Types of Beehives – What is the Best

Here I am going to describe the differences in the most popular hives the UK, which is where I live, For the purpose of this article I will be explaining the 4 main types, there are other such as Top Bar, Poly hives and even a Flow Hive although the jury is out on that one for now. The main material used for hives in the UK is probably Cedar, although Poly hives are growing in popularity all the time.


National Hive. (Sometimes known as a Standard B.S.)

Buy National Hive here….
National Hive

This hive is probably the most popular choice among UK Beekeepers, which makes life so much less hassle to buy Boxes, Frames and other parts, also makes life easier if you suddenly need a spare part to deal with in an emergency, you can usually find someone to borrow it from! As all the boxes are quite small compared to some other hives, this makes it relatively easy when it comes to inspections etc. It is a Single walled hive. With very Prolific Bees, some keepers will use a Deep brood box to create more space.


The WBC.

Buy WBC Hive here….

Everybody will have seen this type of hive in books, films etc, it is the classic looking hive, named after a Gentleman called William Broughton Carr. This is a Double walled hive which in theory helps with regulating the temperature, keeping it cooler in Summer and warmer in Winter. The outer wall is made from a series of sections called Lifts, the Brood box and Supers inside will take the same frames as the National hive. Aesthetically pleasing, it is however heavy and difficult to manipulate the lifts. Personally I think they make great ornaments…but would never actually use one for bees.



Buy Langstroth Hive here….

Designed by Rev Langstroth, this apparently is the most popular style in the World….except not in the U.K. and just to throw a spanner into the works the U.K., European and American Langstroths are all different sizes. It is a single walled hive and is easy to maintain, however because of the size issues it is not a hive I personally would choose.



Buy Commercial Hive here….

The clue is in the name here, it is widely used in commercial beekeeping as it has larger brood box and frames (16″ x10″), however National Supers can be used with this hive to cut down on the heavy lifting. Again it is a single walled hive.





Hive TypeDimensionsBrood Chamber CellsBee SpaceFull Super Weigh (Approx)Number of Brood Frames and Sizes
National460mm x 460mm50000Bottom25lbs11
356mm x 216mm
WBC505mm x 505mm45000Bottom25lbs11
256mm x 216mm
Langstroth508mm x 413mm61400Top30lbs10
448mm x 241mm
Commercial465mm x 465mm70500Bottom25lbs11
407mm x 254mm

In my next post I will be breaking down a hive and showing and explaining the different parts that make up the complete hive.

Meanwhile, I hope you have found this article helpful, and if you have any comments or questions please leave them below If you have any Comments or Questions, please comment below or follow me on Facebook and contact me there and I will  reply as soon as possible.

Until next time.









    1. Hi Rachel, Thank you for your kind comments. Yep for sure bees are under a lot of pressure at this time and we need to do all we can to help them, my own approach is very much a light touch, the bees know more than I do about what they want and need, listen to what they are telling you and act accordingly.

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