loves honey, but these connoisseurs can be picky, and you don't want to give them any old grocery store honey. Instead, the Bee Raw Honey Flight allows you to choose nine varieties of different kinds of honey from their list of over twenty unique honey options.


Flavors include Washington Buckwheat, Maine Blueberry, Oregon Maple Blossom and more. The honey is meticulously handcrafted by Bee Raw and beautifully packaged in unique vials and an oak box that makes for a truly beautiful gift presentation.

Pros

  • Customizable flavors
  • Aesthetic value

Cons

  • Small amounts of each honey
  • High cost

Price

The Bee Raw Nine Varietal Honey Flight prices at seventy four dollars plus shipping and handling. There are rare honey options available from Bee Raw as well, but those are more expensive.


Where to Buy?

The Nine Varietal Honey Flight is available exclusively through the Bee Raw website.

Donate to a Bee-related Charity in Their Name


saveourbees.org.nz logo

Features

During giving seasons, many people selflessly like to request that instead of giving material gifts, friends make donations to charity in their name. If you want to honor this request while still showing the recipient that you know them and care about their interests, consider donating to one of the many charity or non-profit organizations that support bees and bee-related causes.


There are actually hundreds of different organizations that accept donations to promote bee welfare--from environmental advocacy groups to responsible honey farming advocates, sanctuaries, research groups and more. This includes larger groups like Greenpeace and the Environmental Justice Foundation, as well as smaller, more bee-specific groups like Avaaz, Friends of Honeybees, or the Center for Honeybee Research.

Pros

  • Serves the greater good
  • Shows you care about the receiver's cause

Cons

  • Can feel less personal
  • Less beneficial to the receiver directly

Price

Another pro of donating to charities is that the cost is completely customizable. Most organizations will let you donate as much or as little as you like, making this an excellent option for people for whom cost is of particular concern.


Where to Buy?

Visit the websites of any of the organizations above or search for your own bee-related charity. There are literally hundreds, so picking the right one can be daunting. If this worries you, consider picking a cause local to the receiver, or go with a larger name that you know and trust.


Beekeeper T-Shirt

Features

Custom T-Shirt platform Spreadshirt features a wide variety of shirts from multiple designers, and they have hundreds of beekeeping-related shirts. While that may seem like a lot of shirts, you truly have no idea before you begin scrolling through their wide selection of T's. The variety in colors, styles, and senses of humor allow the gift giver to find a shirt that is exactly right for the recipient's sensibilities.

Pros

  • Many styles
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Can't protect you from bees!

Price

Given that the shirts on Spreadshirt are produced by independent designers, the cost of any given shirt can vary. In general, shirts on the site tend to run from fifteen to thirty dollars, slightly more expensive than the average t-shirt, but fairly reasonable compared to other custom clothing outlets.


Where to Buy?

All shirts are available in the Spreadshirt online store.


The Beekeeper's Journal: An Illustrated Register for Your Beekeeping...

Features

The Beekeeper's Journal is a helpful companion for any beekeeper, allowing them to chart their progress, record their thoughts, and ensure that they have a record that they can reference later on. It includes helpful tips, quotes, and beautiful illustrations that can enhance the experience and keep keepers motivated.

Pros

  • Helpful gift for beekeepers of all levels
  • Creates a record for later reference
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Advanced users may prefer a more "serious" record

Price

The Beekeeper's Journal costs around fifteen dollars new, depending on the retailer.


Coupons and Deals

A dollar and fifty cent coupon is available at checkout on Amazon.


Where to Buy?

Amazon carries new copies of The Beekeeper's Journal. Plus, it provides links to several outlets that carry used copies.


Basic Beekeeping Starter Kit, Completely Assembled, Painted, Made In...

Features

For the special person in your life who has always wanted to get into beekeeping, this complete starter kit will give them all the equipment they need. It contains one painted frame and ten wooden frames to start building your hive. It also includes gear such as protective leather gloves and a bee veil. Don't worry, it comes completely assembled and is suitable for those that struggle with Ikea furniture.

Pros

  • Made in the United States
  • User-friendly

Cons

  • Not for experienced beekeepers who already have equipment
  • Very expensive

Price

The Basic Beekeeping Starter Kit comes at a one hundred ninety five dollars and ninety five cents on Amazon (at a twenty seven dollar discount). This is an ideal present when you want to wow your bee lover.


