First hive headache.

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Big ears 

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Hi everyone,
I’m sure this has been asked before but tried a search and couldn’t find what I needed to know so sorry for post.

I plan to start next spring with bees, I have decided on National wooden hives but not ruling out a WBC either. I will only be keeping a low number of hives and be a hobby beekeeper not a commercial one.
What is perplexing me is what size hive to start with , National deep or 14x12?
I have handled both and find the larger frames of the 12x14 not that cumbersome, indeed easier than commercial frames!
Am I best to start with 12x14 hives or are there advantages in National deep going to brood and a half or double brood as needed?

thanks in advance.

Adam
 

Boston Bees 

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Hi everyone,
I’m sure this has been asked before but tried a search and couldn’t find what I needed to know so sorry for post.

I plan to start next spring with bees, I have decided on National wooden hives but not ruling out a WBC either. I will only be keeping a low number of hives and be a hobby beekeeper not a commercial one.
What is perplexing me is what size hive to start with , National deep or 14x12?
I have handled both and find the larger frames of the 12x14 not that cumbersome, indeed easier than commercial frames!
Am I best to start with 12x14 hives or are there advantages in National deep going to brood and a half or double brood as needed?

thanks in advance.

Adam
Where are you going to get your bees from? Local beekeepers you know? The local association? Use what they use, or they won't be able to easily provide you with bees.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Too many - but not nearly enough
Brood and a half is neither fish nor fowl and just an aberration IMHO. 14x12's have limitations too, if you need more space than a single National deep double brood gives you many more options, so my advice would be go for national deeps and double up if the space is needed.
Your other option would be to forget nationals altogether and go for Langstroth. A PITA to start with as not many use the format but will pay dividends in future.
 

enrico 

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It will always be your choice but I find normal national are a good size to handle. I wouldn't do WBC. Keep it really simple. If you feel you can manage heavy weights then I might be tempted, if starting again after 40 years, to have national brood box size as supers too! But at my age I am not sure I could lift them when full!
Best of luck whatever you decide.
 

Big ears 

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Where are you going to get your bees from? Local beekeepers you know? The local association? Use what they use, or they won't be able to easily provide you with bees.
Thank you that is a really good point and one I should have thought of.
my Dream is to get some local bees, ideally Cornish Black bees so as you say I should ask them🙈
 

gmonag 

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Hi everyone,
I’m sure this has been asked before but tried a search and couldn’t find what I needed to know so sorry for post.

I plan to start next spring with bees, I have decided on National wooden hives but not ruling out a WBC either. I will only be keeping a low number of hives and be a hobby beekeeper not a commercial one.
What is perplexing me is what size hive to start with , National deep or 14x12?
I have handled both and find the larger frames of the 12x14 not that cumbersome, indeed easier than commercial frames!
Am I best to start with 12x14 hives or are there advantages in National deep going to brood and a half or double brood as needed?

thanks in advance.

Adam
Consider Rose Hives (and the Method) as an option.
 

pargyle 

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Thank you that is a really good point and one I should have thought of.
my Dream is to get some local bees, ideally Cornish Black bees so as you say I should ask them🙈
It's not really a problem .. Nucs of bees will be easier to obtain in standard national size but it's no problem putting them into a 14 x 12 box as they just build some extra comb on the bottom of the frames - you can gradually work these out over a period of time or (if you are a cheapskate like me) just let them continue to use them as long as they wish.

I have 14 x 12 hives in Poly ... I don't see a lot wrong with them, if you can manage to lift the frames then there are quite a few advantages to running 14 x 12 as a hobbyist. You should also not discount polysytrene hives ... insulated boxes are really good for the bees.
 

Ian123 

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It’s likely your bees will come in standard deep bs frames unless you’ve specifically ordered or they offered them. Personally I’d go with those and double brood if/when needed, simply more flexible than 14x12. If your buying wooden hives look at the sales don’t walk in and buy off the shelf, the price difference is huge!
 

Apiarisnt 

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Hi everyone,
I’m sure this has been asked before but tried a search and couldn’t find what I needed to know so sorry for post.

I plan to start next spring with bees, I have decided on National wooden hives but not ruling out a WBC either. I will only be keeping a low number of hives and be a hobby beekeeper not a commercial one.
What is perplexing me is what size hive to start with , National deep or 14x12?
I have handled both and find the larger frames of the 12x14 not that cumbersome, indeed easier than commercial frames!
Am I best to start with 12x14 hives or are there advantages in National deep going to brood and a half or double brood as needed?

thanks in advance.

Adam
There are 17,338 members of this forum. Your enquiry is entirely sensible and reasonable, but do not be suprised if you get more than 17,338 differing replies.
 

Wilco 

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KISS.

