I’m either undecided or not sufficiently qualified to answer the question “Which is better, top bee space or bottom bee space?”
However, my main texts on beekeeping (Guide to Honey and Bees by Ted Hooper MBE, Bees at the bottom of the Garden by Alan Campion and Practical beekeeping by Clive de Bruyn) are paraphrased below in order…
Ted Hooper: “…Whatever hives are used I would strongly advise that these are the ‘top beeway’ variety…The space needed by the bee to move about between boxes is allowed at the top of boxes in the top beeway hive. In the other variety it’s at the bottom of the box…Top beeway is much more efficient in use and less of a strain on the beekeeper as supers can be lifted back and placed ‘cross cornered’ on the hive and slid around into place. Wtih bottom beeway this cannot be done as bees would get squashed or decapitated in the manipulation.”
Alan Campion: “…Users of top bee space claim many advantages including that the queen excluder is propolised less by the bees and that one box can be slid on top of the other without decapitating bees on the top of the frames…The disadvantage is that the queen excluder must be framed and of a rigid construction to prevent it sagging…”
Clive de Bruyn: “…Bottom bee space can result in contact and consequent propolising between the ends of the top bars and the edges of the box above…”
The three authors seem to agree that ‘top bee space’ is better. However there are alternative views and one has to wonder why the British National Hive was designed to have ‘bottom bee space’ if top is superior.
Here’s a link to an alternative view…
A couple of pictures of first British National Hive standard bottom bee space and then the Peak Hives top bee space National Hive option.
Here at Peak Hives we’ve decided to allow our customers to choose which is best for them. If you’re purchasing a complete hive in either fully assembled or flat pack then there’s an easy checkbox to choose ‘top bee space’. So you have to opt in to top bee space if that’s your preference.
If you’re not buying a complete hive and want top bee space on your broods or supers then use the ‘Special instructions to Merchant’ option when you go through the check out process and we’ll make up your supers and brood boxes accordingly.
Any problems with ordering just give me a call on 07594 583151.
Above all what we want is that you get the right kit for the way you want to beekeep.