Where to Buy?

The Basic Beekeeping Starter Kit is available through U.S. based brand Mann Lake. You can purchase the kit on their website or on Amazon from a variety of sellers.


Warranty

A manufacturer's warranty is available upon request.


Coupons and Deals

The kit comes with free shipping on Amazon.

Help in the Apiary


kids helping in the apiary

Features

Not all gifts for beekeepers cost money. The gift that most people really want is quality time with their loved ones, and the gift that many beekeepers really need is another pair of hands. Instead of buying something for your apiarist, consider donating a specific number of hours of your personal labor for them to do with as they please.

This solution is not only free but has the added benefit of helping to bring you and your beekeeper closer. You get to spend time together while enjoying their interest with them. Watch out, though: You may start to love beekeeping too!

Pros

  • Free
  • Personal time together
  • You get to learn about bees too!

Cons

  • May appear "cheap."
  • Time-consuming
  • More applicable to professional beekeepers than to many hobbyists

Price

The best part about helping in the apiary is that it costs nothing but your time. This is one of the gifts for beekeepers that truly fits any budget!

Comparison Table

Pro​​​​​duct

Price

Pros

Cons

The Beekeeper's Bible

  • A fundamental text in the genre
  • Readable and interesting for many levels
  • Experienced beekeepers may already have one
  • More applicable to newer beekeepers
Swarm Commander Spray Lure

Swarm Commander Spray Lure

  • Useful for drawing in new bees
  • Can help to control bees
  • Questionable effectiveness
  • High price for a small amount of product
​Don't Worry Bee Happy Mug

"Don't Worry Bee Happy" Mug

  • Beautiful craftsmanship
  • Appropriate for all types of users
  • Long shipping time
  • Shipping costs
Beekeepers Suit

Beekeeper's Suit

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to store
  • check
    Easy to take on and off
  • Cheaper suits can be less effective
  • The best suits can be exceptionally expensive
Bee Raw Honey Flight

Bee Raw Honey Flight

  • Customizable flavors
  • Aesthetic value
  • Small amounts of each honey
  • High cost
Donate to a bee-related charity

Donate to a Bee-related Charity in Their Name

n/a

  • Serves the greater good
  • Shows you care about the receiver's cause
  • Can feel less personal
  • Less beneficial to the receiver directly
Beekeeper-Themed Shirts

Beekeeper-Themed Shirts

  • Many styles
  • Inexpensive
  • Can't protect you from bees!
The Beekeeper's Journal

The Beekeeper's Journal

  • Helpful gift for beekeepers of all levels
  • Creates a record for later reference
    Inexpensive
  • Advanced users may prefer a more "serious" record
The Basic Beekeeping Starter Kit

The Basic Beekeeping Starter Kit

  • Made in the United States
  • User-friendly
  • Not for experienced beekeepers who already have equipment
  • ban
    Very expensive
Help in the apiary

Help in the Apiary

Free

  • Free
  • Personal time together
  • check
    You get to learn about bees too!
  • May appear "cheap."
  • Time-consuming
  • ban
    More applicable to professional beekeepers than to many hobbyists

The Verdict

This article can't tell you which of these items is the right gift for your special apiarist; it can only give you a variety of potential gifts for beekeepers that are suitable for a range of budgets, experience levels, and personal styles. Simple gifts such as mugs and t-shirts are suitable for any level of beekeeper. Other gifts such as the honey flight and beekeeping suit require a little more knowledge of the recipient's tastes. Pick the one that shows the recipient that you not only care about them but that you care about their interests and passions. BEE creative!

How To Harvest Honey – Bees & Beekeeping Information

honey

How to harvest honey in the most efficient way?  This is arguably one of the most common questions of people who want to take up beekeeping as a hobby or something that they can turn into a lucrative business.

Having the right beekeeping tools is the key to make honey harvesting a pleasant and rewarding experience.  A good rule of thumb is to invest in high-quality, durable tools, which in the long run can save you money as opposed to buying cheap products with an equally cheap design.

This is not to say that you should spend tons of money to get your hands on the fanciest brands.  For starters, stick to basic beekeeping tools and just borrow expensive equipment such as the honey extractor from local beekeeping groups or colleagues.

Beekeeping, whether you see it as a hobby or a part of your homestead business, has a fairly affordable startup.  Starter kits, which include 1-2 hives and the basic tools, typically cost under $1,000.

