Which Hive? – Types of Hive

Beginners will often wonder which hive to get. There are a number of different designs out there but which one is the best? Below are pictures of the 6 most commonly found hives, there are of course variations and home made ones available:

WBC Bee HiveSmith Bee HiveNational Bee HiveModified Dadant Bee HiveLangstroth Bee HiveCommercial Bee Hive

The most popular hive in the United Kingdom in general is the National hive with the Smith more so in Scotland.

The National and Smith are square hives, not very pretty but practical. The cottage garden traditional hive is the WBC.

If you want a couple of hives in your garden, want them to look good and dont want/need to move them then go for the WBC. Don’t be put off by some beekeepers who will say they’re impractical. Yes, they are awkward to move to a field of rape or a heather covered mountain, but if you want to stay with a small-scale hobby, you probably won’t want to move them.

The Commercial hive is slightly larger than the National, still square but with a bigger brood area. This means that beekeepers can fit a stronger colony of bees into the hive with a smaller risk of swarming. People in Essex or Ireland prefer this hive, where it is used quite widely. The only reason for this is that one or more local experts have promoted it in the past.

The Langstroth is similar in size to the Commercial. It is the most popular hive in other countries of the world. The Dadant hive is the biggest of all and not as commonly found in the UK.

The smallest hive is the Smith. Invented and widely used in Scotland.

To complicate things yet further, the National, WBC, Smith and Langstroth have a jumbo brood body option. These are useful if you are in a warmer part of the country and you have a strong colony. Our advice would be to start with a National or WBC or a Smith if in Scotland.

Where to buy bee hives: