Want to enjoy the beautiful buzz of bees among your blooms? Interested in gathering delicious honey? Concerned about colony collapse disorder? All of these are good reasons to begin keeping bees. Before your bees arrive, however, you have some prep work to do. The first item you need, even before your bees, is a home hive for your new charges: a bee box.

Beehives of various sorts have been around for hundreds of years, and today, with the recent explosion in apiary interest, there are more choices than ever. As a beginning beekeeper, how do you choose?

We looked at ten different bee box options on the market suitable for the first time apiarist and rendered our opinion below.

Our choice is The Complete Bee Hive Kit by Mann Lake, which comes already assembled and ready to go, including wax in the frames, and is a bargain at $$$. All you need to do is add bees and begin enjoying your new adventure.


Best Bee Box Comparison Table

Bee Box FAQ

1. What Is A Bee Box?

A bee box is an artificial hive for keeping honeybees.

2. What Does A Bee Box Do?   

A bee box gives your bees a home, an artificial hive that allows them to live their natural life cycle while maximizing honey production and access.

3. How Does A Bee Box Work? 

A bee box provides bees a place for the queen bee to lay eggs, a place for the eggs to be incubated, and areas specifically for storing honey, which is accessible to beekeepers. 

4. Where Can You Buy Them?  

The best selection of bee boxes can be found at internet retailers, including specialty apiarist retailers.

5. What's The Difference Between The Different Kinds Of Beehives?  

Langstroth hives, invented in Massachusetts around 170 years ago, are the first hive design with removable frames, giving beekeepers an easier way to inspect the hive. A Langstroth bee box has a bottom board, topped by one of two deep supers, one or two honey supers, the frames, an inner cover, and an outer cover. Boxes are added to the top.

Warré hives were developed in the early 1900s by a French pastor and boast a more natural design which needs less management from the beekeeper. These hives are smaller than Langstroth hives, square and not rectangular, and boxes are added to the bottom.

Top-bar hives are at least hundreds of years old, if not older. These hives are truly simple and without a foundation. Inside a top-bar, wax hangs from wooden slats to encourage bees to create combs.

Little Giant Farm & Ag MEDBOX10 Honey Super Hive Frame

How We Reviewed

We considered several qualities in our assessment of the best bee boxes for beginners. First, we looked at whether the hive could be used with industry-standard equipment, and how easy it would be to add frames. We also wanted to choose products where it was easy to harvest the honey.  Temperature control and airflow are also important as well as protection from the weather.

We also noted that bee boxes need regular maintenance, and it's important that the bees be disturbed as little as possible. A hive should also be set up to encourage production of honey and young bees.

 

Set up, of course, is important because no one wants to face a difficult assembly job when they just want to get their bees and get started. The materials should also be of good quality, and as much as possible, included. 

 

Overall Price Range Of This Product (And Similar Products)

$$ - $$$

What We Reviewed

  • Happybuy Beehive 20 Frame Bee Hive 10 Deep and 10 Medium Frames Beehive Box
  • Arboria 10 Frame Deep Hive Box
  • Honey Keeper Beehive 20 Frame Complete Box
  • Complete Bee Hive Kit
  • Official Flow Hive Classic Cedar 6 Frame
  • Goodland Bee Supply Complete GL4STACK 4 Tier Bee Hive Kit
  • Ware Manufacturing Home Harvest Beehive
  • SummerHawk Ranch 34991 Backyard Beehive
  • Mophorn Beehive Box 20 Frame Beehive Complete Beehive Kit
  • VIVO Complete Beekeeping 20 Frame Beehive Box Kit


 

Features 

The Happybuy Beehive kit includes everything you need to build a Langstroth bee box, down to the nails. Wooden pieces fit together with pre-cut joints. The box itself is premium fir while the frames are white pine. The frames include hexagonal foundation surfaces. The rooftop, which telescopes, is constructed of galvanized metal for protection from the weather. An inner cover provides ventilation and another entrance while the entrance reducer and bottom board keep predators and other insects out.

The result is a 20 frame hive, with 10 medium frames, and ten deep. The hive super has one medium and one deep box.

Pros

  • Everything is included
  • Quality materials

Cons

  • Assembly required
  • More expensive than others reviewed
  • Price
  • Where To Buy
  • Parameters

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$$.

Features 

This ten frame Langstroth style bee box can be used as an initial bee box for the beginning apiarist or to expand a hive. The 3/4 inch Western Red cedar plank construction is long lasting with finger joints at the corners. The natural tannins in the wood resist deterioration. Natural variation in the wood does not affect the sturdiness of the hive. This item is easy to assemble, with pre-drilled holes ready to secure the joint corners, but not everything is included, such as a bottom board, lid, hardware, and queen and entrance excluders.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Customization possibilities

Cons

  • Bottom boards and lid not included
  • Hardware not included
  • Budget cedar used
  • Price
  • Where To Buy
  • Parameters

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$.

