The best hive
Do you wish to study the bee while it is living and going about its work? To do this, you will not only need a hive with windows, but also one that you can study at will in all its nooks and corners. In this case, it is the framed hive that is needed, and also the frames of this hive should be moveable at will. It is necessary that the frames be openable, like the pages of a book.
It is a hive of this kind that Francis Hubert used for his famous observations.
This hive is expensive and there is no profit from it.
It is a sacrifice for science.
On the other hand, would you like to obtain from your hive honey that is guaranteed natural and less costly than that at the grocers? Would you like to start a cultural activity that nourishes you and your family? In this case, you will need a hive that is less expensive, a hive whose management demands less work from you, whose honey simply costs less. Then only a hive with fixed combs will give you this result.
Reasons for this advice
This advice might appear rash in view of the large number of framed hives of all systems that are on offer and used by beekeepers.
Reflect on this fact. Which are the modern hives that have not been abandoned after some years of experience? Those of schoolteachers, of vicars, etc. who have spare time not devoted to other things. And those of beekeepers who have known and been able to combine with their apiary some kind of business such as constructing hives, making confectionery, etc.
All the other apiaries disappear quickly because they do not feed their owner.
Moreover, it is not necessary to make a comparative study of modern hives to account for their lack of value. It would be costly, as we have said. It is sufficient to calculate what it costs to install them, what time is required in their management in order to be able to conclude, without even being a beekeeper, that their product necessarily costs too much. The cost of framed hives and their
accessories can be found in the catalogues of the manufacturers. We will not take up our time with them. We shall only consider the number of hours work that each system requires.
Number of systems
The number of types of hive continues to increase. They remove a centimetre here and add one there. They take the frames through all geometric forms and advertise a new hive which will assure, better than others, that the beekeeper will make a fortune. This begins by increasing the capital outlay, as all these modifications generally increase the cost of the hive. In any case, they do not constitute a new system because they are not based on an essential apicultural principle.
But many beekeepers are obsessed with invention. They have to change something on the hives that they own.
Even the Peoples Hive [Warre Hive, Tr.] has already been a victim of the inventors. They say they are improving it. But the improvements I have heard of are useless, some are harmful, and a few absurd.
In fact all the commercial hives can be divided into four systems: the Dadant hive, the Voirnot, the Layens and the skep.