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National 14 x 12

The deepest national box

There are no drawings available here, but they aren't needed. Just assume the box is exactly the same as the national super or brood box, but 165mm deeper than the super (149mm) and 89mm deeper than a standard brood box (225mm), making it 314mm deep. It's as simple as that. There may be small discrepancies in the figures which are caused by the B.S. specifications being in imperial sizes.

The 14 x 12 has been in existence a long time, although it has only recently come into common use. It is known as the B.S deep box, where many beekeepers refer to the standard brood box as the "deep" when it isn't.

Having used and handled bees in many kinds of hives and frames for more than 50 years, I have to say I dislike the 14 x 12 for my own system for several reasons, although there are some good points. I used some for about 5 years, so gave them a reasonable trial, before abandoning them. They were too large for my non-prolific bees. The bees managed fine and wintered well, I suspect because they had more food above them than if they were on standard boxes. They did "chimney", tending to have brood on less combs. That was no problem as there was always plenty of food in the brood box which I like. With the number of colonies I had I found the extra size and weight added to the time taken for inspections. I like to have brood combs drawn out above the queen excluder by using the brood box as a super. Not many extractors will take them.

When visiting other beekeepers I have seen combs fall out of the frames and not always on hot days. I think this is because the weight of what's in the comb is too great. This also has been told to me by several people.

If you have prolific bees that need more than a standard depth box, then 14 x 12 may suit you better than double brood or brood and a half. Certainly if you are on standard National it is an easier option than to change to Langstroth or Dadant. You have the advantage of the supers being more manageable. As with any large hive the boxes when full are heavy and cumbersome, making them difficult for all but the strongest and fittest to lift.

For those who haven't got 14 x 12, but are advised to use them, I suggest you back off a bit. Handle them at other people's apiaries on several occasions before being persuaded to change to them. If you are satisfied they are an improvement on what you already have, then use them. If your bees are prolific, then consider changing to less prolific bees. You may find they are easier to manage, give the same or more honey and need less feeding.

You must do what you think is best for you. Don't let me put you off.

Roger Patterson.

Page created 10/12/2014

Page updated 31/07/2019