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WBC or National?

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Nick W 

House Bee
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Kidderminster
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national
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Hi

I am about to start next Spring as a newbie.

I have read many books and viewed loads of stuff on youtube.

I have narrowed my selection of hive (which I will have 2 for my garden) to:

1) WBC
2) National

I am only going to have them static in my garden as a hobby.

I am currently favouring the WBC because it is double layered, provides extra insulation in winter/summer for the girls.

I understand its two boxes to take off instead of 1 but as I am only having 2 hives and wont be moving them, that doenst matter. Hoffman frames of course and mesh floor.

They also look very nice and traditional.

National - well thats a standard piece of kit, seems very easy to use. Again, I would probably have this with a landing board and gabled roof.

So there isnt much in it, but the double wall seems to sell it for me for the extra insulation to keep the bees warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Thoughts?????

Cheers

NIck
 

victor meldrew 

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Hi Nick,
I think (mustn't be too emphatic ) that the wbc was designed when the uk climate was colder than today and had more distinctive seasons !.
It's certainly a bonnie looking hive, I have one in my front garden:).
Practically I think single wall hives of some variety (again I wont be too emphatic about it)will give you more scope. You may not be interested in migratory bee keeping but could find yourself in the position of having to move a feisty colony out of the area whilst re-Queening it !.
I use 14"x12"s, I run with near native bees which still run out of room in a standard national !.
I suspect advice will come tumbling in from various devotees (some more ardent than others :)).
At the end of the day it's down to what suits you , remember though, should you choose a wbc, for every box you add, you will require an extra 'lift'.
If successful ,your colony numbers may increase at a pace ( I hope they do ) and then storage space over winter becomes an issue .
Whatever hive type you choose,may I wish you well and hope you enjoy as many happy hours with your bees as I have and still do .

Regards John Wilkinson
 

DulwichGnome 

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Hi Nick,

We have used a WBC for our New Beekeepers Group this year and it has been very successful. The only thing to watch out for is not all WBC boxes/lifts are the same, they only need to be a few mm out and it becomes difficult to get them to fit without a gap.

I use Nationals and find them very good and if you set out to make them as aesthetically pleasing as possible from the start they can look good as well!!

Mike.
 

Somerford 

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good replys so far - bare in mind that if you use a deeper brood box, say a 14x12 in a WBC (it can cope with it) you might need an extra lift to allow for the extra height.

I started out with WBCs - they are great if you don't move them anywhere. I also had a spare national before I used them more extensively to do as JW says and move them about as necessary when re-queening and so on

I did get my record honey crop from a WBC over 15 years ago.....hive perchance ? I have no idea !!
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
I'm new this year - I have nationals and my nearest bee-keeping neighbour has WBCs. I would second the point about storage, he now has a large pile of lifts that are stacked in his garden, and he hasn't even got the last supers off yet! Insulation is a double edged sword - probably better in the winter, but also cooler in the spring. I notice this at the moment - our bees are "up and about" at about 09:00....while his bees are "lying in" until about 10:30.

WBCs do look nicer, and in a garden, that might well swing it for you!

We went for standard national broods - this is a mistake. One of our colonies is absolutely rammed with bees now, and we're going to need to change to 14x12 next year (and take some nucs off them by the look of it. Mrs rae went to a beekeeping "winterising" course at the Berkshire College of Ag last week and came back saying "they've got nothing like the number of bees that we have in their hives!" )
 

OXFORDBEE 

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More than 1, numbers seem to go up and down.
Any reason that people don't seem to like 16x10 frames any more...?

There seem to be lots of references to 14X12 frames....
 

WoodenBeam 

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Having started out this year & in a similar position to yourself......what hive:confused:

The choice for us was national or commercial, either available & after some time opted for the commercial with national supers. Reason being size, not wanting the bee's to out grow their space too quickly & I figure a larger colony (with plenty of stores) has a better chance to last through a winter. (My thoughts only)

One thing that is being mentioned on a lot of these threads is the size of the brood box, whichever hive design you choose it would seem most are advising larger rather than smaller, good luck.

One thing is very true though, ask some beekeepers a question & you'll get a multitude of answers back
 

GingerNut 

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I have a WBC in my garden and would have no other hive there because of how it looks.

I have changed the 'insides' to a full size national with a 14x12 brood box (self built) and this seems to solve all the problems.

I have seven lifts on it atm with all the supers stored inside, and it still looks nice :)

Next year I shall be expanding out on to two out apiary sites of which I will be using poly nationals with 14x12s

The WBC will stay in the garden :)

Yours Roy
 

JCBrum 

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Any reason that people don't seem to like 16x10 frames any more...?

There seem to be lots of references to 14X12 frames....
From what I have seen and heard in the last two seasons BS Commercial hives (16x10) are rarely used, and there is no ready availability of second hand parts.

In our club (Birmingham & Dist) we have examples of Smith, Langstroth, Commercial, WBC, and National (inc14x12), all available inc bees, for new members to manage as if they were their own for a season, to learn the ropes. A mentor tutor is provided every Saturday afternoon, and individual pupilage seems to strike up between the 'old-timers' and the 'new hands'

Consequent upon this most people seem to go for a standard Mod. National hive with some choosing 14x12.

