British National Beekeeping Hives and Tools
We stock a vast range of British National hives, as well as feeders, frames and foundations. Our hives are from Paradise Honey based in Finland and are made from high density EPS polystyrene (density over 100 Kg/ m3) and offer outstanding performance at a great price. This material now dominates the market in much of Northern Europe. For price and performance the Paradise Honey Hives are unbeatable, keeping the bees warm and dry in winter and cool in the summer. The hives we offer have been proven in Finland on a bee farming operation with 3,000 colonies where temperatures range from below -35oC in winter to +35oC in summer. These hives have a life span of over 30 years and can be easily cleaned and sterilised to ensure healthy bees. High density polystyrene is a proven, durable, recyclable and eminently suitable material for bee hives.
Our British National hive is constructed to have the same external dimensions as a normal wooden National which, because of the thicker walls, means it has room inside for 10 Hoffman frames and a dummy board if desired. We do not see this as a limitation because in poly hives the queen will frequently use all ten frames for brood rearing. In wooden hives, where the outer frames are rarely used for brood rearing because of excessive temperature fluctuations the outer frames are rarely used for brood rearing. The Super will take 10 Hoffman or 9 Manley frames. Our hives are top bee space whereas the standard for a British National is bottom bee space.
Before being taken into use it is essential the hive components are painted. This prevents the growth of algae on the outside of the hive, deterioration by UV and in the case of the feeder is required for sealing and ease of cleaning. We recommend the floor and roof are fully painted on all surfaces but the brood chamber and supers need only be painted on the outside. Ideally two coats of paint should be applied, though one will suffice. The feeder requires additional painting on the inside, where the syrup sits. At least 3 coats are required otherwise the syrup will soak into the feeder and mould etc., will continue to grow even after you have washed it out. The interior "walk-way" the bees climb up through does not need painting but the surface the bees walk down to reach the syrup benefits from a light roughening with fine sandpaper to help the bees grip. If you have strong fingers the hard plastic edges can be slid off prior to painting for a neater finish.
Water based exterior smooth masonry paint is recommend for all surfaces other than the inside of the feeder. This is quick drying and easily applied with a 4" wide fleece roller and a ½" brush for the fiddly bits. We have found Dulux Weathershield Smooth Masonry paint is an excellent choice. This paint contains an acrylic resin and gives excellent coverage and wear characteristics. Woodland Pearl No 1 in the Tailor Made range of this paint is an excellent matt green that suits the hives well. We used to recommend Cuprinol Garden Shades but it is not very hard wearing and we feel the extra durability and better coverage of the Dulux paint is worth the extra cost. One litre will be sufficient for two hives with supers although you will find you probably have to buy 2.5 litres. There is a school of thought that supports painting the hive components different colours so the bees can recognize their own hive better, but unless you have a large number of hives in the apiary this would not be economic. For the interior of the feeder we recommend four coats of interior gloss white paint. Roughen the surface down which the bees climb to reach the syrup with fine sanding paper after the last coat. Alternatively, apply an extra coat to this surface only and sprinkle dry sand on it. You do not need to paint the interior surface the bees ascend - it would be pretty hard to reach in any case.
Please be aware that our British National Hives are manufactured and supplied by Paradise Honey. Therefore the dimensions may be slightly different to those purchased from other suppliers.
If you require any additional information, please feel free to contact us and a member of our team will be happy to help.