The British National Hive (sometimes known as the British Modified National Hive) is the most popular bee hive in use in the UK. The reasons for its popularity include:
- Size of brood chamber is well suited to the UK climate
- Easy to assemble
- Economical to buy
- Efficient in use
- Interchangeable parts with Modified Commercial hive and WBC
The National has one of the smallest comb areas for its brood chamber (2186 square inches). This is the same as the Smith Hive and more than the WBC hive (1988 square inches).
A typical National Hive will consist of:
- Floor (with entrance block)
- Brood Chamber (sometimes known as the brood body / brood box)
- Queen Excluder
- Crown Board
Frames Used in the National
The frames hang vertically in the different ‘boxes’ of the hive and are where the bees build their honeycomb.
The Brood Chamber holds 11 British Standard long lug brood frames. These frames can either be normal frames (DN1) or the ‘self spacing’ frames known as Hoffman frames (DN4). Use of Hoffman frames is recommended in the brood chamber. A British Standard deep frame has an area of 93 square inches per side.
The Supers of the National Hive hold British Standard long lug shallow frames - (SN1) or self spacing Hoffman (SN4) frames. The frames in the National Supers can be spaced using castellated runners or plastic spacers. The National Supers also support the Manley frame which can make extracting the honey simpler. A British Standard shallow frame has an area of 55 square inches per side.
Compatibility with other hives
The British Modified National is virtually compatible with the Modified Commercial hive as the exterior widths of the two types of hive differ by only half a centimetre. A National Super can be placed on a Commerical brood chamber and a commercial super can be placed on a National brood chamber. Frames from a National can be used in a Commercial hive although the deeper frames from a Commercial Hive cannot be placed in a National Hive.
Because the National Hive uses British Standard frames they can be swapped with frames from Smith Hives and WBC hives which also use the British Standard sized frame.