Read on the step-by-step guideline on how to harvest honey.  We also include product reviews and recommendations so you will know the features and functions you have to look for.

1. How to Harvest Honey Safely: Wear Protective Clothing.

Wear Protective Clothing

Before you approach the hive, make sure you're in full battle gear.  For beginners, it always makes sense to invest in a durable beekeeping overall.  At a bare minimum, don a veiled hat and a pair of elbow-length gloves. Knowing how to harvest honey, and how to harvest honey safety is obviously essential to your well-being.

Beekeeping Suits with Veiled Hat

Gloves

2. How to Harvest Honey Quickly: Use Bee Escape 24 Hours Before Removing the Frames.

Bee Escape 24 Hours

While you can collect the frames right away, placing a bee escape between the honey super and brood chamber 1-2 days before you harvest can make it less stressful for your bees.  Also, make sure that you work on your hives between 9 am and 4 pm when they are busy foraging.

Many beekeepers only collect frames from honey supers and leave the brood chamber so the colony will have sufficient food especially during winter. Meanwhile, a bee escape is a piece of board with a small hole in the center that makes it easy for the bees to get out of the honey super and into the deeper box, but hard to climb back because of the mesh wire.  Just make sure that you insert it correctly.

Of course, before you place the bee escape between the honey super and the brood chamber, you should smoke the entrance first.  Remove the top and puff another round of smoke.  Smoke tricks them into thinking that a forest fire is nearby, prompting them to eat honey to prepare for possible relocation.

Ideally, you have to wait for a few minutes to give the bees enough time to gorge on the honey.  When full, they are significantly more docile.

Also, avoid over-smoking because you may taint the taste of your honey.

With a growing preference for a more natural beekeeping approach, bee escapes are becoming popular these days.  While some still use chemical repellants to collect frames straight away, take note that they are not just toxic but are also known to taint the taste of your honey.

Bee blower is another possible alternative although it comes with risks such as blowing away your queen.

3. Beekeeping Tools You'll Need

Beekeeping Tools

Smokers

Bee Escape

4. Return to the Hive.

Beekeeper harvesting honey

After 24 hours, return to the hive.  Use your smoker to force the remaining bees to get out of the honey super before you collect the frames.  A frame that is at least 75 percent capped (others prefer 90 percent capped surface) is ready for harvest.

Harvesting too soon--i.e., the surface of the frame is mostly uncapped--is not ideal because the high moisture content promotes fermentation.  And if the honey becomes fermented, this can be poisonous even to your bees.

Meanwhile, you can remove any bees that remain on the frames with a soft brush, which should be used sparingly to prevent over-agitating them.

During harvest, many professional beekeepers recommend keeping an empty deep or a plastic bucket at least 50 feet away from the hive.  While this means walking back and forth every time you pull out a frame, this prevents the bees from swarming around them.  Just cover them with a clean towel.

Another technique to "appease" the bees is to replace each frame right after you pull out one. (That's why it makes sense to buy extra frames.)

Beekeeping Tools You'll Need

Frames

Hive Tools

Honey Extractor

Uncapping Forks, Knives, and Rollers.

Honey Extractors

Sieve

5. Return  Frames to Your Hive

Bee Hive Frames

If you also collect wax (which you can turn into lip balms, candles, lotions, and a myriad of products), it still makes sense to return frames with "empty" wet comb so the bees can clean them out.  After a week, you can remove the empty, clean frames to store them.

How Bees Make Wax – Bees & Beekeeping Information

Honey bees live in self-manufactured, waxy combs that make up an entire hive. These hives serve as homes and repositories for their food supply (honey, nectar, and pollen) and eggs laid by their queen to produce the next generation of bees. The answer of how bees make wax was once a mystery until science unlocked the mechanics behind the process, revealing an alchemical transformation. This beneficial beeswax is used by bees, other animals, and humans as a food source, a financial tool, and in households and businesses around the world.

What Is Beeswax?

Beeswax

Beeswax is a complex substance bees secrete to manufacture and repair combs. These waxy combs are a series of interlocking hexagonal shaped tubes composed of fatty acids, hydrocarbons, and proteins.

How Bees Make Beeswax?

