Published by Jeremy. Last Updated at July 21, 2022.
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When we decided to get into beekeeping, it didn't take long for us to realize that we wanted to buy wax-coated hives.
In being located in southwest Pennsylvania, we are no strangers to the elements. It can snow 12″ here overnight. It can break 100 °F in the summer. We can get several inches of rain out of nowhere. It can be incredibly humid or horribly frigid (or both). More or less, name a weather condition that occurs in the continental United States, and we can see it- many combinations all in a single week, too!
As such, we knew wax coating on our hives would provide an extra layer of protection from the elements and give our bees the best chance of survival.
When going down this rabbit hole, we discovered Hoover Hives and immediately fell in love with the product and purchased two pre-assembled hives from Galena Farms in Ohio as they seemed like the best bee hive for beginners by far.
It was the best decision when getting started.
Hoover Hives Offers Just About Everything You Need
When it comes down to it, the reason we like Hoover Hives is two-fold: quality and being a one-stop shop within a package.
On the quality front, these hives are made with Fir wood which is said to have tighter wood grains and hold up to the elements better (less shrinkage and expansion in rain and heat). They are then coated in beeswax for good measure to further help weatherproof the hive. (Some folks believe that bees prefer waxed boxes over painted ones, too, but take that one as it is.)
On the package front, each of our eight-frame hives came with just about everything we wanted, including the following:
- Two (2) deep brood boxes and one (1) medium super.
- Eight (8) wax-coated foundations with frames per box.
- One (1) solid baseboard, inner cover, and telescoping top cover with steel-lined top.
- One (1) plastic queen excluder.
- One (1) wooden, wax-coated entrance reducer.
This one did not come with a screened bottom board, which may be useful in rather hot climates (and for mite control), plus beekeeping accessories that are typically sold in separate kits. (Packaged kits are often available on Amazon which can include everything from feeders to smokers, brushes, hive tools, and more- you'll need all of these starting out, too.)
After installing our nucs into the hives, we really had few, if any complaints over this purchase. The craftsmanship is of rather high quality, and as far as we can tell the bees are having no issues with any of the components to date. Our little ladies (and gentlemen) really are enjoying the life of luxury in this one. Granted, the craftsmanship is more of a concern for us over them anyway!
On the negative front, we have some very minor concerns that we should probably include just to be complete.
First, as with most beehives, the pre-waxed foundations likely did not have enough wax on them for bees to draw comb evenly. This is a known problem with virtually every beehive foundation material out there (this is not unique to Hoover Hives), but we added extra wax onto our frames all the same before installing our bees which seemed to work out perfectly. This involved melting beeswax pellets with a double boiler and then painting wax on using a dedicated paint brush. Just a little wax goes a long way to ensure that bees build on the foundation and not overtop it!
Second, our bees are very active in producing propolis, which may be due to our location or hive makeup. This sticky substance is used throughout the hive to hold it together, seal holes, provide insulation for the winter, and even has some sanitary, anti-microbial properties for hive health as well. As wax-coated hive pieces already seemed to stick together a bit, the absurd amount of propolis our hives make has made removing boxes somewhat difficult (our entry reducer, for example, is sealed in place and we simply can't get it out).
How much the wax coating contributed to this is unknown, but we have to imagine it was not insignificant- a sticky coating on the boxes plus more sticky coating from the bees seem to add up.
Finally, we noted that a one or two side pieces for our hives weren't as well waxed as others, so we had to add more wax onto a few pieces at the same time as coating our frames. Likewise, some wax was noted to be peeling off our cover after being out in the elements for a while. But as re-waxing is somewhat common, this wasn't terribly unexpected either.
It is worth reiterating that the above concerns are incredibly minor in the grand scheme of things, and we really like our Hoover Hives overall. But as we are still waiting to see how many seasons we get out of these, questions on longevity and such are still unknown (we will update accordingly later on).
Make Your Life Easier – Buy a Pre-Assembled Hive from Galena Farms
Now, before you run off and purchase a bee hive online, it is worth noting that unassembled bee hives are a pain to put together. Think dozens if not hundreds of tiny nails into possibly fragile wood, frame-by-frame and box-by-box, repeated across every single hive you order.
Unless you have a proper working space, and even a nail gun (as is recommended in most YouTube tutorials for assembling hives), you are faced with a time-consuming effort that could, if not done properly, damage the material outright.
As I don't have any of this, and especially don't trust myself in this regard, I purchased preassembled hives from Galena Farms.
Galena Farms is a central Ohio-based beehive supplier that sells a wealth of bee-related products including unassembled and pre-assembled Hoover Hives to name a few. Their unassembled, eight-frame hive consisting of two deep brood boxes, one medium super, pre-coated frames, covers, and entry reducers ran about $195 in 2022 (roughly the same price as the product on Amazon), and a fully assembled option was approximately $259 during a seemingly-frequent sale (pre-assembled was not available on Amazon).
- Note: Hoover Hives offers many hive configurations including 10-frame and custom box setups as well (say, one deep, two mediums, etc.). Check out more hive options here if you weren't getting a standard eight-frame hive as we did.
For me, paying an extra ~$65 per hive was a small price to pay to save me hours of struggle, cursing, and risk of damaging my hive pieces outright- so I jumped on that and considered it a steal. I really think it would've taken me an entire day to assemble two hives, so paying roughly $130 for the convenience was money well spent.
But what was shocking to me was that Galena Farms not only offers free shipping on orders over $50, but they also sent our hives with roughly two-day delivery to Western Pennsylvania (shipping estimates generally run up to 7-days depending on where you're located). So it was a nice surprise to find a half dozen or so large boxes of pre-assembled hive components on our doorstep in the same week we ordered the hives- we really thought it'd take weeks for them to be assembled and shipped. (We then had to store them for a while until our nucs were ready, but we'll take that problem as opposed to the alternative!)
So while it is a solid increase in price to order hives pre-assembled, it was worth it many times over for me.
- Galena Farms offers a 5% discount to our readers. Use the code HIPSTERHOMESTEADERS at checkout to take 5% off your order (that's about $13 off a pre-assembled hive!). Click here to check out what they offer. Some limitations may apply!
Overall, we are really enjoying our Hoover Hives and think the craftsmanship and material are of the quality we hoped for when buying our hives. Getting them shipped to use pre-assembled from Galena Farms was an extra perk that we didn't expect, and we'll be purchasing them again when we expand our apiary next season.
Looking to pick up a Hoover Hive for your apiary? Check out options at Galena Farms and don't forget to use our discount code at checkout to save some cash! Or, if you prefer to shop on Amazon, click here!