How Many Hives Should You Start With?

When first getting started in beekeeping, you may be wondering to yourself how many hives you should start with.

A lot of people think that they can only handle one hive, even if they have dreams of starting with 2, 3, or even more.

The truth of the matter is that if you can handle one hive, you can usually handle at least 3.

And another truth, although a sad truth, is that sometimes no matter how perfect you manage your hives, sometimes they simply die out. Sometimes not even due to disease, colony collapse disorder, or anything you may be able to prevent. Sometimes, things just don’t work out.

If you only have one hive and things don’t go well, then that’s all you’ve got, and you’re done.

Also if you have multiple hives, you can compare and contrast how they’re doing relative to each other.

It may be a bit scary to think of managing more than one hive, but the truth is that sometimes it’s actually less scary, less risky, gives you more feedback, and is honestly more fun.

That being said, budget does come into play, and if you think you only want to invest in one hive, that’s completely fine, and many people start with one hive.

But many people only start with one hive out of fear that they can’t manage more. I’m here to tell you that you can! And I’d actually recommend that you do at least get 2.

As mentioned before, one of the best practical reasons to have 2 hives is simply to compare hives.

For example, if both hives are acting in a strange way, then maybe it’s just a normal thing. If only one hive is acting strangely and the other is not, then you know there may be a problem.

Also, if one hive looses it’s queen, then you can place a frame of brood with 1-3 day old eggs from the other hive with a queen, into your queenless hive and the bees will raise their own.

Another cool thing you can do is “transplant” bees from one hive to another. Basically, if one hive becomes week, you can take bees from the stronger hive and put them in the weaker one.

All this can’t be done if you only have one hive.

It really doesn’t take much more time to have 2 or 3 hives compared to 1. And in my opinion, it’s totally worth it.

That being said, you’ll have to decide for yourself what you’re most comfortable with and there are only right answers.

If you’d like to learn more about how to start your first hive, click here to check out my basic beekeeping video guide.