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The National Hive

A popular hive for U.K. and Ireland conditions

The British Standard National hive is the most commonly used beehive in the U.K. and Ireland. Those supplied now are a different design than the original National, that was straight sided with hand holds machined in the sides of the boxes in the same way as other single walled hives. The National now supplied has the same internal and external dimensions as the original, with a slightly different method of construction to give larger hand holds at each end and was known as the "Modified National". The original was double walled at each end and is no longer manufactured, although there are still plenty in use. There is full compatability between the two types and they are now all referred to as "Nationals".

There are three standard depths of frame and these are referred to as:-

The National is popular with both amateur and commercial beekeepers because:-

The "Hamilton Converter", when placed on the top of a National brood box allows the use of ten 16 x 10 Commercial brood frames running at 90°, making it a useful piece of kit for those who use both frame sizes.

There are some polystyrene "nationals" available, but not all are compatible with wooden parts.

The "Rose" and "Rational" hives are variations on Nationals.

I have handled bees in most hives and I much prefer Nationals to anything else. I know those who are used to short lugs will disagree, but I think the long lug is a huge bonus. It also allows the use of castellated spacers in the brood box, which is my favourite method of spacing brood frames. It must be remembered that a hive is simply a tool of the beekeeper, so it's whatever suits you that matters.

Roger Patterson.