How useful is having a square hive REALLY?

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ugcheleuce 

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Hello everyone

The British National hive is square, i.e. just as wide as it is long, i.e. 460 mm x 460 mm. The corresponding Dutch hive (that uses the same frames) is not square. I am about to build my own hive, and the final question is whether to make it square or not. So my question is: how useful is it REALLY for you to have a square box instead of a rectangular box?

I know that theoretically the advantage is that you can keep the hive in warm way and in cold way, but do people who use the British hives actually change from warm way to cold way and back again during the year? Or, do British beekeepers sometimes stack alternating boxes with frames perpendicular to each other?

If everyone in your region had used rectangular boxes (i.e. 1-2 frames less), and you had to buy all new stock, would you still go for the square box, or does it not matter that much that the box is square?

Thanks
Samuel
 

Amari 

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Hello everyone

The British National hive is square, i.e. just as wide as it is long, i.e. 460 mm x 460 mm. The corresponding Dutch hive (that uses the same frames) is not square. I am about to build my own hive, and the final question is whether to make it square or not. So my question is: how useful is it REALLY for you to have a square box instead of a rectangular box?

I know that theoretically the advantage is that you can keep the hive in warm way and in cold way, but do people who use the British hives actually change from warm way to cold way and back again during the year? Or, do British beekeepers sometimes stack alternating boxes with frames perpendicular to each other?

If everyone in your region had used rectangular boxes (i.e. 1-2 frames less), and you had to buy all new stock, would you still go for the square box, or does it not matter that much that the box is square?

Thanks
Samuel
I overwinter with a super (into which I previously fed syrup) underneath the brood box. This autumn, as an experiment on three hives, I have put the super frames at 90 degs to the BB frames. This is because a thread a few months ago on this forum advised that this will make it easier to lift the BB off the super in the spring. If the frames in both boxes are parallel they stick together more easily - that's the theory anyway. At other times I have been pleased my boxes are square but for the moment I can't think of a reason!
 

oliver90owner 

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The National deep is often regarded as small. The 'tiny' WBC takes that 1-2 frames less and, IMO, is definitely too small for a single brood box. Simple as that. If it had been 1-2 frames less I would likely have had Commercials or Langstroths, or more would already have been using 14 x 12 back in those days.
 

cweaton 

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To me it's mildly convenient to have the flexibility of a square box, but this would be a less important factor than the size of the brood box (whether you prefer smaller or bigger). I have switched orientation of the frames once or twice, but it wouldn't have killed me if that hadn't been an option - it's not part of my normal hive management. Some people do switch between warm and cold ways, but it's certainly not the norm.

I once found it convenient to rotate the crown board to change the position of the feed holes, but again that wasn't terribly important. I've also used different orientations for the queen excluder, but that's just fiddling around.

My hive stands are 460mm wide (long parallel runners). It's nice to have the option of facing the hive in any direction and it still looking neat, but that's another very small consideration!

In answer to your last question: if everyone else used rectangular boxes, then I'd use rectangular boxes too.
 

drstitson 

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"Or, do British beekeepers sometimes stack alternating boxes with frames perpendicular to each other?"

yep.


warm/cold way is just another way for british berks (sorry autocorrect - Beeks) to annoy Finman. the rest of the world is stuck with cold way and get on fine (or possibly better).
 

drstitson 

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"I once found it convenient to rotate the crown board to change the position of the feed holes"

Nooooooo.

next someone'll suggest that a square box allows symmetric placement of matchsticks.
 

drstitson 

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"My hive stands are 460mm wide (long parallel runners). It's nice to have the option of facing the hive in any direction and it still looking neat"

And NOT falling through the gap!
 

enrico 

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I put all adjoining box's at right angles unless queen excluder is between them, works for me and wouldn't if they weren't square!
E
 

SteveJ 

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Just to throw in a hand grenade. Warm way or cold way goes out the window if you use open mesh floors

SteveJ



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

enrico 

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But a super under the brood does seem to stop some of the wind!
E
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Just to throw in a hand grenade. Warm way or cold way goes out the window if you use open mesh floors

SteveJ

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it would be bleedin cold if you threw a hand grenade in the window!
 

oliver90owner 

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Not entirely; if you follow the ley lines it can help to get a decent alignment with the magnetic fields. Might be something to consider?

RAB
 

REDWOOD 

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It gives your crown board eight options of orientation and your roof four, you can also have four hives together and have the entrances facing in all four directions.
 

mbc 

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Its a good question, and I cannot think of any advantage, apart from perhaps being able to interchange national and commercial(16x10) equipment. One disadvantage of a square hive is its not immediately apparent from the outside which way the frames lie for safe transport.
If I was starting again I would consider smith hives, which have a rectangular footprint as they have the same size frame as a national but short luggs.
 
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richardbees 

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re-inventing the wheel?

at the time of deciding on the dimensions for a 'National' hive I can't see any possible motivation for 't committee to do other than what they thought best.
 

derekm 

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erm, I think you'll find they're round (well, they have been for quite some time) let's not put any more zany ideas in beek's heads!
round and very tall that wot they need to be....
 

BILL.HEARD 

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Some of the local commercial guys used ammo boxes just after the war that held 15 bsf, they did well with them, saw an apiary on Haldon Moor that had twenty hives like this, the feeders were made from soup pans used in field kitchens.
 

busybee53 

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Now this is a good point about putting boxes alternate ways. I do read a lot of books and I remember one of them saying it is a good idea to put supers cross ways. I think it might have been in order to clear the boxes quicker, but perhaps it was for something else. It was a couple of years ago I read it and can't for the life of me think who wrote the book. Do remember thinking "I would have done that if only I had read the book two weeks earlier". Either way the boxes would need to be square.
 

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