Hive types

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A hive type is an enclosured structure in which honey bees are housed by apiarists. Every hive type has its own characteristics. On the one hand, traditional hives do not need special skills to build them, have low starting costs and are often made of simple, locally available materials. On the other hand, they have also disadvantages: the bee management is difficult (inspecting, harvesting, disease prophylaxis, adding supplementary food, …), hives are more susceptible against external environmental stress (climate conditions, pests and predators, …), the yield of honey bee products is often lower compared to modern types, and some hive types are even destructive to the surrounding forests (e.g. bark hives, log hives, …). [1]

Ethiopia: About 95% of Ethiopian beekeepers use traditional hive-systems. Those hive types differ from area to area, based on locally available materials (clay, straw, bamboo, bark, logs, …) [2]. The remaining percentage of beekeepers use transitional (promoted since 1978) and modern hives. [3] [4] The used hive system differs from region to region: while 56% of traditional hives were found in the Oromia region which produces 40% of national traditional hive honey, only 19% of people in the Amhara, Tigray and SNNP regions use traditional hives. Latter contribute 27% of national traditional hive honey production. [5] A survey by Tesfaye & Tesfaye (2007) revealed reasons, why most beekeepers do not possess modern hives-systems: the starting costs are high, lack of managing skills, unavailability of modern bee hives in the particular area, or a combination of the mentioned issues. [6] The number of movable frame hive-systems was estimated to be 100,843 (2009). [7] Modern beekeeping is mostly practiced in the southwestern and central highlands and since 1970, five movable frame hives were introduced to Ethiopia with Zander, Langstroth , and Dadant as the most common used hive systems, respectively. [1] [8] Popular transitional beehives are either the Kenyan top bar hive, or the locally made "Chefeka" hive. [7]

Based on the needs of local conditions, Kibebew Wakjira from the Holeta Bee Research Center in Ethiopia developed a possible standard hive system for future beekeeping in Ethiopia. This system is also suitable for the SAMS-hive-system established within the European Union's 2020 Horizon project called SAMS - Smart Apiculture Management Services and can be adapted for Indonesian honey bees as well. For further details read the following chapter: Bee Hive Manual.

Indonesia: There is almost no published data available on hive types in Indonesia, but according to a local scientist (Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia), most beekeepers construct their own hives. Traditional hives consist, similarly to Ethiopia, of various, simple and locally available materials. For example, stingless bees (Trigona; see: Other types of gaining bee products) may be housed in hollowed logs, mud pots, bamboo pits, coconut shells, wooden boxes, or pottery vessels. [1] Modern models of housing Meliponini are wooden, vertical, terraced hives. [9] Further examples for commonly used traditional hives for A. cerana are wall hives [10], or the “glodok” that consists of a horizontal bamboo hive. Honey is harvested by cutting the glodok into two halves. [11] However, homemade hives that look similar to modern hive-systems are also defined as traditional. The habitus of the hives differ regionally by dimension, used materials, entrance hole size, and the number of frames inside. For example, while movable frame-hives with different sizes are used by beekeepers in the highlands of Bogor and Sukabumi, hives with double entrances are used in Halmahera, Ambon and Mollucas. Shouten et al. (2019) report that the most used hive type on the four islands Java, Bali, Nusa Penida and Sumbawa is the log hive, while in Southwest Java and western Bali, transition to beekeeping with frame hives was observed. [12] Despite there is no officially standardized size for bee hives or research on what hive types best fit the two different Apis species in Indonesia, the national State Forest Own Company (PERHUTANI) provides their own hive type for Apis cerana colonies and a large number of beekeepers try to copy the PERHUTANI bee hive-size for their own constructions. [13]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Gupta, R. K., Reybroeck, W., van Veen, J. W., & Gupta, A. (2014). Beekeeping for Poverty Alleviation and Livelihood Security: Vol. 1: Technological Aspects of Beekeeping. Dordrecht, Springer Netherlands.
  2. Kigatiira, K. I. (2014). African Honeybee. Ncooro Academy, Nairobi, Kenya.
  3. Gidey, Y., & Mekonen, T. (2010). Participatory Technology and Constraints Assessment to Improve the Livelihood of Beekeepers in Tigray Region, northern Ethiopia. CNCS, 2(1), 76-92.
  4. Taye, B., Desta, A., Girma, C., & Mekonen, W.T. (2016). Evaluation of transitional and modern hives for honey production in the Mid Rift Valley of Ethiopia. Bulletin of Animal Health and Production in Africa, 64(1), 157–165.
  5. MoA & ILRI (2013). Apiculture value chain vision and strategy for Ethiopia. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Ministry of Agriculture and International Livestock Research Institute.
  6. Tesfaye, K., & Tesfaye, L. (2007). Study of honey production system in Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha district in mid rift valley of Ethiopia. Livestock Research for Rural Development, 19(11), 1-9.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Gemechis, L. Y. (2016). Honey Production and Marketing in Ethiopia. Agriculture And Biology Journal Of North America, 7(5), 248-253.
  8. Hailemichael, T. B. (2018). The status of beekeeping practices and honey production system in Ethiopia-a review. International Journal of Engineering Development and Research, 6(2), 581-585.
  9. Kahono, S., Chantawannakul, P., & Engel, M. S. (2018). Social Bees and the Current Status of Beekeeping in Indonesia. In book: Asian Beekeeping in the 21st Century. Springer, Singapore. 287-306.
  10. Theisen-Jones, H., & Bienefeld, K. (2016). The Asian Honey Bee (Apis cerana) is Significantly in Decline. Bee World, 93(4), 90–97.
  11. Crane, E. (1990). Bees and beekeeping: science, practice, and world resources. Ithaca, N.Y. : Comstock Pub. Associates.
  12. Shouten, C. N., Lloyd, D. J., & Lloyd, H. (2019). Beekeeping with the Asian Honey Bee (Apis cerana javana Fabr) in Indonesia.
  13. Perhutani. (1992). Petunjuk Praktis Budidaya Lebah Madu (Apis Cerana). Jakarta.