The choice of hive
The second difficulty for the novice beekeeper is choosing a hive, i.e. knowing how he is going to house his bees.
There are many different systems of hive and all have their enthusiasts and opponents.
This difficulty can be overcome. And here is how.
Do not try to experiment
It is not unusual to hear the novice deciding as follows: I will try out two or three of the most fashionable systems, study them, and see which is best.
But life is short, especially active life. Unless you are especially privileged, you will not be able to reach a definite conclusion.
To test different hives, they need to be studied in the same apiary, under the same management, with a minimum of between ten and twelve hives in each system, over a period of ten years. Put another way, it is necessary that these hives be in an identical situation and that they will give a true average.
But after these ten years they may observe that a particular system is perfect in winter, for example, and another is better in summer. They will thus devise a single hive system that combines all the advantages of the two systems studied previously. And they will study this new hive system for another ten years. After this second study they may realise that they have a hive that is perfect for the bees, answering all their needs, but poor for the beekeeper because it needs far too much attention. Would they then try a new ten-year experiment? Could they?
As amateurs do such experiments, they get great satisfaction. Such experiments have provided even myself with many enjoyable hours.
Those who wish to produce, or have to, would do well to avoid them.
Hive systems studied in my apiaries: 1. Duvauchelle hive. 2. Voirnot hive, semi-double, run as two colonies of eight frames. 3. 10-frame Voirnot hive. 4. Dadant-Blatt hive. 5. Layens hive, run as two colonies of 9 frames with a super. 6. 12-frame Layens hive with a super.
Hive systems studied in my apiaries (continued): 7. 9-frame Layens hive. 8. 12-frame Jarry hive, warm-way. 9. 30x40, shallow, 10-frame Congres hive. 10. 30x40, shallow, 8-frame Congres hive. 11. The peoples hive [Warre hive, Tr.] with moveable frames. 12. The peoples hive with fixed comb (one
of the prototypes).