We have been trying a new strategy with a few of the bee hives this year (i.e. it's been a long, dreary winter and Greg and James have numerous "projects" going in order to keep busy in the bee lair).
This picture is a more rustic design of bee hive, which is both functional and interesting. First, we will describe the functionality of this design. According to some, a different type of hive can serve as a compass of sorts. Bee hives normally look the same, and are lined up like soldiers ready to be sent to battle. Some apiarists choose to use different colors and graphic designs on the hives to help the bees determine the "address" of their home hive, while also helping the keepers to determine which hive is which. Another good reason for this design is to provide extra weight on the top of the hive. We have had some instances of hives getting blown over and thought this may provide a bit of protection from the wind.
As far as attractiveness, well beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The lady of the apiary was none too thrilled with the new design and made a royal proclamation: "Not in my yard!" Time will tell how many of our regular hives get converted. It may well depend on the weather and how much longer our bee squad is trapped inside.
Here is a picture that provided inspiration for the new, rustic design. We honestly don't remember where we stole, I mean, obtained this image. If anyone knows to whom to give credit, please let us know.