Norfolk Honey - beehives


The selection of beehives on offer to the modern bee keeper includes those using several different systems of beekeeping. There is a large variety of hives that offer a variation on Langstroth's original patented moveable frame hive and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are all movable frame hives (see Wikipedia on beehives) This link is to a page that lists over 300 hive designs

There is also a movement advocating the use of top bar hives that maintain the mainstream process of movable frames is undesirable and stressful to the bees when regular inspections are made.

Some of the hives in general use today

Larger than the British Standard the Langstroth is more widely used in the USA and Canada than in the OK. I do have some bees on Langstroth frames and next year (2012) intend to move more onto Langstroth and offer nucs on Langstroth frames.

The traditional WBC Victorian hive often used in illustrations is still very popular. Mainly, I believe, because of it's looks. However, it does take the same sized frame as British National Hive. The brood box is smaller than the British National (it takes one frame less). WBC hives are slower to use than the other box hives but if you are keeping just three or four hives in your orchard or garden then they do look the part. If you want to keep a number of hives then moving the lifts on and off will become very tedious.

British National
The British National hive is designed to standardize hive dimensions and has a British Standard set of dimensions - see pdf (none of the old WBC hives are the same as the next and the suppers from one old WBC are likely not to fit on another) Dave Cushman has pages on all of the British National hive parts - click here Read Dave's take on 'cold or warm way' It seems that there isn't much in bee keeping that Dave hasn't written on - see his index. BUY quality cedar National Hives made up and delivered to your door - click here

Commercial The commercial hive is again a bigger box than the national hive. I have one Commercial hive and plan to increase my stock of commercial hives as I do find that some of my bees seem to like a bigger brood box.

Smiths The smiths hive is smaller than the National hive. The frames have shorter lugs. In order to put the frames from a National hive into a Smiths hive the ends of the lugs need to be cut down.

Warre For 'natural beekeeping' - external link click here I don't keep any Warre hives myself - but if you want bees in a Warre box my associate does offer them and we can buy the Warre hive for you and supply it with a starter colony of bees in one of the boxes. The price of the hive is £265 and the bees £165 (2012 prices)

Dartington Another box system and another size. I have no Dartington hives

Dadant The beehive of Frenchman Charles Dadant (based on Langstroth) - link The modified Dadant is the largest hive you can get - link

Beehaus Is a new plastic hive design from Omlet

Rose hive The Rose hive is part of the Rose method of bee keeping. Essentially it is still a box system but the boxes are all the same size. To read more buy the book - click here I have no Rose hives.

Polystyrene I'm told that bee keepers on the continent are keen on Polystyrene hives. I have been using polystyrene nuc boxes and I must say that the bees seem to like them. I will try out some polystyrene myself next season (2012)

Top bar hives (see Wikipedia on Top bar hives) I don't keep any Top Bar Hives myself - but if you want bees in a Top bar nuc box my associate does offer a limited supply of them.

Plastic hives - The Apimaye Thermo Hive I know very little about these hives other than what I have read and explanation from the one beekeeper I know who has chosen to use them. One of their main strengths is the way they lock together and can easily be moved. They are a complete system in themselves and not designed to mix and match with traditional wooden boxes. If you are planning to keep a number of hives and are yet to start from scratch then this is a system you could consider. The internal sizes are that of the Langstroth - Apimaye Thermo Hive link.

If you haven't already started beekeeping then how you choose a beehive that is right for you is hard to say. I guess it depends on what kind of beekeeper you want to become. Commercial bee keepers seem to like large brood boxes. But beware if you are going to be a 'retired' beekeeper as large boxes are heavy. The Standard National hive is probably the most popular hive - but do you choose traditional cedar hives or the newer polystyrene?

If you are more concerned about the bees than making honey you may be persuaded that a top bar is best for you. Again there are several popular designs to choose from. Ken tells me his 'natual' Warre hives over winter well. However, many of the 'natural' principles can easily be practiced used traditional standard equipment if you wish.

If you are looking for a second hand hive with bees in click here

If you have questions and would like to email me please do.