8 reasons I’m all-in on AZ Hives!

They save my back

In Langstroth beekeeping, to inspect a hive or remover honey supers, you are repeatedly lifting 40lbs boxes of bees, brood, comb, and honey. Multiply all that lifting by the number of hives you are tending to, and it starts to add up. With an AZ hive, the heaviest amount of weight that you ever need to lift at one time is a single frame weighing a few pounds.

Beekeeping in any weather

In the PNW, it rains… a lot! I’ve often been in the predicament of needing to open up my hives but then had to postpone due to rain. With our new beehouse, I can work with the bees rain or shine, while the bees and I are all protected from the elements. 

Less stress for the bees

In a Langstroth hive inspection, you need to take apart each box or super to inspect the one below, essentially taking apart the bees entire home. This completely disrupts the temperature within the hive and places large amounts of stress on the bees taking energy and resources to regulate the temperature in the colony, better used on brood rearing, comb building, and foraging. AZ hives are built to give access to the hive from the back rather than from the top. During an inspection, the beekeeper doesn’t need to take the entire hive apart. Instead, one frame at a time is taken out, allowing less disturbance to the temperature in the hive and less disruption overall. 

Better protection during robbing season

Robbing season can be challenging to manage when a colony has to work extra hard to guard itself against foreign bees; the last thing you want to do as a beekeeper is to make it harder for them. In an AZ hive, the feeders are located at the back of the hive. Because the feeder is placed at the rear of the hive, robbing bees cannot smell the syrup as easily, or travel past the guard bees deep into the hive to access the syrup. 

Increased honey yields

The beehouse provides extra shelter from heat and cold, helping to insulate the AZ hives inside. Due to this additional protection, the bees spend less time regulating the temperature of their hive. This leads to more time for honey production in the summer, and less hungry bees in the winter as they don’t need to expend as much energy to keep the hive warm.

Smaller space needed for apiary

Because AZ hives stack so closely together, you need much less room to manage a larger number of hives than if you are working Langstroths. This can be an important advantage to anyone looking to save space. Personally, having a smaller footprint for my apiary makes it much easier to protect it from bears and requires less of my yard to be surrounded with electrical fencing. 

Less hive maintenance

Most other hive systems are exposed to the elements all year long and need to be replaced every 5 years or so; this is a prohibitive cost to any beekeeper! AZ hives have been known to last well over 20 years in the protection of a beehouse. 

Honey harvesting

Another great bonus to having a beehouse is that it doubles as a space to store all your beekeeping equipment and gear. When harvesting honey out of traditional Langstroth hives there’s a lot of lifting and hauling of heavy honey-filled supers from the hive location, to wherever you plan to extract your honey. In a beehouse, your honey extractor is stored alongside all your other gear and at hands reach for extraction purposes. 

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