In the Nilgiris, only 2 out of the 4 honeybee species can be hived – Apis cerana and the Trigona spp. These honeybees are relatively easy to do beekeeping with, even without the use of artificial hives. For instance, with Apis cerana, they naturally build their hives inside the cavities of trees. Various communities will then manually enlarge the cavities for sufficient access to the honeycombs as well as cover the cavity with a large stone so that no intruders such as bears can take the honey but the small holes still allow for the honey bees to get through. With Dammer bees, they can be easily hived within bamboo, making this natural beekeeping process also portable.
Since 1995 different types of beehives have been designed and used in beekeeping activities with indigenous communities. Materials like bamboo, forest vine, aerial roots, plant stems, planks and clay have all been used. Over the years, Keystone Foundation has done extensive research as to what the ideal shape and size of beehive should be, even to the meticulous measurement of the natural distance of combs and how that can be incorporated into artificial hives.