Bees Make Beeswax

The process of how bees make wax is complex and depends on many factors. In a bee colony, there are three types of bees:  the queen, the worker, and the drone. The queen mates and lays eggs. Drones are male bees whose sole function is to breed with the queen.

Finally, worker bees are sterile females who do everything, including taking care of and feeding the young, the queen, and the drones; producing wax to create and maintain the hive; cleaning the hive; gathering nectar and pollen; making honey and guarding the nest against enemies. Only young worker bees have wax glands. The oldest worker bees and the queen bee do not have wax glands.

Factors Necessary for Wax Production

Wax Gland Producing Stage

Nectar Gathering and Honey Conversion Stage

The Production of Wax

Temperature Necessary to Work Wax

The End Cycle of Wax Production

How is Beeswax Used?

Beeswax

Beeswax is used by bees, humans, and other creatures in many ways.

How Bees Use Beeswax

How Humans Use Beeswax

Benefits to the Skin

The following are Some of the Most Powerful Benefits of Beeswax:

Beeswax as a Food Product or Ingredient

Household Uses for Beeswax

Industrial Manufacturing Uses

Beeswax Used by Other Animals

Conclusion

The process of how bees make wax is complex, intensive, and time-consuming. But this natural and powerful product has benefited bees, animals, and humans for thousands of years. It is important to ensure the health and well-being of bees by planting flowers and plants they feed on, monitoring the kinds of toxic chemicals used in their environments, and educating people about the tremendous impact they have upon the planet. Their work of collecting nectar and pollen ensures the survival of various plant species and feeds generations of humans, animals, and other insects.

Bees are amazing, diligent, and tireless creatures. Thanks to their two great products, honey, and beeswax, billions of Earth's inhabitants can enjoy their products as a food source and financial resource to better their lives.

Top Bar Hive Plans Beekeeping Review And More

Top Bar Hive

There are not many people who don't enjoy the effects of natural honey. From its warm sweet taste to its medicinal properties, such as being a natural antihistamine, it is a benefit to all. And for those that have learned to keep bees, and then harvest both the honey and wax made, it has an added benefit. It is a hobby that can be very calming and soothing. There is nothing quite like connecting to nature in this way. However, to get involved in such an endeavor requires some decisions to be made. The first of which we are going to discuss in length. What type of hive should you get? There are quite a few options out there. And each has its advantages and disadvantages. The key is to find what is going to be the best for you and the plans you have for your hive. This review is to help you find out if top bar hive plans are for you.

Top Bar Hive Plan

Top Bar Beehive

Top Bar Hives (TBH) are beehives that are not generally referred to as the most widely used. That place belongs to the Langstroth bee hive plan. They are given this place for its design that makes the commercial and large-scale production of honey and crop pollination beekeeping relatively easy. We will discuss them later.  The Top Bar Hive plan is much different and therefore tends to be suited well for smaller operations and also the "all natural" beekeeper. Unlike the classic Langstroth, it highlights the use of top bars that sit horizontally and allow the bees to build a natural comb that hangs down from it.

Product Specs

Top Bar Hive plans can vary greatly. In fact, most Top Bar Hive owners build their own. While it may not be the most widely used throughout the US, the fact that it can be made by hand gives it an edge over the Langstroth in poorer and underdeveloped areas. They are normally horizontal rectangular wooden boxes with a cover that allows for easy access to the combs that are attached to the top bars that hang inside. It really does not take a lot of woodworking skills to accomplish a well put together hive. Nor does it require expensive or hard to come by materials. They can be made from commonly found materials at any hardware or DIY store and put together rather simply.

There are essentially two different types of these plans: the Kenyan and the Tanzanian. Both are relatively the same just with differing side walls. The Kenyan has side walls that are sloping downward while the Tanzanian has square or vertical ones. This makes the Tanzanian design easier to build and is also why it is so popular in third world countries. However, studies show that the bees are usually less likely to attach their honey combs to the sloping sides of the Kenyan as they are to the sides of its sister hive.

If you are planning on harvesting any serious amount of honey from your top bar hive, there are a few specifications you should keep in mind. Bees will, without question, construct their comb in whatever shape or size of home that you give them. With that being said you do not want to make your hive too small and risk them not making enough honey for it to be worthwhile to you. Nor do you want to make it so large that removing a top bar and the comb attached to it becomes too difficult or risk breaking the comb. Most top bar hive plans recommend making the box wide and shallow to allow for easy handling and at least 40" long to ensure you get a good supply of honey.

