UK Cedar Hives
Cedar is the traditional timber which UK beehives are made from, specifically Western Red Cedar. Whilst Cedar hives are the most popular, they can be made from pretty much any wood, although Cedar is the preferred timber if the hives are to last long in the British weather.
Western Red Cedar
The reasons that Western Red Cedar is so widely used for beehives is because it contains natural oils which preserve the wood and therefore does not need treating with chemicals to help preserve it (in fact I know someone who has some rather battered but perfectly serviceable cedar hives which he thinks date back to the 1950’s, that would make them well over 50 years old!). Western Red Cedar also ages very nicely and goes from a slightly orange version of plain timber when new, to a light grey once it’s been out in the British weather for a while, it’s also relatively lightweight, making handling much easier.
Cedar Hive Suppliers
Where to start? There are a huge number of companies and individuals who manufacture Cedar hives, and from what I understand the quality can vary enormously. Below is a list of some of the better known suppliers/manufacturers, however this is not a recommendation, you really need to have a look at a few and judge the quality verses price for yourself.
If you are looking for something cheaper than the main suppliers have a look at this budget Cedar National Beehive with Two Supers which is well made based on reviews (although I don’t have one myself), it’s a good option if you need a spare for artificial swarms etc and being cedar should last if it does get put to proper use, if you don’t want a cheap beehive, then read on….
Probably the largest supplier of beekeeping equipment in the UK with shops in Stockbridge, Windsor and Newburgh, Thorne provide a wide range of beehives including British National, Langstroth, Smith, Commercial, WBC, Modified Dadant, Hedgecoe, Warre and Top Bar Hives. Of the British National they have their standard range, and the Bees on a Budget range, I bought one of these last year and am perfectly happy with it, there are a couple of knots in the wood, but if they come out at some point I’ll just fill them.
Based in Gloucestershire, so are my local big beekeeping shop, Maisemore also offer a wide range of hives including British National, WBC, Commercial, Smith, Modified Dadant and Langstroth, all of which are cedar hives. I have one of their 14×12 hives, it was bought in the sale and was made up immediately and I’m very happy with that one too.
A company I’m very familiar with, as although I don’t own one of their cedar hives, I have bought poly hives and nuc’s from them along with other assorted bits and bobs. Paynes are another of the largest suppliers in the UK and are based in Hassocks in West Sussex. They Also sell Cedar National Hives, WBC, Commercial and Langstroth.
Based up in Scotland, Caddon supply a range of Canadian cedar hives including National, 14×12 and WBC, either as individual components or complete hives. I’ve never used their kit myself but they look like a good budget option and their complete hives include Varroa mesh floors, entrance blocks and a 6″ roof on the nationals too.
There are plenty more hive makers out there and as with everything on HBH I will be adding to it over time, these are just a few. If you make hives and would like to be added to the list, get in touch through the contact form.