FAQ

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What's the Best Hive Type

Our Friend John Everett advises...

Ask any beekeeper and most will say the hive(s) they are using  are the best.

It is worth remembering in the wild bees out of choice live in hollow trees, chimneys and any similar hollow space. They do not appear to be particularly fussy.

In East Anglia the National is the most common hive so nationals have good second-hand sales.

A queen laying flat out may need about 42000 cells to lay in - 2000 eggs per day for 21 days so your hive needs about 45000 cells in the brood.

All movable frame hives used in the UK have that space see the table below.

Hive

Cells in brood

Long or short lugs

WBC

45000

long

WBC with 14 x 10 frames

64200

long

National

50000

long

National 14 x 12 frames

70600

long

Smith (a Scottish Hive)

50000

short

Commercial

70500

short

Langstroft

61400

short

Dadant

85000

short

Long lugged frames are great for beginners and oldies like myself as they have lots more leverage when you are manipulating your colony than short lugged frames. They are much easier to handle than short lugged frames.

The bigger hives like the 14x12, Commercial, Langstroft and Dadant are so large that there is no need for brood and a half (super) or double broods.

In my opinion brood and a half is a non-starter and with a double brood most of your honey crop will be in the top brood.

If I was buying everything from new with my experience I would go for National 14x12s.

If I wanted a cottage garden hive, money and time were no object and moving colonies was not a consideration the WBC with a 14x12 brood would be my choice

but

The national is a great hive especially for new beekeepers.

If you read the internet and you have very little practical experience you might be mistaken for believing top bar hives and the likes of the Warré, are the best thing since sliced bread - the natural hive etc. etc.

Having first-hand experience please do not use them unless you are an expert beekeeper.

John Everett

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