There are pre-built top bar hives that can be purchased though various websites if you don't think you are up to the task of constructing your own.

Pricing

Because top bar hive plans can be constructed on your own and from various materials, the price of one could be no more than what you believe your time is worth if you already have material. If not, then what it costs you to build one could be anything from a few dollars at the local hardware store to a couple hundred, depending on the exact type of materials you decide to use. There is the option to buy a prefabricated one online somewhere. These tend to be around $300 for a good-sized one made from quality materials. Unless you have a lot of other beekeepers in your area, you will probably be hard-pressed to find a ready-made model for sale in close proximity.

How it Compares

We picked a couple of similar products available on the market to see how they compare.


COLIBROX--Top Bar Bee Hive with 12 Top Bars Backyard Bee Keeping Hive...
  • PERFECT QUALITY--A brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging (where packaging is...
  • A new, unused item with absolutely no signs of wear. The item may be missing the original packaging, or in the original...
  • An item that has been professionally restored to working order by a manufacturer or manufacturer-approved vendor. This...

Weight

One of the best things about top bar hive plans is that there is no heavy lifting involved. Honeybees and honey can be rather heavy. With a top bar hive, you have only to lift the cover off to access the bars and combs. The bar, made of a single 1 1/2" board and the attached comb combined are going to top out at about 15, maybe 20 pounds. With most other designs, such as the Langstroth, in order to access a certain comb, you must first lift off the other combs housed in frames that sit on top of it. There could be as many as eight or nine other frames on top. So that is somewhere around 100 lbs that you may have to lift.


Access

Because top bars are horizontal hives, they can be placed at a height that is convenient for you, without bending over or using a step stool. Also, they can be made with a window on various sides to allow you to see inside and check on them without bothering the bees and exposing them unnecessarily. When you do need to open the hive to retrieve a comb or fix something, there is always somewhat of a roof made by the other bars over the bees unless you decide to remove them all. This allows them not to feel as frenzied or bothered.


Simplistic Design

This hive plan is simpler and requires fewer materials to build than others, making it the obvious choice for those with fewer resources or DIY enthusiasts. It also is the choice for those that are interested in more natural beekeeping practices. There is no way to use a foundation, queen excluders or drone frames with the TBH.

Price

Generally $100-$500

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Warranty

Pros

  • No heavy lifting involved
  • Can be placed at a height that is convenient for you
  • Simpler and requires fewer materials to build than others

Cons

  • Difficult to get replacement parts or pieces that will fit into the hive without having them made beforehand for that exact purpose.  
  • Lack Of Comb Support
  • Experience​​​​/Difficulty
    That brings us to another potential downside. 

Busy Bee's -n- More Complete 8 Frame Langstroth Bee Hive includes...
  • Includes 16 High Quality Pine Brood Frames (9-9/16" x 19")
  • Includes 8 High Quality Pine Super Frames (6-5/8" x 19")
  • 24 Food Grade Plastic Foundations, Coated with Real Bee's Wax

As we mentioned before, the Langstroth is probably the most commonly used hive. Popular enough that most people, upon seeing one, know exactly what it is. Most other hive plans are questioned about as to what they are and how they are used. Langstroth's design is to house the combs in frames as opposed to one top bar for more support. These are placed in a box with a cover. As your hive grows, you can simply add another box on top. As they are so popular, you can find this pre-made from a variety of manufacturers and the parts are all interchangeable and easy to get replacements for. This makes it very easy to use and keeps assembly time to the very minimum. There are several brands and models to go with, most being very similar to to exchange parts easily. All are made of wood of some variation, so do your research to make sure you are getting quality. The price on the Langstroth can vary greatly depending on the size you get and if there are any additions to it such as frames with foundations and FlowHive technology.

Price

Generally $100-$500

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Warranty

Pros

  • Lots of options when it comes to maintenance practices
  • Compact design makes it easy to transport
  • Equipment and information is ready-made and easy to obtain

Cons

  • Heavy to lift without help
  • Every time you have to do anything with the hive you end up disturbing the bees.
  • Do not follow the natural building habits of bees.

