Albuquerque Beekeepers

Urban beekeeping in New Mexico's largest city.

What type of bee hive is recommended for someone just starting out ?

Langstroth, Top Bar, Warre or Other ?

I am planning to start 2 hives in the spring of 2015 - I'll be reading, researching and hopefully getting some hands on experience with bees this coming season.

Thanks - Sam

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O Sam that is like asking on a truck forum if Ford or Chevy is better.

Any way around here there is good support and knowledge of both Lang and Topbar.  For the most part anything you can do with one you can do with the other though somethings are in slight favor for each. 

Lang's are probably a little lower maint, can be heavy depending on the set up, lots of pre-made stuff aval

TB can be a little easier on the back, can be bought but frequently a built it your self project.  If you do build a TB I would suggest sticking with the dimensions of the TJ Carr or Les Crowder plans.  That way you can swap comb/bars with others if need be.

At the last beeks meeting a gentleman had some good info about both maybe he would share his power point with you.

I would say go visit someone who likes each and ask alot of questions, read and then decide which is best for you.

Both can accommodate most needs.  I tried one of each and it was ok, but couldn't swap stuff between them and needed parts for both types.  I would recommend picking one type initially, you can always change later.

Yeah, I know that's a loaded question, but I'm new to bees and can fall back on that fact if needed ;)

I was at the 1st Abq. Beeks meeting and did hear the presentation of comparison and I know I need to get around both types of hives to start to formulate a plan for my own hives in a year. One type of hive I don't get a lot of feed back on , however, are the Warre hives. I've been having a "lively" discussion with Bob Darlington on the NM Beekeepers FB Group page but not a lot of other knowledge about the Warre hive.

We'll see what shapes up for my beekeeping philosophy as the year goes on but I thought I would throw this out there and see what came back.

Thanks for your response. ~Sam

I just finished reading "The thinking beekeeper : a guide to natural beekeeping" by Christy Hemenway.  While a focus of the book is Top Bar hives and contrasting them with Langstroth she does spend about two pages on Warre hives.  Her opinion is that they are not a good choice because of the heavy lifting that must be done to add more space to the bottom of the hive.  Also she states that the top-bars used in the Warre hive are nailed in place and thus not easily removable for inspections.  

Just one small data point, but it might help you.  I'm new to beekeeping too and I'm going to try building some top bar hives for this spring.


I placed a hold for that same book at the library earlier this week - looking forward to reading it.

I've seen the addition of boxes to the warre and not real sure about the statement of being too heavy to lift. In fact I've heard the same issue from many people about Langs. From what I've learned the heavy lifting issue is/is not found in both . The TB does not appear to have any lifting at all ; + for the TB there. There are a few ways around "nailing" the top bars in a warre from what I've seen; there are spacers that allow them to stay in place but not nailed and then there is a "modified warre" that employs actual frames. Lots to learn for me this year. Not set on a hive so far, although the warre is very interesting for the philosophy behind it and in my very initial assessment, it seems to be a cross between Langs and TB's.


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