Expanding with different hive types
“I started keeping bees this year and have one 8-frame Langstroth hive. Next year, I want to expand and was thinking about getting another Langstroth hive and a top-bar hive. Do you have any suggestions for resources on top bar hives?”
I am not actually going to answer your question, instead, I’m going to preach. But first, let me point out that there are hundreds of resources available to support any type of hive equipment. I like some better than others, but that’s a personal thing. Google it.
In my opinion, however, the type of equipment you use is pretty much irrelevant. A skilled beekeeper can keep bees in a cardboard box, a bread box, or a mail box. The point is this: once you understand the principles of beekeeping, and once you understand the the biology of the honey bee and its number one enemy, the varroa mite, then the shape of the container really doesn’t matter. The bees act like bees no matter where you put them. So, if you understand the bees, you can figure out the equipment.
That said, I really believe there is a huge benefit in having multiple hives of the same type. When you have multiple hives, you can swap brood combs, honey combs, empty combs, pollen combs—anything you want quickly and easily. Hive manipulation is a snap. When your hives are of different configurations, it’s a heck of a lot more work—and more disruptive to the bees—to swap things around.
For that reason, I strongly recommend staying with one style of equipment, regardless of the type. If you absolutely insist on variety, have two or three of one hive type, and then later get two or three of another.