The Warre beehive is a combination of the Langstroth and the top bar. While it is built with boxes that stack vertically, like the Langstroth, the boxes house top bars not frames.  The top bars are smaller than those not used for a Warre hive. It is also important to note that Warre has not just a cover, but a roof with a box built underneath that holds wood shavings. When you want to add a box, do so from the bottom instead of the top as you would with a Langstroth. Like the Langstroth to do any removing or checking in the bottom boxes you first have to take off the upper ones. While not quite as popular as the Langstroth they are still easier to find pre-made than the Top Bar, and they are fairly simple to construct as well, although, there are many more parts to put in place. The Warre is made from wood, and so are the others that we have covered.

Price

Generally $100-$500

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Warranty

Pros

  • Closer to nature in design
  • Inexpensive to build
  • Boxes are smaller and therefore lighter than the Langstroth

Cons

  • Boxes can be heavy to lift
  • Yields less honey than Langstroth
  • Top bars don't offer much support to the comb

Conclusion

After researching this and other types of beehives, we have found that we really like several aspects of the top bar hive. In light of recent problems with diminishing bee populations around the globe, we encourage those who can, to start their own hive and begin your love affair with bees. They are indeed fascinating creatures and offer so many benefits to everyone. However, it is important to get a hive that suits your needs and the needs of the bees. This is one reason that we can recommend the top bar hive for those who are really looking for a more natural approach to beekeeping. This hive allows bees to construct their comb in their own unique way as they would in the wild. It also allows for easy management of the bees without interrupting them more than necessary. We think the top bars are worth looking into for yourself whether you are just starting out with bees or you are looking for something a little different from the norm that gives you more natural options.

Can Bees See Red – Bees & Beekeeping Information

Can Bees See Red

Have you ever wondered; can bees see red? You might never have thought about a question like this unless you've raised bees yourself and got the idea to paint their hives in different colors like I did. Last summer, I painted my Langstroth hives different colors just for a little variety. I used the colors of wildflowers in my area; blue, yellow, violet, and white.

Can Bees See Red?

Can Bees See Red
  • I'd heard somewhere that bees can't see the color red, so I avoided using it. But it got me wondering whether or not what I'd heard was true. After doing a little research, I was fascinated by what I discovered. However you've come to have this question yourself, the answer may surprise you.

Color Connections

colors: human vs. bees
  • Some animals see fewer colors than we can, and some, like birds, can see more colors than human beings. The way animals see varies widely depending on how they are adapted.
  • Whether you're a bee, a human, or any other creature, you can see objects around you because of the light reflected off of those objects. The reflected light enters the eye, the photoreceptors in the eye absorb that light and then it's interpreted as color by the brain.
  • Human beings can see light in a range of different colors. But we have only three photoreceptors in our eye. These receptors can perceive red, blue, and green. The reason that you and I can see more than just these colors is that other colors are created by combinations of the three primary colors in our brains.
  • Forumbee
    Bees have the same number of photoreceptors, but they see in different colors. Their trichromatic eyes allow them to see blue and green, just like us, but instead of red, they can see in ultraviolet.
  • Forumbee
    So how do we know this? Because bees play such a vital role in growing the food we eat, our little black and yellow friends have been observed by beekeepers for centuries. But it was Karl Von Frisch who applied scientific methods to his experimentation with bees that unveiled hidden knowledge about how bees see.

'Beecause' of Science

Can Bees See Red
  • It's thanks to the valiant efforts of Von Frisch, studying honeybees and their behavior, that humans have come to confirm that bees use their capacity to see color to help them find flowers to pollinate.
  • In 1915, Frisch conducted experiments using cards of different colors. He placed bee food on a card then removed the food in later trials to see if the bees would return to the same-colored card where the food had been.
  • Answering the question, "can bees see red?" he found the bees returned to the cards in all the colors he tested except for one: red. Frisch concluded that this color was outside of the bees' ability to perceive.
  • Forumbee
    So, when answering the question, "can bees see red,"  a red object won't appear invisible; they'll still see something is there. However, to a bee, red is indistinguishable from black. This conclusion was made from the results of a study decades later by Professor Kahn on the wavelengths of light visible to bees. The results of this study lead us to understand that while red and infrared were imperceptible, bees can see in the ultraviolet spectrum, unlike humans.

