The 7 Best Bee Hive Kits

Updated October 24, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

7 Best Bee Hive Kits
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Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Over the past few years, bees have been dying all over the world at an alarming rate. Be a part of the solution with one of these beehive kits, which allow you to start your own colony and collect not just delicious golden honey, but also harvest beeswax and royal jelly, or simply let the little buzzers pollinate your orchard or farm. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best bee hive kit on Amazon.

7. Legacy DIY Starter Kit

The best thing about the Legacy DIY Starter Kit, aside from the honey it helps you produce, is the fact that it's not all that DIY, as it arrives 100% assembled and ready for you to start using. If you do need help, they've got a support hotline available on weekdays.
  • helpful dvd and instructional guide
  • scraper and brush included
  • expensive for a small kit
Brand Legacy
Model LRS 10-F961
Weight 37.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Honey Keeper Complete

The Honey Keeper Complete comes with a total of 20 frames between its two stackable boxes, offering plenty of room to get you started. It includes a solid bottom board, an entrance reducer, and a queen excluder, but no gloves or other gear to keep you protected.
  • preassembled metal roof
  • includes all assembly hardware
  • large frames may be a bit loose
Brand Honey Keeper
Model pending
Weight 48.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. BuildaBeehive Deluxe Starter Kit

The BuildaBeehive Deluxe Starter Kit comes with everything a budding beekeeper needs except for the black and yellow critters themselves, from the veil to two 8-frame cabinets. Once it's put together, you'll be enjoying homegrown honey in no time.
  • reversible entrance reducer
  • guidebook for beginners
  • assembly isn't very straightforward
Model M59801-Deluxe
Weight pending
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

4. Mann Lake HK160

The Mann Lake HK160 provides a basic infrastructure for your buzzing friends to colonize. Each of its 10 frames is laid with a waxed plastic RiteCell foundation, which aids in acceptance. Note that it does not include gloves, a veil, a smoker, or other necessary tools.
  • can be stacked to make larger hive
  • comes fully assembled
  • wood requires finishing
Brand Mann Lake
Model HK160
Weight 36.7 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

3. Apimaye Langstroth

While the Apimaye Langstroth may look like a toy due to its all-plastic construction, it's actually a highly advanced way to start your colony. It's lightweight and insulated to withstand cold weather, helping more of your bees survive the winter.
  • top feeding port
  • slide-out screened bottom board
  • 20 plastic snap-in frames
Brand Apimaye
Model Ergo
Weight 58.3 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Flow Classic

The Flow Classic is expensive, but it's designed for maximum ease of use, so that may be a compromise you're willing to make. It comes flat-packed and ready to assemble, and once it's populated, extracting honey is as easy as inserting the included key.
  • honey flows through six clear taps
  • extraction doesn't disturb the bees
  • high quality cedar construction
Brand Flow
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Mann Lake HK110

The Mann Lake HK110 comes with just about everything you need to establish a healthy, thriving colony, including a helpful manual called "Starting Right With Bees." It also includes a sturdy dome-topped smoker, a pair of leather gloves, and a handy veil for protection.
  • painted wooden ten-frame box
  • telescoping metal cover
  • great for first timers
Brand Mann Lake
Model HK110
Weight 42.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Reasons To Own A Bee Hive Kit

There are many reasons to own a bee hive kit. Even in an urban area, the amount of reciprocity experienced from housing a colony of your own is well worth the investment. The most obvious reason to care for a bee hive is honey. Bees create honey through foraging.

The process begins when forager bees drink the nectar from flowers and then transfer it to house bees. These house bees then add enzymes to the nectar, and place the liquid into the honeycomb. Bees fan their wings to evaporate the liquid in the honey.

Once it reaches a water content of around eighteen percent, the honey is capped off with wax and stored for later use or harvested by a beekeeper. Beekeepers must be certain they only harvest honey that the bees are not using, however. Taking too much honey from a hive can cause them to die off during the winter months due to lack of food.

Pollination is also another deciding factor in owning a bee hive kit. Many plants require external pollination. Bees are the largest pollinators on the planet, moving from flower to flower collecting and distributing pollen on their hind legs.

Many people choose to own a bee hive kit to make a positive impact on their environment. Bees have a huge impact on the planet, and require little from it in return. While many worry over the effects of colony collapse disorder, others do something about it and acquire a bee hive kit. Colony collapse disorder is much less likely to happen in a private hive, as exposure to many contributing factors is limited.

The other byproducts of caring for a bee hive are fascinating as well. Things like propolis, royal jelly, and beeswax are all used in natural health products. Raw honey and hive byproducts have been used as skin care treatments, immune system boosters, antioxidants, allergy relievers, and anti-microbial agents.

How Important Are Bee Hive Kits?

Providing bees with a new home in your bee hive kit is not only beneficial to you, it protects bees as well. Colony collapse disorder, or CCD, is a worrying factor for bee hives. CCD occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony leave behind the queen, nurse bees, and all the food in their hive. This abandonment destroys the hive and reproduction rates, and the worker bees die without a home. Colony collapse disorder is a substantial threat to humans as well, as bees pollinate around one third of global crops.

Colony collapse disorder seems to have peaked in the winter of 2006-2007, with some beekeepers reporting losing up to 90 percent of their hives in one winter. Checking agricultural records from the last century yields little evidence of past occurrences of CCD. Occasional disappearances or dying colonies have been observed for centuries, but nothing of this magnitude.

There is a link between certain pesticides like neonicotinoids and high rates of bee death. This leads many people to postulate that these pesticides cause CCD. While this cannot necessarily prove causality, it is an influential factor. Colonies exposed to neonicotinoids at high levels experience high mortality rates.

Even at sub-lethal levels, exposure to these pesticides impaired honey bees winterization process before leading to CCD. Affected bees mainly showed signs of cognitive impairment. This may explain the strange behavior of abandoning a queen and all of their food, though is not the only proposed reason. Others believe that exposure to certain environmental pesticides may increase the colony's vulnerability to varroa mites, causing them to abandon an infested hive. There are also links between bee health and certain microbes, such as the Israeli acute paralysis virus.

A regularly cleaned personal bee hive kit keeps a colony exposed to as few pathogens and pesticides as possible, and may help reduce rates of CCD from all sources.

Starting Out Right With A Bee Hive

Starting out a new hive can be a painstaking experience. The window to capture a swarm is relatively low, and bees can be picky. It is important to know how to start out right. After purchasing a bee hive kit, the largest hurdle you will come across is where to get bees. Collecting honeybees one by one will not prove fruitful, but luckily there are some tried and true ways to get bees into your hive.

The best method to start out a hive is to catch a swarm of feral bees with the help of an experienced beekeeper. Wild bees are more likely to survive, have been exposed to less medications, and are more effective pollinators than captive bees. Feral bees from the local area are also well adapted to the environment. The chance of a local wild hive encountering adversities they cannot adapt to is much lower.

If feral bees are not an option, many beekeepers experience success through using a simple bait and trap method. During the swarm season, bees are on the lookout for new places to build their hives. When both of these options do not work, many people simply buy bees through the mail and experience great success.

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Last updated on October 24, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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