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Which Hive?

Which Hive?

There is a bewildering selection of hive types to choose from.  How do you decide which one is right for you, especially if you are a Beginner?

In the East Devon area there are mainly four types of movable frame hive in use by hobbyist beekeepers, and as you are more likely to obtain bees on frames from one of them we will consider these four types.

They are:
National, National 14 x 12, WBC, Commercial

There are a few beekeepers in the East Devon area who have moved away from the complexity of the National hive construction but who still wish to retain the same brood area as a National. The Smith hive fulfils these criteria.

The Langstroth, Jumbo Langstroth and the Dadant hives are of North American origin and have been through a number of changes and modifications since their inception in the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century. They now use frames of the same width and the Jumbo Langstroth frame will fit a Dadant brood chamber but the hive cross sections are different and Dadant hives often have wider brood frame spacing. The majority of these hives are top bee space but there are regional differences, for example the British Buckfast Dadant is bottom bee space.

These pages also describe some newer types of hive which are based on the National 14 x 12 frame. They are: Dartington Long Deep Hive and the Omlet Beehaus. These hives have been designed for a variety of reasons which are outlined in the text. They are also made with modern materials unlike traditional wooden hives.

Top bar hives take many forms and their origins date back hundreds of years. The Warré hive is a top bar hive, usually referred to as ‘The People’s Hive’ in France where it was designed by Abbé Émile Warré (1867 – 1951) and described in his book Beekeeping for All, ISBN: 978-1-904846-52-9.

As the hive does not use conventional frames like the other hives described so far the calculation of the number of cells available for brood in each hive box is approximate.

The original Kenyan top bar hive was introduced by the ‘Bees for Development’ programme and designed to be easily constructed with cheap local materials by beekeepers in Kenya and other African countries.

Traditional Long Hives are represented here by the Leyens Hive, introduced by George de Leyens and described in his 1897 book Keeping Bees in Horizontal Hives. It uses large frames all on one level, similar to the Dartington and Beehaus hives, but differs in management techniques. The hive is enjoying a revival in the USA and Spain.

The Flow hive is a recent invention whereby honey can be extracted from the specially designed supers directly into jars. No hassle for the beekeeper and no disturbance to the bees.

The Rose hive and Rose method of beekeeping are also of recent origin. The system uses only one size box and is sometimes referred to as an OSB hive. Read the page to find out the advantages and disadvantages of this hive system.

Click on the highlighted links above or the ‘More hives’ button below to find out more about each type of hive.

News & Events

Varroa found in Australia
Read the latest news.
Only ONE bee dance!
Ever since I started beekeeping we were told there were two bee ‘dances’ used to recruit workers to good forage sources. Now, new research shows there is only ONE dance, the waggle dance, for communication of distance and direction to forage. This was revealed by slow motion video of the so called round dance.
Read the article in BBKA News, June 2022, p193.
‘Bee bricks become planning requirement for new buildings in Brighton’
A planning law introduced in the city of Brighton and Hove, England, calls for new buildings to include special bricks that provide nests for solitary bees.Read the article HERE.The bricks are not without controversy. Read their story HERE.
‘Bees may take generations to recover from one exposure to insecticides’
Study shows reduced reproduction and other negative impacts on performance of speciesIt may take bees multiple generations to recover from being exposed to insecticides even just once, research shows.Although studies have long shown the damaging effects of pesticides for the biodiverse environment, little is known about how much they affect insects in the long term.Read the article HERE
‘No one knew they existed’: wild heirs of lost British honeybee found at Blenheim.

The ‘ecotype’, thought to have been wiped out by disease and invasive species, is thriving in the estate’s ancient woodlands.Read the article HERE

US beekeepers sue over imports of fake
asian honey.

Read the article HERE.

Marks and Spencer project threat to honeybee diversity?

Good thing or bad thing? You decide. Read the article HERE.

Liquid gold: beekeepers defying Yemen war to produce the best honey

Read the article HERE.

Fungus creates fake fragrant flowers to fool bees

Fungi have been discovered making fake flowers that look and even smell like the real thing, fooling bees and other pollinating insects into visiting them.

Read the article HERE.

Spiders Can Fly Hundreds of Miles Using Electricity

Scientists are finally starting to understand the centuries-old mystery of “ballooning.”

Read the secrets HERE

Making a beeline: wildflower paths across UK could save species

Conservation charity aims to help restore 150,000 hectares of bee-friendly corridors to save the insects from extinction.

Read the article HERE.