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warsaw_hive

House Bee
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Nov 12, 2023
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Against my better judgement I ordered a couple of national brood boxes from a well known Kent beekeeping supplier. They seem to have strayed somewhat from what used to be the British standard. The side rails and side panel are both made from 20.5mm thick wood. The standard as far as I understand it is to have a rail 25mm thick and a panel 18 or 19mm thick. Obviously it doesn't really matter what the individual dimensions are as long as the combined thickness comes out at 43/44mm.

My new brood boxes sides are 41mm thick. That makes the bee space between box and frame over 10mm. If you don't have the frame centered, that can increase to over 12mm. I know some people say this gap isn't really crucial and you can go wider without attracting brace comb, but it does look big!

Am I right to feel annoyed by this, or just being picky?
 
Against my better judgement I ordered a couple of national brood boxes from a well known Kent beekeeping supplier. They seem to have strayed somewhat from what used to be the British standard. The side rails and side panel are both made from 20.5mm thick wood. The standard as far as I understand it is to have a rail 25mm thick and a panel 18 or 19mm thick. Obviously it doesn't really matter what the individual dimensions are as long as the combined thickness comes out at 43/44mm.

My new brood boxes sides are 41mm thick. That makes the bee space between box and frame over 10mm. If you don't have the frame centered, that can increase to over 12mm. I know some people say this gap isn't really crucial and you can go wider without attracting brace comb, but it does look big!

Am I right to feel annoyed by this, or just being picky?
I think it depends on how much you paid and from where the supplier sourced it from. Probably not the UK.
 
Well ... if they are using thinner timber than the standard national and wanted to make the internal dimensions the same as standard national then the exterior of the box would be smaller than the rest of your national boxex which, frankly, would be a lot more annoying. I don't think you will have a problem with the additional bee space - if you do a couple of bits of thin plywood tacked or glued to the interior side walls of the boxes would sort it.

Classic case of Caveat Emptor .. you sometimes get what you pay for.
 
I'd be annoyed. Though I'm not surprised if it's the company I'm thinking of, having had non-standard frames from them in the past.
I no longer buy bee equipment from them.
If you bought online you should be able to return them under the distance selling regulations but I'm not sure how that applies if you have made them up.
 
Against my better judgement
Why did you not listen to your better judgement? Perhaps the lower price was attractive, but really, if you buy from BE, expect sub-optimal equipment.

Send it back as not fit for purpose, and go to a reliable company: Maisemore or Thorne, perhaps. If you want the best, go to Exmoor Bees & Hives.

https://www.exmoorbeesandbeehives.co.uk/
 
Thanks all for the replies.

The boxes were advertised as made in the UK using north American western red cedar (presumably sourced from the USA not Canada as is usually advertised). Initially they were 20 pounds in the sale, but by the time I had overcome my better judgment they were 23 pounds. A 20 pound option still existed, but that now came with pine rails. I wonder what the first 20 pound customers got, did they really get all cedar?

I was a bit annoyed by this price increase and the excessive postage, so decided to give it a miss... but the promotional emails kept coming and 23 pounds still seemed like a very good price when I thought about it....I was also able to get some first dadant frames at a good price and that swung it.

I've had dealings with all the main suppliers and to be honest I can pick faults with all of them. I've had sale brood boxes from this supplier before. Then they were supposed to be English cedar (why not British?), but when they arrived they were mostly English, but the large panels were foreign. The joints were all over the place, but fortunately I was cutting them down for half boxes/nucs so was able to work around that and any warping/unsightly knots. The bars were 25mm as they should be. The finished boxes are much better than similar sales boxes from other suppliers; mostly because of the knot free foreign cedar.

These new boxes were again to be cut down so it seemed a low risk purchase. After all I was paying an extra 3 pounds to get all north American cedar. The joints are much improved and everything now seems to line up. There is no warping. There are some big knots, but not in awkward places. I'd be really pleased if they had only stuck to standard sizing.

The dadant frames (destined to be shortened for some custom boxes) are also really good. These weren't advertised as being made in the UK, but were supposed to be European wood so hopefully not chinese made. They come with the little metal eyelets already installed which I was not expecting. It is white wood, but I knew that when I bought them.
 
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