Start with the most commonly used hive as:
1. People local who may be able to advise you are more likely to be used to that style.
2. If it doesn't work out it's easier to sell on.
3. Bees are likely to come on that size frame.

Start with 2 hives to get the hang of things then if you want to try something different you can without needing to switch massive numbers of hives (or after you've got used to the first two, run a pair of a different style alongside them to compare).

I personally prefer National deeps over 14*12 and think there is more effective adaptability using the former with the option to double brood etc..
 

Big ears 

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Thank you for all of your comments. I will look at the Rose method. I’m going to have time on my hands over winter to read this up.
How difficult would it be to change from a National deep to a 12x14 once the colony is established?
 

Moobee 

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Where are you going to get your bees from? Local beekeepers you know? The local association? Use what they use, or they won't be able to easily provide you with bees.
Spot on. My local BKA gave me some frames of eggs when I had queen problems. If I had something other than Nationals, I would have been a bit stuck.
 

Moobee 

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Hi everyone,
I’m sure this has been asked before but tried a search and couldn’t find what I needed to know so sorry for post.

I plan to start next spring with bees, I have decided on National wooden hives but not ruling out a WBC either. I will only be keeping a low number of hives and be a hobby beekeeper not a commercial one.
What is perplexing me is what size hive to start with , National deep or 14x12?
I have handled both and find the larger frames of the 12x14 not that cumbersome, indeed easier than commercial frames!
Am I best to start with 12x14 hives or are there advantages in National deep going to brood and a half or double brood as needed?

thanks in advance.

Adam
I started last year and went with Nationals as same as my local Association. However, as bees expanded, I went to brood and a half (National Deep plus a Super) which as JBM points out below, was not the best idea - manipulation is doubly hard. I am buying extra deeps so I can go double brood next year. AND wait for the sales....
 

madasafish 

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I started with Langstroth.
Using bees from others is not an issue as a competent DIYer (and even an incompetent one) can convert easily.

I have never found the need to switch to anything else.
 

drex 

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I was trained on commercials, but decided on National for my own hives. I have experience of poly, WBC, Warre , Kenyan top bar , 14x12, and running Nationals on brood and a half. I stick with wooden Nationals, most run as double brood. Totally happy with that.
I expect most others around you will be using Nationals. Why make life more difficult for yourself when starting out, which will already be difficult enough, as it is a steep learning curve.
 

ericbeaumont 

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have decided on National wooden hives
What led to your decision?

Nest thermal efficiency is the goal of bees and economy of expenditure is the aim of beekeepers; the two paths point in opposite directions.

Ply and pine are cheap but heavy and thermally inefficient; Western Red Cedar is lightest and most efficient but also more expensive; English cedar is cheaper than Western Red and perfectly good, though more knotty.

The double wall of a WBC provides good thermal efficiency though the cedar kit is more expensive; eBay often has used WBCs.

Best thermal efficiency is achieved with a poly hive; of the various models Abelo is well-designed and entirely compatible with National wood; it will last forty years, at which point it can be recycled.

Check out thermodynamist Derek Mitchell's research into nest thermal efficiency and hive material. In short, reduced heat loss or gain results in less bee-work to modulate temps and humidity, which in turn saves on stores and the ageing of bees.

National is a good size box and easy to use in multiples, as JBM suggested; 14x12 is 41% bigger but if queen performance exceeds the box, where do you go?

Rose hive is a good compromise - a medium one-box system - but the Thorne Rose hive is made from Redwood, so heavy and less thermally efficient than cedar.
 

Markthebuilder 

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I started with one 14x12 I also wanted to have black bees and thought it would be a perfect match.
I ended up with quite a bit of national deep equipment as I tried to expand and had to modified this to match my 14x12 stuff ( not a real problem)
Knowing what I now think I know and because I would recommend the double brood rout which I think makes a lot of the beekeeping processes simpler.
I would go as far as to say that you don’t need shallow supers. And if choosing between a second brood box or a shallow supper get the second brood box first.
My caviate to the above is if you are going Cornish black bee speak to your supplier and take their advice above all others.
 

ericbeaumont 

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started with one 14x12 I also wanted to have black bees and thought it would be a perfect match.
The box & bee combo is crucial.

For example, it is possible to run only single deeps, but to do so successfully needs many years of dedicated queen selection to get colonies to fit boxes.

At the other end of the scale, a good prolific queen can fill three standard deeps easily.

A beginner won't know the parameters of queen performance (no matter what the supplier suggests) and so system flexibility will give room for manoeuvre and mistakes: multiples of National deeps or Rose boxes.
 

Newbeeneil 

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As with most here I would say go with what you have at your local BKA for ease of help when things go wrong.
If you should want to go for WBC's for aesthetics just put nationals or 14x12's into WBC lifts. 2 of my clients have this set up.
 

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