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British Commercial Hive

Also known as "16x10"

Originally developed by Samuel Simmins as "The National Major" Hive in about 1884. It has 16" x 10" frames in the brood box, hence the alternative name of "16 x 10", with 16" x 6" frames in the supers, both with short lugs.

It is often incorrectly called the British Standard Commercial (I have made that mistake myself!), but it was never included in the standards. This has meant that boxes made commercially vary a little. I have measured some I have and all bar one brood box is 22mm thick, rather than 19mm as in the "National". This gives an overall 466mm square, rather than 460mm. Supers seem to be 19mm thick, with overall dimension of 460. All British Commercial boxes I have seen are bottom bee space, although they could easily be made top. Boxes can be used with National hives, as the external dimensions are identical or very close. Only the brood box and super, and their respective frames, are different. The other components being identical to the National.

It is common in the UK for National supers to be used on Commercial brood boxes, instead of Commercial 16" x 6" supers, owing to the lesser weight and bigger handholds of the former. Despite this, it is common in Ireland for 16" x 6" Commercial supers to be used on National brood boxes! They make them cheaply from scrap or used timber, often old floorboards that are the right size, which makes sense, because they are only exposed to the elements for a few weeks in the summer.

The addition of a 'Hamilton converter' on a National brood box enables the use of ten 16" x 10" Commercial brood frames at 90°. This is useful for those who have both hive types.

In my opinion, this hive is better than many think, as it will suit more prolific queens, where it is an alternative to Langstroth or "brood and a half", yet isn't too large for non - prolific queens, as I find the colonies put more food in the brood boxes, especially towards the end of the summer. This is a benefit if you prefer honey to syrup for winter food.

For the keen woodworker, the boxes are easier to make than the National, but for those who prefer a smaller box, the Smith hive would be a better option, having the same amount of work to make it.

I'm sorry, but I don't have any Commercial hive drawings to display or link to.

Originally written by Dave Cushman. Rewritten by Roger Patterson.

Page created pre-2011

Page updated 04/12/2022