Features 

The Langstroth style Honey Keeper bee box offers 20 frames, 10 deep and ten medium, in two stackable boxes. The kit includes all necessary wooden pieces, including a solid bottom piece, hardware, an already assembled telescoping metal roof, an inner cover, a queen excluder, and an entrance excluder. The hive super is made from premium fir wood with white pine frames and a galvanized metal roof. The frames included hexagonal foundation surfaces. 

Pros

  • Everything is included
  • Easy to assemble
  • Expandable

Cons

  • Assembly required
  • Expensive
  • Price
  • Where To Buy
  • Parameters

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$$.

Features

The Complete Bee Hive Kit by Mann Lake comes completely assembled and ready to be inhabited. This complete pine bee box is made in the USA and includes the hive body with ten frames already waxed with RiteCell foundation. The hive also has a solid bottom board, entrance reducer, and telescoping roof with an inner cover. The box is unpainted and ready to finish. 

Pros

  • Arrives assembled
  • Expandable
  • Foundations already waxed
  • Good price

Cons

  • N/A
  • Price
  • Where To Buy
  • Parameters

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$$.

Features 

The Official Flow Hive is a unique and innovative new hive designed to allow beekeepers to remove honey from the hive without hurting any bees. Once the flow key is inserted in the frame and turned, honey should flow easily from the hive into the jar. This reduces stress on the bees and stings to the beekeeper as well as the work involved in extracting honey from frames.

Hive supers are built from Western Red Cedar. The interiors are made from food-grade, BPS and BPA free plastics to keep honey pure and bees healthy. The Flow hive also includes observation windows, a gabled roof, and a pest management screened bottom board.

Pros

  • Honey can be easily removed from the hive
  • High-quality materials
  • Attractive design
  • Observation windows

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Assembly required
  • Price
  • Where To Buy
  • Parameters

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$$.

Features 

Goodland Bee Supply's four-tier bee box gives beginner beekeepers a chance to make a bigger jump into the apiarist's hobby with 40 frames in four stacks. This bee box kit arrives ready to be assembled with the outer structure being made of kiln-dried pine and includes a telescoping hive cover, and an inner cover. The kit includes two large brood body boxes, two super top boxes, 20 small and 20 large frames, and accompanying Pierco, pre-waxed black plastic foundations. The box also includes a bottom board, a queen excluder, and entrance reducer.

Pros

  • Large size
  • Pre-waxed foundations

Cons

  • Price
  • Assembly required
  • May be too large for beginners
  • Price
  • Where To Buy
  • Parameters

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$$.

Features

The expandable Home Harvest Beehive Warré hive, made from durable and insect resistant white-stained cedar, is a different type of bee box than the more common Langstroth. This Warré hive features a peaked roof, to deflect rainwater, adjustable airflow ventilation to regulate the hive temperature, and two observation windows.
 
 The Home Harvest bee box is expandable with the ability to add new boxes below the first one, instead of on the top as in a Langstroth hive.

Pros

  • Two observation windows
  • Adjustable ventilation
  • Cedar construction

Cons

  • Assembly required
  • On expensive side
  • Price
  • Where To Buy
  • Parameters

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$$.

Features

The SummerHawk Ranch bee box describes itself as a modern beehive for the modern beekeeper. This hive is made from teak, offers a viewing window on the back of the deep super, a screened bottom board, eight wood frames, and a plastic foundation. The bottom has notches set to secure the box to a hive stand (sold separately). A commercial quality corrugated metal telescoping hive roof with a run-off gutter complete the structure. Supers can be added as the hive grows.

Pros

  • Observation window
  • Teak construction

Cons

  • Assembly required
  • Price
  • Where To Buy
  • Parameters

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$$.

Features

The Mophorn bee box is a classic Langstroth beehive offering a total of 20 frames, 10 medium, and 10 deep. The frames include unwaxed hexagonal foundations. The box is made of high-quality fir, with a galvanized metal telescoping roof as well as an entrance reducer, bottom board, a queen excluder, and inner cover.

Pros

  • Complete kit
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Assembly required
  • Price
  • Where To Buy
  • Parameters

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$$

Features 

The VIVO Beehive Box Kit offers all the basics needed to keep bees. The New Zealand soft pine parts fit tightly together and can be assembled by anyone. This product includes frames, super, telescoping, metal roof, a queen excluder, 10 deep and 10 medium frames with hexagonal surface foundation sheets, inner cover, bottom board, and all hardware. 

Pros

  • Everything included
  • Good Price

Cons

  • Assembly required
  • Price
  • Where To Buy
  • Parameters

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$$.

The Verdict

For a beginner, I think simple and straightforward is the best. While the Official Flow Hive Classic Cedar 6 Frame bee box could be an excellent purchase for a more serious apiarist, the price tag ($700)  leaves it out of the running for most people just starting out. Goodland Bee Supply Complete GL4STACK 4 Tier Bee Hive Kit, with 40 frames, is also a big step for a beginner, literally, with 40 frames. The price tag is less than half that of the Flow Hive ($295), but it seems like it could overwhelm the inexperienced hobbyist.

 

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