Along with turning our front yard into a giant edible wonderland, we are thinking of getting backyard bees. We have a couple of options: we can host a hive through one of several organizations in the area (Ballard Bee Company or Urban Bee Company) or we can set up our own shop.
Last year I took a class on beekeeping from Seattle Tilth and learned, more or less, the basics. I also received a review copy of Keeping Bees with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Tend Hives, Harvest Honey & More, which I've been dutifully studying.
Unfortunately, all the books and training I've had has been on Langstroth hives. Both companies that do the hosting stuff also use Langstroth hives. But, I've been immensely fascinated by top bar hives which seem easier and more natural in many respects.
The benefits of hosting a hive are that I don't have to do anything besides provide the space. At the end of the deal, we get 10% of the honey. We'll most definitely be going this route for a number of reasons (laziness and fear top the list), but I still am drawn to the top bar hives.
Do any of you keep bees and, if so, what kind of hives do you have?