The club supplies a new cedar flat-pack National hive for about £90 with a 14x12 BB being about £5 extra.

It's probably just the simplest, cheapest route for new beeks to get going.
 

Moonglow 

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I went for the 14 X12 Nationals because this is what my mentor uses, and most of the people around me use the same this helps as people around me are familiar with the pros and cons of the equipment that you are using as well as being able to help out if you need a loan of equipment or a frame of eggs
The gabled roof makes it just as pleasing on the eye as the WBC
 

victor meldrew 

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Any reason that people don't seem to like 16x10 frames any more...?

There seem to be lots of references to 14X12 frames....
My friend uses commercials and successfully too:).
I think the reasons why it's not more popular is the frame size . It wont fit into a national neither will a national fit in a commercial . Most available gear in the UK happens to be national standard ! 14x12s readily accept standard frames initially , to be exchanged for 14x12s as and when .

John Wilkinson
 

OXFORDBEE 

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More than 1, numbers seem to go up and down.
... From what I have seen and heard in the last two seasons BS Commercial hives (16x10) are rarely used ...
That's interesting becase DEFRA figures by hive type were a few years ago:

National 43%
WBC 17%
Commercial 13%

Believe it or not ... 16X10's are actually quite popular!
 

OXFORDBEE 

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More than 1, numbers seem to go up and down.
... From what I have seen and heard in the last two seasons BS Commercial hives (16x10) are rarely used ...
That's interesting becase DEFRA figures by hive type were a few years ago:

National 43%
WBC 17%
Commercial 13%

Believe it or not ... 16X10's are actually quite popular!
 

Black Comb 

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last year I was in your position so I bought well used nationals with the intention of seeing how they go.

Having worked Langstroths at one of my mentors (worked WBC and nationals at the other, as well as seeing 14 x 12's in use at out-apiary meetings) I'm switching to langstroths next year.

Even if I can't sell my nationals the cost will have been minimal.

2 things which I didn't think too much about but which are important are top/bottom bee space and the fact that with both WBC's and nationals it is likely (depending on your type of bee) that you will eventually need to run double brood boxes.
 

steve1958 

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last year I was in your position so I bought well used nationals with the intention of seeing how they go.

Having worked Langstroths at one of my mentors (worked WBC and nationals at the other, as well as seeing 14 x 12's in use at out-apiary meetings) I'm switching to langstroths next year.

Even if I can't sell my nationals the cost will have been minimal.

2 things which I didn't think too much about but which are important are top/bottom bee space and the fact that with both WBC's and nationals it is likely (depending on your type of bee) that you will eventually need to run double brood boxes.
I currently have a Langstroth Hive. I am picking up a National Hive today, so will be able to compare the two. Brood area is smaller on a National, but I have ben advised to use a 14 x 12 Deep Brood Box, which would overcome this problem.
 

Black Comb 

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I agree Steve. 14 x 12 is an option for me too.

However, from the start I realised that once you are on a particular hive it is difficult (and expensive) to change. This is why I bought well-used with the intention of deciding after one year.

I'm planning to go to jumbo Langstroth as I can always reduce the size of the box to accomodate less prolific bees.

From Thornes catalogue
No. of worker cells :-
National 50,000
WBC 45,000
Commercial 70,500
Langstroth 61,400
Dadant 85,000

14 x 12 isn't listed so perhaps someone can advise?
 

marcros 

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Hi

I am about to start next Spring as a newbie.

I have read many books and viewed loads of stuff on youtube.

I have narrowed my selection of hive (which I will have 2 for my garden) to:

1) WBC
2) National

I am only going to have them static in my garden as a hobby.

I am currently favouring the WBC because it is double layered, provides extra insulation in winter/summer for the girls.

I understand its two boxes to take off instead of 1 but as I am only having 2 hives and wont be moving them, that doenst matter. Hoffman frames of course and mesh floor.

They also look very nice and traditional.

National - well thats a standard piece of kit, seems very easy to use. Again, I would probably have this with a landing board and gabled roof.

So there isnt much in it, but the double wall seems to sell it for me for the extra insulation to keep the bees warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Thoughts?????

Cheers

NIck

To add to your thoughts, there is always the possibility of getting a gabled roof and landing board for a national to make them look a bit more WBCish. If you look on the hive photos page, Tom Bick was making some which looked very good quality and athetically pleasing!!

http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/attachment.php?attachmentid=1089&d=1253891524

http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2503&page=3
 
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PaleoPerson 

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When you have made your mind up from a technical perspective, do not forget to factor in what you really want.

There is nothing worse that getting something that is the dogs B******s from a technical perspective if you just do not like the look of it.

We have just started and have some BS nationals and will change the broods to 14 x 12 next year, but I can also see that a couple of WBC's may end up in the mix now that my wife has actually worked on them over the past couple of weeks.

Oh, and Commercials are very common here in Essex (70,500 white stiletto version)

:cheers2:
 
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