>I've been wondering what sort of hive to use, i think ill go for the national, but I was wondering if there is a big difference between top and bottom beeway style hives.
Any reason? I mean, given you are starting, you have the chance to start with any hive design.
If you read Clive de Bruyn, or Brother Adam, they all point out a National brood (and a WBC brood is evern worse) is too small - so perhaps you should consider a Commercial, 14 x 12 Nationals, dadant or double brood box from the start?
Are you learning with a club at all? Blackhorse Apiaries nr. Woking has a selection of hives, so you can find your preferred hive, e.g. National, WBC, Commercial, Langstroth, Dadant, Skeps, Log, Polysytrene etc. I know also, that Clive de Bruyn, in his Essex teaching apiary uses a similar wide variety of hives, to try and allow people to make their own decision.
I'm working hard here to not
influence your decision! I think it very much depends on your circumstances, e.g. are you buying everything new, or buying stuff second hand, or making yourself - will you be able to "borrow" stuff from people in your club - in which case having compatible equipement can be useful.
In Scotland for example, Smith hives are popular. Both Surrey and Sussex are starting their evening classes in January (on the theory) lasts about 10 weeks, just in time to start practical club teaching sessions in April. Are you in a club? Different clubs around the country seem to have widely differeing levels on help available for beginners. You'd better let us know where you are based, I'll try and find some more info. for you.
Some people swear by top bee space, others by bottom bee space. I think *overall* people reckon top bee space is easier to work, but as an amatuer, with just a few hives, I can't imagine either should have any effect on the ammount of honey you end up with.
The only other comment I'd make, is if you buy any books about beekeeping, make sure it's an English Beekeepers who has written it. American books are fine, but it's just they don't have quite the same seasons (i.e. the wildly differeing severity in winter from one end of the country to the other), and the plants/pollen is different, the hives are different design, and the information on regulations for labelling, and coping with bee diseases is (subtely) different, mostly in what is notifiable etc.
My best two books that I use far in excess to any others is:http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1861260490/qid=1103013119/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_2_1/026-8241334-0118025
# Hardcover 288 pages (November 24, 1997)
# Publisher: The Crowood Press
# ISBN: 1861260490
# Category(ies): Scientific, Technical & Medical , Science & Nature
# Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars | Write a review
# Hardcover 260 pages (July 1983)
# Publisher: Blandford P
# ISBN: 0713713828
# Other Editions: Paperback
I'm not sure if that bottom one is in print in the version mentioned above, it was recently republished with information on varroa. - just checked - it's the fourth edition you want.
I'm sure you local beekeeping suppliers would know how to get it - or you can purchase from Thones.www.thorne.co.uk
When I started, I rang up my local bee Inspector, and met up for a pint one day - it was very useful - finding out about local clubs, good places to keep them, teaching courses etc. This only works during the winter months, as they are too busy in the summer!!!
Hope that helps,