The Advantages Of Ultraviolet

Can Bees See Red
  • So why can bees see in ultraviolet but humans can't? One clue has to do with the way that this adaptation is useful to bees' survival. To state the obvious flowers are colorful. But to a bee, there's even more to see.
  • In addition to seeing subtle differences in the shade of flower petals, which look different depending on their nectar content, bees can read the places on a flower where the most nectar can be harvested. This is why it's a useful survival skill for a bee to distinguish between leaves, which hold no nectar, and flowers which do.
  • Not only is seeing in color useful to bees but being able to see in ultraviolet is especially useful because there are actually ultraviolet patterns on the flower. They're invisible to us, but to bees, they're like runway lights that guide them to the sweet nectar inside flower bulbs.
  • Forumbee
    To a human, a white flower is a white flower. But consider how different those white flowers look from one bee to another to, which can see that each has a unique UV signature. These are unique enough that a bee can pick out one specific flower in an entire field even if they're of the same variety.
  • Forumbee
    UV isn't just crucial for use in finding flowers; it can play a role in how bees behave too. In experiments which isolated bees from sources of UV light, scientists discovered that their subjects lost interest in leaving the hive in search of nectar even after they began to starve.

The Eyes Have It

Can Bees See Red
  • Because their unique eyes are such a useful adaptation, bees can pick up these signals much more quickly than we humans can. Imagine you're looking at a field of gorgeous wildflowers on a spring day. You probably wouldn't be able to distinguish between the individual flowers because there are too many of them. But for a bee, it's no issue.
  • Bees can pick out a color faster than any other creature that we know of. They can distinguish between flowers while flying even if they only see a brief flicker of movement. If you've ever tried to swat at a bee only to have it easily evade you, you've seen this quick perception of movement in action. Their compound eyes help them see 280 degrees at once.
  • In addition to their two large compound eyes, bees also have three smaller eyes at the top of their heads called occeli. It's the occeli that help the bees see in ultraviolet, in addition to helping them keep an up-down orientation while flying. Since there's more light coming from above than below, it helps them distinguish the sky from the ground.
  • Forumbee
    Even when there's no sun to see by, bees can still use their incredible compound eyes to help them find their way home again. Sunlight is diffused, but polarized light, which isn't perceivable by humans, is super-focused. These invisible beams in the sky help bees to reorient and return home wherever they are.

Why Bees Matter

Can Bees See Red
  • So we've answered the question, "can bees see red,", but does this matter? While it might seem like a trivial detail to know that a bee can't see red, understanding how bees see is incredibly important.
  • Some animals rely on senses other than sight, so they don't need sophisticated eyes, but bees rely on sight to navigate. This means that they need to be able to see in order to pollinate. This matters immensely not just for those of us interested in raising bees and cultivating honey. So many of the crops we take for granted would simply be impossible to grow without bees.
  • Have you had an apple today? How about some sliced cucumber on your salad? I like to keep a bag of almonds nearby for munching on throughout the day. These and many other agricultural products, including avocados, onions, grapefruit, etc. would be impossible without bees.
  • Forumbee
    A study of bees and their cumulative impact on the economy estimated that bees contribute nearly $15 billion annually to the U.S. economy because of all the produce which is dependent upon them. This makes the decline of bee populations potentially devastating not only to farmers but also consumers who rely on these foods every day.

How To See Like A Bee

Can Bees See Red
  • Early attempts to capture how bees see the world using technology used a single camera to approximate the bee's field of vision. But this one-camera model was thrown out in favor of one that more closely resembled a bee's compound vision by using thousands of tiny lenses and mirrors. Cameras like these give us a general idea of the colors bees can perceive and what the world looks like to them.
  • Technology that can be used to see how the way bees do has wide-reaching potential. Far more than just a novelty, this information could be used to create a failsafe if the number of honey bees drops precipitously. Without bees, we may be stuck using technology to try to replace the role they play in food production.
  • That's no easy task when you consider just how sophisticated bees are at pollinating. Thanks to adaptations over millions of years, bees are incredibly adept at finding flowers to pollinate, and they can do so even in very windy conditions. Can you imagine a fleet of human-designed drone robots simultaneously doing all the same tasks that bees do as efficiently?
  • Forumbee
    Of course, even without honey bees, there are still natural pollinators that we can rely on. Hummingbirds are the most adroit pollen collectors among all species of birds. And just like other birds they can see in a range of colors, including red. For this reason, they often have red flowers all to themselves since these are less often disturbed by bees looking for nectar.